12-14 October 2022 (KAMPALA, Uganda): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Mediation Support Unit (MSU) organized a capacity building workshop for women in refugee camps on mediation skills and knowledge transfer in order to work as mediators in their own right. Following continuous attempts by women’s organizations and NGOs trying to support vulnerable women, the convention brought together women of all ages and cultures from different refugee camps in Uganda, namely kiryandongo, Rhino camp, Bidibidi, Ayilo, imvepi , etc. Participants discussed issues regarding peacebuilding in South Sudan and life in the camp.
In light of MSU’s efforts on conflict prevention through preventive diplomacy and mediation, and building the capacity of Member State institutions and civil society groups, MSU organized this workshop to build the capacity of civil society groups. women in refugee camps and increase their knowledge of alternative conflict resolution mechanisms.
Women are often the foundation of a family, a community and a nation. They are an embodiment of humanity. Women can influence, persuade and manipulate any situation or person in a direction of their choosing in a positive or negative way. When properly equipped with the necessary skills, they are the best assets for peacekeeping and coexistence at all levels. Most of them now live in refugee camps across the region. Equipping them with the skills necessary for peacebuilding was an assurance that they would be motivated to become mediators and preachers of peace as well as a hope for others. It is essential that women in refugee camps have the capacity to speak out and defend their rights and the rights of others; address issues of concern to agencies that are in a position to provide assistance when needed. This workshop aimed to uplift the women in the camps and provide them with skills not only to survive, but also to become politically aware and live hopeful and positive lives despite the complex situation.
MSU Director Dr. Aleu Garang in his closing remarks acknowledging the efforts of these women in peacebuilding urged women to continue to be part of the peace process in their different capacities “the inclusive process remains on the table, there would be people who are not necessarily in conflict but they are affected by conflict, including women, young people, CSOs, even political groups and encourage them, this is the best practice” in IGAD processes, only South Sudan cases are implemented.
The women pointed out that the instability in the homeland that kept them in the camps threatened the very progress of advocacy because they lived in constant fear of saying the wrong thing or being targeted for demanding that their voice be heard. heard. However, forgiveness was a suggestion they recommended for recovery and peace dialogue.
As a resolution, they said involving more women in the mediation process could help bridge the gaps between conflict, poverty, gender equality and inclusive work globally.
The workshop was organized with the financial support of the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) through the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) under the IPPSHAR programme.