Advocacy committee’s coordination meeting

Following the advocacy meeting of the Advocacy Committee for Increasing Women’s Participation in the Peace Process with HPC’s secretariat, WCLRF facilitated a coordination meeting between the committee members on May 30, 2017 at AWN’s main office. The meeting aimed to discuss and set the selection criteria of qualified candidates to be included in the HPC’s structure, and to finalize the list of qualified candidates for their inclusion in Provincial Peace Committees as well as to introduce the qualified candidates to HPC before June 01, 2017.
During the meeting the committee members discussed and finalized the criteria and based on those criteria, five people were nominated as the secretariat’s advisor and four people as head of office. Finally, it was decided that the nominees must send their CVs to WCLRF by the end of today and WCLRF will share it with HPC’s secretariat

Advocacy Committee’s Bi-monthly Coordination Meeting

The first bi-monthly coordination meeting of Advocacy Committee for Increasing Women’s Participation in the Peace Process was held at WCLRF’s main office on April 24, 2017. The meeting generally aimed to coordinate between members of the advocacy committee and to introduce the new members to the committee and its mandates and most importantly to determine the committee’s future activities.
The committee members agreed to contemplate on the title and contents of the Women’s manifesto on Peace, Security and Political Participation which is intended to be developed for the candidates of the upcoming parliamentary elections. All the same, the participants talked on the committee’s brief note which is about to be shared with the state officials and emphasized that the proposed issues must be clear, exact and to the point in order to have their commitments in the aftermath. They promised to give their comments within a week.

Engendering the Peace Process through Meaningful Engagement of Women

Women and Children Legal Research Foundation )WCLRF( conduted a conference through which unveiled the guideline titled: “Engendering the Peace Process through Meaningful Engagment of Women”. The guideline which was developed based on WCLRF:2015 research report, in addition to identifying the challenges, models of inclusion in other countries, and success stories of women , present cruicial recommendation to increase women’s participation in the peace process.
In this conference, after presenting the guideline by Mr. Mohammad Ali Fakur, Mrs. Zarqa Yaftali, WCLRF director, Mr. Zia Moballegh, HBS- Afghanistan director, Mrs. Habiba Sarabi, deputy of HPC, Mr. Riaz Sediqi, Mrs. Samira Hamidi and Mrs. Humaira Saqib, civil rights activists talked about their organizations’ comitments to support and implement the guideline. The speakers also talked about the importance of empowering women and their contribution to peace-related initiatives.

Awareness Raising training sessions for 300 women

WCLRF conducted 10 training sessions for 300 women from Balkh and Nangarhar on December 2016 to January 2017. The training sessions addressed a wide range of women participants including youths, women’s rights activists and governmental staff. The main objective of the training sessions was to enable women to fight for their fundamental rights, especially their political rights and their inclusion in the peace processes. Besides, they were taught about the contents of a manual to understand the basic definition of peace, the role of women in this process and how best they would impact on the consequences of local peace-building initiatives. The participants greatly welcomed the sessions, promising to spread the message of the session in their communities and contribute to development issues, especially with respect to the local peace initiatives. The trainer conducted pre and post assessment to evaluate the level of awareness of the participants before and after conducting the training. And as our evaluation forms show, enormous changes came about directly after teaching the training materials.

Focus Group Discussion with Women’s rights activists

Women and Children Legal Research Foundation (WCLRF) conducted the third Focused Group Discussion (FGD) on August 29, 2016 with women’s rights activists. The FGD aimed to collect rich data for developing the intended guideline: “Engendering the Afghanistan Peace Process through Meaningful Engagement of Women”. The guideline which was planned to be developed based upon and act as a tool for advocating WCLRF’s 2015 research on women’s participation in the peace process.

In this session different topics including women’s impacts on peace process, women’s direct contribution to formal and informal peace process, how women have tried to shift the policy agenda in the peace process, dilemmas in peacemaking and barriers to women’s meaningful participation and what are the specific challenges women face in the community. The participants some which had come from Farza and Mirbacha Kot clearly stated women’s challenges and problems in the concerned districts and that women are involved in community peace-making process.

Focus Group Discussion with HPC members

In 2015 WCLRF launched a research report titled: “Women’s Participation in the Peace Process”. The research targeted HPC’s achievements, challenges and barriers to women’s participation in the peace process and the recommendations which best support women’s participation. The most prevailing recommendations to National Unity Government, HPC and international community were to: increase the number of women in the peace process, establish defined, clear and effective roles for women in the peace process, transfer women’s involvement from informal to formal peace processes, coordinate peace and security efforts among the networks and institutions working for peace, provide the information related on peace for citizens, especially for women, include women’s participation in the national action plan and the plan for the implementing resolution 1325, establish an advocacy committee and /or a practical guideline to follow up with women’s demands, and supports by international community.

To follow up the recommendations of WCLRF’s research report on “Women’s participation in the peace process” in 2015, to develop a guideline for strengthening women’s roles in the peace process, WCLRF conducted a Focused Group Discussion (FGD) on August 22, 2016 with women members of High Peace Council (HPC). The FGD aimed to accumulate rich data for developing the intended guideline: “Engendering the Afghan Peace Process through Meaningful Engagement of Women”.

In this session different topics including women’s impact on peace process, dilemmas in peacemaking and barriers to women’s participation and strategies for meaningful participation were thoroughly discussed. The participants stated women’s challenges and achievements, and provided information on the functionality of new HPC composition, the strategy on which HPC is currently working and the recommendations which support women’s meaningful participation both in peace processes and the other socio-political eras.

Women’s Participation in Peace Process

Without women, peace processes are not sustainable, pervasive, or just. Considering gender before, during, and after the peace process is synonymous with overseeing the balance and harmony of the peace. This approach emphasizes female participation and believes in a compromise between the genders when approaching peace, developing expectations of peace, and establishing pre-conditions in peace processes. This gender-inclusive approach allows men and women to participate equally in peace building and contribute equally to the implementation of peace programs; this participation should allow both men and women the independence to express their needs for a peace building process, as opposed to creating a predominantly male discussion that women simply uphold. Therefore, while a peace process will never be ideal, we can say that a gender-responsive peace process has the potential to contribute to a comprehensive peace process that is as fair and balanced as possible. A peace that is based on the omission, denial, and subjugation of women would be fragile; the peace would be simply prejudice, as well as promote violence against women and the repetition of a chain of violence and conflicts. In addition to examining the participation of women in peace processes, it is important to also look at the deliverables of a peace agreement. In one part of the research, “peace” and “peace process” should be defined.

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