Category: Media

Category: Media

Changing the Narrative: Journalists as Allies for Peace in the Philippines

May 18, 2021

By John Rizle Saligumba, Communications Coordinator, Balay Mindanaw and Mallika Iyer, Asia Programs Coordinator and Humanitarian Action Specialist, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders 

In 2010, the Philippines was the first Asian country to adopt a National Action Plan (NAP) on United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 – a critical step towards addressing the situation of women in armed conflict and recognizing women’s contributions to conflict transformation. The NAP on UNSCR 1325 reinforced the Magna Carta of Women (Republic Act No. 9710), which was adopted in 2008 to enshrine the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Despite the adoption of these important national frameworks, genuine implementation has not yet been accomplished. 

Armed conflict and increased activity amongst violent extremist groups continue to disproportionately impact women, young women, and girls, particularly from religious or Lumad (indigenous) minority groups in the Philippines. Forced displacement, child marriage, sexual violence, trafficking, food and economic insecurity, limited access to health care and education, and recruitment and radicalization by armed groups are all realities experienced by women, young women, and girls in conflict and crisis-affected communities across the Philippines. 

The peace agreement signed by the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), ratified as Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), addresses the gendered impacts of armed conflict and ensures women’s meaningful participation in post-conflict recovery and decision-making on peace and security. The recently adopted Bangsamoro Regional Action Plan (RAP) on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) furthers these objectives through a focus on leadership of women in local Peace and Order Councils and gender-responsive humanitarian emergency response for displaced women and girls. If implemented effectively, the BOL and RAP on WPS could transform gender inequalities and build inclusive, long-lasting peace in the Bangsamoro Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). 

Challenges to Implementation 

Disinformation, misinformation, and fake news have contributed to a lack of broad-based local ownership and support for the implementation of the BOL and a peaceful transition to the BARMM. Delays in the development of an electoral code, amongst other key frameworks in line with the BOL, have furthered distrust amongst the local population and the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA). In the meantime, clashes continue between violent extremist groups, including Abu Sayaff, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and the Philippine Armed Forces. Violence committed by extremist groups and clan feuds, compounded by fake news, threaten the peaceful transition to the BARMM and could lead to a return to insecurity and armed conflict. 

The peace process between the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and the Philippine government has deteriorated, following violent clashes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The conflict led to deliberate disruption and delays in the delivery of life-saving COVID-19 relief goods, leaving countless frontline women peacebuilders at risk. Misinformation disseminated by biased Filipino media agencies heavily contributed to false accusations and increased violence between the two warring parties. As a result, the ceasefires declared by the Philippine government and the CPP-NPA-NDF were short-lived, despite the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calling for a global ceasefire during the COVID-19 crisis. The failure to uphold the ceasefires by the CPP-NPA-NDF and the government of the Philippines ultimately aggravated prospects of peace negotiations and increased the incidence of violent clashes between the two warring parties. 

The important role of journalists 

Journalism plays a critical role in countering misinformation, disinformation, and fake news. It can build broad-based support for sustainable and inclusive peacebuilding, promoting women’s meaningful participation and leadership in decision-making on peace and security. Mass media has the power to not only break the traditionally conservative stereotypes around gender and women portrayed as victims of conflict but also hold governments to account on issues of women, peace and security. Journalists in the Philippines have the power to share accurate information on the implementation of the BOL and generate support for women’s leadership in peacebuilding in the BARMM. They can also hold the Philippine government and the CPP-NPA-NDF accountable for the protection of women’s rights and human rights, in line with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, the only agreement signed by the warring parties. 

To generate and sustain interest amongst journalists around gender-sensitive reporting on the ongoing peace processes in the Philippines, the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) and Balay Mindanaw, with support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), launched a national media competition on International Women’s Day in March 2020. The “Women, Peace, and Security Reporting Awards” was created to: 

  • Encourage journalists to  produce engaging stories to promote the implementation of the BOL;
  • Support the smooth transition to the BARMM;
  • Communicate the importance of inclusive and sustainable peace processes which address the root causes of conflict between the Government of the Philippines and the CPP-NPA-NDF; and
  • Shift the dominant perception of women as victims to agents of change.

GNWP and Balay Mindanaw received  68 entries from 38 authors. Many of the entries discussed the gendered impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities affected by the transition to the BARMM or the ongoing peace process with the CPP-NPA-NDF. They also highlighted the significant contributions of local women and youth peacebuilders in leading COVID-19 relief and recovery. 

