Jose de Vries
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The Women Peacemakers Program (WPP) works to support and empower women peace activists with its activities focusing on Education and Training; Regional and Global Networking; Documentation and Dissemination; as well as Gender Mainstreaming. The WPP actively advocates the recognition of women’s experiences of war and conflict and the integration of a gender perspective in peacebuilding processes. The WPP recognizes that it is crucial to consider ideas about masculinities and femininities when taking a gender perspective on peacebuilding.
Since 2002, the WPP has been training women activists in gender-sensitive active nonviolence, through its Training of Trainers Program (ToT). In 2003, the WPP started including sessions on “Masculinities” in its annual ToTs for women peacemakers, and those have been met with much enthusiasm.
In 2009, in response to women’s voices in the field, the WPP initiated a pilot ToT “Overcoming Violence: Exploring Masculinities, Violence, and Peacebuilding” for male peace activists, to:
- explore the concept of masculinities in relation to issues of violence and peace;
- train male peacebuilders in gender-sensitive nonviolent peace-building;
- create a pool of male gender-sensitive active nonviolence trainers who work together with women peacemakers on peacebuilding through gender-sensitive active nonviolence
This ToT brought together 19 men from 17 countries. Upon returning home from the first block of the ToT cycle (2009 training), the male participant was linked to a female support person from his own region and/or country who supported him in the development and implementation of his follow-up plan. After a few months, the participant returns for the second block of the ToT cycle (2010 training).
In the upcoming five years (2011-2015), the WPP will continue to support the empowerment of gender-sensitive women and men for the transformation of conflict through active nonviolence, through its activities; including Nonviolence Education and Training (which involves Building Skills and Knowledge on Gender-Sensitive Active Nonviolence (GSANV) ), regional and global capacity building and networking, and activities particularly focusing on engendering the peace movement.
Advocacy for the integration of a holistic gender perspective into peacebuilding, with particular emphasis on the importance of women’s empowerment and male involvement, supported by a feminist perspective on peace and security, will be crucial. The upcoming years, we will also include a focus on the constructive role faith-based peacebuilding can play in countering religious fundamentalism and armed conflict, and the need for a gender perspective in this.