In the borderlands of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan, traditional governance systems and customs have made it hard for women to secure a meaningful role in building peace. In these regions, instances of conflict threaten people’s lives and the Lord’s Resistance Army is still active. Conciliation Resources is working to increase women’s participation in local, national and cross-border peacebuilding efforts in these areas.
Women often actively participate at community level in dealing with security and reconciliation. However, practical challenges and resistance arising from traditional male-dominated structures has restricted women’s full participation in the decision-making processes that impact on security, reconciliation and peacebuilding.
Without women having a more significant role in peacebuilding efforts, the needs of women and the specific threats they face in relation to the LRA conflict, will continue to go unheard.
We are working with women civil society leaders from the three countries who are already actively involved in peacebuilding and security. The women, who are drawn from our partner organisations, gain skills, advice, ideas and networks through training to increase their own and their organisation’s influence and voice.
Susan Thomas Perembata, a civil society activist in South Sudan says:
I believe the project will go a long way in helping us to increase our effective engagement in issues of peace, security and advocacy for women’s rights in respective areas.
The initiative focuses specifically on women’s participation in key peace and security initiatives in the border areas of East and Central Africa. Selected women peacebuilders are brought together with other members of civil society as well as representatives of the international community, to share their analysis. Their knowledge and experiences will also be documented in a special women-led edition of the Voice of Peace newsletter and a radio programme.
This project, funded by the Folke Bernadotte Academy, is part of Conciliation Resources ongoing work to support women peacebuilders in East and Central Africa. Past work includes supporting women leaders and women’s organisations, to assist the return and reintegration of returnees from the Lord’s Resistance Army in their respective communities.