On March 8, 2021, an online award ceremony was held to recognize the following winning submissions: 

Winning Submission for Photojournalism Category

Pandemic Worsens Situation of Young Mothers in Conflict Areas by Mark Saludes

A photo essay of women who are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. The essay’s subjects are also caught in the midst of an armed conflict and the underlying socio-economic, political, and cultural exclusion in Maida, Maguindanao province in the BARMM. The essay captures the gendered impacts of both the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing armed conflict. The story also highlights the efforts of some groups to include reproductive health products in COVID-19 relief packages in the absence of comprehensive healthcare. The author also artistically inserted photos of Lumad peoples in the province of Surigao Del Sur who were displaced in 2018 by the ongoing armed conflict between the Philippine government and the CPP-NPA. 

Watch the author’s award acceptance video here: https://youtu.be/qZsqTFyMxGA

Winning Submission for Print Category

Rising from the Ruins, The Weavers of Marawi by Zea Correa-Capistrano

Correa-Capistrano recognizes the leadership and innovation of displaced Meranaw women following the 2018 Marawi Siege. Meranaw women revived their traditional weaving practices to address the economic and food insecurity they were experiencing. Traditional weaving has always been a part of Meranaw culture and tradition. These women transformed norms by leading the practice and selling their products. They were able to market their products and share their stories to consumers as far as the United States. Watch the author’s award acceptance video here: https://youtu.be/9hlosVlmMcU

Winning Submission for Online Category

Dolls for Peace Help Empower Women in Post-War Marawi by Antonio L. Colina IV

The story of a group of women who believe they are “warriors for peace”. They employ their skills to create iconic dolls that become symbolize women-led efforts to rebuild the war-torn city of Marawi. The women saw the selling of dolls as key to their empowerment and recovery. The dolls promote their culture and tradition of peace and remind consumers of Marawi City before it was destroyed by war and terrorism. Watch the author’s award acceptance video here: https://youtu.be/5lMEy8w0cPw

Winning Submission for Best Report on Peace in the Pandemic

Women Survivors from Marawi Siege Produce Facemasks for Livelihood During Covid-19 Outbreak by Divina Suson

This report highlights the leadership of local women in displacement camps in Marawi City in the COVID-19 response. As survivors of the 2018 Marawi Siege, local women harnessed their power to identify livelihood opportunities. Although their dressmaking businesses were severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, local women quickly mobilized to produce face masks as an alternative source of income. Watch the author’s award acceptance video here: https://youtu.be/1iltp9w6kCs

Winning Submission for Best Report By A Woman/Youth Journalist 

Women Commanders Speak: “How do you suppose the battle raged on for days and weeks if there was no Bangsamoro Islamic Women Auxiliary Brigade to support the men fighting?” by Amalia Bandiola-Cabusao

This article brought to the fore the seldom-heard perspectives of former women combatants of the MILF’s armed wing. It draws attention to their efforts to support the peace negotiations and struggle for the right to self-determination. The article emphasizes the need for gender-responsive disengagement, disarmament, and rehabilitation. 

Watch the author’s award acceptance video here:

Part 1: https://youtu.be/wrJAAj6XMj8

Part 2: https://youtu.be/RouG0x_IrFw

Media as an Ally in Peacebuilding, Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

May 3, 2021

By Wevyn Muganda, GNWP’s Cora Weiss Peacebuilding Fellow and Michaela Zelenanska, GNWP’s Peacebuilding Program Intern for Eastern Europe and South Caucasus

The Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) celebrates World Press Freedom Day by highlighting the importance of independent media in building peaceful, gender-equal, and inclusive societies. Journalists play a key role in spreading information about the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and in highlighting women’s roles as leaders, peacebuilders, and decision-makers. GNWP’s “Full-cycle Implementation” of WPS strategy incorporates the critical work of the media, taking a multidimensional approach across three main areas:

  1. Training of journalists and other media practitioners, to increase their understanding of their role in promoting the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and the supporting WPS resolutions and encourage them to portray women in their diverse roles including as leaders, peacebuilders, and decision-makers;
  2. Development of Media and WPS strategies to guide stronger and more systematic collaboration between the media, women peacebuilders and national and local government actors; and
  3. Media and WPS (#MediaFor1325) competitions, to create incentives and recognize the gender-responsive coverage of issues related to peace and security.

