20 May 2021. The second session of the Women and Mediation Workshop in Mali and the Central African Republic, an activity set up by the Women’s Alliance for Peace, which is made up of the Women for Africa Foundation and the United Nations Alliance of Women for Peace, was held yesterday in a telematic meeting.
A dozen women mediators from these two countries, which are particularly affected by conflict, took part in the workshop, which was dedicated to identifying the main challenges faced by these women and the role played by actors such as traditional and religious leaders.
These actors are particularly important for the Women’s Alliance for Peace, as its action focus on conflicts with a religious and intercultural dimension, such as those in Mali and the Central African Republic.
The participants in the workshop highlighted as the main challenges for their work as mediators issues that have always constituted barriers to the work of these women throughout the world, but especially in Africa: lack of mutual knowledge in societies, lack of representation, erroneous perception of the role of women and the need to value their essential function in favour of peace, exposure to violence….
But also, from the Central African Republic, there was talk of a new element that was identified as a new obstacle: fake news. A factor that, unfortunately, has already become globalised and is distorting the vision of reality throughout the world.
In the lively debate that the mediators held in the workshop, they also discussed the legitimacy and role that traditional and religious leaders play in conflict resolution efforts. A very important role, they all agreed, which makes it essential to count on them to achieve the objective, although sometimes it is also necessary to work so that they can understand what women know and are capable of doing in this area.
The Workshop will continue in the coming weeks with further online sessions before, as planned, members of the Women’s Alliance for Peace can travel to Mali and Central African Republic to follow the work on the ground.