WOMEN PEACE & SECURITY ONLINE COURSE
WRN's second online course on Women Peace and Security was launched on 31st August 2019.
The course for 2019 has 37 participants across Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka. The first session was conducted by Rukhshanda Naz and Swarna Rajagopalan (WRN Board Members) as well as eminent peace practitioners and human rights defenders in South Asia.
After an introduction to WRN and its work to amplify the voices of women in conflict zones, the session moved on to an engaging discussion between the lecturers and the students on how we understand the words “ women", “ peace" and “ security" in the South Asian context of our lived experiences.
Ms. Mavic Carbrera Balleza was the Resource Person for the second session on September 16th,2019. She is the CEO of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders and a pioneer in her efforts to localise the UNSCR 1325.
Despite being on a virtual platform, the session witnessed a thriving interaction between Ms.Mavic and the participants discussing both the successes and challenges in localising UNSCR 1325 in different countries and contexts.
On September 28th, 2019 Ms. Neelam Hussain, eminent academic and gender-justice activist from Pakistan and Ms. Samira Hamidi, passionate human rights defender from Afghanistan came together to discuss with the participants the varied aspects of the gendered impact of conflict. The session highlighted how violence against women operates as a continuum of violence both in times of war and supposed peace.
The RPs shared an over view on gendered impact of conflict and increased militarization- where patriarchal abuses are increased- and the associated negotiation of women's experiences. In addition it also on the importance of women's inclusion in the peace processes.
On October 12th, eminent scholar-activist Rita Manchanda from India, and lawyer, scholar, activist Shreen Saroor from SriLanka delivered a lecture on Women in violent political struggles - case studies from India, Nepal and SriLanka. Challenging the notions like women are only passive victims in conflict, the RPs discussed the role played by women as active combatants in different armed struggles, and the subsequent discriminatory gendered treatment meted out to them both within these groups and in the society. The questions that emerged were of particular interest to the participants.Do women join such armed factions for the same reasons as men?, and what is the ongoing agenda of women in state militaries? The discussion indicated that having women on board in any such faction, whether by state or non-state actors doesn't necessarily make it feminist. In fact, in most cases, it is observed that it works to the contrary.
On November 16th, 2019, popular social activist and women’s rights defender Abha Bhaiya (India) facilitated a discussion on What Security means from a feminist perspective . The session brought forth discussions on the participants understanding and definitions of a conflict zone and their views on whether peace and security is a gendered issue. Taking the discussion on security forward, the participants were also introduced to the distinctions between national and human security paradigms. Participants were specifically interested in knowing how a state centered security paradigm in South Asia adversely impacted the lives of common people.
On November 23rd, 2019, Najla Ayoubi former judge from Afghanistan, facilitated the session on Reparative Justice, Accountability and Peace -building - gendered dimensions of reconstructions and reconciliation. It focused on the lack of women’s inclusion in peace processes and the subsequent failure of the recent Afghan peace talks.The discussion also brought in the accountability of national and international power-players. along with domestic factors like corruption at the societal level and lack of commitment from local powers in regard to the failure of Reparative Justice in Afghanistan’s context was also discussed.
For Session 7, held on December 7, 2019 Farhat Asif, who is also a WRN Board Member, spoke about Youth, Peace and Security for the first half of the session. For the second half, Nighat Dad from Digital Rights Foundation delivered a talk on Virtual Platforms and Social Media- how to start changing the World from your desk! Farhat Asif acquainted the participants with UN Resolution 2250 and stressed upon the need for involving youth in peace processes to achieve duarable and long lasting peace in the world. Nighat Dad, an expert on digital security,talked about the ongoing online harassment of women human rights defenders, popular online responses to the #MeToo campaign, and how youth can contribute to the creation of an all inclusive, peaceful and tolerant society with the effective use of these virtual platforms.
Huma Fouladi spoke on Early Warning systems in Conflict analysis, and case study of minority hazara women in Balochistan on December 20th, 2019. Talking about the systemic targetting of the hazara community in Balochistan province, she highlighted the sufferings of Hazara women due to the violence inflicted upon them for a decade and more. She also talked about their struggles in restoring peace and ensuring security for the Hazara Community living in Balochistan It was also discussed how early warning systems are connected with security of the people, and the responsibility of the state in securing them for long lasting peace.
Film-maker and WPS practitioner, Jamie Dobie conducted the final session on December 21st,2019. She shared her expertise on creatively using media and storytellying to foster WPS agenda. Addressing practical questions like how to use film-making and story-telling for measurable change impacting WPS work, she discussed how the narration of stories - the how, why, who, for whom - are important considerations and powerful tools to shift power. In order to facilitate the learning process, a short film Women, War and Peace was shared with them prior to the session that documented case studies of women’s struggles form Afghanistan, Liberia and Northern Ireland.
Founded in 2011, The Women’s Regional Network, is a network of women civil society leaders from Afghanistan, India and Pakistan working together to strengthen women’s rights to ensure peace and security in the region. WRN is animated by a vision of women working collaboratively within and across borders, listening and learning from each other to construct a common agenda towards equitable development in building a just peace.
ABOUT THE COURSE
to provide a sound basis to young women, men and students on the basic pillars of women, peace and security and why it is important in the South Asian context.
WRN, in 2017, had identified that there exists across the three countries a gap among the youth to understand issues related to Gender, Peace and Security (GPS); and the need for a basic training for young women and men on such issues.. WRN believes that sustained and continued efforts are required to promote an understanding among young people on the subject of GPS and is launching its second online training course from September - December, 2019. The first edition of the course ran successfully from October 2017 - May 2018, where 24 learners from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India engaged with each other and interacted with women peace practitioners and eminent activists not only from South Asia but also from Africa and the USA. The course covered various pillars of WPS - Prevention, Protection, Participation, Relief and Recovery. In addition, it also included sessions on Gendered dimensions of Reconstruction and Reconciliation, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding, Countering gender stereotypes and violent extremism, forced displacements and migrations, using the cyber-space to foster social movements, and feminist move ments in South Asia.
The objectives of the online courses are:
- To introduce the concepts of WPS to the students building upon existing relevant training courses
- To ensure the concepts are applied within the local and regional context
- To maintain a larger regional feminist lens with which to view WPS, UNSCR 1325 and UNGR 30 and its contents
- To introduce students to the various movements and campaigns related to WPS and opportunities of continuing their work on WPS
Developing linkages with the students and academicians, practitioners, policy makers and mid-career professionals related to the subject as a mentorship opportunity.
WRN charges No fees to impart this training as it understandsthe constraints on students. However, candidates are expected to demonstrate continued commitment to these issues both through the duration of the course and after.
Masters Students, newly graduated students from M.A. Programs in related fields of social science.
Young professional working in related fields, Including but not limited to people from or living in conflict zones.