Our Work | Women
Women – Peace, Development and Security
2015 marked the 20th anniversary of the UN’s Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action which focused on women’s empowerment, and 15 years since the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1325 on women peace and security. In 2015, after a long journey, 193 countries agreed to a set of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), replacing the UN Millennium Development Goals. The role and significance of women features strongly in these fresh SDGs. Continentally we are at the midpoint of the African Women’s Decade and just over a decade has passed since the AU adopted a Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa, which for the first time placed ownership of gender mainstreaming at the highest level, calling for the implementation of gender parity in the AU and at national level, the ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, and the protection of women against violence and discrimination.
Over the last few decades it has become apparent that supporting women’s capacities to actually participate in peace processes is a crucial part of their advancement and ability to contribute to peace, development and security. The efforts of civil society and policymakers are visible and every year sees another incremental step forward. ACCORD is honoured to be contributing to these efforts through dialogue forums, training women as mediators, generating knowledge for practice, and supporting efforts to use mainstreaming as a tool to bring gender into the equation within peacekeeping and peace and security frameworks in Africa.
The Gender Dimension in ACCORD’s work
Over the past twenty years since its founding, ACCORD has gained experience and expertise across the conflict management spectrum, including a dedicated focus on gender and its nexus with peace and conflict. ACCORD’s cumulative experience has contributed towards building the capacity of African women leaders through training, facilitation and research. ACCORD has partnered with a number of national, regional, continental and international gender networks and organisations working in the field of women, peace and security. These include the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (UN Women), African Union (AU), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and civil society organisations such as Femmes Afrique Solidarite (FAS).
ACCORD is involved in on-going efforts to highlight the role of gender in peace and security. For example, ACCORD’s Peacemaking Unit, in collaboration with UNICEF, supports women peacemakers from South Sudan in their various roles and stages of the peace process. The Knowledge Production Department is, among others, engaged in long-term research on gender and peace processes in Africa. The Department explores various calls for mainstreaming gender, and solutions directed at increasing the number of women in leadership positions. Reflective assessments of initiatives on gender have included a High Level Seminar to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the UNSCR 1325 in 2010, leading to the Durban Statement on UNSCR 1325. ACCORD is involved with gender mainstreaming on the continent and in recognition of its work received the Tombouctou Award in 2006 for work in gender mainstreaming in Africa.
Cumulatively, ACCORD in its twenty four years of existence, has become a strong advocate of the gender dimension in peace and security programmes. Within existing programmes of the two major departments at ACCORD, namely the Interventions Department (ID) and Knowledge Production Department (KPD), gender is a cross –cutting theme and variable.
Current experiences with gender in ACCORD’s programming include:
- The Interventions Department at ACCORD (comprising Peacebuilding, Peacemaking, Peacebuilding and Training Units) engages participants using strategic “gender lens” not only ensuring that women are involved at all levels, but also guaranteeing that programme interventions considers the differential impact on men and women;
- ACCORD consistently advocates the operationalisation of specific gender instruments including the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000), the AU Women’s Committee on Peace and Development’s Durban Declaration on Gender Mainstreaming and the Effective Participation of Women in the African Union (2002) and the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development (2008), among others;
- Madam Graça Machel (Chair of ACCORD’s Board of Trustees since December 2008), is a strong advocate for the prominence of gender equality on the agenda of ACCORD’s programming. As a result, all interventions at ACCORD are subjected to scrutiny from a gendered perspective by a Gender Cluster within ACCORD, which comprises representative of all units and departments;
- ACCORD’s Knowledge production Department is consistently engaging in academic and policy research focusing on gender specifically or integrating gender in its analyses. Recent publications by KPD include collaboration with HRSC Press on an edited volume, published in early 2016, on “Deconstructing Women, Peace and Security: A Critical Review of Approaches to Gender and Empowerment”; a Policy and Practice Brief, published in May 2016, on “Protecting the rights of women through community-focused approaches to strengthening gender in African peace support operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic”; a piece in the May 2016 edition of ACCORD’s quarterly magazine, Conflict Trends, focused on the “Prevention of and Response to Conflict-related Sexual Violence, Exploitation and Abuse by Peacekeepers in the Great Lakes Region of Africa”; and a piece in the December 2015 edition of Conflict Trends on “Conflict, Peace and Patriarchy: Female Combatants in Africa and Elsewhere”.
