GAPS Newsletter: September 2018

Events

Exploring the intersections of violence against women and girls and statebuilding and peacebuilding: lessons from Nepal, Sierra Leone and South Sudan

10:30-12:00, Friday 28 September 2018
The Goldsmith’s Centre, London

This event launches a study on gaps in evidence and understanding on violence against women and girls during post-conflict transition.

Revolution in the making

6-7 October 2018
Frankfurt

Join Network Women Weaving the Future for their first international women’s conference.

Young diaspora matters! Women for Peace and Participation

10:30-14:30, Monday 15 October 2018
LSE, London

This event aims to initiate a dialogue around the inclusion of young women in diaspora groups in discussions on Women, Peace and Security. Contact info@womenpp.org if you are interested in attending the event.

Black British Feminist: past, present and future

18:00-20:00, Tuesday 16 October 2018
Hong Kong Lecture Theatre, LSE, London

Join the LSE Library for a roundtable discussion with academics, activists, writers and politicians reflecting on Black British Feminism.
Speakers: Dawn Butler MP & Dr Suki Ali
Chair: Dr Imaobong Umoren

Looking beyond stereotypes of leadership

19:00, Wednesday 17 October 2018
Bush House, London

This Global Institute for Women’s Leadership event explores the barriers and challenges for women in accessing leadership roles.
Speakers: Jess Phillips MP & Yvette Williams MBE
Chair: Julia Gillard

FiLiA Feminist Conference 2018

20-21 October 2018
Salford, Greater Manchester

The FiLiA 2018 conference brings together sisters taking down patriarchy, fighting injustices across the world, fighting violence towards women, pay disparity, discrimination against refugees, racism, classism.

 


Updates

United Nations Security Council briefing on South Sudan

Grace John Kenyi Geri, from the Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation (CEPO), briefed the UN Security Council on South Sudan from a civil society perspective on 18 September 2018. Read her statement here.

CEDAW & Office of the UNSG Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict

The CEDAW Committee and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict signed a Cooperation Framework on 20 July 2018. The Cooperation Framework aims to advance the rights of women and girls by combating conflict-related sexual violence and supporting the relevant WPS UNSC resolutions.

Women, Peace and Security in Nepal

Nepali civil society is preparing for the Shadow Report on the Implementation of Nepal’s National Action Plan and other policies on WPS.


Calls for participation and opportunities

Women Mediators across the Commonwealth

A new network of women mediators spanning the globe is now seeking applications from prospective members! Coordinated by Conciliation Resources, WMC is a platform for the peer-to-peer exchange and learning of women mediators across Commonwealth countries. Membership is open to any women who are involved in mediation in the community, national, regional or global level; who are interested in sharing their experiences and expertise; and who are citizens of a Commonwealth country. The first deadline for applications is Friday 5 October 2018.

Gender & Development Journal

The Gender and Development journal is seeking contributions for its next edition examining the theme of humanitarian action and crisis response through the lens of gender equality and women’s empowerment. This edition will be co-edited by UN Women in collaboration with its Humanitarian Action and Crisis Response Office.

Please send a paragraph outlining your proposal for an article in an email (no attachments) to Caroline Sweetman (csweetman@oxfam.org.uk) by 30 September 2018.


Research and resources

Afghan women police

Oxfam and the Women and Peace Studies Organisation have launched the report “Afghan Women Police: Tomorrow’s force for inclusive security“. It includes assessment of the implementation of Afghanistan’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.

Strengthening synergies between CEDAW and the WPS resolutions

The Global Network of Women Peacebuilders has published a poilcy brief contributing to the discussions on synergies between CEDAW and the Women, Peace and Security resolutions, including analysis on the monitoring, reporting and implementation of both frameworks.

Adolescent girls in the Lake Chad Basin

Plan International has launched a report highlighting the sites of insecurity for adolescent girls, as well as the ways in which they respond to and continue to strive towards building safer communities for themselves and those around them.

Sweden’s feminist foreign policy handbook

This handbook is a resource for international work relating to gender equality and all women’s and girls’ full enjoyment of human rights.

WPS training resources

Inclusive Security have launched an expanded set of free online training resources on Women, Peace and Security available here.


