“Power no more flowers”

Igår var det fjärde gången jag var med på Internationella Kvinnodagen i Kosovo. Fjärde gången jag såg kvinnorörelsen här samlas och manifestera för rättvisa och kvinnors rättigheter: för ”power no more flowers”. Temat i år var mödrarnas kamp för att hitta sina saknade familjemedlemmar från kriget för femton år sedan. Man framförde krav till regeringen att göra mer för att hitta de saknade och för utökat samarbete med den serbiska regeringen. En av de jag talade med förklarade att “våra regeringar kan inte bara fortsätta att arbeta för EU-närmande och bygga infrastruktur, när vi fortfarande inte vet vad som hänt med våra söner”.

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“The future is bright – full of challenges, but bright”

I’m in Brussels for a conference called Peace for all Afghans? organised by the European Network of NGOs in Afghanistan, Crisis Management Initiative, Heinrich Böll Stiftung and the Agency Coordination Body for Afghan Relief in cooperation with MEP Thijs Berman.

The question mark in the name of the conference symbolizes both the lack of peace and security on the ground for most Afghans and the doubt whether the current peace process is creating a peace for all. A sustainable peace, a peace for all, requires an inclusive and credible peace process in which a multitude of groups in society participate. This was stressed by Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Development, in his keynote speech. Piebalgs pointed out six areas that are crucial for security and development in Afghanistan – a credible peace process, a peaceful transfer of power during next year’s presidential elections, an urgent need to secure jobs, a need for transparency and fight against corruption, a need to secure justice and the rule of law and the necessity to safeguard human rights, and in particular women’s rights.  Let’s hope that this analysis is reflected in EU’s efforts in Afghanistan ahead.

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Happy 20 years anniversary, dear KTK!

Today, the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation (KTK) celebrates the 20  years anniversary of its establishment and I take this chance to express my admiration for the passion and commitment the foundation demonstrates to support women during their tough time, times of war and conflicts.

Mainly, KTK collaborates with women’s organizations who play an active part in peace and rebuilding processes, in several countries who go through conflicts and political turbulence, assuring that women are great agents of peace.

As a young lady who experienced living through a war – 1994 civil war in Yemen- I can’t stress enough on the importance of achieving peace. Wars don’t just kill people and destroy properties, it also destroy souls. In the wake of wars, what it is even more saddening is the violence that follows and unfortunately women are the ones who suffer the greatest harm.

Having said that, how can one not admire foundations such as KTK which works passionately in investing in peace!

Happy 20 years anniversary, dear KTK!

Photo: ©Kvinna till Kvinna/Sara Lüdtke

“Women will become a powerful force in peace building”

Joint workshop Kvinna till Kvinna and Life & Peace Institute

Colette Wamikila from Life & Peace Institute moderating a session. In the background Rachel Mitima Nnabuke. Photo: Kvinna till Kvinna/Katarina Carlberg

Jambo Sana from Bukavu, where Kvinna till Kvinna is in the middle of a workshop together with Life & Peace Institute and local partner organizations. The workshop takes place in a center run by Jesuit tout court, located in a calm area on the outskirts of the city, with a beautiful garden and a view of Lake Kivu. Certainly the right kind of environment to allow the participants peace and quiet to be able to concentrate on the topic of the workshop: conflict transformation and how to better include women in those processes.
– Women are often consulted informally on issues of importance in the community, but then, they are excluded from the formal forums for discussion and decision making, says Gégé Katana, Coordinator of the local women’s organization Solidarité des Femmes Activistes pour la Défense des Droits Humains (SOFAD). It is time for women to take place also in these forums, to be allowed to transmit their experience and knowledge in the open!

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Focus on peace as young Iraqi women visited Lebanon

This summer, Kvinna till Kvinna’s partner organization Baghdad Women’s Association, BWA, went to Lebanon for a study visit focusing on peace and conflict resolution. Twelve young women from Iraq – representing different ethnicities and communities including Sunni Arabs, Shiite Arabs, Kurds, Christians and Baha’i – took part in the project. The participants were all dedicated activists within different areas; among them were lawyers, bloggers, students, politicians and social workers.

The study visit was prepared by Lebanese Association for Education and Training, ALEF, and took place between July 6th and July 13th. Here are some of the participants: