Upon a specific request from the African Union Commission (Peace and Security Department), the Women Empowerment Pillar of the UNITAR Peacekeeping Training Programme (PTP) has developed a comprehensive project aiming to enhance the capacities of African women from a variety of backgrounds to effectively take part in mediation and conflict prevention efforts across the African continent. The project is built upon the needs and priorities expressed by the members of the Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation, known as FemWise-Africa, a network established in July 2017 as part of the African Peace and Security Architecture in order to create entry points for female leaders from all sectors of society to more effectively access and take part in peace efforts; to foster a ‘critical mass’ of African women qualified to take part in formal mediation and conflict prevention processes; and to raise the awareness and visibility of the key role women can play for the success of such processes.
Between October 2018 and December 2020, the project aims to support the full operationalization and professionalization of FemWise-Africa, through the development of a comprehensive array of training and capacity building tools and materials. These will be implemented at the individual level, with a focus on the special conditions and unique experiences and perspectives of women as mediators and peacemakers, as well as the institutional level, ensuring that the structures, facilities, resources, procedural and organisational arrangements, and external relations of FemWise are conducive to the achievement of its mandate. In this framework, the spectrum of activities goes from building capacity for mediation, conflict prevention, leadership for peace leading to deployment of FemWise-Africa members to conflict situations; through building capacity for mentorship of young girls and intergenerational dialogue; to building capacity for the implementation of quick impact projects in conflict-affected areas; and to fostering the development of high-level partnerships and conducting strategic advocacy, outreach, and awareness raising.
The UNITAR Women Empowerment Pillar has already conducted a needs assessment process with the relevant stakeholders and beneficiaries of the project and has developed and successfully implemented two Induction Trainings in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for 100 new members of the Network in 2018.