Various publications relating to gender mainstreaming, women, peace and conflict issues have been produced by ACCORD and are available on request.
Chronology of ACCORD’s engagement in women, peace & conflict initiatives
ACCORD initiated a successful intervention in Somalia, with a group of Somali women who were trained in basic and advanced conflict management, including a Training-of-Trainers’ course, and study tour of South Africa.
In 1996 ACCORD worked extensively with women in the Sudan in a three-phase project of conflict management training for Sudanese women conducted by UNIFEM, Ahfad University and ACCORD. Additionally, ACCORD was also involved in a UNIFEM sponsored training project with women from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti. The women have become fully-fledged conflict resolution trainers in their own countries, for building capacity and African empowerment in the field of conflict resolution.
ACCORD organised a South African study tour for Burundian and Rwandese Women Parliamentarians in July 1998. The women were trained in Conflict Prevention and Multi-track Diplomacy. The women were leaders involved in the peace process in Burundi. The study tour prepared the women as facilitators to intervene in the on-going conflict in Burundi, and how to mainstream their political potentials in the government of Burundi. Evaluation revealed that the training assisted participants to work and cooperate with each other despite the raging conflict experienced in their country. In addition, seeing a different environment other than war and the understanding of reconciliation after apartheid widened their experience on post-conflict reconstruction.
The Training Unit (TU) at ACCORD trained the National Leadership of Women and Sport in South Africa (WASSA), an initiative of the office of the Minister of Sport and Recreation. ACCORD received the brief to train all the Provincial leadership of WASSA.
A partnership between the Royal Dutch Embassies in Khartoum and Nairobi, with ACCORD, conducted a three phase conflict management training for women. It involved government, NGO and Southern participation, and women from Khartoum and surrounds, in an initiative to facilitate the participation of Sudanese Women in the engendering of the peace process in the Sudan. The initiative constituted of nine Sudanese Women Working Committees from the North and South of Sudan.In addition, in 1999 ACCORD conducted a series of training in Conflict Management, Negotiation, Mediation, Facilitation, Collaborative Decision-Making, Preventive Diplomacy, Lobbying and Advocacy for members of the Sudanese Women Working Committees. The first phase of the training took place in Kenya and Egypt in March and July 1999 respectively. In 2000 the second phase of the training brought together 37 leading Sudanese women into South Africa for a Study Tour of Parliament in February 2000 with NGOs in Durban and Cape Town.
In 2000 ACCORD was selected to provide three skilled Facilitators by the Netherlands Embassy for the International Conference in Maastricht to facilitate the participation of Sudanese Women in the Peace Process. Part of the functions of the ACCORD Facilitators at the Conference were to facilitate working group sessions as determined by the organisers of the Conference; to assist the planning committee as determined by the organising committee, and in so doing meeting the objectives for the Conference; and to generally bring ACCORD’s experiences of conflict management in similar circumstances to bear on the Conference.
The Women Waging Peace Initiative is a global initiative of the Women and Public Policy Program of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. The vision is to involve women in conflict situations all over the world for networking, coalition building and exchange programmes with women regionally, continentally and intercontinentally. ACCORD is the Local Partner for South Africa. This initiative is part of the Women’s programme at ACCORD, and an opportunity for ACCORD to network with South African women and other African women in conflict situations in the continent. ACCORD participated in the 2nd Annual Colloquium of Women Waging Peace held in Boston Massachusetts in November 2000.
