Special Project on Women and a Culture of Peace in Africa (1998-1999), and Follow-up to the Zanzibar Conference (2000-2001)

The goal of this project is to strengthen women’s roles as promoters of a culture of peace both at the national and regional level. This is being done through:

(i) the development of case studies on women’s traditional conflict resolution and mediating practices in seven countries in Africa;

(ii) gender-sensitive training for a culture of peace; and

(iii) generally lending support to women’s initiatives for peace and networking opportunities, including through modern communication means and women peace missions to conflict areas.

A training module, based in part on the case studies and developed in conjunction with the Forum of African Women Educationalists (FAWE) will be used notably for reconciliation and trauma healing in post conflict countries as of autumn 2000.

A Pan African Women’s Conference on a Culture of Peace and Non-violence was held in Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania (May 1999), providing a forum for African women to develop their own agenda for conflict resolution, peace-building and reconciliation. The Conference launched an African Women’s Peace Movement, adopted the Zanzibar Declaration: Women of Africa for a Culture of Peace and a Women’s Agenda for a Culture of Peace in Africa. The Declaration calls for increased women’s participation in decision making, peace promotion, networking between African and international women’s movements, and resource mobilization. It advocates for demilitarization and disarmament of the continent and women’s full access to and use of communication technology for peace promotion. The Agenda enumerates specific actions to be undertaken at the community, national, regional and international level to ensure gender equality and the full empowerment of women. Both documents were given strong support at the Summit of African Heads of States and Governments, (OAU, Algeria, July 1999) and by the 30th General Conference of UNESCO, (Paris, November 1999).
‘Women, who historically have developed care-taking functions, have an important role to play in transforming the culture of violence into a culture of peace. A culture of peace does more than accept or tolerate difference. It is based upon the appreciation and respect of the ‘other’, drawing strength from diversity. A culture of peace that strives to root out injustices, discrimination, poverty and violence, can only be achieved within the context of full equality between women and men.’

UNESCO Agenda for Gender Equality (1995)

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