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Latest From ICAN

Carrying the Weight of Caring for Communities and Countries: Women Peacebuilders and COVID-19

Carrying the Weight of Caring for Communities and Countries: Women Peacebuilders and COVID-19

As some countries begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, for many others, respite is not on the horizon. During the eighth virtual meeting of the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) on May 21, 2020, women peacebuilders highlighted some tough truths about worsening poverty, mismanaged Covid-19 funds, tragic events that have been largely ignored, and feelings of desertion by the international community.

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Carrying the Weight of Caring for Communities and Countries: Women Peacebuilders and COVID-19

As some countries begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, for many others, respite is not on the horizon. During the eighth virtual meeting of the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) on May 21, 2020, women peacebuilders highlighted some tough truths about worsening poverty, mismanaged Covid-19 funds, tragic events that have been largely ignored, and feelings of desertion by the international community.

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How is the Pandemic Exacerbating Extremisms?

The discussion in the third WASL virtual meeting addressed the question: how is the pandemic exacerbating or alleviating xenophobia, ethno-nationalism, religious or other extremisms and are there gendered dimensions to this?
Around the world, women peacebuilders report an uptick in hate speech, xenophobia, and extremist messaging. In The Maldives, for example, extremists are recruiting by brainwashing people into believing the pandemic is the wrath of God for not following religious instruction. In Sri Lanka, Islamic burial rites are being denied despite complying with WHO guidelines and Muslims are being portrayed in mainstream media as spreading the disease. Elsewhere it is the government’s poor or biased response that is feeding into extremist narratives. In Cameroon, for example, responses threaten to exacerbate the conflict because only prisoners from certain regions were given clemency to alleviate the crowding in prisons.

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Women Peacebuilders Responding to Covid-19 – Virtual Calls Summary

Starting from April 2, 2020, and on weekly basis, some 30+ members of Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) gather for a two-hour virtual meeting.
Here you can download summaries of discussions that took place and know What the Women Say about the situation in their countries, ongoing challenges, early warning signs, and local women peacebuilders’ response.

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ICAN’s Statement on our Gender- and Conflict-Sensitive Response to COVID-19

As we watch our own leaders react, we at ICAN are reminded and humbled by the strength and dignity of our partners in the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL). For years they have faced the threat of war and militarism, of displacement and life-threatening diseases, and at each turn, they have stepped up to the plate to be the first responders in their communities. To support them, we are adapting our activities to respond to the current crisis, while retaining our focus on inclusive peacebuilding and prevention of violent extremism.
Please read the statement to know how ICAN is responding to COVID-19.

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Our Work

Presents a pragmatic guidance for the inclusion of women peacebuilders, and offers proactive steps to broaden participation.

Preventing extremism by promoting rights, peace and pluralism. Enabling strategic collaboration between women peacebuilders.

Provides a mechanism for regular high-level civil society-government dialogue on issues related to preventing extremism.

Provides grants and technical assistance to partners to support local solutions in promoting peace and countering extremism.

“I truly believe that a small group, like ICAN, of very committed women, can get the message across that there is not going to be a sustainable solution to extremism without including women”

– Senator Mobina Jaffer

“ICAN has one agenda, and it is Peace.”

– Sri Lankan woman peacebuilder

“ICAN provides a safe open space and a healthy environment for discussions that will bring about the needed change.”

– Palestinian woman peacebuilder

“Through ICAN, our work reached international platforms for the first time, including the UN.”

– Iraqi woman peacebuilder

“ICAN brings together women that have worked with extremist groups and within very violent conflicts. I share and learn new strategies from them.”

– Ugandan woman peacebuilder

The diversity I found in ICAN helps me and nurtures my experience and enables me to go forward”

– Tunisian women peacebuilder

“ICAN helps us learn new strategies through sharing experiences with other women from different countries”

– Somali woman peacebuilder

Issues and Approaches

Civil society is the space in which most women leaders – committed to peace, social justice, and progressive values – are active. Yet they are under pressure to conform to state policies or fall silent for fear of retribution from extremist groups. Know more about the issues.

We work in equal partnership with our network to develop and establish a unique platform for regional collaboration and learning amongst women leaders and organizations. Know more about our strategy.

We support women civil society leaders through advocacy, training, dialogue facilitation, and information generation, sharing, and exchange. Know more about our work.

Preventing Violent Extremism, Protecting Rights and Community Policing

"There is no trade-off between policing and human rights. Policing at its best should be the guardian and amplifier of human rights in society."

Sir Stephen House QPM

From the Ground Up – The Nexus of Economic Policy, Gender and Violent Extremism

"Human Rights provide a very powerful normative lens to evaluate how economic policy works."

Dr. Radhika Balakrishnan

Education, Identity and Rising Extremism

"The most dangerous world views are the views of those who have never viewed the world."

Noufal Abboud

Uncomfortable Truths, Unconventional Wisdoms – WASL Security Brief

"Help us talk. Don't just arm us to kill."

Woman Peacebuilder

Invisible Women: Gendered Dimensions of Return, Rehabilitation and Reintegration from Violent Extremism

“10-13 percent of foreign citizens who joined ISIL between 2013 and 2018 are women.”

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