The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) recognizes the distinction between women’s and men’s needs and calls on all actors involved in negotiating and implementing peace agreements to adopt a gender perspective. This perspective includes paying attention to the special needs of women and girls during repatriations and resettlement, rehabilitation, reintegration and post-conflict reconstruction.
The strategic objective of this programme is to increase the participation of women in challenging systemic causes of conflict and providing alternative paradigms to peace building and conflict resolution. Our work is focused on gradually bringing women’s voices into the decision making spaces on peace and security matters.
EASSI is part of a coalition on UNSCR 1325 in Uganda that is playing an important role in promoting community involvement in the implementation of UNSCR 1325, 1820 and the Goma Declaration in Uganda.
With support from Global Fund for Women, EASSI mobilised 90 women leaders from selected women’s groups in Goma (DRC/Rwanda), Uvira and Bukavu (DRC/Burundi) border areas who were trained as Trainers of Trainers (TOTs) in Entrepreneurship and the Peace economy, Life skills, Leadership, and Business skills using Do IT Yourself manuals that were translated into French to facilitate easier learning.
Each training targeted 30 women leaders who upon completion of the three days’ workshops were awarded with certificates as TOTs and assisted to draw work plans where each of them committed to share the newly acquired knowledge with at least 20 women. It was also agreed that the TOTs would integrate the learning in their routine group meetings thus making it a sustainable and transformational approach.
As a follow up, EASSI conducted a support, monitoring and evaluation visit to Uvira and Bukavu to establish how the trained trainers were fairing in terms of training other women in the groups. 3 groups were visited per border area and it was found that they had all incorporated the trainings in their weekly group meetings. Towards the end of each meeting, they would identify the following week’s topic in a participatory way with their group members based on their actual group needs or identified gaps and would then plan accordingly. In the same meeting, a trainer would be agreed upon and members would be encouraged to invite other women that are not necessarily their registered group members in order to widen the knowledge sharing. This approach has not only ensured sustainability but also enhanced cohesion, networking and general value addition to the overall significance of the women’s groups to their communities.
In Uvira border area, the TOTs have lobbied the market management committees for them to regularly conduct trainings during the weekly market days thus reaching some many people with minimal resources.
The training in life skills such as self- awareness, decision making and advocacy skills prepared the women to meaningfully negotiate peace. The interactive approach to training – in which participants were actively involved and felt their views and contributions were valued – helped women and girls realize the power of their own voices to contribute to positive change. At the same time, those that are trained as peer educators got direct and immediate experience in taking on leadership roles hence ensuring sustainability.
In the course of the trainings, women leaders would discuss and analyze existing power structures and how to collectively challenge them. Women were empowered to stand up together to represent themselves, instead of relying on professional advocates to speak up on their behalf.
The illicit manufacture, transfer and circulation of small arms and light weapons and their excessive accumulation and uncontrolled spread in many regions of the world has a wide range of humanitarian and socio-economic consequences and pose a serious threat to peace, reconciliation, safety, security, stability and sustainable development at the individual, local, national, regional and international levels.
Over the past several years, EASSI has championed a gender dimension in the small arms and light weapons debate and has together with other national, regional and international organisations had a measure of success in creating awareness on the link between gender and small arms as well as contributing to inclusion of gender in key arms documents such as the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
Under the SALW program, EASSI focuses on the gender dimensions of small arms and how gender could be integrated into the Arms trade treaty (ATT) which came into Force in December 2014 after 50 ratifications by members of the United Nations.None of EASSI’s member states have ratified the ATT in spite of their strong participation during the negotiation process.
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