Jobs

Women for Women International UK:

HR & Operations manager, apply by Sunday 23 September

Director: Women for Women International Germany, apply by Monday 1 October

Administrative Assistant: Women for Women International Germany, apply by Monday 1 October

Saferworld:

Tajikistan Project Coordinator, apply by Friday 28 September

Sudan Country Manager, apply by Sunday 7 October

International Alert:

Director of Peacebuilding – Global, apply by Wednesday 17 October

Conciliation Resources:

Programme Director – Smart Peace, apply by Monday 8 October

Horn of Africa Project Manager, apply by Friday 5 October

Plan International UK:

Programme Development Specialist, apply by Monday 24 September

ActionAid UK:

Receptionist/COO Assistant, apply by Sunday 30 September

IATI Specialist, apply by Sunday 30 September

Interim Deputy Director of Humanitarian Policy & Practice, apply by Sunday 30 September

Senior Specialist: Programme Quality and Assurance, apply by Sunday 23 September

Departmental Officer: Policy, Advocacy & Programmes, apply by Sunday 23 September

Deputy Director of Advocacy, apply by Sunday 23 September

World Vision:

MEAL Adviser, apply by Sunday 7 October

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom:

Finance Manager, Geneva, apply by Sunday 23 September

Oxfam:

Programme Manager, Yemen, apply by Sunday 30 September

Advocacy & Campaign Lead, Thailand, apply by Sunday 23 September

Consultant for Research in Youth Participation in Development in Kibondo District, Tanzania, apply by Wednesday 3 October

Communications Officer: GRAISEA, apply by Sunday 23 September

Humanitarian Programme Adviser, Myanmar, apply by Monday 1 October

MEAL Officer, Thailand, apply by Wednesday 10 October

Project Manager, Ethiopia, apply by Saturday 29 September

Senior Gender Integration Officer, Bangladesh, apply by Sunday 30 September

Technical Adviser: Women’s Empowerment & Family Promotion, apply by Sunday 30 September


GAPS and the APPG-WPS

GAPS provides the Secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security (APPG-WPS). The APPG-WPS holds events throughout the year that explore the situation for Women, Peace and Security around the world through thematic or country focuses. If you would like to be notified of upcoming events through the APPG-WPS, please inform us at appg-wps@gaps-uk.org.

GAPS Newsletter: September 2018

Events Exploring the intersections of violence against women and girls and statebuilding and peacebuilding: lessons from Nepal, Sierra Leone and South Sudan 10:30-12:00, Friday 28 September 2018 The Goldsmith’s Centre, London This event launches a study on gaps in evidence and Read More

GAPS Newsletter: July 2018

Events

FiLiA Feminist Conference 2018

20-21 October 2018
Salford, Greater Manchester

The FiLiA 2018 conference brings together sisters taking down patriarchy, fighting injustices across the world, fighting violence towards women, pay disparity, discrimination against refugees, racism, classism.

What’s feminism got to do with it?

Thursday 6 September 2018, 09:30-15:00
School of Economic Science, 11 Mandeville Place, London, W1U 3AJ

Join The Women’s Resource Centre at this London-focused event to explore feminism’s role in civil society and tackling violence against women and girls.


Calls for participation and opportunities

Call for Evidence – “Beyond Consultations” Project

GAPS, Women for Women International, Saferworld, Amnesty UK and Womankind Worldwide are conducting a research study titled “Beyond Consultations” looking at what constitutes meaningful participation/engagement with women human rights defenders and organisations, and how ongoing dialogues and one-off consultations can be done in fragile and conflict-affected states. The project will produce toolkits for meaningful consultation and analysis. We are really interested in your help to support a call for evidence of good practice examples where meaningful participation and consultations with women in FCAS has been done well and resulted in positive outcomes for the community. Please share examples of toolkits, guidance, frameworks, approaches or any other resources that governments, donors and INGOs in FCAS have used to listen to or meaningful connect with women they seek to support through their policy and advocacy work by Friday 31 August. Please contact Frances (frances@paperboat.org.uk) if you would like to speak to anyone in more detail about the research or if you have more valuable insights to share and would like to be more involved in the project.

Gender with Age Marker Training

You are invited to a practical session to learn about and use the revised Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Gender with Age Marker which will be facilitated by a trainer from GenCap at Plan International UK offices.