The #MediaFor1325 competitions provide an incentive for journalists to integrate a gender lens into their reporting on peace and conflict issues, and raise awareness of the WPS agenda. As a result, they contribute to shifting the perception of women as passive victims to recognizing women as agents of peace. Since 2018, the GNWP in partnership with the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) held six media competitions in Colombia, Georgia, Moldova, Kenya, the Philippines, and Ukraine.

This year, we commemorate World Press Freedom Day with a throwback to some of the winning materials.

The work of women peacebuilders in Colombia has been indispensable to reaching and signing the peace agreement between the government and Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), and remains critical in monitoring its implementation. It is important that the invaluable contribution of women peacebuilders in Colombia is recognized and made visible to change the public narrative on women’s role in peace processes and in leadership. GNWP, in partnership with Red Nacional de Mujeres (RNM) and with support from Norad, trained journalists on the WPS agenda and the role the media plays to promote effective implementation. The training was followed by a national #MediaFor1325 competition organized in August 2020, in partnership with Pacifista – a media collective dedicated to promoting journalism rooted in peace and human rights principles. The competition had two categories: professional journalists and journalism students. Additionally, a special prize was awarded for work that provided an original angle on women’s leadership in peacebuilding. The winning podcast, by Lidha Beltrán Valero, highlights women’s experiences in challenging patriarchy, preventing violence and sustaining peace in local communities. Jeimmy Lorena Gutiérrez Turmequé, with her piece about Indigenous leaders from Xuacha, was awarded the students category and the special prize.

With support from ADA, GNWP and its Georgian partner, Women’s Information Center (WIC), organized an online training series for journalists. The training aimed to increase the awareness of Georgian journalists on their roles in supporting gender equality, women’s meaningful participation in the implementation of Georgia’s National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325, and in promoting gender- and conflict-sensitive responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The journalists expressed appreciation for the knowledge and skills they acquired and committed to being more gender-sensitive in conflict reporting in order to influence the public narrative on women’s roles in peace processes. The training was accompanied by a national #MediaFor1325 competition. The winning article by Nino Chibchiuri discusses the lives of women on the occupation line and how the pandemics negatively affected them. Other awarded articles feature women entrepreneurs and the struggles of peace activists in Abkhazia. “During the pandemic, rural women showed solidarity with each other and helped others as much as they could,” Chibchiuri stressed.

“Rural women during the pandemic showed solidarity with each other and helped others as much as they could.” -Nino Chibchiuri, 2020 winning journalist in Georgia

In Ukraine, GNWP and Democracy Development Center have conducted a series of training with journalists since 2017. These trainings have been instrumental in raising the journalists’ awareness of their important role in shaping public opinions on women’s leadership in peace processes. It has also become pivotal in integrating the media in the implementation of the WPS agenda. The 2020 media competition was organized in partnership with Ukraine’s State Radio and Television Broadcasting Commission. Dmytro Semenyuk’s winning entry focuses on breaking stereotypes and highlighting the active role women play in patrol policing to prevent violence. “Women have become indispensable in resolving conflicts,” Semenyuk expressed.  Olga Chernykova, the author of another winning article describes an inspiring life story of a woman journalist who had to flee her home city due to the violent conflict.

These powerful stories show that women around the world share similar struggles and continue to work for the advancement of women’s rights, peace, and justice in their communities. On this World Press Freedom Day, GNWP commits to continue to work with journalists in amplifying the voices of women peacebuilders across the world!

More than helpless victims – Kenyan journalists use the WPS agenda to change the narrative about women in conflict

February 23, 2021 by Wevyn Muganda

“After this training [facilitated by GNWP and RWPL], I will retell the narrative of what women go through in conflicts – to show them as leaders, and not helpless victims.” – Evans Kipkura, Nation Media, Elgeyo Marakwet

Kenya launched its 2nd National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) in April 2020, at a time when the global COVID-19 pandemic has made the need for effective communication, coordination, and implementation of the WPS agenda more urgent than ever. Accurate and reliable information is critical to effective management of the pandemic and building sustainable and inclusive peace. During COVID-19, misinformation and disinformation have been a threat to both peace and security, and to gender equality. In Kenya, false or inaccurate information about the virus and how to prevent it contributed to these negative impacts. The media plays a key role in not only sharing, but also fact-checking information, in order to support crisis response, lower tensions between communities, and maintain peace.

