Problems and Purpose
Women are disproportionately affected by war, and research shows that peace lasts longer when women lead and participate in peacemaking and peacekeeping processes. Despite these findings, only 11% of peace agreements from 1990-2000 referenced women. On 31 October 2000, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed Resolution 1325. Resolution 1325 is an effort to account for the disproportionate impact war has on women, and to renew a commitment to including and mobilizing women in peacemaking processes. The women’s mediation training in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa region occurred as part of the United Nations Security Council’s implementation of this resolution.
The UNSC designed Resolution 1325 to encourage a greater focus on gender-related issues in peacemaking and peacekeeping operations. This strategy is known as gender mainstreaming and is used widely by the United Nations. Gender mainstreaming “involves ensuring that gender perspectives and attention to the goal of gender equality are central to all activities - policy, development, research, advocacy/dialogue, legislation, resource allocation, and planning, implementation and monitoring of programs and projects.” Resolution 1325 has been implemented through projects such as the women’s mediation training conducted by ACCORD (The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes) in Rwanda.
Background History and Context
On 31 October 2000, the UNSC adopted Resolution 1325, a landmark resolution relating to women, peace and security. Acknowledging that “civilians, particularly women and children, account for the vast majority of those adversely affected by armed conflict,” Resolution 1325 “recognize[d] the consequent impact this has on durable peace and reconciliation,” and “reaffirm[ed] the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts.” The Resolution reaffirmed a commitment to representing and including women in war related matters and peacemaking processes, as a disproportionately affected group.
Acknowledging a need for more data on “the impact of armed conflict on women and girls,” Resolution 1325 concludes with an 18 point charge to various individuals, committees and affiliates of the United Nations. Point 1 urges "Member States to ensure increased representation of women at all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict." Of particular relevance to ACCORD’s mediation training are points 8 and 15. Point 8 calls for the incorporation of a gender perspective, referencing local women’s peace initiatives like the one conducted by ACCORD; and Point 15 calls for “consultation with local and international women’s groups.”
ACCORD is a South African-based International NGO, and one of the key groups involved in the implementation of Resolution 1325. Resolution 1325, which centers peacemaking, aligns well with ACCORD’s mission to find “creative African solutions to the challenges posed by conflict on the continent.” ACCORD became familiar with Resolution 1325 before its adoption at a March 2000 seminar in Mombasa, Kenya. ACCORD’s women’s mediation training in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa Region took place in September 2017 as part of Resolution 1325’s implementation.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
ACCORD collaborated with the Fellowship of Christian Council & Churches in the Great Lakes & Horn of Africa (FECCLHA) and the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) to conduct the training.
No budget information for the ACCORD training could be found. While much of the funding for the implementation of Resolution 1325 came from the UN, the funding source for this particular training was not published. As a joint effort between the UN and ACCORD, it is possible that funding came from either of these organizations.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
ACCORD, FECCLHA and NCA trained the Regional Faith Women Peace Mediators in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa regions. There were women from Muslim and Christian communities in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, South Sudan and Rwanda.
Methods and Tools Used
As stated in ACCORD’s report, the training included:
- “modules on conflict analysis and mapping, communication and trust building, negotiation, mediation, lobbying and advocacy”
- “interactive simulations to improve participant’s skills and knowledge”
- “sharing of experiences and good practices sessions which helped the participants to reflect on the practice of mediation, based on their own contexts”
- “the experiences of guest speakers, women who have been working on resolving conflict at different levels in Rwanda and in the region”
- Study visits to places such as the Friends Peace House and the Kigali Genocide Memorial
The training concluded with the formation of a network for women of faith working on mediation. There is hope that the network will provide a place for the women mediators to exchange best practices, share lessons learned and increase their engagement in mediation efforts.
Deliberation, Decisions, and Public Interaction
Know the specifics of participation during this initiative? Help us complete this section!
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
ACCORD’s training of regional faith women took place in Kigali, Rwanda, from September 18-22, 2017. Because the training occurred fairly recently, there have not been any follow up stories or studies measuring the success of this specific training.
The training aligned with the mission of ACCORD, engaged the public and has the potential to empower and mainstream women’s perspectives in mediation. While the outcomes of this particular training have not yet been published, its intent and methods thoroughly address Resolution 1325’s mission to provide resources for women as they are disproportionately affected by war. By giving women the resources to engage in operations that directly affect them, there is hope that the outcomes of these operations will better address their needs.
No information about public reaction could be found in the local news or public media.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
Though there is not enough information to analyze outcomes or lessons from this specific training, there is a lot of information on the status of Resolution 1325 and mediation training in general.
A ten year impact study published prior to ACCORD’s training stated a variety of areas for improvement, especially relating to Resolution 1325’s eighth charge for the mainstreaming of a gender perspective. The report stated that, “in overall terms, [women have] been underrepresented in peace negotiations both in numbers and in status, where they often constitute 'informal' participants. The modest progress achieved to date in this area provides a good basis on which to expand women’s participation in peace negotiations in future.” The report also stated challenges moving forward in its analyses of gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping operations. The challenges stated include
- “women are underrepresented or absent in decision making structures of political parties and armed groups, [so] they are not automatically invited as delegates to peace talks.”
- Women are only granted informal or observer statuses
- Women are often only included after agreements have already been made
- Women face financial barriers
These challenges were identified more generally about women, peace and security in the years before ACCORD’s training which offered insight and context. For instance, by training women in peace negotiations, they have the potential for the confidence and credibility to be formal actors in the processes. The success of ACCORD’s training relies on the women taking advantage of their new knowledge and skills.
However, a key point of Resolution 1325 that ACCORD’s training focuses on to a much lesser extent is the representation of women in political parties and armed groups. An abundance of women mediators is significantly less effective if they are not powerful or connected enough to be formal delegates at peace talks. Moving forward, it will be important to track the number of trained women mediators who do serve as delegates at peace talks.
 "Women, peace and security: Preventing war and sustaining peace." UN Women. Accessed March 07, 2018. http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/women-peace-security
"Impact of Armed Conflict on Children." UNICEF. Accessed March 07, 2018. https://www.unicef.org/graca/patterns.htm
"Facts and figures: Peace and security." UN Women. Accessed March 07, 2018. http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/peace-and-security/facts-and-figures
 "Landmark resolution on Women, Peace and Security." United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women. Accessed March 07, 2018. http://www.un.org/womenwatch/osagi/wps/#resolution
 "Gender Mainstreaming." UN Women. Accessed March 07, 2018. http://www.un.org/womenwatch/osagi/gendermainstreaming.htm
 Ekiyor, Thelma and Wanyeky, L. Muthoni. "National Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) in Africa: Needs Assessment and Plan for Action. Needs Assessment Report." Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI), Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). http://www.un.org/womenwatch/osagi/cdrom/documents/Needs_Assessment_Africa.pdf