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Fostering Harmony: The Impact of Women for Peace in Conflict-Affected Communities

The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) has launched the "Women for Peace" initiative to address widespread conflicts and promote social cohesion within the Kalobeyei settlement with support from the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO). This initiative empowers women from both refugee and host communities to lead reconciliation efforts, fostering mutual understanding and lasting peace. Recognizing the urgent need for intervention, DRC formed a team of 30 women from diverse backgrounds, drawing from existing peace committees. These women underwent rigorous Conflict Management Training, equipping them with the skills to address and manage conflicts effectively.

Posted on 09 Feb 2024

Armed with their newfound expertise, the "Women for Peace" team has actively engaged in addressing community challenges. They have conducted eight dialogue sessions at the Kalobeyei reception center, responding to recurrent violence and facilitating discussions between refugees and host community members. These dialogues focus on issues like access to firewood and marketplace conflicts. The team’s efforts extend beyond conflict resolution to prevention, engaging with youth, men, and women from various ethnic backgrounds to foster mutual understanding and prevent tensions from escalating.

The remarkable work of the "Women for Peace" initiative has attracted attention from various stakeholders, including UNHCR, local peace actors, and the Turkana County government. The women have been invited to participate in public events such as the International Day of Peace and the Turkana County Government Cultural Festival, sharing their experiences and addressing women in different contexts.

The "Women for Peace" initiative has had a profound impact, fostering trust and peaceful coexistence among diverse refugee communities and strengthening relationships with the host population. By bringing together women from various backgrounds to work collaboratively, the initiative has demonstrated the power of finding common ground and working towards peace. This program has also become a powerful learning experience for participants and the broader community. Organizations like UNHCR and local peace actors recognize the unique role these women play and the significant impact they have on the community.

Following incidents of violence, such as conflicts between Burundian and South Sudanese refugees, the "Women for Peace" team has facilitated dialogue and promoted reconciliation, solidifying their standing as trusted community leaders. Their participation in the high-profile Turkana County Cultural Event, Tobong'u Lore, underscores their important role in fostering cultural exchange and peaceful coexistence.

“The impact of the "Women for Peace" initiative extends beyond the immediate confines of the Kalobeyei settlement, showcasing the transformative power of empowering women as agents of change and catalysts for reconciliation in conflict-affected communities. By supporting initiatives like the "Women for Peace," we are contributing to building a peaceful and cohesive society in Kalobeyei and beyond. Join us in empowering women to lead the way to peace."

/  Hassan Dubat, DRC Kakuma Area Manager.

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