Women peacebuilders at ISG

#InvestinWomen within peacebuilding networks

Peacebuilding networks unite diverse people around a shared vision, working together to build peace and resolve conflicts. One of the key principles of these networks is inclusivity, which means making sure that everyone is involved in peacebuilding priority-setting, decision-making and related operations. In particular, this entails guaranteeing the meaningful inclusion of women, along with their unique experiences and expertise, in all aspects of the networks' activities. Through their voices, we see the transformative power of feminist values in action, such as sharing power and commitment to nonviolence!

When women actively engage in these efforts, they enhance the networks' expertise and knowledge through their lived experiences. By empowering the voices of diverse women and weaving together different perspectives and experiences, networks break the silos between the world's most pressing peace and security, humanitarian and development challenges. This proactive approach leads to lasting solutions that address the root causes of conflict, laying the foundations for sustainable peace.

Sharon Bhagwan Rolls: "Networks bring feminist values into peacebuilding work and put them into practice."

"GPPAC has been a space of learning, solidarity, affirmation and “aha moments" because it affirms we can bring feminist values into peacebuilding and put them into practice. I celebrate how the GPPAC Pacific network has contributed to establishing the Shifting the Power Coalition and the Pacific Island Feminist Alliance for Climate Justice. With feminist allies such as Noelene Nabulivou of DIVA for Equality in the technical working group of the Pacific Women Mediators Network, we are working together to progress Climate Security through the Climate Justice agenda, which includes collectively amplifying what feminist accountability means when we talk about financing and also demonstrating how feminist funding models work for us."

  • Sharon Bhagwan Rolls is the Pacific Regional Representative of GPPAC and Programme Manager of the Pacific Women Mediators Network. She also serves as the GPPAC ISG Gender Liaison.

Tajyka Shabdanova: ''GPPAC colleagues from the Middle East inspired us.''

"Years ago, we chatted with GPPAC colleagues on how to enhance peacebuilding strategies focusing on youth engagement to encourage young Kyrgyz boys and girls to be more proactive and own the process. We adopted a brilliant approach called Participatory Video inspired by GPPAC colleagues from the Middle East. Seven years later, I am so proud to see the long-term social and financial value added to this learning and exchange with GPPAC. We witnessed the transformative growth of young girls challenging social norms related to domestic violence and gender discrimination, facilitating dialogue with high-level decision-makers, and not being afraid to stand up against powerful business owners to prevent conflicts. "

  • Tajyka Shabdanova leads the Foundation for Tolerance International (FTI), Kyrgyzstan, GPPAC's Regional Secretariat for Central Asia.

Marion Akiteng: "Investing in women is not just an investment in one individual—it's an investment in the collective power of women to shape a brighter future for us all."

"Gender Focal Points within the GPPAC network advocate and take action on behalf of women who struggle to make their voices heard. Attending one of their meetings on enhancing women's participation in peace processes was eye-opening. The passion with which these women talked about peace made me feel like we can find solutions to any world problem by illuminating women's indispensable role in building peace. Witnessing their unwavering dedication, I learned an invaluable lesson: women must lead the charge in championing peace. Empowering one woman unleashes a ripple effect reverberating across communities, sparking conversations and mobilising support. Women possess a unique strength in their ability to organise, speak up, and stick to their plans. Within the GPPAC network, we women amplify our voices, addressing different issues from multiple perspectives and transforming our collective pain into powerful advocacy. Through organised events and collaborative efforts, we harness the strength of our network to achieve tangible results and drive meaningful change. Investing in women is not just an investment in one individual—it's an investment in the collective power of women to shape a brighter future for us all."

  • Marion Akiteng is the Gender Officer at the Centre for Conflict Resolution (CECORE) Uganda, GPPAC's Regional Secretariat for Eastern and Central Africa.

Jai Estocapio: "Empowering women in peacebuilding isn't just strategic; it's fundamental. Their voices and experiences bring depth to dialogue, compassion to reconciliation, and resilience to rebuilding. When we invest in women, we invest in enduring peace."

"Acknowledging the importance of women's involvement in decision-making and peacebuilding is one aspect, yet actively striving to give them the necessary platform and skills to engage is far more impactful. My experience with GPPAC has been invaluable in this regard, as it's a learning platform. I was able to get feasible insights from the experiences of other women from different regions, especially during GPPAC's International Steering Group meeting in Tokyo in January 2024. Conversations among these women peacebuilders gave me ideas on how to sustain community initiatives with limited resources and the significance of opening these platforms for future women peacebuilders. Aside from learning and being inspired by the countless stories, the presence of these women and allies felt like a warm and comforting nudge of encouragement to do more despite our countless challenges; it's a strong network of support and a safe space for sharing endless possibilities to realise initiatives that can advance women's roles in peacebuilding. Going beyond this encouragement is the network's support, putting value to our diversity, and finding our common points to amplify our voices of peace."

  • Jai Estocapio is the program officer of the BUILD program, the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), Philippines, and GPPAC's Regional Secretariat for Southeast Asia.

Rafiu Adeniran Lawal: "By recognising and supporting the incredible contributions of women, we can build a more peaceful and equitable world for all."

"The GPPAC West Africa Network is mobilising and empowering diverse civil society organisations, including women-led and youth-led organisations working for peace and security across West Africa. The regional network prioritises the Women, Peace and Security and the Youth, Peace and Security agendas because of their interlinkages and complementarity, as they both seek to include groups (Youth & Women) who are historically marginalised from peace and security processes. We all must adopt this intersectional approach, ensuring that all policies, programs and initiatives capture the age and gender power dynamics. Investing in women in peacebuilding is not just the right thing to do ethically but also leads to more effective and sustainable outcomes. By recognising and supporting the incredible contributions of women, we can build a more peaceful and equitable world for all."

  • Rafiu Adeniran Lawal is the founder and executive director of the Building Blocks for Peace Foundation, Nigeria, GPPACGPPAC'sonal Secretariat for West Africa.


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