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Report from our African Regional Conference in Yaoundé

11 January 2016

On the 27-28 November 2015, WILPF Cameroon had the privilege of hosting an African regional conference on “participation of African women in conflict prevention and crisis management” in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Nathalie Foko and Mariane Nonbo, WILPF Cameroon’s Secretaries, reported on the conference

The conference was organised with the support of WILPF Sweden, and participants came from the WILPF Sections in Ghana, Nigeria and DRC, as well as from new emerging groups from Chad, South Africa and Burundi.
The conference was organised with the support of WILPF Sweden, and participants came from the WILPF Sections in Ghana, Nigeria and DRC, as well as from new emerging groups from Chad, South Africa and Burundi. Photo credits: WILPF Cameroon.

Report by Nathalie Foko and Mariane Nonbo, WILPF Cameroon’s Secretaries.

The conference was organised with the support of WILPF Sweden, as part of the cross-section cooperation on capacity building and advocacy between WILPF Sweden and the African WILPF sections. Participants came from the WILPF Sections in Ghana, NigeriaDRC, and Sweden, as well as from new emerging groups from Chad, South Africa and Burundi.

The conference was held under the patronage of the Cameroonian Ministry of Women Empowerment and the Family, with the honorable participation of UN Women Cameroon, male representatives from the media, civil society leaders, and representatives of ministries, diplomatic institutions, and the Parliamentarians Forum.

For two days, we revisited the 100 years and the great achievements of WILPF, popularising the vision and mission of this organisation. Emerging groups in Africa have thus sufficiently been built upon the operation and the conditions of accession of WILPF. The security challenges that face the African continent today will be met with a vast movement of African women that the Yaoundé conference helped establish.

After the presentation of the work done by each section or group in the field of peace building, the participants were trained on the following topics:

  • United Nation Security Council resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) which is the political framework for the implementation and monitoring of the United Nation Programme on Women, Peace and Security (WPS);
  • The gender issue through which men commit alongside women in awareness, outreach tools and all leading advocacy for the respect of gender equality;
  • The need for the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and the United Nation Programme of Action (UNPoA) in the current security environment: raise awareness of the dangers of the illicit circulation of arms and draw attention to the damage they cause on the population, especially against women, and;
  • The work of WILPF on transnational corporation and their accountability for human rights in a context where these companies are very powerful in their financial operations and sometimes become more powerful than the states in which they operate. This results in massive violations of human rights.

After the conference, WILPF sections took part in training sessions and capacity building on financial management, gender policy, security policy, strategic planning, to name a few.

Among other recommendations, States were encouraged to adopt National Action Plans of UNSCR 1325, to allow women to play the role that is theirs in conflict prevention in Africa.

Read the full report of the conference here


Want to know more on National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security in an African context?

National-Action-Plans-on-Women,-Peace-and-Security_716Then join WILPF’s upcoming webinar on this topic on the 19 January 2016.

The webinar will look into the progress in implementing the UN Security Council resolution 1325 through National Action Plans, using the case studies of the DRC, Nigeria and Cameroon.

Speakers will be Prof. Aisling Swaine from WILPF Academic Network, Dr. Abigail Ruane from WILPF Women, Peace and Security Programme, Joy Onyesoh from WILPF Nigeria, Sylvie Ndongmo from WILPF Cameroon, and Annie Mbambi from WILPF DRC.

It is always free of charge to participate in our webinars and you can access it online from all over the globe. You just need to register in advance and have an internet connection.

Read more about the webinar and sign up today!

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WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

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Demilitarisation

WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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