Women mediators are involved in significant mediation and peacebuilding efforts within communities, at national and regional levels and in international spaces, and yet their participation remains largely invisible.
Women’s experiences as victims/survivors and the fascination with women as combatants and supporters of violent movements has gained attention, but women who emerge as mediators and peacebuilders are still marginalised. In part, this is due to the assumption that peace processes are exclusive domains that should be limited to warring factions and political parties. It is also due to lack of understanding among international actors of women mediators work, approaches and substantive expertise in security and peace related issues.
In this event, members of the Women Mediators from across the Commonwealth Network from several regions of West Africa, Pacific and South Asia, will discuss what it means to be a mediator across different spaces. They will explore the value of mediation and peacebuilding within community spaces and how this work can enhance and link with the regional, national and international peace processes and mechanisms.
Sanam Naraghi Anderlini is Founder and CEO of the International Civil Society Action Network and member of the Women Mediators from across the Commonwealth Network.
Over the last two decades, Ezabir has done extensive work on the psycho-social healing and economic development of women in Jammu and Kashmir. Ezabir established SAMANBAL a ‘safe and inclusive space’ for women across the three regions of the State (Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh), who had become deeply divided over time, to dialogue and build relationship. Ezabir is the Founder/Secretary to EHSAAS, a non-governmental policy group working on advocacy for the rights of women in Jammu and Kashmir. She is also a Board member of the Jammu and Kashmir voluntary Health and Development Association, and a consultant/partner for Conciliation Resources' gender work in South Asia.
Esther Omam Njomo
Omam Esther has worked on development issues in Cameroon for nearly 20 years mostly in the South West Region of the country. She is currently coordinating humanitarian activities in the South West Region with UN agencies. Esther has held many posts of responsibility within the civil society sector including as Executive Director of Reach Out Cameroon and General Coordinator of the South West/North West Women Task Force (SNOWT). She is currently providing practical assistance to support a team from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in a fact-finding mission on the current Cameroonian crisis.
Barbara Sangare (Bangura) is a peace activist with more than twenty years’ experience in community peacebuilding, peace processes and WPS, with particular expertise on elections violence and mediation. She established and coordinated a women’s NGO called Grassroots Empowerment for Self-Reliance (GEMS) in Sierra Leone from 1998 to 2012 through which she trained community women on peacebuilding and mediated in community peace and reconciliation processes after the ten-year civil war in Sierra Leone.
Barbara was the International Coordinator of the Women’s Situation Room for peaceful elections in Africa from 2013 to January 2019 during which she co-mediated election-related conflicts between political parties and Elections Management Bodies, the most noteworthy being during the presidential elections of Kenya in 2013, and more recently in the tense presidential elections of March 2018 in Sierra Leone.
Rose Pihei is the Director of a civil society organization Bougainville Integrated Community Learning Centre, based in Buin, south of Bougainville. She represented the women of South Bougainville on the Women’s Reserve seat in the Autonomous Bougainville Government from June 2010 to June 2015. She was the only female Minister in a fourteen-member Bougainville Executive Council. Rose was driven to the political arena by her passion to create and influence change in women’s leadership and secure a safe region for the people through peacebuilding activities in Bougainville. She had successfully created some change, the most significant the initiation of the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.
About the Women Mediators from across the Commonwealth (WMC) Network
The WMC network was launched in July 2018. It is a diverse network of women from many different backgrounds, ages and contexts and experiences of peacebuilding and mediation, and is a member of the Global Alliance of Women Mediators which was launched in September 2019. The network is member led and aims to respond to the needs and requirements of the members through regular communications and events, sharing of good practices, skills development, peer to peer exchange and joint advocacy. One of the key aims of the network is to increase the visibility and value of women mediators to ensure that UNSCR 1325 is effectively implemented. Read more on the Conciliation Resources site