Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Rural Women Leaders Revise Peace Actions, Proposing Way foward



SNWOT, South West North West Women Taskforce has engaged rural women leaders drawn from all 7 divisions of the NW in discussions to better understand how much work needs to be done in amplifying voices of women in the peace building process.


They met on January 26th, 2022 at Faith Building Ntarinkon, Bamenda to discuss what has been done in the past, what loop holes to fill and proposing what has to be done to attain the much talk about Peace.


Bolima Nancy, Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator for SNWOT and the Focus Group Discussion Lead, says SNWOT is concerned in doing something more, away from what has been done in involving women in Peace Building.

"This focus group discussion is intended to build on their understanding of peace, to get their needs, their challenges, their barriers, their recommendations that we will now use to influence the modules that we are going to develop for capacity building".

Guided by a questionaire, these women showed proof of having different understanding of what peace is all about, stating that there are other sub conflicts that exist in their communities, caused by aspects that require sensitizing the man on the streets.

They cited issues arround inheritance, birthright, the aspect of descrimination, name-calling hatespeech, stigmatization. With all this creating a situation of no trust amongst people living within a community.


Women, being one of the most vulnerable groups in times of conflict, these women say they are not relenting efforts, believing change will come from little actions carried out from individual ends, geared towards Peace building in communities.

"Conflict acessement, looking at root causes of conflict, improving on economic livelihood, respect of rights" are some of the key points advanced during discussions, stating that some key actors can pacify for this to be a reality in their communities.

Despite the ongoing crisis, key actors in peace building exist in rural communities like;
traditional rulers, familly heads, religious authorities, opinion leaders, dialogue communities,
Youth leaders organizations, doing their best to organize group discussions, building healthy minds.

Some of the women complained about being targets as they engage in Peace talks, some of them maintained that their husbands were a hindrance on their moves towards the subject matter.

"I have been faced with confrontations, while identifying the needs of people in the community. This focus group discussion has helped me to identify ideas that can help build peace in my community", a participant told civiclens.

Thus, the fear syndrome became a major barrier, a challenge to advocate for Peace, the problem of no ressources, most especially financial resources and the aspect of caged mindsets, breaking some believes, has been a huge challenge for most of the women.


Some women revealed that they have carried out Peace talks by getting involved with; The 16 days activism against GBV, engaging members of their community in peace talks when they meet at social gatherings, organize games; using sports as a unifying factor.

According to them, one of the ways out of conflict and attaining Peace is by Justice; having an effective electoral process. Stating that some elite have become sell outs and no longer look out for their people; identifying their need and also involve opinion leaders in decision making.

Their opinions about International Communities intervening through their Peace or humanitarian actions, revealed that they don't find their intervention sustainable.

"They re not helping, they are not looking into the root causes of conflict. They come to give food when we have nowhere to cook it. It's like they have a selfish aim"

"They haven't helped us, they are rather worsening the problem, they have not intervened properly, they have selfish gains. They haven't travelled to see realities in the ground, they are doing window dressing solutions", an opinion of a woman from Menchum.


"IDP stuff should go to the persons who need them, people who can afford keep collecting all the time in the pretense of hosting displaced persons, while stopping the real people affected from getting help", a woman from momo.

"Some organizations in one hand, don't get first hand information on what happens on ground, reason why goods get to different beneficiaries", a woman from Batibo stated.


SNWOT's intension is to build a momentum, so that the peace work they do should have it's impact is felt, using different approaches than shouting or whaling on the streets.




By Ndefru Melanie
ndefrumelany@gmail.com
678415536/670426692
civiclensnews@gmail.com
    

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