Three-day workshop aims to strengthen female leaders’ involvement within local conflict management efforts.
The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), in partnership with The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), organised a three-day workshop on 3-5 December 2015, in Bangui, in the Central African Republic (CAR).
This initiative aimed to increase the potential of women in the Central African Republic to handle conflicts through negotiation, mediation and conflict management in anticipation of the general elections that are scheduled on 27 December 2015. Central African women leaders seek greater participation in mediation and negotiation both at regional, national and community level and this event provided a platform for reflection and capacity building towards that goal.
The participants discussed the role of women in the next general elections in terms of preventing electoral conflict and using this opportunity to consolidate the peace process in CAR. They also reflected on the current transition, supporting community mediation and developing strategies of intervention to ensure security during the election. The workshop was also a place for sharing experiences and two women leaders from Burundi and Cote d’Ivoire shared best practices and lessons learned with regards to election processes, women leadership, and sexual and gender-based violence during elections in their respective countries.
They suggested that all political actors and parties sign a code of electoral conduct in order to hold free and fair elections. They commended ECCAS and ACCORD’s support in training and implementing a platform of women mediators at the regional and local level. ACCORD, through its engagement on peaceful conflict resolution, vowed to enhance the capacity of women in conflict prevention, negotiation, nonviolence, and tolerance.
The women leaders recommended tangible actions: the establishment of an alliance of women and youth to resolve electoral conflicts and ensure peaceful elections; the translation into the local language of basic texts such as the constitution, electoral code, and resolution 1325, with the aim of educating young women about their rights and obligations during the elections.
They called upon their national leaders to promote dialogue, the reconciliation process and to increase women’s representation in the sphere of decision making.
The workshop closed with a single call: “a refusal to enter into another conflict after the elections”.