Please email Keren Simons (keren.simons@plan-uk.org) to register for either of the following sessions on Monday 6 August 2018: Session 1, 09:30-12:30; Session 2, 14:00-17:00.

Global Network of Women Peacebuilders – Sustaining Peace

Join the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) survey on sustaining peace in 15 countries: Afghanistan; Bangladesh; Burundi; Canada; Colombia; Liberia; Libya; Mali; Mexico; the Philippines; Sierra Leone; South Sudan; Sweden; Syria; Ukraine.

This is a unique opportunity to bring local women’s voices, perspectives and experiences to the global policy discussions and on-the-ground work to achieve Sustainable Peace.
Provide your responses by Friday 31 August 2018.

Gender & Development Journal

The Gender and Development journal is seeking contributions for its next edition examining the theme of humanitarian action and crisis response through the lens of gender equality and women’s empowerment. This edition will be co-edited by UN Women in collaboration with its Humanitarian Action and Crisis Response Office.

Please send a paragraph outlining your proposal for an article in an email (no attachments) to Caroline Sweetman (csweetman@oxfam.org.uk) by 30 September 2018.


Research and resources

Written submission to Foreign Affairs Committee on FCO’s human rights work

Read the written evidence from Amnesty International UK, including on behalf of GAPS, submitted to the Foreign Affairs Committee’s inquiry.

Gender inclusion and peacebuilding

Conciliation Resources has launched two reports on the importance of gender inclusion to peacebuilding and how international and national actors can support it effectively. The report “Inclusion of gender and sexual minorities in peacebuilding” draws on case studies from Colombia and Nigeria and explores the barriers to, and benefits of, meaningful participation of gender and sexual minorities in peace processes. The report “Gendered political settlements” explores how gender inclusion is negotiated in elite-led peace processes and political settlements based on the analysis of three contexts: Bougainville, Nepal and Colombia.

Critical assessment of Afghanistan’s NAP

The Afghanistan Public Policy Research Organisation has published its assessment examining progress toward implementing Afghanistan’s NAP with a focus on the budgeting process for implementation.

Gender & Development Journal

The July 2018 issue of Gender and Development focuses on information and communications technologies (ICTs) from the perspective of women’s rights and gender justice.

WPS training resources

Inclusive Security have launched an expanded set of free online training resources on Women, Peace and Security available here.

Women as peacebuilders in Yemen

This research on women, conflict and peacebuilding in Yemen sought to build a detailed local picture of how women are affected by conflict and how they are engaging in conflict prevention, peace and stability activities to make recommendations for how external actors can provide support. The research was implemented by Social Development Direct with the Yemen Polling Centre and funded by the UK’s Conflict, Security and Stability Fund.


Jobs

Womankind Worldwide:

Philanthropy Manager, apply by Tuesday 7 August

Policy & Programmes Officer, apply by Wednesday 8 August

Director of Policy & Communications, apply by Sunday 19 August

Women for Women International UK:

Fundraising & Marketing Assistant, apply by Sunday 5 August

Director – Women for Women International DE, based in Germany, apply by Sunday 19 August

Saferworld:

Yemen Programme Manager, apply by Sunday 5 August

Yemen Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Adviser, based in Yemen, apply by Sunday 12 August

Partnerships Development Manager, based in South Sudan, apply by Wednesday 22 August

International Rescue Committee:

Project Manager, apply by Monday 6 August

ActionAid UK:

Project Manager: Programme Quality & Assurance Procedures Development, apply by Thursday 2 August

Plan International UK:

Policy & Advocacy Advisor: Humanitarian, apply by Monday 20 August

Public Affairs Officer, apply by Monday 13 August

Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Specialist, apply by Monday 6 August

World Vision UK:

Senior Child Protection Programmes Adviser, apply by Friday 24 August

Oxfam:

Gender Team Leader, based in Bangladesh, apply by Monday 6 August


GAPS and the APPG-WPS

GAPS provides the Secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security (APPG-WPS). The APPG-WPS holds events throughout the year that explore the situation for Women, Peace and Security around the world through thematic or country focuses. If you would like to be notified of upcoming events through the APPG-WPS, please inform us at appg-wps@gaps-uk.org.

