At 8pm every evening since February 1, 2021 hundreds of thousands across Myanmar bang pots and pans to demonstrate their non-violent resistance to the military coup. This symbolic act is part of the Red Ribbon campaign, a nationwide Civil Disobedience Movement. The movement’s message is clear, explains May Sabe Phyu, Director of the Gender Equality Network (GEN) and a member of WASL: “We are not afraid; we are resisting the coup.”
“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. Esther has negotiated humanitarian access into some of the most remote and dangerous pockets of the Anglophone Crisis and in 2019, she successfully persuaded key non-state armed group leaders to lift a three-year school ban.
At a time of significant global foreign policy challenges, the Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues is stepping up their game with a focused effort on the implementation of the U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) and the U.S Department of State Plan to Implement the U.S. Strategy on WPS. Ambassador-At-Large for Global Women’s Issues Kelley E. Currie joined a weekly Zoom meeting with the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) on August 27, 2020.
On July 15, 2019, the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Prevention Project—Organizing Against Violent Extremism, and the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), convened a day-long expert roundtable on the margins of the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development.
Stories of women peacebuilders don’t often make it to the headlines. However, they are part of the longest-standing, socially-rooted transnational groups mobilizing for peace, women’s rights and security, and providing an alternative vision for the future.