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BENI: MONUSCO Trains A Core Group of Women Mediators For Conflict Resolution

The Head of the Gender, Women, Families and Children Office welcomed the establishment of the core group of women mediators and thanked MONUSCO for organizing this activity, which she described as crucial. / Photo MONUSCO

On February 17, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) organized an awareness-raising and capacity-building session for some twenty women in the town of Beni in North Kivu. The training session led to the creation of a core group of women mediators for conflict resolution.

The women thus trained should now be involved in conflict management and participate in the restoration of peace and security in their province.

This action by MONUSCO for women in North Kivu is based on UN Resolution 1325, which is a tool for drawing women's attention to their participation in efforts to promote peace in their communities.

During this meeting, MONUSCO, through its Gender section, reminded participants that women can make a difference in conflict resolution. Emery Chibi, who oversees the Gender Section at MONUSCO in Beni, addressed them as follows: "You have a lot to contribute. More than you think. Notably because you represent 52% of the Congolese population”.

The MONUSCO Gender Officer argued that Congolese women have almost always been excluded from peace negotiations, under the pretext that they have no training or interest in security issues. "We are convinced that women, who are often victims when conflicts erupt, can play a decisive role and can, if not prevent, at least put an end to conflicts with a win-win solution, through their mediation."

Other themes were discussed during the meeting, including the difference between facilitation and mediation, the role of mediation, the qualities of a mediator and the principles of good mediation.

The participants promised to conduct feedback sessions in their communities to encourage a greater engagement of women in finding peaceful ways and means of resolving all kinds of conflict in the region.

From observation to action

Ruth Sabuni, head of the Gender, Women, Families and Children office in the town of Beni, in her turn, urged the twenty or so women present at the meeting to disseminate widely what they had learned: "We are called upon to go and disseminate the knowledge we have acquired throughout our respective organizations and communities. That is very important, very useful".

Ms. Sabuni insisted on the fact that there are conflicts everywhere. "They are in our communities, in our workplaces and even in our homes.”

She also thanked MONUSCO for organizing this activity, which she described as very important. "This sensitization session comes at an opportune moment because we live in an area where there are conflicts of all kinds”.

She went on to say: "We must play our part in all the processes of resolving these conflicts which cause us so much harm. We women must get more actively involved today than in the past."

At the end of these exchanges, the head of the Gender, Women, Families and Children office expressed her satisfaction with the establishment of the core group of women mediators. She said that " the women will do their utmost to ensure that there are tangible results ".

Ruth Sabuni ended her speech with words of hope: "We are going to popularize the gains of this training. We are going to raise awareness among men and our children, and we will talk to other women around us so we can resolve these numerous conflicts peacefully. People must understand that not all conflicts have to be brought to court: there are those that can be resolved amicably. We are no longer going to act as observers, but rather as actors in the transformation of conflicts. We will make this process our own”.

She asked MONUSCO to conduct more of this type of training. "It is essential that the Mission should follow up on the core group established today to ensure its sustainability".