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WILPF Welcomes Ten New Sections

The feminist peace movement is constantly growing! At the 33rd International Congress in July, WILPF welcomed 10 new Sections to its global community of feminist peace activists.

Image credit: WILPF Togo
WILPF International Secretariat
15 September 2022

The feminist peace movement is constantly growing! At the 33rd International Congress in July, WILPF welcomed 10 new Sections to its global community of feminist peace activists.  

Sections are the cornerstone of the WILPF movement as they shape the organisation’s work and strategic priorities at the global and local levels. New Sections are approved at each International Triennial Congress after having officially functioned as National Groups in the period before.  

“Our motivation to become a WILPF Section is derived from the wish to become more active and present for feminist peace on the national but also on the international level,” states Rosa Logar from WILPF Austria. Rosa adds that “feminist peace and disarmament are important as ever, therefore we see the necessity to engage in that discussion as a Section and in doing so, profit from a longstanding experience of WILPF.” 

On the first day of its 33rd International Triennial Congress, WILPF admitted ten new Sections – eight of which are from the African continent. They include WILPF Argentina, WILPF Austria, WILPF Burkina Faso, WILPF Burundi, WILPF Central African Republic (CAR), WILPF Guinea, WILPF Ivory Coast, WILPF Niger, WILPF Sudan and WILPF Togo.  

WILPF’s New Sections 

WILPF Argentina  

WILPF Argentinacontinues its long history of feminist activism by combatting one of the biggest challenges of Argentinian society: domestic violence. Using WILPF’s unique feminist approach to analysis, the Section aims to further advocate for women’s rights and promote peace on a local and global scale. Some of the Section’s work to date includes conducting various training workshops for women leaders and youth in the areas of communication, community development, and social policies. In addition, members focus on developing tools for decision-making and income-generating activities to alleviate economic and social poverty.  

WILPF Austria 

WILPF Austria strives to follow the work and historic commitments of its feminist foremothers while simultaneously embracing a new kind of feminism: one that is intersectional, multiracial, queer, and environmental, that transcends borders and supports the protection of immigrants, refugees, and other people on the move. WILPF Austria aims to pick up the thread and explore the differences and similarities between the aspirations of WILPF women at the beginning of the 20th century, and the motives and goals of members now. In addition to gender and climate justice, WILPF Austria also seeks to create a decolonised, intersectional, and anti-racist world with universal human rights. 

WILPF Burkina Faso 

WILPF Burkina Faso works for effective social transformation by promoting the actions of women and men who embrace WILPF’s mission and principles. The Section was formed to encourage nonviolent and innovative practices to end systems of exploitation. Over the past several years, WILPF Burkina Faso has engaged in multiple projects together with other civil society actors, including advocacy training on the risks of explosive devices and the promotion of the rights of children. 

WILPF Burundi 

WILPF Burundi is represented by strong and motivated activists united by the common aim of improving the situation of women in Burundi. The Section’s objective is to contribute to positive change towards peace and stability and to address the root causes of violence in the country. Since its founding, WILPF Burundi has implemented several activities related to the promotion of peace, disarmament, denuclearisation, and human rights, particularly for women and girls following a heavy history of inter-ethnic conflict and civil wars. 

As a new Section, WILPF Burundi plans to contribute to the implementation of WILPF’s International Programme through connecting, supporting, and mobilising powerful feminist peace activists and creating synergies with other national and regional organisations and movements. 

WILPF Central African Republic (CAR) 

WILPF Central African Republic aims to advocate for peace and the essential role of women in conflict resolution processes through national and global action. The Section’s objective is to promote a gender analysis of conflict to the national authorities and population. WILPF CAR aims to intensify its efforts to raise awareness, advocate for peace, security, and sustainable development, deconstruct militarised masculinities, further men’s support for gender equality and peace, and strengthen capacities for both men and women.  

WILPF Ivory Coast 

WILPF Ivory Coast aims to mobilise women’s efforts on a national level and work towards the establishment of lasting peace. The Section is working on challenging gender injustice by analysing the root causes of violence at the local level and creating more inclusive economic systems that promote equity. Since its founding, WILPF Ivory Coast has mobilised to promote peaceful conflict resolution through peace education and reconciliation.  

WILPF Guinea 

WILPF Guinea envisions a country where more women are involved in the peaceful resolution of conflicts; where responsible and peaceful political processes engage and invest in youth; where there is an active and effective women’s media committee; and lastly, where there is a true balance of power between men and women in decision-making. As part of the Section’s actions, WILPF Guinea initiates consultation and holds awareness-raising activities on the issues of political citizenship and peaceful conflict resolution to motivate and mobilise youth and traditional authorities. Some of these activities have aimed to educate young people against language glorifying violence and hate. 

WILPF Niger 

WILPF Niger works to promote the involvement of women and girls in conflict management and the reduction of conflict in Niger by empowering women through activism. To accomplish their mission, the members of WILPF Niger focus on educating women and girls to raise awareness of their roles and responsibilities and the need to be included in peace mediation, peacebuilding, and negotiations. In collaboration with other NGOs, WILPF Niger also conducts research centred around early and forced marriages, girls’ right to education, women’s participation in political and public life, conflict prevention, and the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. 

WILPF Sudan  

WILPF Sudan works to promote human rights and to establish its role as a strong advocate for women’s participation in security issues. Working in a conflict-affected country with a growing threat of civil war, the Section has identified a need to create new partnerships and alliances and become an integral part of the civil force resisting militarism and supporting the country’s democratic transition. The Section’s work includes advocating for human rights, raising awareness and educating women about conflict resolution, providing peace education to women and communities, and building capacity for the prevention of gender-based violence (GBV).  

WILPF Togo 

WILPF Togo envisions a country where communities live together in harmony and approach their differences with compassion and tolerance. The Section continues to advocate for women’s crucial role in the prevention, management, and resolution of conflicts. WILPF Togo’s peacebuilders seek early warning mechanisms where conflicts may occur. To address the by-products of poverty and a lack of opportunities to access education, the Section has implemented various initiatives to strengthen women and youth’s skills in building peace, achieving financial independence, and maintaining human security. 

Welcome to our newest Sections!  

If you are interested in joining WILPF’s global feminist peace movement, consider becoming a member today! Learn more about the benefits of being a WILPF member and find your local Section. 

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WILPF International Secretariat

WILPF International Secretariat, with offices in Geneva and New York, liaises with the International Board and the National Sections and Groups for the implementation of WILPF International Programme, resolutions and policies as adopted by the International Congress. Under the direction of the Secretary-General, the Secretariat also provides support in areas of advocacy, communications, and financial operations.

Melissa Torres

VICE-PRESIDENT

Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani

VICE-PRESIDENT

Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo

PRESIDENT

Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

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. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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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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