By: The African Union and the United Nations
The African Union and the United Nations have launched the “She Stands For Peace” book, recognizing and celebrating outstanding African women and girls who have exceptionally advanced the women, peace and security agenda in Africa. The book documents the exceptional stories of sixteen (16) women and girls as well as four (4) women-led organizations from across the continent, capturing their stories as narrated by them, on their contribution to the peace and security agenda in the continent.
With a chapter dedicated to each of the women, girls and organizations, the book documents the ideas that eventually led to the impactful implementation of the self-initiated efforts of the selected persons. The stories portray the courage of the women, their commitment to work in dangerous terrains without security and working relentlessly, often with their personal resources and without remuneration. Further, the book makes great considerations to reflect inter-generational diversity and captures the contributions of senior women and young girls towards peace efforts.
The book was launched at a time when there is great recognition of women and girls, not only as the hardest hit victims of conflicts and wars, but also as key players in maintaining and restoring peace and stability in various settings such as their uncelebrated efforts to address inter-communal conflicts in the rural areas, and the impact of their efforts in different roles at the national, regional and continental levels.
The book aims to serve as a learning experience and motivation to other women, especially young women involved in mediation, peacebuilding and peacekeeping activities.
African Union Commission Deputy Chairperson, Amb. Kwesi Quartey stated that the book was an opportunity to Africa and the rest of the world to reflect on the progress made in accelerating action on the women, peace and security agenda. “By sharing these stories, the women and girls have shown us what courage, resilience and commitment can achieve. The strategic importance of women in peace building, conflict resolution, mediation and reconstruction from the scourge of war, conflict and attendant consequences of crises both national and international, cannot be overstated”, Amb. Kwesi stated. “Only then can we achieve the aspirations of Agenda 2063, he concluded.
UN Secretary-General, Antonio Gutteres lauded the efforts to feature the stories of women and girls from rural villages and cities; from privileged upbringings and from humble backgrounds, adding, “more than anything, the women in this book want less talk about women, peace and security, and more action. The women in this book are counting of us, the international community, and on their leaders and the leaders of other nations to do more than make speeches about them. They want actual investment in them as equal stakeholders who care about the future of their communities and nations. They know in intimate detail – equal to their male counterparts – the logistics, tactics, violence and human cost of war.”
The Commemorative Book is in line with the African Union theme for the year 2020, “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive conditions for Africa’s Development” and is also part of the activities for the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. Africa’s Agenda 2063 flagship project of Silencing the Guns advocates for the meaningful participation and leadership of women towards promoting peace, enhancing good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law. Attaining gender equality and women’s empowerment, as a critical goal in the realization of Agenda 2063 “Aspiration 6”, that recognises the centrality of women in Africa’s development. These efforts also act as a catalyst towards the achievement of the goals of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 to further drive the women’s agenda in the peace and security architecture.
Africa’s Agenda 2063 flagship project of Silencing the Guns advocates for the meaningful participation and leadership of women towards promoting peace, enhancing good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law. Attaining gender equality and women’s empowerment, as a critical goal in the realization of Agenda 2063 “Aspiration 6”, that recognises the centrality of women in Africa’s development.