Women PeaceMaker Regional Networks
Building on the experience and recommendations of nearly a decade of Women PeaceMakers, the Institute for Peace and Justice launched Women PeaceMakers Regional Networks in 2011, beginning in Asia.
The networks provide opportunities for the Women PeaceMakers to exchange strategies on peace, security and justice issues specific to their region. They also share their expertise with local communities, civil society, politicians, peacebuilders and the security sector.
To support the development of Regional Networks in Africa, Asia or elsewhere, please contact Senior Program Officer Jennifer Freeman.
Recent Activities of the Regional Networks
Following are brief summaries of our first three summits in Nepal, the Philippines and Cambodia.
Nepal - January/February 2011
Partially funded by an International Opportunities Grant from the University of San Diego.
From January 26 to February 2, 2011, Women PeaceMakers and Institute of Peace and Justice staff convened in Nepal as the country continued to navigate a tumultuous path out of its recent decade-long conflict. Supported by the institute's long history and strong institutional ties in the country, Women PeaceMakers Milet Mendoza and Mary Ann Arnado of the Philippines and Shreen Saroor of Sri Lanka, and institute staff members Dee Aker and Jennifer Freeman were hosted by the institute's partner Shobha Shrestha (MA in peace and justice studies, USD '08), executive director of Women for Peace and Democracy - Nepal.
In addition to a strategic planning session to plan future network summits, the peacemakers carried out a series of roundtable discussions, workshops and media interviews with local constituencies of women politicians, women civil society leaders in Kathmandu, and women peacebuilders in the rural district of Makwanpur.
The peacemakers and Aker were also featured on Nepal Television Plus, in two segments in honor of International Women's Day:
"I was very much impressed and motivated with the three peacemakers. Their work with the combatants, government and conflicting groups, [women's] role as mediators and [the] integration of economic programs with peace can be used on our context too."
Philippines - May 2011
Partially funded by UN Women and the Fred J. Hansen Foundation.
From May 19 to 27, 2011, Women PeaceMakers Milet Mendoza and Bae Liza Llesis Saway of the Philippines, Thavory Huot of Cambodia, and institute staff members Dee Aker and Jennifer Freeman were hosted by the Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC), led by peacemaker Mary Ann Arnado.
The second Asia Regional Network summit coincided with the international launch of the first All-Women Contingent in the International Monitoring Team (IMT), which monitors the ceasefire in Mindanao between the army and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Launched in Manila, the event included representatives from the IMT, peace panels, ceasefire committees, military, U.N. agencies and political leaders. It provided a unique space and confluence of stakeholders to discuss the importance of women's participation in security forces, peace processes and post-conflict apparatuses.
Mendoza organized a roundtable discussion with staff from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, including the presidential adviser herself, Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles. Read this blog post by Aker to learn more about their time in Manila.
In Mindanao, the WPMs assisted in a regional launch of the all-women peacekeeping team in Aleosan and held a roundtable discussion with the 602nd Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, in North Cotabato, and a meeting with the IMT in Cotabato City. Other key interactions included an open forum with a returned internally displaced community in Pikit, and a workshop with women from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The WPMs also spent two days in Lantapan, home of Saway and her Talaandig tribe, where they learned of the peace and leadership traditions of the tribe, and shared their own negotiation and mediation skills with women community leaders. Read Freeman's blog post for more details.
Read about the institute's other work in the Philippines with Arnado and the MPC.
"Sometimes we're drowning, but to be part of [this network] allows me to zoom out and see how other women are doing this work. It gives me another insight."
Cambodia - December 2011
Funded by UN Women
From December 9 to 16, 2011, Woman PeaceMaker Thavory Huot and her organization, Khmer Ahimsa, hosted the third Asia Regional Network. The delegation included institute staff members Dee Aker and Zahra Ismail, Shobha Shrestha of the institute's partner organization in Nepal, and Women PeaceMakers Mary Ann Arnado and Bae Liza Llesis Saway of the Philippines, Zarina Salamat of Pakistan and Manjula Pradeep of India.
At the beginning of the summit, as Aker wrote in a blog post, some of the women attended "Women's Hearings: True Voices of Women during the Khmer Rouge Regime on Sexual Violence," shadow hearings of the Khmer Rouge Tribunals, facilitated by former peace writer Theresa de Langis.
After touring the Cambodian Genocide Museum, the delegation met with several groups, including civil society leaders from the People's Action Forum, women farmers who are trying to be active in local politics, women's and peace nongovernmental organizations in Phnom Penh, and Buddhist and Muslim women's groups in Battambang Province. The peacemakers were also honored with a private meeting with Her Excellency Mu Sochua, a Member of Parliament and human rights activist. Read more from Program Officer Zahra Ismail.
Learn about the institute's work in Cambodia following the Regional Network.
"I have gotten exposed to other realities and work undertaken by WPMs. It has helped me to further collaborate on specific issues."