Recognizing the important role of the media in promoting gender equality and sustainable peace, the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) in partnership with Rural Women Peace Link (RWPL) and with support from the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) held a training workshop on WPS for Kenyan journalists on December 8-9, 2020. The training is part of GNWP’s ongoing efforts to engage journalists and raise their awareness and skills needed to fulfil their role in the implementation of the WPS resolutions. With support from ADC, similar trainings were also held in Georgia and Moldova in 2020, and further trainings in Armenia and Uganda are planned for 2021. The workshop in Kenya was held in a hybrid form – with most participants meeting in person, and some experts, including GNWP staff, joining via Zoom. During the workshop, 22 journalists from different counties in the North Rift and Western Kenya regions discussed the role of the media in the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and other WPS resolutions. The workshop convened journalists working in local and national media houses, who shared their experiences in reporting the stories of women living in conflict-affected areas. They also reflected on how they can more effectively contribute to the implementation of the WPS agenda.

The workshop’s sessions included expert presentations on the UNSCR 1325 and the WPS agenda and on Kenya’s NAP on WPS. These were complemented by interactive discussions, during which the journalists spoke of the impact of their work and the challenges they encounter in reporting about women in conflict and peacebuilding. From the discussions, it was apparent that the journalists have a good understanding of the conflict and security situation across the country. From raising awareness about the female genital mutilation, to reporting on gender-based violence cases, electoral violence and ethnic conflict, the journalists have been key players in increasing awareness on the impact of conflict on women and girls in the country. With digitalization and a growing number of internet users in Kenya, there has been increased consumption of media reports over the past few years, accompanied by a rise in community and digital journalism. Civil society groups in Kenya rely heavily on the information provided by the media when working to implement and monitor the implementation of the WPS agenda and to hold institutions such as the police, and individuals who instigate violence, accountable.

The training demonstrated that despite their reporting on issues of conflict and violence, the journalists’ knowledge of UNSCR 1325, and understanding of their own role in implementing it, was minimal. Since the media remains the primary source of information for most people in the country, the journalists’ lack of understanding of the agenda translates into a lack of knowledge and broad-base support for its implementation, especially at the community level. Overall, much more remains to be done to increase the media’s role in challenging the portrayal of women as passive victims of violence in the country, and highlighting their leadership – a foundational idea behind the WPS agenda.

During the workshop, GNWP and RWPL highlighted the importance of changing the narrative, and sharing more stories of women’s participation and leadership in peace processes, peacebuilding and decision-making. To fully implement the ground-breaking WPS agenda, the media must break with the narrative of women as victims. It should provide women across all levels – especially at the grassroots – with a platform to showcase their involvement in building sustainable peace, and support their efforts by giving visibility to the impact of their work.

Workshop participants agreed that a media strategy to support the implementation of the WPS agenda through gender-sensitive reporting in Kenya is necessary to follow-up on the training’s conclusions. GNWP and its partner RWPL are committed to continuing the work with the journalists to develop and adopt such a strategy.

GNWP and RWPL will also continue to amplify the role of journalists in the implementation of WPS resolutions in Kenya through continued training and providing incentives for gender-responsive reporting. Following the training in December 2020, in January 2021, we launched the first Media and WPS competition in Kenya. The competition invites journalists and journalism students to submit publications that aim at amplifying the stories of women’s leadership in peacebuilding and conflict prevention. We cannot wait to read the stories told and continue to work jointly with the media in Kenya towards gender equality and effective implementation of the WPS agenda!

Changing the narrative: Colombian reporters put women’s peacebuilding work in the spotlight

(Español abajo.)

January 6, 2021 by Cecilia Lazara

Recognizing the critical role women play in the prevention and resolution of conflict and crisis is one of the central tenets of the landmark United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325. Women are at the forefront of peacebuilding and addressing the root causes of conflict in their communities. Recognizing and supporting their leadership is not only right – but it is also strategic. Empirical evidence shows that when women are actively involved in peace negotiations, peace agreements have a higher probability of being more durable and sustainable over time. Colombia has been a key example of this- women negotiators and civil society were critical in reaching the peace agreement between the government and the FARC. They also ensured that the peace agreement is inclusive and addresses the needs of those most vulnerable. Moreover, after the adoption of the peace agreement, women have been monitoring the progress in its implementation and advocating for the institutionalization of its provisions – especially those related to gender equality – at the local level.

Women peacebuilders continue to demonstrate their adaptability and resilience in the face of emerging crises. Following the outbreak of COVID-19, women have become first responders to the pandemic. In Colombia, women peacebuilders have distributed food, hygiene packages, and sexual and reproductive health products to those most vulnerable, while continuing their advocacy to implement the peace agreement.

