Handbooks Amplifying Women’s Role in Peace and Security Processes in Africa Launched

Date: 17 July 2017

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: The African Union Commission Office of the Special Envoy (OSE) on Women, Peace and Security and UN Women jointly launched a handbook on Practicing Gender- Responsive Reporting in Conflict Affected Countries in Africa”, on the margins of the 4th African Union High-Level Panel on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in Africa. During the same occasion, the Office of the Special Envoy also launched a booklet on, “African Women Mediators and Election Observers”.

The handbook on Gender Responsive Reporting seeks to promote reporting that accurately portrays women’s lives in conflict and post-conflict contexts – highlighting the whole range of their roles and strengths as well as the impact of conflict in their lives. It also aims to strengthen the reporters’ skills and craft of information sharing, reporting and ultimately contribute to achieving Agenda 2063 as well as the continental vision of Silencing the Guns by 2020. It is the culmination of a joint initiative that brought together African reporters and journalists from different parts of the continent representing the breadth of media for a two-day capacity building workshop at the African union Commission in October 2016.

The booklet on African Women Mediators and Election Observers aims to pool in an easily accessible document women’s expertise in mediation and election observation in Africa, and to facilitate and promote their effective participation in peace processes in Africa. This is the first edition of the endeavor. It is far from capturing the dearth of women’s expertise on these critical areas of peace-building. It is the hope of the Office of the Special Envoy that its publication will encourage many more women to provide their details and join the drive to enhance women’s participation in the transformation of the continent towards Agenda 2063, with the active involvement of young women.

Speaking at the launch, Special Envoy Mme Bineta Diop reiterated the mandate of her office, which is to, “Ensure that women’s voices are heard much more clearly in peace building, and to advocate for more women to be at the peace table.” She also thanked UN Women for the fruitful collaboration, the governments of Norway and Spain for their support towards the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda, and called on all stakeholders to work in synergy for a united, peaceful and prosperous Africa in which women’s rights and the rights of the vulnerable are respected.

Mrs. Letty Chiwara, UN Women Representative to Ethiopia, the African Union and ECA, stated that, “The role of women in conflict prevention, social transformation, community engagement, and in addressing issues of exclusion and structural violence is critical for the achievement of sustainable peace”. She added that, “UN Women recognizes and understands the need for reformulation of narratives when telling African stories on women, peace and security, especially the imperative by the media to document positive stories of resilience and commitment to peace by women”.

It must be recalled that in October 2016, the workshop of journalists had led to the creation of a Network of African Reporters on Women, Peace and Security. As part of its initial activities, the newly formed network had participated in an Open Session of the African Union Peace and Security Council on, “The role of the media in enhancing accountability on women, peace and security commitments in Africa.

The launch of both handbooks which took place at the African Union Commission, was attended by African ministers of gender and women empowerment, members of civil society organizations, journalists and bloggers who strongly believe that Africa’s peace and development can only be achieved by the full inclusion and participation of women and youths. Both books will be available in soft copies on both the AU and UN Women websites. The hard copies shall be distributed at a later stage upon request.

More information:
  • Helen Yosef Hailu, helen.yosef(@)unwomen.org, +251 911 126098
  • Paschal Chem-Langhee, chem-langheep(@)africa-union.org