By Sandrine M.
As the National Women’s Convention for peace opened yesterday in Yaounde, a request was made for the consideration of women’s contribution in peace building at all levels. This call was made by Yvonne Muma, president of the Cameroon Women’s Peace Movement, CAWOPEM.
Yvonne Muma, president, CAWOPEM
According to her, the inclusion of women in peace processes informs the substance of negotiations, increases legitimacy and fosters the chances of lasting peace.
“Women have the credibility, trust and influence earned from years of work at the community level. They are capable of picking up the pieces during crisis, and use it as leverage during peace-building processes when official responses seem inadequate or slow
Women recognise the importance of linking the discussions at the negotiation table to the communities (Grassroots) so that people who are most affected are consulted and informed.”
She regrets that women are often sidelined despite their legitimacy as members of the society.
“Despite our intimate knowledge of what obtains, the legitimacy we have as members of the society, the responsibilities we voluntarily take on and the solutions we provide, We are often sidelined to the lowest level of multi-track processes.”
To this effect, she demanded for the peace process to be redesigned, fitting in the women who contribute a greater percentage of the country’s population.
“Peace processes must be redesigned in our context to include almost 52% of the population who are Women. Our country as part of the global village is compounded by crisis, pandemics and environmental degradation, we cannot afford to prepare for and respond in siloes. We need a United front which we are about to build today. We must support and build the resilience of all and invite them to the table
Our participation and contributions must be considered at all levels of the peace process.”