GAPS Newsletter: July 2018

Events FiLiA Feminist Conference 2018 20-21 October 2018 Salford, Greater Manchester The FiLiA 2018 conference brings together sisters taking down patriarchy, fighting injustices across the world, fighting violence towards women, pay disparity, discrimination against refugees, racism, classism. What’s feminism got Read More

APPG on Women, Peace and Security: Women in Yemen’s War

On Wednesday 18 July 2018 the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Yemen and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security co-hosted the event “Women in Yemen’s war”. The panel discussion focused on the gendered impacts of the conflict with particular attention to how women are affected. Areas of discussion included: women’s access to health services; the secondary and tertiary gendered impacts of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas; the resilience of women’s rights organisations operating in conflict-affected contexts; and supporting women’s livelihoods and economic justice in conflict. Baroness Hodgson of Abinger – Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security – and the Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP – Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Yemen – co-chaired the event.

Speakers at the event included: Laurie Lee, Chief Executive of CARE International UK; Laila Alodaat, MENA Director at the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom; Marwa Baabbad, a Fellow at the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security; Fionna Smyth, Head of Humanitarian Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns at Oxfam; and Hanna Quassim, Director of Adalah Yemen.

 

APPG on Women, Peace and Security: Women in Yemen’s War

On Wednesday 18 July 2018 the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Yemen and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security co-hosted the event “Women in Yemen’s war”. The panel discussion focused on the gendered impacts of the conflict with Read More

UK National Action Plan: GAPS Six Month Check-In

In January 2018 GAPS welcomed the UK Government’s latest, fourth National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security. Exactly six months on, GAPS is launching the GAPS NAP Six Month Check-In, our response to the 2018-2022 NAP. The response outlines GAPS’s reflections both on the NAP itself and its implementation, including the ongoing development of the UK Government’s Monitoring Evaluation and Learning (MEL) plan.

GAPS remains encouraged by the process in developing the NAP, particularly the consultative nature of it. GAPS welcomes the cross-government approach, senior support and dedication of the team developing the NAP. GAPS believes that the omission of an MEL framework during drafting of the NAP was a missed opportunity, but is encouraged by discussions on its development since the launch and is looking forward to a robust NAP MEL framework. GAPS will continue to encourage the UK Government to increase funding for Women, Peace and Security and to support Women’s Rights Organisations, Women Human Rights Defenders, peacebuilders and Civil Society Organisations in Fragile and Conflict Affected States. GAPS will also continue to support the UK Government in strengthening its focus on the prevention pillar of Women, Peace and Security to move towards a comprehensive approach to conflict prevention.

UK National Action Plan: GAPS Six Month Check-In

In January 2018 GAPS welcomed the UK Government’s latest, fourth National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security. Exactly six months on, GAPS is launching the GAPS NAP Six Month Check-In, our response to the 2018-2022 NAP. The response outlines GAPS’s reflections both Read More

APPG on Women, Peace and Security: Sexual violence in conflict in Nigeria and Somalia

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security (APPG-WPS), in collaboration with the Nigeria INGO Forum and the Somalia NGO Consortium, organised the panel discussion Sexual violence in conflict: Reclaiming women’s agency through law, policy and practice to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict (19 June). Baroness Hodgson of Abinger CBE, Co-Chair of the APPG-WPS, chaired the discussion with representatives from civil society based in Somalia and Nigeria, the UK government, and a global legal expert. Using north-east Nigeria and Somalia as examples of protracted conflicts, the panellists explored and discussed best practices of programming and legislation that offer meaningful support to empower women to be their own agents of change. Baroness Hodgson called attention to the entrenched patriarchy and targeted violence against women and girls in both conflict settings. Welcoming the continuous efforts of the UK government to address sexual violence in conflict and in their role as penholder at the UN on the Women, Peace and Security agenda, the panellists focused their key asks to the UK government. The discussion was lively and informative with Rosy Cave from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office taking stock of the needs and gaps as highlighted by field colleagues and reiterating the UK government’s willingness to engage all actors and continue prioritising gender equality in protracted conflicts.

Somalia

Halima Adan from Save Somali Women and Children outlined the current weak legal and policy framework in Somalia, the deeply patriarchal culture and how customary law stigmatises gender-based violence survivors resulting in low levels of reporting and ability to seek services. Due to poor infrastructure and site planning, 2.6 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) live in congested camps with limited access to basic services. Woman are economically disempowered and, in general, there are not enough specialised facilities to deal with survivors. Somalia is perceived as a humanitarian crisis which hinders the delivery of long-term sustainable funding. Much of the gender-based violence programming does not span for more than a year, sometimes resulting in specialised facilities being shut down.