On behalf of the Women Waging Peace South African delegation to the Initiative, ACCORD hosted the first Local Delegation meeting of Women Waging Peace, South Africa, in Durban in February 2001. This was the first Local Delegation Meeting of Women Waging Peace in Africa since the inception of the Initiative.
ACCORD in partnership with TULANE University’s Payson Center for International Development and Technology Transfer, in collaboration with USAID’s Africa Bureau Conflict, Mitigation and Recovery Division, held a Symposium entitled: “Preventing and Coping With HIV/AIDS In Post Conflict Situations in sub Saharan Africa: Gender Based Lessons” in March 2001 in Durban, South Africa.
ACCORD participated in the first Regional Meeting of Women Waging Peace Core Members from Africa. The meeting convened in Kigali, Rwanda in May 2001 and was followed by the conference ‘Women as Partners for Peace’ designed as a training of trainers with the participation of women from South Africa, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, Kenya, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda, Congo and Zimbabwe. There is on-going research on the role of women in peacemaking and peacebuilding beyond the continent of Africa. The Waging Network is an opportunity to network with women from various continents in conflict situations, share strategies and have access to policy makers and shapers in governance.
In March 2002, ACCORD presented the Basic Course in Conflict Management at the request of Congolese women who were participating in the Inter-Congolese Dialogue in Sun City, South Africa. The participants were women from the academic community, civil society, corporate sector as well as the public service in the DRC. This training had several outcomes. Subsequent to the training, women were then recognised as advisers during the Inter-Congolese negotiations, women were recognised as Advisors and not as delegates to the Dialogue. The training prepared the women to work as a structure for the realisation of peace in the DRC, so that they can maintain contact and have a common voice and platform for the recognition of their issues as women in violent conflict. The women were energised and prepared to meet this challenge, as the training created the forum for the women to attend to their differences and commonalties experienced and shared as women.
A consultation took place at ACCORD House in Durban in June 2002, and was organised by Femmes Afrique Solidarité (FAS) and the African Women Committee on Peace and Development (AWCPD) and was facilitated by ACCORD. The consultation looking at Gender Mainstreaming and women’s participation within the AU and the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), aimed at ensuring women’s issues are considered in the policies, programmes and structures of the AU. ACCORD coordinated the drafting of the AU’s Durban Declaration on Mainstreaming Gender and Women’s Effective Participation in the African Union, during the historical inauguration of the AU. The Durban Declaration was developed by many of the most powerful and dynamic women’s organisations in Africa. The declaration provides certain recommendations and calls on the AU, including the development Programmes NEPAD and the CSSDCA to ensure that women’s issues and voices are included in AU policies and structures. One of the achievements of the Declaration included the assured 50% participation of women in the AU Commissions, and saw the appointment of Madame Getrude Mongella as the first Female President of the Pan African Parliament.
The Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) invited ACCORD to conduct a three days training in Advanced Negotiations and Mediation for Ministers in Charge of Women Affairs in IGAD Member States. The training formed part of the programme for the 2nd Regular Meeting of the Ministers in Charge of Gender Affairs in IGAD Member States. The training was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in July 2002. Sixty women and men attended the training from seven IGAD countries: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda. Participants included Ministers, members of parliament, government officials, IGAD desk officers, UN agencies, the OAU, and representatives of local and international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). The methodology of the course was highly interactive and explored learning in plenary sessions, through simulations, role-plays, group discussions and practical exercises to assist participants understand salient skills in negotiation and mediation.
The Training Unit conducted a five days Conflict Management and Mediation training for Burundian women to facilitate their participation in the on-going peace process in Burundi. The training was done in collaboration with the Association of Women’s NGOs, i.e. Collectif des Association et ONGs Feminines du Burundi (CAFOB) Burundi.
