The Establishment Coordinator at the Angie Brooks International Centre (ABIC) for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security; Cllr. Dr. Yvette Chesson-Wureh has been elected Co-chair of FemWise-ECOWAS during an ECOWAS meeting which was held in Abidjan, La Cote D’Ivoire on November 7, 2019. She chairs the regional network with Ms. Alice Goza of Togo, who represented young women of ECOWAS. The leadership of this august network will be ably supported by a 5-member Steering Committee who were also elected at the same event. The countries represented on the Steering Committee are Liberia and Togo are Co-Chairs; Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, Guinea Bissau and Mali.
According to the UN Chronicle online portal, the insufficient participation of women in formal conflict prevention and at the peace table is an important area of United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) that remains poorly implemented. The significant contribution and strong role of women in local mediation and conflict prevention initiatives continue to be largely unrecognized and weakly supported. Thus, since 2010, the African Union (AU) Panel of the Wise – already with a mandate to draw the public’s attention to largely overlooked issues – has considered ways to strengthen the participation of women and youth at the peace table and raise awareness of the impact of war and sexual violence against women and children, through a document entitled “Mitigating Vulnerabilities of Women and Children in Armed Conflicts”.
The report advocates for at least four key actions to be taken by the African Union Commission:
- the establishment of the Office of the Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security;
- the launch of the AU five-year Gender Peace and Security Programme (GPSP) 2015-2020;
- the implementation of an Open Session of the Council on Women, Peace and Security; and
- the launch of the African Network of Women in Conflict Prevention and Peace Mediation (FemWise).
FemWise is a network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation established in July 2017, as an African Union initiative. The AU is the ultimate governing body via the AU Panel of the Wise. FemWise provides a platform for strategic advocacy, capacity building and networking aimed at enhancing the implementation of the commitments for women’s inclusion in peace making in Africa. FemWise also believes in a strong mentorship program so the youth can be represented at all levels of leadership.
FemWise-ECOWAS is the regional dimension of this broader network. In a correspondence to congratulate Cllr. Chesson-Wureh for this recognition, the Special Representative of the President of ECOWAS Commission in Liberia, H.E. Tunde O. Ajisomo opined that her election comes on the heels of her continuous and tireless work towards the enhancement of women’s empowerment, leadership development, international peace and security, not only in Liberia, but across the sub-region as a whole, as is the mandate of our esteemed organisation; the ABIC.
Some high-level personalities who graced this meeting with their presence included Hajiya Raheemat Momodu, Head of Human Security and Civil Society, ECOWAS; Rev. Kesia-Onam Bijou Birch, AU Adviser FemWise Africa and Representatives of the Government of the Republic of La Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea. The FemWise Network was officially launched by Dr. Siga Jagne, ECOWAS Commissioner of Social Affairs and Gender.