However, the work of women peacebuilders often remains invisible, and therefore unrecognized. Colombian women’s efforts to advance peace agreement implementation, address the root causes of conflict in their communities, and respond to the impacts of COVID-19 have been dismissed as part of their “care duties”. Therefore, they are taken for granted as a characteristic of female nature, diminishing the skills and sacrifices they require. Despite their contributions, the dominant narratives commonly depict women as passive victims, rather than acknowledging their leadership and agency. This narrow outlook perpetuates gender stereotypes inherent in the patriarchal system and restricts the spaces and opportunities available to women to advance their work.

Safeguarding spaces for women peacebuilders and ensuring their meaningful participation in decision-making at all levels is one of the key elements of the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda. To fully implement the agenda, we must shift the victimizing narrative and highlight women-led efforts to build just and inclusive societies. Journalists and media professionals are critical allies in this regard. They shape how women are perceived in society, stimulate debates about gender equality, and promote women’s roles as peacebuilders and agents of change. Likewise, they can also report on the status of national policies to provide the civil society with the information necessary to hold the government accountable for the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and the peace agreement and ensure that women are meaningfully included in it.

Recognizing the key role played by the media in the operationalization of WPS on the ground, the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) and Red Nacional de Mujeres (RNM) have worked with journalists across Colombia to increase the awareness of the WPS agenda, their understanding of their own role in advancing it, and their capacity to integrate gender-responsive analysis in their reporting. In 2018 and 2019, with support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and the Global Affairs Canada Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (PSOPs), GNWP and RNM held two trainings to enhance journalists’ capacities to advance the WPS implementation through gender-responsive and conflict-sensitive reporting, and to challenge traditional and conservative discourses.

In August 2020, with the support from Norad, we launched the National Media and WPS Prize, in partnership with Pacifista – a media collective dedicated to promoting journalism rooted in peace and human rights principles. The National Media and WPS Prize aimed to encourage professional journalists and students to reflect on women’s experiences by submitting written articles, audio, and audiovisual materials.

The materials were evaluated by a panel of peacebuilding and media experts. Winners were identified into two categories: professional journalists and journalism students. Additionally, a special prize was awarded for work that provided a particularly original angle on women’s leadership in peacebuilding. The winner of the special prize will travel to the Philippines to closely observe and document good practices on the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and the peace agreement and compare them with experiences in Colombia.

Please see below a summary of the recognized materials:

The podcast follows three women living in the North of Cauca: an indigenous leader, an ex-combatant, and an indigenous guard. It highlights their efforts to achieve women’s rights in the midst of armed conflict, calling them “the resistance within the resistance.” Thus, it sheds light on women’s work to build sustainable and gender-equal peace – including through supporting women’s economic empowerment, challenging the patriarchal culture, and addressing the continuum of violence in rural areas, even after the internal armed conflict. Women are resisting and raising their voices to change the course of history.

This podcast tells the stories of four community leaders who have been fighting for the vindication of women’s rights and peacebuilding in the municipality of Xuacha, Cundinamarca. Xuacha is seen as a place where all the problems converge, but at the same time, it features a glimmer of hope personified in grassroots leaders. The podcast presents a type of leadership that realizes the meaning and importance of UNSCR 1325 on the ground.

The special prize was awarded to Jeimmy Lorena Gutiérrez Turmequé. The student’s workclearly outlines women leaders’ efforts amid increased threats and barriers to their work – such as increasing gender-based violence, the killing of social leaders, and the growing inequalities caused by neoliberal economic policies. Its fundamental contribution lies in the fact that it sheds light on the women’s movement and the grassroots leaders often ignored by the mainstream media, but essential to prevent conflict, promote peace and stability.

GNWP congratulates the winners! We also want to thank all those who participated in the competition. This is a key step to strengthening the alliance between the media and women peacebuilders to create awareness and promote the WPS agenda’s core values. We look forward to further strengthening this partnership!