ACCORD facilitated sessions during the launch of the South African Women in Dialogue (SAWID) Forums on Conflict Management and Negotiation Training with women from the DRC during their exchange visit to the spousal office of Mrs. Mbeki. The women approached the South African ‘Spousal Office’ in 2002, seeking out a forum to share the road-to-peace experiences with their South African counterparts. The forum took place over a period of two days with resounding success, and Mrs. Mbeki has thus decided to hold annual forums in South Africa.
The Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) invited ACCORD to conduct a five-day Training-of-Trainers Course for ministerial/parliamentary-level women in peacemaking and negotiation in the Intergovernmental Authority For Development (IGAD) region held in Asmara Eritrea. This training was a follow up to the training of Ministers in charge of Gender Affairs in IGAD Member States in Advanced Negotiation and Mediation held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in July 2002. The training raised the profile of ACCORD in the Horn of Africa, especially with the training held in Eritrea as a symbol to foster peace and stability in the region following the peace agreement signed between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
ACCORD contributed to the recent adoption of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa by African Union Heads of State and Government. This recent development is indicative of the AU’s commitment to the advancement of gender equality and the recognition of the role that women play in conflict resolution.
The ACCORD Burundi Programme hosted a three-day conflict mediation workshop for Women Leaders in Burundi. Participants included the Office of the President, Vice President, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, President of the Constitutional Court, Members of Parliament, leaders in civil society and the corporate sector. The workshop was hosted by the ACCORD Burundi programme. The training enabled the women to share their anxieties in preparation for the forthcoming elections that were scheduled for October 2004. The women were willing to work together as partners and participants in the peace processes and conflict management initiatives. The women’s capacity as a pressure group was strengthen and ultimately they were able to lobby Parliament to set up structures that would facilitate the conduct of credible post-conflict elections. This included the establishment of the electoral and constitutional commissions, electoral code of conduct, voters’ register, electoral systems and the operationalisation of other electoral reform policies.
ACCORD’s Deputy Director facilitated training sessions in the Role of Women in Conflict Transformation in Africa.
ACCORD, since 2005, has served on the Gender Task Force of the AU’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). The Gender Task force spearheads the gender mainstreaming of the institutional processes of NEPAD policies to ensure systematic and strategic gender response to the region’s socio-economic challenges.
In June 2006 ACCORD was awarded the Tombouctou Award by the UN-affiliated, Senegal-based organisation Femmes Afrique Solidarite (FAS) for its contributions towards women’s rights and empowerment in the field of conflict resolution.
The African Civil Military Coordination (ACMC) Programme at ACCORD, in partnership with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), conducted a Civil Military Coordination (CIMIC) Course exclusively for female military, police, and civilian personnel who were serving or intending to serve in African peace operations. The CIMIC Course for Female Peacekeepers (CCFP), which was held in December 2006, was a response to the fact that there exists a tendency for Troop Contributing Countries to under-nominate female peacekeepers for training courses.
A strategy workshop hosted by the Government of South Africa and organised by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in partnership with the Commonwealth Secretariat and ACCORD, took place in Pretoria, South Africa. The objective of the meeting was to initiate discussion between national women’s machineries and representatives of defence and interior ministries in Troop and Police Contributing Countries (TCC/PCCs), with a view to developing strategies to support gender-sensitive approaches to peacekeeping, in accordance with national obligations to implement Security Council Resolution (SCR) 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security.
In June 2007, ACCORD became the focal point on Peace and Security for the 10th AU Consultative Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The consultative meeting sought to follow-up on the implementation of the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA).
In November 2007, ACCORD hosted an exchange programme and study tour which was titled, ‘Women in Dialogue for Peace in Africa’ which comprised representatives from civil society and government from five African countries which are in various stages of conflict transformation. The countries were Sudan, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, Burundi and South Africa. The Study Tour was building on the capacity of women in preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peacebuilding. At the end of the Study Tour, participants were able to develop practical approaches on the role of African women in responding to conflict.