Adan focused on best practices of legislation and programming. The Somali Sexual Offences Bill – passed in Cabinet in May 2018 and awaiting Parliamentary enactment – is a critical step towards furthering the protection and promotion of women and girls. It is context specific, was drafted by Somali lawyers with international technical support, and was led by the Somali government and civil society. Adan asked that the UK government supports the enactment of the Somali Sexual Offences Bill and Somalia’s ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Adan noted the best practice of the comprehensive one-stop model where women survivors of sexual violence can receive multi-faceted support. This reduces the re-traumatisation of the survivor and creates conditions for continued support. The UK government’s Department for International Development is not currently funding this model despite its clear advantages. Five one-stop centres and three safe houses are funded by the United States government. Multi-year funding and specific programming on gender equality and social norms are also key to the prevention of sexual violence in conflict.

Nigeria

Joe Read from CARE USA introduced the importance of understanding Nigeria in its regional context: the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin. The nine-year violent conflict between non-state armed actors commonly known as ‘Boko Haram’ and the Nigerian Armed Forces has exacerbated existing poverty and patriarchy. Women experience profound political, economic and social exclusion in the Sahel, and sexual violence in conflict is a key feature of the crisis. Women and girls are abused by all parties to the conflict. ‘Boko Haram’ use women and girls as person-borne improvised explosive devices (PBIEDs). Read emphasised the failure of the humanitarian community and the need to take collective responsibility. Local women’s rights organisations are delivering gender-responsive programming in their communities, but they need international support. However, the international response continues to view protection as an add-on rather than a key feature of humanitarian assistance. For example, Nigerian humanitarian response has scaled up since 2014 but the protection sector remains massively underfunded at 8%, with 1.7% for gender-based violence protection and almost 3% for child protection. Read also highlighted the need for high-level political action and the adoption of the Protection of Civilians Policy in Nigeria to ensure accountability.

International legal perspective

Antonia Mulvey, the founder and Executive Director of Legal Action Worldwide (LAW), outlined existing global legal frameworks to further the protection of women and girls and their promotion of their rights, including: the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Istanbul Protocol and the Maputo Protocol. Mulvey noted the slowness and ineffectiveness of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the lack of political will of the International Criminal Court. From Mulvey’s experience in collecting hundreds of testimonies across Uganda, South Sudan, Somalia and Myanmar, survivors want justice. Although the state has the primary obligation for the protection of human rights, in most cases sexual violence cannot be reported or investigated because there is no legal framework in place. Highlighting the importance of legislation, Mulvey gave the example of over 100 prosecutions since the enactment of the Sexual Offences Bill in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mulvey argued against the opinion that legislation cannot be passed in conflict contexts. However, badly drafted legislation can lead to worse outcomes for survivors, including their arrest. Implementation of contextually relevant, precise, concise and specific legislation is key, and requires buy-in from government and civil society. The Somali Sexual Offences Bill, for example, has specific clauses on abuse of power and a clear definition of rape and coercive circumstances.

UK government

Rosy Cave, Head of the Gender Equality Unit and of the Office of the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, reiterated the UK government’s commitment to consciously delivering for women and girls’ rights. Cave outlined the establishment of the UK government’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) and highlighted the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict and the progress it has made. Cave noted that both Nigeria and Somalia are focus countries for the UK’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. The recent G7 led to the UK partnering with Nigeria under a mentorship programme on Women, Peace and Security. Cave agreed that conflict in Nigeria needs to be treated as a regional crisis with regional programming. The UK government has just opened an office in Chad to support this work.

In Somalia, the UK government supports the Somali Sexual Offences Bill, works with Somali female parliamentarians to change behaviours and attitudes, and has supported the Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development in the development of their National Action Plan and in their work with security forces, including the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Key asks and concluding remarks

Key asks from the panel and the following discussion included strengthened collaboration between all actors, increased coordinated and targeted advocacy on gender and women’s rights, increased mechanisms for independent oversight, and the transfer of stigma from survivor to perpetrator.

