WPSN-C Joins Global Research on Sustaining Peace

In April, the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) based in New York contacted the Women, Peace and Security Network – Canada (WPSN-C) for support in coordinating the Canadian component of a research project on civil society perceptions of the meaning of sustaining peace for local populations. The research is part of a broader project to amplify the voices of civil society, to ensure that they are part of the global policy discussions on “Sustaining Peace”.

About the research:

“Sustaining Peace” is a new agenda being developed by the UN in response to the findings of the 2015 review of the UN Peacebuilding architecture, which called on broadening the scope of peacebuilding beyond conflict-affected and post-conflict countries, making it clear that peace is everyone’s business and that sustaining peace needs to happen continuously. The findings also highlight the importance of multi-sectoral, locally-driven and locally-owned approaches in ensuring effective peacebuilding and conflict prevention. Continue reading “WPSN-C Joins Global Research on Sustaining Peace”

Survival, Perseverance & a Commitment to Women’s Rights in Uganda: Grace Acan’s Story

by Jo Rodrigues, Gender Consultant, Coach & Trainer for Humanitarian Aid Workers

I had the pleasure of meeting Grace Acan, Project Officer for the Women’s Advocacy Network – WAN Uganda at a meeting convened by Annie Bunting, Project Director of the Conjugal Slavery in War (CSiW) Research Partnership.  

Grace Acan and Jo Rodrigues
Grace Acan and Jo Rodrigues

Grace embodies both the meaning of her name and resilience. Kidnapped when she was a school girl (she was one of the Aboke girls), she escaped, completed her education and went to university. Her memoir was recently published and is available for purchase. She also spoke in detail of her experience and her escape during her interview on CBC’s The Current.

Grace is intent on creating hope and ensuring women impacted by the civil war have the support they need. She was a part of the movement to petition the Ugandan government for reparations for women who returned from captivity under the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The petition was signed by 600 women last year.

In the meeting we learned more about the work CSiW is doing and the challenges Grace and WAN Uganda are facing. One, of many, is a lack of political will from the Ugandan government to make sure women impacted by war have access to programs to support their recovery and reintegration into communities. We discussed strategies to address this including focusing on allies who could relay WAN Uganda’s message to people in positions of power in an effort to change the tide of political will to support these women.

Internationally, awareness and acknowledgement of their efforts is building. This is partly due to podcasts which have been popular with an international audience (They have been downloaded close to 80 000 times between January and February 2018), interviews like Grace’s on The Current and the newly published report Forced Marriage inside the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Uganda Country Report by CSiW.

I shared with Grace WPSN-C’s experience in slowly but surely making progress in finding allies to reinforce our efforts to be heard Grace and folksby the Canadian government, the lessons we have learned and the successes we have had.

I encouraged her to share petitions or other WAN Uganda initiatives with us so that we can support them (as long as there is an alignment with members’ missions and interests given our diverse group).

The meeting ended with a teaser: Annie shared that CSiW is starting work on a People’s Tribunal (similar to the Tokyo’s Women’s Tribunal). Closer to its launch we will learn more. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights will also be opening an exhibit based on the experiences of both Grace Acan and Evelyn Amony when they were captives of the LRA and their subsequent advocacy work for survivors.

It was a great opportunity to share experiences and learn more about the women’s civil society efforts in Uganda. You can learn more about future initiatives via the links below.

Women’s Advocacy Network – WAN Uganda

Conjugal Slavery in War (CSiW) Research Partnership  

WPSN-C Members Participate in Elsie Initiative Design Workshop

Click here for thoughts on the Elsie Initiative
prepared by WPSN-C members late last year.

elsie blogOn February 22 and 23, the Government of Canada hosted a ‘design workshop’ for the Elsie Initiative on increasing the number of women in peace operations. Government officials, female peacekeepers, UN representatives (including the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and UN Women), researchers and civil society representatives spent two days reviewing challenges, opportunities and recommendations. Several members of the WPSN-C participated.

Background

Despite repeated commitments to increasing the number of women serving in military and police posts in peace support operations (with the target of 20%), progress in recent years has been virtually non-existent. As of January 2018, the percentage of women serving as military and police peacekeepers was 3.8% and 10.5% respectively. Continue reading “WPSN-C Members Participate in Elsie Initiative Design Workshop”

An interview with Nooria Sultani, of Women’s Regional Network

WRN blog post

WPSN-C spoke with Nooria Sultani, a Women’s Regional Network associate member from Afghanistan. She was born and raised in Afghanistan, and has been an active member of the Women’s Regional Network for more than two years. WPSN-C had the opportunity to discuss the different objectives and outcomes of the network within Afghanistan from recent years. We were excited to speak with her about her experiences working within the network pertaining to the challenges and triumphs they have experienced over time.

Can you please briefly outline how the WRN works?

WRN amplifies the voices of unheard, marginalized women, and together addresses the interlinked issues of peace and security, justice and governance and growing militarization in South Asia. To this end, WRN connects women peace advocates, is committed to working collectively within and across national borders in an open, respectful, learning environment.  WRN presents an effective flexible platform for collaborating on research and analysis, joint advocacy and representation, and the implementation of well-designed initiatives. WRN develops and delivers specific advocacy campaigns to ensure that grassroots women’s concerns and their voices directly shape political discourse, policy development and program implementation

Continue reading “An interview with Nooria Sultani, of Women’s Regional Network”

Sweden and Canada: Feminist trailblazers but are they really promoting security for all?

Photo - WPS Panel
From left to right: Heather Grant, Ambassador of Canada to Sweden; Diana Sarosi, WPSN-C member; Annika Schabbauer, Director of Operation 1325 and Annika Söder, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Sweden.

By Diana Sarosi, Manager of Policy at Oxfam Canada and WPSN-C Steering Committee member

In Stockholm, the Canadian Embassy in Sweden is well known for its November event on Women, Peace and Security. Organized in collaboration with Operation 1325, a Swedish civil society organization that monitors the implementation of the Swedish National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security (WPS), the event brings together government officials and Swedish civil society to discuss the progress Sweden has made in implementing its NAP. This year, the event was slightly different. For the first time the Canadian embassy invited a Canadian civil society organization – the Women, Peace and Security Network – Canada – to present its analysis of Canada’s progress internationally over the past year. And Canada has a lot to be proud of.

In June 2017, Minister of International Cooperation, Marie-Claude Bibeau, launched the groundbreaking feminist international assistance policy. The policy puts women’s rights and gender equality at the heart of Canada’s aid and prioritizes support to local women’s rights organizations. Then in November 2017, Canada released its long-awaited second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (CNAP). Continue reading “Sweden and Canada: Feminist trailblazers but are they really promoting security for all?”