In October 2010, ACCORD collaborated with the then United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), in hosting a training in Conflict Management and Negotiation for women from Darfur as a strategy to prepare women to address conflict challenges during the Doha peace process.
In 2010, ACCORD, in collaboration with the African Union Peace and Security Commission hosted a High Level Seminar which was entitled “Resolution 1325 in 2020: Looking Forward…Looking Back,” in Durban, South Africa. Through the seminar, ACCORD reaffirmed the value of UN resolution 1325 as a tool for galvanising the participation of women in peace processes and enabling the protection of women and girls from sexual violence in conflict. One of the outcomes of the Seminar was the Durban Statement, which comprises a series of strategic and operational recommendations directed a policy makers. The Durban Statement was presented at the African Union launch of the Decade for African Women in Kenya during the second week of October 2010 and further presented to Michelle Bachelet, the Under-Secretary-General for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) in New York during the UN’s Global Open Day on Women, Peace and Security.
ACCORD participated in the Gender is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC). The GIMAC meeting was convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The recommendations from this meeting were put forward at the 16th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and other stakeholders for consideration and adoption. In addition, a session on the situation in Cote d’Ivoire, as part of its Mano River Region focus, was facilitated.
ACCORD also participated in the African Gender Forum and Award selection committee meeting organised by Femmes Africa Solidarité, where Liberia was chosen to receive the Award in 2011. ACCORD attended the Planning Meeting on 2011 Priorities on Women Peace and Security and the 2nd AU Peace and Security Council’s (PSC) Open Session on Women, Children and Conflict. The event sought to prepare for the open session on women, peace and security that was hosted by the AU’s PSC. These initiatives were relevant for streamlining gender and ensuring that strategic gender issues are included in the organisation’s activities in its focus countries of Burundi, Liberia, Sudan, and the DRC.
In July 2011, ACCORD hosted a conference on Women Mediators in Africa, which brought together a network of mediators to share their ideas and jointly reflect on the opportunities and challenges of mediating in a male-centred environment.
In celebrating Women’s month in South Africa, ACCORD undertook a mediation training for the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa (PWMSA). The training served to build the skills of South African women to mediate in local disputes. ACCORD and the PWMSA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the common purpose of contributing towards durable peace and sustainable development in South Africa through supporting the development and training of women mediators.
From October 2011 – March 2012, ACCORD was further engaged in another process of highlighting the gender agenda in peace and security processes. ACCORD was commissioned by the Government of South Sudan, through the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare (MoGCSW) to assess the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 in South Sudan with a view to informing policy and practice. During the 6 month study, ACCORD Researchers assessed the most strategic ways to integrate issues of women, peace and security into South Sudan’s post-conflict reconstruction initiative. One of the outcomes of the study was a roadmap that is set to guide South Sudan’s development of a National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325.
Based on the MoU ACCORD has with International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), ACCORD participated in the Regional Experts’ meeting leading to the Summit Special Session on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV). The outcome of the meeting, a series of recommendations to the region’s ministers of gender, was channelled directly into a recommendation document to Heads of State for the Special Session on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) which took place in December 2011 in Uganda.
The training took place from 27-29 March 2012 in Middleburg, South Africa, and brought together 18 PWMSA members from the Mpumalanga Province. In addition to being PWMSA members, participants represented the private sector, non-governmental organisations, political parties and unions. The training consisted of an introduction to the methodology of, approaches to, and processes of mediation and used training tools such as case studies, role-play exercises, issue mapping, and discussion groups towards creating an interactive learning environment.
ACCORD hosted a High Level Conference on Women in Mediation, in Johannesburg, South Africa in May 2012 to articulate and advance the importance of the role of African women mediators at all levels. The seminar targeted practitioners, academics, policy makers in peace and security as well as political leaders and identified opportunities that can be used to encourage women participation at different levels of peace processes. The outcome of this seminar was a set of strategic recommendations targeted at the UN, AU, RECs, Member States, Civil society, academic and research institutes.
