GNWP scales up Localization and pilots the Girl Ambassadors for Peace program in DRC

GNWP scales up Localization and pilots the Girl Ambassadors for Peace program in DRC

From August 20 to August 29, 2014, the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders and its Congolese members continued their implementation of the Localization program in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), through a Capacity Building and Formulation of Local Legislation workshop and a Training of Trainers. The Localization work in DRC was complemented by activities of the Girl Ambassadors for Peace program in the South Kivu province.

The Capacity Building and Formulation of Local Legislation workshop was held on August 20 and 21 in Goma, the capital city of the North Kivu province in Eastern DRC. This workshop, co-organized by GNWP and the Synergie des Femmes pour les Victimes des Violences Sexuelles (SFVS), convened local authorities such as governors, mayors, traditional, cultural and religious leaders, women leaders, civil society representatives and other local key actors. Together, these local actors examined DRC’s National Action Plan (NAP) on UNSCR 1325 and 1820 and its applicability to their local context. They harmonized the NAP with existing national and regional laws and policies on gender equality, human rights as well as commitments to end sexual violence in conflict.

Participants identifed specific provisions of the NAP that are most relevant to the social, cultural and political context of their communities; and discussed how these provisions could be integrated into local development plans. In the absence of operational local development plans, participants formulated their own contextualized interpretation of the NAP by drafting Local Action Plans. Additionally, participants expressed their personal commitments to implement the NAP in their communities.

The workshop in Goma is the fourth Capacity Building and Formulation of Local Legislation workshop in DRC. In March 2013, GNWP-ICAN and its member Cadre Permanent de Concertation de la Femme Congolaise (CAFCO) held the first two workshops in the Katanga province: one in Lubumbashi and one in Likasi. GNWP-ICAN and member organization Synergie des Associations Féminines du Congo (SAFECO) also held a Capacity Building and Formulation of Local Legislation workshop in Bukavu, South Kivu province, in November 2013.

As a follow-up to the workshops in Katanga and South Kivu, comprehensive Localization guidelines in integrating the NAP into local development plans have been developed to be used by local officials throughout the country. These Localization guidelines were field tested in conjunction with the Training of Trainers (ToT) held on August 27-29 in Kinshasa. The objective of the Training is to train a pool of experts on UNSCR 1325 and 1820 that can ensure the sustainability of the Localization program.

The Capacity Building and Formulation of Local Legislation workshop and the Localization guidelines constitute the 2 components of the Localization program, a bottom-up approach to the implementation of the WPS resolutions, with local authorities and communities taking ownership of the implementation of the resolutions; and with strong political support from the national ministries particularly the Ministry of Gender and the Ministry of Interior. The Capacity Building and Formulation of Local Legislation workshops have already been implemented by GNWP-ICAN and its member organizations in a number of countries, namely, Burundi, Colombia, DRC, Liberia, the Philippines, Nepal, Sierra Leone and Uganda. A Training of Trainers was held in Nepal and Colombia, and DRC, Nepal, Burundi and Sierra Leone have now developed Guidelines for the integration of WPS resolutions in local development planning.

In conjunction with the Localization program in DRC, GNWP and SAFECO held a training for young women and girls as part of their joint Girl Ambassadors for Peace program. On August 24 and 25, a group of twelve young educated women and girls from South Kivu and North Kivu were trained on basic literacy instruction, leadership, gender, peacebuilding, UNSCR 1325 & 1820 and the use of popular theater to raise awareness of Women and Peace and Security (WPS) issues. Collectively called the Girl Ambassadors for Peace, these young women and girls then travelled to the rural community of Mumosho on August 26 to teach literacy, leadership and peacebuilding and raise awareness of UNSCR 1325 and 1820 among young women and girls who do not yet know how to read nor write. This program aims to increase literacy rates, develop the leadership capacities of women and girls and contribute to peacebuilding efforts in local communities. It highlights the links between women and girls’ literacy and leadership, human rights, sustainable development, and peace. The Girl Ambassadors for Peace is one of the offshoots of the Women’s Peace Dialogue that GNWP and its Congolese members organized in 2013.

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GNWP-ICAN and its members and partners in DRC thank the United Kingdom Foreign Commonwealth Office, NORAD, Cordaid and ICCO for their support to the various programs that GNWP and its members are implementing in DRC. 

By Eléonore Veillet Chowdhury