Cambiando la narrativa: reporteros colombianos colocan el trabajo de las mujeres constructoras de paz en el centro de la escena

El 6 de enero 2021 por Cecilia Lazara

Distinguir el papel fundamental que desempeñan las mujeres en la prevención y resolución de los conflictos es considerado uno de los elementos centrales de la histórica Resolución del Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas (RCSNU) 1325. Las mujeres se posicionan a la vanguardia de la consolidación de paz, abordando las raíces de los conflictos en sus comunidades. Por tanto, reconocer y apoyar su liderazgo no solo es lo correcto, también es estratégico. La evidencia empírica ha demostrado que cuando las mujeres participan activamente en las negociaciones de paz, los acuerdos tienden a tener una mayor probabilidad de ser más duraderos y sostenibles a lo largo del tiempo. Colombia representa un claro ejemplo de esto. Allí, las mujeres negociadoras y la sociedad civil han sido fundamentales para concretar el acuerdo de paz entre el gobierno y las FARC, asegurándose que su carácter sea inclusivo y aborde las necesidades de las poblaciones más vulnerables. Asimismo, luego de su adopción, las mujeres siguen monitoreando los avances en su implementación y abogando por la institucionalización de sus disposiciones a nivel local, especialmente aquellas relacionadas con la igualdad de género.

Paralelamente, las mujeres constructoras de paz continúan demostrando su capacidad de adaptación y resistencia frente a las crisis emergentes. Tras el brote de COVID-19, han estado en la primera línea en respuesta a la pandemia. En Colombia, las mujeres se han ocupado de la distribución de alimentos, paquetes de higiene y productos de salud sexual y reproductiva destinados a personas vulnerables, a la vez que continúan con su labor de defensa y promoción para la implementación efectiva del acuerdo de paz.

Sin embargo, a menudo, su trabajo permanece invisible y no se lo reconoce como se debería. Por lo contrario, los esfuerzos de las mujeres colombianas tienden a identificarse como parte de sus “deberes de cuidado”. Por tanto, su labor se da por sentado como una característica de la naturaleza femenina, menospreciando las habilidades y los sacrificios que conlleva. A pesar de sus contribuciones, las narrativas dominantes suelen representar a las mujeres como víctimas pasivas, en lugar de reconocer su liderazgo y agencia. Esta perspectiva reduccionista solo sirve para perpetuar los estereotipos de género inherentes al sistema patriarcal y limita los espacios y oportunidades disponibles para que las mujeres avancen en su trabajo.

Es por ello que uno de los elementos primordiales de la agenda de Mujeres, Paz y Seguridad (MPS) consiste en salvaguardar los espacios para las mujeres constructoras de paz y asegurar su participación significativa en la toma de decisiones en todos los ámbitos. No obstante, para poder implementar plenamente la agenda, es necesario cambiar la narrativa victimizante y destacar los esfuerzos liderados por mujeres para construir sociedades justas e inclusivas. En este sentido, los periodistas y los profesionales de los medios son aliados fundamentales ya que describen la manera en cómo se percibe a las mujeres en la sociedad, estimulan los debates sobre la igualdad de género y promueven su papel como constructoras de paz y agentes de cambio. Asimismo, también sociabilizan la información sobre el estado de las políticas nacionales; componente clave que ayuda a la sociedad civil a ejercer presión sobre el gobierno para que rinda cuentas sobre el avance de la implementación de la RCSNU 1325 y el acuerdo de paz, y garantice la inclusión significativa de las mujeres.

La Red Global de Mujeres Constructoras de Paz (GNWP, por sus siglas en inglés) y la Red Nacional de Mujeres (RNM) reconocemos el papel fundamental desempeñado por los medios de comunicación en la operacionalización de la agenda MPS sobre el terreno local. Es por ello que trabajamos junto con periodistas para aumentar la sensibilización de la agenda en Colombia, facilitando la comprensión del rol que los medios ocupan en su promoción e incentivando el desarrollo de las capacidades periodísticas con el fin de integrar un enfoque sensible al género en los informes. Durante el 2018 y 2019, GNWP y RNM realizó dos capacitaciones con el apoyo de la Agencia Noruega de Cooperación para el Desarrollo (Norad) y el Programa de Operaciones de Estabilización de la Paz de Asuntos Globales de Canadá (PSOPs). El objetivo de estos talleres se centró en el avance de la implementación de la MPS a través de un periodismo con perspectiva de género y construcción de paz, capaz de desafiar los discursos tradicionales y conservadores.

En agosto de 2020, se lanzó el Premio nacional de periodismo Mujeres, Paz y Seguridad, con el apoyo de Norad, y en asociación con Pacifista, un colectivo de medios dedicado a promover el periodismo arraigado en los principios de paz y derechos humanos. El Premio nacional de periodismo MPS tuvo como objetivo alentar a los estudiantes y periodistas profesionales a reflexionar sobre las experiencias de las mujeres a través de textos, audios y materiales audiovisuales.