All panellists were asked to give concluding remarks and key ways forward before Baroness Hodgson of Abinger CBE closed the discussion. Adan concluded with the need to prioritise livelihoods within service provision. Read highlighted the need for genuine empowerment. Cave called for civil society to bring evidence-based suggestions forward to influence the international agenda. Mulvey outlined the critical role of legal and policy frameworks and called for the endorsement and implementation of the Somali Sexual Offences Bill and the Protection of Civilians Policy in Nigeria.

With thanks to Roisin Mangan, Policy Advisor at the Nigeria INGO Forum, whose event report forms the basis of the above report.

APPG on Women, Peace and Security: Sexual violence in conflict in Nigeria and Somalia

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security (APPG-WPS), in collaboration with the Nigeria INGO Forum and the Somalia NGO Consortium, organised the panel discussion Sexual violence in conflict: Reclaiming women’s agency through law, policy and practice to mark Read More

Prioritise Peace: challenging approaches to Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism from a Women, Peace and Security perspective

There has been a shift in recent years where Women, Peace and Security is increasingly discussed in the context of Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE). This new GAPS paper assesses the impacts of this,  and makes recommendations to avoid women and girls being used as tools in P/CVE as well as the need to prioritise peace.

The paper demonstrates that current approaches to P/CVE do not take seriously the protection of women and girls’ rights, and are inconsistent with peacebuilding processes that promote social empowerment and reform to address the root causes of all forms of violent conflict. It makes recommendations for ways to ensure the protection and promotion of the rights of women and girls, and to address underlying causes of conflict in a way that promotes gender equality.

thumbnail of GAPS report_Prioritise Peace – Challenging Approaches to P & CVE from a WPS perspective

Prioritise Peace: challenging approaches to Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism from a Women, Peace and Security perspective

There has been a shift in recent years where Women, Peace and Security is increasingly discussed in the context of Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE). This new GAPS paper assesses the impacts of this,  and makes recommendations to avoid Read More

Displacement and Women’s Economic Empowerment: Voices of Displaced Women in the KRI

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Women for Women International UK, the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security and GAPS have released a new report: Displacement and Women’s Economic Empowerment: Voices of Displaced Women in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

This report examines, and makes concrete recommendations for, women’s economic wellbeing and empowerment in the context of conflict-related displacement, focusing on livelihood needs and opportunities. It provides insights into how displacement has affected the position of women in the economic life of the family and community, and captures specific and contextualised aspects of women’s opportunities and barriers to empowerment from their perspective. The key contribution of this report is that it reflects the voices of displaced women in the KRI. Hear directly from women in the KRI in these videos: Alia; Shireen; Raja.

Download the full report

Download the Executive Summary

Displacement and Women’s Economic Empowerment: Voices of Displaced Women in the KRI

Women for Women International UK, the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security and GAPS have released a new report: Displacement and Women’s Economic Empowerment: Voices of Displaced Women in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. This report examines, and makes concrete Read More

International Women’s Day 2018: Women building peace

For International Women’s Day 2018, GAPS is celebrating diaspora women building peace through projects in the UK and across the world. Their work, from local initiatives to high-level peace processes, is at the forefront of change as they bring their voices, and the needs and challenges facing their communities, to the process of building sustainable peace. This is such important work, which all too often goes unrecognised by formal peace and security actors and institutions.

Women are systematically excluded from peace processes. Women’s rights are perceived as secondary, to be attained once peace has been brokered. This undermines the importance of women’s rights and gender equality, and precludes the opportunity for sustainable peace.

We recognise that the demand that women explain why their voices should be heard and what value they can bring undermines women’s fundamental right to equal participation; we should in fact be demanding explanations from those seeking to exclude women. We see this bias in GAPS’ question to the peacebuilders we are profiling for International Women’s Day, and our decision to keep the question is based on feminist practices of self-reflection and learning, and because of the many wonderful answers we received that deserve to be heard.

Today we are saying thank you to diaspora women working for peace and security as we profile five brilliant women and their important projects.

1. Amna Abdul:

“When I think about peace and security, I am always looking at it through an intersectional gendered lens with the aim to understand what women’s experiences and roles are within it.”

2. Quhramaana Kakar:

“Peace for me is not only the absence of war but the prevalence of harmony and tranquility, and the provision of justice, access and equal opportunity for individuals and societies in their struggle to shape their own narrative and negotiate their own terms.”