ACCORD was represented at the Stakeholders’ Roundtable on Gender and Development organised by the regional organisation, Southern African Development Community (SADC). The Roundtable was held in May 2012 and it engaged key stakeholders on advancing the SADC gender agenda, especially the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development (2008) and the SADC Plan of Action on Gender and Development (2005-2010). The participation of ACCORD in this crucial meeting provided testament to the institution’s increasing influence in the policy-making processes of the region and continent. The SADC Roundtable provided the opportunity for ACCORD to continue contributing to regional initiatives towards engendering equity and parity in peace and development processes.
The African Women Mediators Seminar which was convened by ACCORD’s Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, Madame Graça Machel, was targeted at high level practitioners, policy-makers, academics and political leaders to deliberate on possible responses to challenges of inclusion of women as mediators in peace processes. A key output from the seminar was the Statement of Action, identifying ways of accelerating the participation of African women as mediators and participants in peace processes.
From 5-7 June 7 2012, ACCORD was represented at the International Learning Exchange on Gender and Conflict Analysis which was held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. ACCORD, a long time partner and member of GPPAC was one of the fifteen organisations from Asia and Africa represented at this meeting. The Learning Exchange provided the opportunity for participants to discuss the importance of gender-sensitive approaches to peacebuilding and preventive action practice. Additionally, this initiative facilitated ACCORD’s contribution to global conversations on gender and conflict transformation, and confirmed the institution’s concerted efforts towards promoting the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. One of the outcomes of the Learning Exchange was the development of regional plans of action for GPPAC Asia and Africa members. ACCORD, being the leader of GPPAC Southern Africa region, took the lead in developing a regional action plan focusing on continuing conversations on gender-sensitive conflict analysis between members of GPPC Southern Africa through a conference and networking. ACCORD, through its two major departments, is poised to lead the process of mobilising the GPPAC Southern African members to operationalise this regional plan.
In collaboration with the United Nations Entity on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Islands), ACCORD convened a Training Seminar for Women Mediators from Southern Africa from 20-21 November 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Seminar brought together women in government, civil society, business, academia and regional organisations who have been engaged in mediation activities or mediation support, as well as women who were potentially likely be commissioned to play mediation or facilitator roles in peace processes.
ACCORD, following its relationship with AMSIOM in supporting its civilian sections, established linkages with the Gender Office. ACCORD provided feedback to the Gender Officer on the AMISOM Gender Action Plan (GAP) towards assisting in the implementation for the mainstreaming of gender perspectives in the mission’s mandate. To this end, ACCORD engaged in initiatives that support the AMISOM Gender Office’s efforts towards increasing knowledge and awareness of Somali government officials and civil society on UN Resolution 1325.
In 2013 ACCORD, in consultation with UN Women and other partners, identified key individuals that would become members of a Southern African Women Mediators Database. At December 2013, the database holds 105 names within the tool and is used to identify potential participants for initiatives seeking to increase the participation of women in mediation in order to enhance the effectiveness of peacemaking and preventive diplomacy.
In 2013 a workshop was held for the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) personnel on gender issues as they relate to UNSCR 1325.
African Women and Peace Building with a focus on Zimbabwe, DRC and Somalia
Training for South Sudanese female parliamentarians.
Workshop on the Role of Women in Reconciliation and Governance.
Launch and Implementation workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The training was organised with the objective of building the capacity of women participants (22 in number) selected from government representatives, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and civil society organisations by enhancing skills and knowledge on mediation and negotiation and also to reflect on and mark the 15th anniversary of the UN Resolution 1325.