Todos los materiales fueron evaluados por un panel de expertos en construcción de paz y medios de comunicación. A su vez, los ganadores fueron clasificados en dos categorías: periodistas profesionales y estudiantes de periodismo. Además, se otorgó un premio especial para el trabajo que destacara un ángulo original sobre el liderazgo de la mujer en la consolidación de paz. Como resultado, el ganador del premio especial viajará a Filipinas con el propósito de observar de cerca su plan de acción y documentar la implantación de buenas prácticas de la RCSNU 1325 y el acuerdo de paz, para luego compararlas con la experiencia de Colombia.

Se presenta a continuación un resumen de los materiales reconocidos:

  • En la categoría de periodistas profesionales, la pieza ganadora fue: “La Resistencia en medio de la resistencia” de Lidha Beltrán Valero – disponible en https://soundcloud.com/rutas-del-conflicto/podcast-la-resistencia-en-medio-de-la-resistencia
    El podcast sigue la historia de tres mujeres que viven en el norte del Cauca: una líder indígena, una excombatiente y una guardia indígena. En él, se destacan los esfuerzos por la obtención de los derechos fundamentales de las mujeres en medio del conflicto armado, llamándolas “la resistencia en medio de la resistencia”. Este relato pone de relieve el trabajo de las mujeres en la construcción de una paz sostenible y con igualdad de género –  apoyando el empoderamiento económico de la mujer, desafiando la cultura patriarcal y luchando contra la violencia continua en las zonas rurales, incluso después del conflicto armado interno. Las mujeres no se rinden, resisten y alzan la voz para cambiar el curso de la historia.
  • En la categoría de estudiantes, el primer lugar se le asignó a: “Xuacha Lucha Femenina y Popular” de Jeimmy Lorena Gutiérrez Turmequé – disponible en: https://www.ivoox.com/xuacha-lucha-femenina-popular-audios-mp3_rf_55835207_1.html?f[…]=IwAR2NEaQogHqB08Bdxw4tDlsXAQ2ZnSiFCfI5KYu62LY0Si8lSoXMGQHCltA
    Este podcast cuenta las historias de cuatro líderes comunitarios que han estado luchando por la reivindicación de los derechos de las mujeres y la construcción de paz en el municipio de Xuacha, Cundinamarca. Xuacha es visto como un lugar donde convergen todos los problemas, pero en simultáneo, presenta un halo de esperanza personificado en estos líderes populares. El podcast presenta un tipo de liderazgo que da cuenta del significado y la importancia de la RCSNU 1325 sobre el terreno local.

Finalmente, el premio especial se le otorgó a Jeimmy Lorena Gutiérrez Turmequé. La pieza de la estudiante describe claramente los esfuerzos de las mujeres líderes para continuar con su trabajo en medio de las crecientes amenazas y las barreras que se imponen – como el aumento de la violencia de género, el asesinato de líderes sociales y las desigualdades causadas por las políticas económicas neoliberales. La contribución fundamental del material reside en destacar la importancia del movimiento de las mujeres y los líderes comunitarios; dos actores frecuentemente ignorados por los principales medios de comunicación, pero que son sin embargo esenciales para prevenir conflictos, promover la paz y la estabilidad en los territorios.

¡GNWP felicita a los ganadores, y a todos los que participaron en el concurso! Este es un paso clave para fortalecer la alianza entre los medios de comunicación y las mujeres constructoras de paz con el fin de concientizar y promover los valores centrales de la agenda MPS. ¡Esperamos poder continuar fortaleciendo aún más esta asociación en un futuro!

Sharing stories to build inclusive peace: Georgian journalists speak out about the impacts of COVID-19 and conflict on women

November 2, 2020 by Heela Yoon and Agnieszka Fal-Dutra Santos

The COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions imposed by the government to prevent its spread have created serious socio-economic challenges for many families in Shida Kartli. However, despite the difficulties and the risk of contracting the virus, women remain on the ground, supporting each other and helping the most vulnerable.”

Nino Chibchiuri, “Women on the occupation line in pandemic conditions”(Winning article in the National Media and WPS Prize in Georgia)

Local and national journalist play a key role in implementing the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and in building societies that are equal, peaceful and grounded in human rights principles. They provide people and communities with the information necessary to hold their governments accountable. They also shape attitudes, and can either contribute to perpetuating harmful gender stereotypes, or promote women’s contributions as leaders and peacebuilders.

