In 2011, building on the experience and recommendations of nearly a decade of Women PeaceMakers, the IPJ launched Women PeaceMakers Regional Networks, 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.
While the first Regional Network is in Asia, Women PeaceMakers in Africa are ready to replicate the model on their continent. To support the development of the Regional Networks in Africa, Asia or another region, please contact Program Officer Jennifer Freeman.
Partially funded by an International Opportunities Grant from the University of San Diego
From January 26 to February 2, Women PeaceMakers (WPMs) and IPJ staff convened in Nepal as the country continued to navigate a tumultuous path out of its recent decade-long conflict. Supported by the IPJ’s long history and strong institutional ties in the country, WPMs Milet Mendoza and Mary Ann Arnado of the Philippines and Shreen Saroor of Sri Lanka, and IPJ staff members Dee Aker and Jennifer Freeman were hosted by IPJ partner Shobha Shrestha (M.A. in peace and justice studies, '08), executive director of Women for Peace & Democracy - Nepal.
In addition to a strategic planning session to plan future network summits, the WPMs carried out a series of round-table 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.
"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."
- Jamuna Lama, civil society leader
The peacemakers and Aker were also featured on Nepal Television Plus, in two segments in honor of International Women's Day:
Partially funded by UN Women and the Fred J. Hansen Foundation
From May 19 to 27, WPMs Milet Mendoza and Bae Liza Llesis Saway of the Philippines, Thavory Huot of Cambodia, and IPJ staff members Dee Aker and Jennifer Freeman were hosted by the Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC), led by WPM 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 cease-fire 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 (OPAPP), including the presidential adviser herself, Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles. Read this blog post by Aker to learn more about their time in Manila.
"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."
- Mary Ann Arnado, WPM '05
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.
To read about the IPJ's other work in the Philippines with Arnado and the MPC, click here.
Funded by UN Women
From December 9 to 16, WPM Thavory Huot and her organization, Khmer Ahimsa, hosted the third Asia Regional Network. The delegation included IPJ staff members Dee Aker and Zahra Ismail, Shobha Shrestha of the IPJ's partner organization in Nepal, and WPMs 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 NGOs 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.
“I have gotten exposed to other realities and work undertaken by WPMs. It has helped me to further collaborate on specific issues.”
- Manjula Pradeep, WPM '11
To learn about the IPJ's work in Cambodia following the Regional Network, click here.