WILPF’s 32nd International Triennial Congress has opened today. The Congress is the highest decision-making body of WILPF, and this year it is taking place in Accra, Ghana, from 20-22 August 2018. It is the first Congress to be hosted in Africa, and it is gathering more than 200 participants under the theme ‘Building a Feminist Peace Movement’. WILPF’s programmes and policies evolve from the Congress, where different points of view and experiences within WILPF are heard and incorporated into a genuinely global plan of action.
WILPF welcomes five new sections
WILPF’s members either belong to National Sections or are international members. The first step to becoming a WILPF National Section is to be officially recognised as a WILPF National Group. New Sections and Groups are approved during the International Triennial Congress.
On the first day of its 32nd International Triennial Congress, WILPF admitted five new Sections, four of which are from the African continent, and nine new groups in WILPF’s peace-makers community.
“As women from a conflict affected country and severely affected by these conflicts, our interest to become an official WILPF National Group emerged from the necessity of working within a global platform for bringing visibility to issues affecting women in Sudan,” stated Ikhlas Babiker from WILPF Sudan Group, “WILPF is one of the most influential organisations for us to address the serious impacts of conflicts on women groups in the country and advocating for their right to participate in peace negotiations and peace building.”
Eleven National Groups have been approved since the previous International Triennial Congress in 2015. In 2018, WILPF is welcoming five of them as new National Sections:
WILPF New National Sections
WILPF Afghanistan aims to participate in the creation of an Afghanistan free from war and violence. Among the values guiding the work of the Section is the belief that a genuine and sustainable peace can only be achieved with women’s participation within peace processes—a concept that is almost non-existent in Afghanistan. Indeed, while Afghan women have been severely and disproportionately affected by the long-lasting conflicts in their country, they have been kept away from peace-building processes. WILPF Afghanistan was formed with the aim of suppressing this injustice.
WILPF Chad works to increase the participation of its members through the work of the Section, and strengthen the in-country network on UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 1325. Some of their work to date has included organising trainings with women to create an advocacy strategy to deepen their engagement towards Chad’s adoption of a National Action Plan for the Implementation of UNSCR 1325.
WILPF Kenya envisions a country free from violence and armed conflict, where human rights are protected, and women and men are equally empowered and involved in positions of leadership at the local and national levels. The Section sees WILPF’s approach to peace as an important tool that can be used in pursuit of long lasting peace in Kenya.
WILPF Zimbabwe strives to support women’s meaningful participation in building a sustainable culture of peace and democracy through the establishment of a solid footing in lobbying, advocacy, and campaign initiatives. The Section advocates against forced marriage, and campaigns to challenge gender stereotypes and to denounce domestic violence. WILPF Zimbabwe aims to represent women’s interests on a national level, while being active on the international level and influencing peace-building processes.
WILPF Uganda aims to work with grassroots communities to suppress gendered violence and promote women’s participation in conflict resolution. The Section analyses the root causes of conflicts in order to better understand and address them. Since its foundation, WILPF Uganda has worked for a world without war by participating in national protests, organising workshops, and creating a space for women to discuss conflict resolution strategies that they can apply to their communities.
WILPF New National Groups since the previous Congress
WILPF Argentina Group
A Section of WILPF was originally started in Argentina at the beginning of the 1990s. However, the political context of the country forced many of its activists into exile in Spain and the Section was dissolved. WILPF Argentina Group re-emerged in 2018 when it rejoined WILPF with the same determination to challenge the patriarchal system that generates injustice and violence. WILPF Argentina Group focuses its energy on one of the biggest flaws of Argentinian society: domestic violence. While still organising its rebirth, WILPF Argentina Group has a long history of feminist activism and knows how to use WILPF’s structure to further advocate for women’s rights and promote peace on a local and global scale.
WILPF Burkina Faso Group
WILPF Burkina Faso Group joined in 2018 with the aim of working for effective social transformation by promoting the actions of women and men who adhere to WILPF’s mission and principles. Working around the priority areas of WILPF, the Group will focus its energy to encourage nonviolent innovative practices to end systems of exploitation.
WILPF Burundi Group
WILPF Burundi Group joined the WILPF family in May 2017. The group has emerged from the gathering of strong and motivated women united by the common aim of improving women’s situation in Burundi. Their objective is that of contributing to positive change towards peace and stability in the country.
WILPF Central African Republic (CAR) Group
WILPF CAR Group is the newest Group to join WILPF. Since its creation, it has carried out actions to make WILPF’s work known to national authorities and to the wider public. WILPF CAR Group has conducted advocacy campaigns, and organised trainings on the importance of women’s participation in the national effort to build sustainable peace.
WILPF Ivory Coast Group
WILPF Ivory Coast Group decided to join WILPF with the aim of gathering women’s efforts on a national level and work towards the establishment of lasting peace. The Group is working on challenging gender injustice by analysing the root causes of violence at the local level. Since its foundation, it has promoted peaceful conflict resolution through peace education and reconciliation.
WILPF Nicaragua Group
Established in 2015, WILPF Nicaragua Group has since worked on building more knowledge of women, peace and security issues within their community and bolstering women organising for peace.
WILPF Niger Group
One of the newest National Groups, WILPF Niger was founded in 2018 with the aim of promoting women’s rights and enabling women to play an active role in conflict resolution. Over the past few months, WILPF Niger Group has educated girls and women, raising awareness on their roles, their responsibilities, and the essential contributions they can bring to peace mediation and peacebuilding processes and negotiations.
WILPF Sierra Leone Group
As a new National Group, WILPF Sierra Leone Group is organising itself to become an important civil society actor in the region. The Group has already been involved in several actions aimed at engaging women in sustainable economic activities to alleviate poverty. It has also worked with policymakers to stress the importance of women’s rights, and offered training to women, providing them with tools to better advocate for their rights.
WILPF Sudan Group
WILPF Sudan Group officially joined WILPF in 2018. Since then, the Group has been working on implementing projects and activities on peace education and advocating for better female representation within peace and security issues in the region.