Conflict generates practical and emotional divisions within and between societies. It creates environments where there are extremely limited opportunities to meet with the ‘other side’, and where negative stereotypes and enemy images thrive. In the absence of communication and exchange, adversarial narratives about the root causes of conflict are allowed to flourish.
We connect divided groups who would not normally meet – providing a safe space for them to air their views and communicate with each other. This could be young people, community leaders or politicians. It could be people in power, or without it. Such meetings help them to understand each other’s grievances, so they can deal with the past and move forwards. When well crafted, over time dialogue builds trust and relationships, breaks down barriers and helps dispel negative perceptions of the other side.
The WDS has given us the chance to unite women from all walks of life and across social and political divides. This has given us the resolve to unite and fight for change.