Article in the May 2015 edition of Conflict Trends, looking at one of the primary objectives of the TfP Programme – supporting and contributing to gender mainstreaming in Africa’s peace operations. This objective specifically aims to support the development of policies targeted at implementing UNSCR 1325, UNSCR 1820 and other normative developments relevant to cross-cutting issues involving women in peace and security, and strengthen the recruitment and training of female peacekeeping personnel (and trainers) for peace operations, in line with UNSCR 1325. This article focuses on how TfP has contributed to the efforts of gender mainstreaming in Africa’s peace operations in conflict and post-conflict situations. It also highlights the opportunities for TfP to further strengthen gender mainstreaming in Africa’s peace operations.
Gender mainstreaming in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is key to the successful implementation of the mission mandate and in contributing to sustainable peace processes in Somalia ahead of its 2016 elections. Recognising this, the Training for Peace in Africa Programme at ACCORD (ACCORD/TfP) collaborated with AMISOM to organise a workshop aimed at validating their Gender Mainstreaming Strategy, which was held from 7-9 July 2015. To further develop the recommendations made during this validation workshop, a follow-up workshop was also jointly organised by ACCORD/TfP and AMISOM one month later in Mogadishu, Somalia. The workshop was also supported by the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI).
In 2013 and 2014, the ACCORD Great Lakes Project (GLP) has held different trainings and consultations in collaboration with the International Conference on The Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) secretariat. The purpose of trainings was to build capacities of women in peacebuilding skills. The consultations were intended to seek for avenues where GLP can collaborate with ICGLR in order to assist the institution in achieving its objectives as per the Memorandum of Understanding between ICGLR and ACCORD that was signed in 2011. Mainly the consultations sought at having a Gender Unit with the Secretariat and this was made effective since 2014. The Gender Roundtable that was held on 22 and 23 September 2015 in Kigali, Rwanda was attended by ICGLR secretariat staff from the Gender, Women and Children Program, ICGLR Regional Women bureau and representatives of women organisations from the ICGLR twelve member States.
As part of the third phase of the project, ACCORD/TfP in collaboration with UN Field Personnel Division of the Department of Field Service and the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU), organised an outreach meeting with the Civil Society organisations (CSOs) based in Addis Ababa with the aim of strengthening the understanding of the UN Senior Women Talent Pipeline Project (SWTP) in Africa. The meeting held on 31 July 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was attended by 24 individuals from national and international CSOs in Addis Ababa working on gender, women, access to justice, elections, political matters, development and rule of law.
To further strengthen TfP members’ capacity to support gender mainstreaming in its processes as it continues to build capacities for peace operations in Africa. More and more, peacekeeping operations are being tasked to protect civilian populations affected and traumatised by armed conflict, in particular women and children. This is an expectation of UNSCR 1325 and UNSCR 1820 that puts an emphasis on the prevention of sexual violence, sexual exploitation and abuses in the mission environment as well as strengthening women’s agency in decision making on peace and security processes. Among the objectives of the TfP Programme is supporting the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and UNSCR 1820 in Africa by ensuring that gender is mainstreamed in all training activities, all policy and research initiatives it undertakes.
Women, men, girls and boys experience different forms of harm and respond differently in situations of armed conflict. ACCORD provides a platform for learning how to respond to these different needs, interests and approaches to ensure that peace processes are inclusive and sustainable. To this end, on 24-25 October 2015, ACCORD/TfP attended the orientation workshop and launch of the Board of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Women and Peace Forum (IWPF), in Djibouti, Republic of Djibouti. The objective of the launch of the IWPF Board held was to further strengthen women’s stewardship of the gender agenda in the context of peacebuilding and conflict resolution in the East and the Horn of Africa as well as to appraise relevant stakeholders on the gender, peace and security challenges in the IGAD Region.
a piece in the December 2015 edition of Conflict Trends. Despite literature on women’s participation in war, their role remains undervalued. This article makes the case that female combatants need much more attention than they currently receive. It further argues that their engagement with violence brings for them a unique mixed experience of empowerment and exploitation. It contends that there is a need to challenge the asymmetrical discourse on conflict and peace, by positioning gender at the centre and factoring voices from the margins to revolutionise the prevalent discourse.