Thus, journalistic work comes with many responsibilities. Increasingly, it also comes with a high risk. Violent attacks on journalists – including killings, arbitrary arrests and kidnapping – have been increasingly common, reaching “unprecedented levels” in 2018. The situation further deteriorated in 2019, when Reporters Without Borders noted that “hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear.” The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the risks and challenges faced by journalists. Across the world, there has been an increase in legislation threatening to censor free speech, arrests of journalists, as well as threats and harassments. 

Against this background, the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), in partnership with the Women’s Information Center (WIC) and with support from the Austrian Development Cooperation, organized a series of online trainings for journalists in Georgia in May 2020. The workshops raised awareness of the basic concepts of gender equality, the importance of women’s meaningful participation in politics and peace negotiations, and the different needs of women and girls in times of conflict and crisis situations among media practitioners. During the workshops, the participants and experts – including women from conflict-affected areas – discussed the role of the media during the COVID-19 pandemic. They noted that while the media could play an important role in disseminating life-saving information about the pandemic and preventative measures, which is scarce outside of major cities, it often fails to do so. The participants noted that in some instances the media has contributed to spreading incorrect information, and that coverage of the impact of the pandemic on women – for example, the impacts on reproductive health and the unpaid care work – has been completely absent from the reporting.

The online trainings organized by GNWP and WIC paved the way for local journalists and peacebuilders in Georgia to share their stories and stronger recommendations for the implementation of WPS agenda. They equipped the journalist and peacebuilders with knowledge and skills necessary to produce gender- and conflict-sensitive reports on COVID-19 and on peace and security.

To complement the training and to encourage more reporting on women and peace and security including the impact of the pandemic on women’s lives including their peacebuilding efforts, GNWP and WIC launched the National Media and WPS Prize in Georgia.

As a result of the intensive training course and the Media and WPS prize, nine media projects were submitted to the competition.

On this International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, GNWP and WIC proudly recognize the three winning media materials, which highlight the key roles of women peacebuilders in the implementation of WPS agenda and in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in Georgia. 

Please see summaries of the three recognized materials below.

First Place: Nino Chibchiuri, “Women on the occupation line in pandemic conditions”

Photo: Nino Chibchiuri

Full text available at: http://radiomosaic.ge/index.php/articles/9073-2020-08-13-08-34-25?fbclid=IwAR3H73WBrxbFhO1XLbyUqhQjoH2z2je1xJ7wdWERP_aMmF3ckFxPw5GKzTU

In this engaging article, Ms. Nino Chibchiuri highlights the role of women peacebuilders during the COVID-19 pandemic. The article focuses on the lives of local women in conflict zones and the way in which the crisis has negatively affected women. For example, it shares the story of a mother of three from Tsitelubani Village near the occupation line, who has been “selling sugar and bread to be able to make a modest income due to shortage of food supplies.”

The article uses the COVID-19 pandemic to highlight a range of challenges related to gender equality in the conflict-affected region of Shida Kartli. These include: lack of physical and psychosocial support for women affected by conflict; exclusion of women from decision-making; and the negative gender stereotypes that result in women being perceived as “second-class citizens”.

However, the article emphasizes that women are not helpless victims of the pandemic and gender inequality. It provides several examples of women who have been mobilizing, distributing food packages, and supporting each other during the challenging times.

Second Place: Nana Kobalia, “‘Charirama’ – a farm in Darchel, run by a young woman”

Photo: Nana Kobalia

Video available at: https://odishinews.ge/2020/07/01/charirama-pherma-darchelshi-romelsats-akhalgazrda-qali-udzghveba/ 

This video reportage captures the story of a young woman farmer named Lela Kobalia and the struggle of her family during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The video follows young female farmers to show how they are making revenue by producing organic fruits and vegetables – a trade traditionally associated with men. The author also mentions the support of government to help local farmers enter their products into the EU market. 

Third Place: Nina Kheladze, “The role of women in peace”

Photo: Nina Kheladze

Full text available at: https://bit.ly/3lJUhxx

The article highlights the stories and struggles of peace activists involved in different peace projects in Abkhazia, one of the breakaway regions in Georgia. It illustrates the important role of the civil society in building bridges and strengthening social cohesion within the conflict-affected communities, and the important role of women in the implementation of these peace-related projects.  

The article also notes the exchange of information between the activists in Abkhazia and  their counterparts in Nagorno Karabakh, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Tbilisi. GNWP and WIC appreciate this as a good sign of potential collaboration among local women peacebuilders.  The article also draws attention to the need of local peacebuilders in the region for greater funding and technical support.