Zareta: A Peacebuilder's Journey in the Heart of Conflict


Zareta Bueza Photo/ UN Women -Nilsa Zibane Ribeiro
Zareta Bueza Photo/ UN Women -Nilsa Zibane Ribeiro

“Ever since I was very little, I was considered stubborn because I didn’t accept behavior that hurt me. In my family, I didn't accept being pushed aside, I didn't tolerate injustice, I always wanted everyone to have equal rights. At the time I didn't know much about human and women's rights, but I also knew that as a human being I deserved to have the same opportunities as everyone else. ”

1 During the civil war, the Gorongosa district was regarded as the epicenter of the conflict between the Renamo and Frelimo parties. From 1981 to mid-1985, the Renamo forces established their primary headquarters in this region, exercising nearly complete control over the war zones. The repercussions of this period were profoundly devastating for the local population, particularly women and girls who endured egregious violations of their human rights. These violations included sexual exploitation, sexual violence, abandonment, and lack of a voice for women and the local population. Women and girls bore the brunt of these atrocities, suffering greatly as a result of the impact of violent conflict on their lives and well-being. Zareta is one of these women.

"My family and I were profoundly affected by the consequences of the conflict in Sofala province, which left me with indelible scars, both physical and emotional. The conflict shattered our once-peaceful community, and its impact was particularly harsh on my daily live. I lost opportunities to pursue my education and secure employment, including living my life in peace."

"But drawing upon the knowledge and skills I acquired from various trainings on gender-based violence (GBV), human rights, and my participation in numerous conferences focused on women, peace, and security provided different organizations including by UN Women, I have been actively engaged in my community as a facilitator, speaker, and peace activist at my community." Since I started in 2018, I was able to hold more than 65 community awareness-raising sessions on Women, Peace, and Security within the Gorongosa communities, reaching approximately 619 women and men, including community leaders. The government admire my strength and will. In my community they even said it was too much for a woman. But I haven't stopped. Today, because of my work, I am invited to government sessions in the district to give my opinion.”

Zareta Bueza, 40 years old is a dedicated activist for women, peace and security, hailing from Mozambique, in Sofala province, Gorongosa district. Over the years, she has emerged as a prominent and respected peacebuilder in the local community, who works tirelessly to promote peace and security in Gorongosa districts. Her efforts have made her a well-known advocate for peace within the local community, among her peers, as well as the different stakeholders, including local Government.

Her work is part of a larger initiative supported by UN Women in partnership with the Government of Norway. This project is dedicated to promoting women's leadership and their active participation in peace, security, and recovery processes in Mozambique.