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 aim of the Symposium was to build the capacity of stakeholders and link gender in peace and security with existing mandates of Ministries responsible for Gender/Women’s Affairs, Police and Defence in Member States. The Symposium was opportune as it was preceded by the Security Council High level Review of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR1325) which took place in New York on the 14th October 2015. The High level review assessed the progress made at the global, regional and country levels in implementing the resolution.
Organised by the Gender is my Agenda Campaign (GIMAC), and the 8th AU Gender Ministers Pre-Summit on the 2016 African Year of Human Rights, with particular focus on the Rights of Women. To contribute towards the agenda of the AU Summit and influence the decision making process of member states, women’s rights and gender equality advocates have for a number of years held meetings prior to each summit. The meetings seek to ensure issues of women’s rights and gender equality are prioritised. The Janaury 2016 GIMAC pre-summit consultative meeting was organised with the theme of ‘Looking towards 2020: Securing Women’s rights through Gender Equality and Silencing the Guns in Africa’, and was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Theme is in line with the African Union’s declaration of 2016 as the “African Year of Human Rights with Particular Focus on the Rights of Women”. The consultative meeting, which brought together civil society organizations (CSOs), African women in Diaspora and representatives of the AU, Regional Communities (RECs/RMs) and other international organisations, was followed by the Gender Ministers pre-summit held on 19-20 January 2016.
To strengthen this initiative in Africa, the Field Personnel Division of the Department of Field Support within the UN Secretariat, in collaboration with ACCORD, organised meetings in South Africa following a successful meeting held with Civil Society organisations (CSOs) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2015. The meetings in South Africa took place from 26-28 January 2016 in Pretoria and Durban bringing together CSOs, government organs, think tanks, private sector and universities to engage them in strengthening their understanding on women’s roles in peace operations. It also sought to provide an update on the UN SWTP project, identify opportunities for partnerships on the initiative and discuss strategies to improve the gender balance in peace operations.
This edited volume, published by HSRC Press and co-edited by Martha Mutisi, former Senior Researcher in the Knowledge Production Department at ACCORD, offers a critical review and analysis of a number of gender and empowerment focused policies and approaches implemented since 2000, and examines lessons learned from Burundi, Liberia, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda.
This Policy & Practice Brief (PPB) advances recommendations to the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and other UN agencies working in peacekeeping environments. These recommendations aim to share ideas on how best to address implementation challenges around UNSCR 1325 at community level, and in ultimately responding to the needs of vulnerable groups, particularly women and girls, in the context of peacekeeping operations by involving them in responding to highlighted challenges.
This article, in the May 2016 edition of Conflict Trends, draws from the experiences of Central Africa Republic (CAR) and discusses the lessons learned regarding sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) as a result of conflict in the country. Even with all the measures put in place in the region and in CAR, recent and fresh allegations against peacekeepers continually surface.
Experiences have shown that South Sudanese women have played instrumental roles in resolving past conflicts and their activities in peace building, particularly in regards to healing and reconciliation, and bridging conflict related divides are well known. In light of this, ACCORD through the African Peacebuilding Coordination Programme (APCP) had the pleasure of engaging in a capacity building workshop in partnership with IGAD Secretariat from the 20th to 22nd June 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The workshop paid specific attention towards enhancing the capacity of South Sudanese women in peace building and reconciliation.
ACCORD attended the 2016 Dialogue Forum, hosted by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, themed as “Women in Conflict Resolution and Peace Building.” The Dialogue Forum consisted of three Discussion Panels related to Nordic, African and South African experiences in peace-building, followed by a graduation ceremony of the Women’s Capacity Building Training Programme on Conflict Resolution, Negotiation and Mediation. Sixty women have undergone this training which coincides with the 60th anniversary of the Women’s March to the Union Buildings in 1956.