By Simon D
Mothers Of Hope Cameroon (MOHCAM) in collaboration with Women Mediators Across the Commonwealth for members of Women Peacebuilders Network (WOPEN) organized a 3-days workshop on strengthening women’s capacity on peacebuilding and security from the 15- 17 December, 2020 at Hill Park Hotel in Bamenda.
The workshop holding under the theme, “Strengthening the capacities of the women peacebuilders network in mediation and peace-building process in the North-West Region” was aimed at sharing experiences with other Women’s networks, represented to build a synergy for a sustainable women, peace and security agenda. The workshop also aimed at providing psychosocial support on mental health, training on PPE production for Covid-19, all geared towards improving skills of women peacebuilders in PPE production, psychosocial support and building resilient feminist network in times of war and the pandemic.
Prominent amongst the various participants was the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF-Cameroon); represented by the North-West Focal Point, Bongwong Justin Berinyuy who explained the journey of WILPF-Cameroon in the women, peace and security agenda. In this light WILPF as a key actor on the UNSC Resolution 1325 stand behind UN Women, MINPROFF on women, peace and security agenda.
According to Bongwong Justin, WILPF has started creating a poll of NGOs to create awareness on the said agenda that has four major pillars; Participarion, Relief, Protection and Prevention.
It is worthy of notice that globally the participation of women in national commissions and by extension decision-making is not ensured. Thus, there is much work to be done in this light.
This point was examplified on the fact that MINPROFF is in charge of the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) of the UNSC Resolution 1325 in Cameroon but commissions such as the Disarmament Commission completely excludes MINPROFF from it. Making the commission non-exclusive. Also, the recent happenings in Kumba which saw the massacre of school children have demonstrated the violation of the UNSC Resolution 1325. This directly violates or contradicts the protection of women and children which is stated in the Resolution.
He further stated that WILPF-Cameroon is ready to support every civil society to support the agenda because there is the dire need for women to come in because during crisis suffering women easily open up to women than men. He cited the Columbian example which proved to be a success.
In the presentation, the brief update was given on the circumstances leading to the development of the NAP for the UNSC Resolution 1235 which started in 2012 bringing together a group of civil society organizations and the challenges involved such as budget constraints, lack of implementation of policies among others.
WILPF Cameroon has worked tirelessly in leadership and participation of Women in Peace Agenda, Protection of Women and girls in the processes and in this regard WILPF has formed a network to handle the 4 pillars of the UNSC Resolution 1325.
-There is optimism in building a stronger platform, need to support local initiatives, supporting the peace building, no matter how small.
-Reiterating on the importance of the early warning mechanisms as it is necessary working hand in gloves with WOPEN and other women groups creating more activities to attain the objectives though the UNSC Resolution 1325 has many impediments. For example, majority of have sidelined the agenda because they think the movement is for women and also that women want to take over.
The presented ended with a question and answer session in which participants were clarified of their doubts as well as gave their own suggestions.
WOPEN is non-partisan association of female activists and civil society organizations from the conflicted North-West Region of Cameroon who seek to effectively contribute to finding long lasting solutions to the ongoing crisis. The training session was aimed at strengthening the capacities of women leaders in the domain of peace and security.