ICAN and our partners in WASL have always recognized the need to break down silos between the humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding sectors. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated in stark terms how women peacebuilders are present, active, preemptive, and responsive to crises, leveraging limited resources to tackle multiple challenges in fragile contexts. To better respond to situations as they arise and meet the immediate humanitarian and security needs of their communities, women peacebuilders are combining their peacebuilding work with the provision of livelihoods training activities. To complement donor funding, some women peacebuilders are implementing income generation and “self-resourcing” strategies that enable them to autonomously fund and sustain their peacebuilding work.
On Wednesday 15th December, we held the first of an ongoing series of discussions about this expansive topic. In our final thematic WASL call of 2021, WASL members from Yemen, Cameroon, Tajikistan, Libya, Liberia and Syria shared their experiences combining livelihoods support, income-generation and self-resourcing with peacebuilding activities.
The international community needs to take urgent action to ensure Afghan women and girls across all ethnic and religious communities, in urban and rural areas, feel safe and have equal rights and opportunities to a life of dignity, peace, safety and justice.
To achieve this overarching goal, and to ensure that there is no regression in the context of the impending humanitarian crisis, we have stated four key outcomes and offered specific actions by international actors and specific actions by the Taliban.
Given the gendered segregation of society that the Taliban has already instigated, the delivery of aid to women and girls will be even more highly dependent on female Afghan aid workers and local women-led civil society organizations (CSOs). Such organizations have traditionally been the key conduits to reaching the most needy and marginalized sectors of society. They are more essential now.
We have offered 10 practical steps that the UN and other international humanitarian actors can take in designing and implementing their humanitarian response.
“Women peacebuilders run to the problem when everyone else is running away,” said ICAN’s CEO and Founder, Sanam Naraghi Anderlini. This statement could not be truer of award-winning Cameroonian peacebuilder, Esther Omam. Esther’s career has seen her go from development worker to humanitarian responder to mediator and peacebuilder, in the South-West region of Cameroon.