3. Camila Marín Restrepo:

“Women within diaspora communities have been subjected to a double invisibility. In their countries of origin, many were exposed to exclusion in relation to political participation. Their migration beyond national borders has meant they now face further barriers when attempting to contribute to peacebuilding conversations taking place in their home countries.”

4. Amparo Restrepo:

“We are now determined to break the silence in order to have our voices heard and to demand that we are included in the process of post-conflict restructuring.”

5. Marwa Baabbad:

“Women shouldn’t be asked why their voices are valuable unless everyone else is asked the same question.”

International Women’s Day 2018: Women building peace

For International Women’s Day 2018, GAPS is celebrating diaspora women building peace through projects in the UK and across the world. Their work, from local initiatives to high-level peace processes, is at the forefront of change as they bring their Read More

Women building peace: Marwa Baabbad

For International Women’s Day 2018, GAPS is celebrating diaspora women building peace through projects in the UK and across the world. Their work, from local initiatives to high-level peace processes, is at the forefront of change as they bring their voices, and the needs and challenges facing their communities, to the process of building sustainable peace. This is such important work, which all too often goes unrecognised by formal peace and security actors and institutions.

Today we are saying thank you to diaspora women working for peace and security as we profile five brilliant women and their important projects.

Marwa Baabbad is a Yemeni researcher and Visiting Fellow at the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security, with a specific interest in the current conflict and the security sector. Marwa previously worked as a development professional with Saferworld in Yemen, where she led on gender, peace and security and youth projects in Yemen, Egypt, Libya and neighbouring countries to Syria. Marwa was also a member of the Youth Consultative Group for the UNDP’s 2016 Arab Human Development Report. Marwa attained a Masters degree in Post-war Recovery Studies from the University of York as a Chevening scholar.

  1. What do peace and security mean to you?

When I think of peace, the first thing that comes to mind is “inner peace” as I see it as the grounding base that can spread to all its surrounding and beyond.

Beyond the absence of conflict, to me peace is an opportunity of growth, and security is about the ability to take actions knowing that one is protected and that one’s safety and rights won’t be compromised by domestic and/or external actors.

  1. Why are the voices of diaspora women valuable to policy-making on peace and security?

Everyone’s voice is important and of added value for peace to be reached, and security to be granted and sustained. Women shouldn’t be asked why their voices are valuable unless everyone else is asked the same question. However, women’s inclusion is important for the following reasons.

Firstly, diaspora women bring a distinct voice to the peace and security agenda, linking grassroots knowledge with diaspora expertise they often carry a holistic, long-term approach to the agenda. Secondly, it is good practice for male policy-makers to provide safe platforms for women to raise their agendas and the way they would like to see change happen for everyone without being told that their issues are not a priority. Thirdly, women do not only react to crises, but they are leading actors on security-related issues at the local levels. Finally, women’s participation doesn’t undermine men’s contributions in the policy-making process. Rather, it enriches the discussions with a wider range of perspectives and to ensure the inclusion of all voices in any due process.

  1. What projects related to women, peace and security are you working on or involved with?

Since I moved to the UK, I have been focused on research and advocacy related activities. I combine the field knowledge and networks I developed through working on Gender, Peace and Security and Youth and Peacebuilding with the access I currently have to policy-making circles. I try to amplify and reflect the voices of the Yemenis – mainly local civil society organisations – as many feel unheard and struggle between responding with programmes they see as necessary and the type of funding available from donors. Through participating in public events and joining policy meetings, I try to showcase the positive work of local civil society organisations and advocate for their voices to be heard and their perspectives to be taken into consideration when allocating funds for Yemen. I also work on talking to local NGOs and help them understand the way policy is driven internationally so they can improve their advocacy and outreach strategies.

Selected publications:

• “Women nowadays do anything.” Women’s role in conflict, peace and security in Yemen. Saferworld, Carpo and Yemen Polling Center. June 2017.

• Two years on: The Complexity of Yemen’s Conflict. Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. 22 March 2017.

• “It’s dangerous to be the first”: Security barriers to women’s public participation in Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. Saferworld. October 2013.

Women building peace: Marwa Baabbad

For International Women’s Day 2018, GAPS is celebrating diaspora women building peace through projects in the UK and across the world. Their work, from local initiatives to high-level peace processes, is at the forefront of change as they bring their voices, Read More

Women building peace: Camila Marín Restrepo

For International Women’s Day 2018, GAPS is celebrating diaspora women building peace through projects in the UK and across the world. Their work, from local initiatives to high-level peace processes, is at the forefront of change as they bring their voices, and the needs and challenges facing their communities, to the process of building sustainable peace. This is such important work, which all too often goes unrecognised by formal peace and security actors and institutions.

Today we are saying thank you to diaspora women working for peace and security as we profile five brilliant women and their important projects.

Camila Marín is the daughter of political refugees from Colombia. She has conducted research on the phenomenon of Colombian migration to London for the Truth, Memory and Reconciliation Commission of Colombian Women in the Diaspora (TMRC) and throughout her Masters in Social and Cultural Anthropology at UCL.

  1. What do peace and security mean to you?

Although high-level peace processes are hugely important for reducing violence and garnering international support, their effects are limited if the root causes of social and political inequality are ignored. Peace cannot exist where grave social and economic injustices continue to mark the daily lives of a population. Peace cannot exist when people feel unable to contribute to political changes or live in fear for expressing their beliefs. Peace cannot exist where marginalised communities are being displaced to make way for large-scale economic projects or when their environments are being polluted. I see peace as a long and arduous path with no finish line; a process where dialogue becomes the primary tool to resolve problems as opposed to violence.

In my opinion, security is both a pre-requisite and a consequence of peace. Governments must provide adequate security provisions to all actors involved in the transition to a peaceful society to ensure that the cycle of violence is broken. Security must also be provided to those who dedicate their lives to the defence of human rights, even when their declarations are not in the government’s economic interests. Since the Colombian peace process was signed in late 2016, over 205 human rights leaders have been killed. Although massive steps have been made towards ending the conflict on Colombia, if this current trend is allowed to continue any longer, the future of the peace process will become even more opaque.

  1. Why are the voices of diaspora women valuable to policy-making on peace and security?

Women’s testimonies are crucial in terms of providing a holistic understanding of what happened during a conflict. Not only have women’s bodies been used as sites of war, they have been used as tools of war through their active participation. In addition, women play hugely important roles in the aftermath of conflict, which is evident in their strong presence in civil society initiatives and their ability to exert influence over the identities of following generations.

However, women within diaspora communities have been subjected to a double invisibility. In their countries of origin, many were exposed to historic exclusion in relation to political participation for the sole fact that they are women. Additionally, their migration beyond national borders has meant that they now face further barriers when attempting to contribute to peacebuilding conversations taking place in their home countries.

Despite this political exclusion, women from diaspora communities continue to provide economic support through remittances which play an important role in economic development. They also possess an untold number of skills and lived experience that can guide effective policy-making. Testimonies from diaspora women can contribute non-judicial accounts of conflict that not only shine light on the pain and loss experienced, but more importantly, on their future hopes and methods of resilience.

  1. What projects related to women, peace and security are you working on or involved with?

For the past year and a half, I have been part of the Truth, Memory and Reconciliation Commission of Colombian Women in the Diaspora (TMRC), an initiative backed by Conciliation Resources that began in London and has now spread to cities such as Barcelona, Brussels and Stockholm. The TMRC arose during the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC to empower Colombian women in the diaspora to actively participate in the peace process, whilst documenting the impacts of war and migration from a gendered perspective, and healing possible traumas relating to the armed conflict.

The TMRC has provided us with a sense of real community, an aspect that many have lost throughout the armed conflict and the subsequently isolating process of migration. Given that my family were forced to flee Colombia for political reasons, I was denied the possibility of growing up there; through the TMRC, I have been able to experience that Colombian essence that I was deprived of throughout the course of my life. Moreover, it has provided me with tangible skills that allow me to contribute positively to conversations on the post-conflict reconstruction of a country that I hold so dearly and to be part of that collective voice that is working towards ensuring that people are no longer expelled or assassinated for thinking differently.

Women building peace: Camila Marín Restrepo

For International Women’s Day 2018, GAPS is celebrating diaspora women building peace through projects in the UK and across the world. Their work, from local initiatives to high-level peace processes, is at the forefront of change as they bring their Read More

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