WANEP Deputy Executive Director Urges More Recognition of Rural Women

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WANEP Team led by Mrs. Levinia Addae-Mensah (3rd left) with representatives of UNWOMEN at the Regional Workshop on Early Warning Mechanisms and Violent Extremism

The Deputy Executive Director ofthe West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), Mrs. Levinia Addae-Mensah has called for more acknowledgement of the role of rural women in peacebuilding processes. The call was contained in a communique issued at the end of a three-day Regional workshop on Early Warning Mechanisms and Violent Extremism held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso from February 15 to 17, 2017.

Mrs. Addae-Mensah, who is also the WANEP Program Director, decried the lack of recognition of the efforts of rural women towards building peace in their different localities. “Rural women are resilient, aware and quite capable, unfortunately that is not always recognized and appreciated.  We all need to come together often, from top national levels to the community base, in such fantastic initiatives to listen to women’s perspectives and their contributions to peace processes,” she stated.

The Regional workshop was co-organized by UN Women and the G5 Sahel Secretariat in partnership with WANEP on the theme: Women’s Leadership and contributions in Early Warning and Peace building in the Sahel Region. Aside from the workshop, WANEP also partnered with UN Women and the G5 Sahel Secretariat to convened series of community based-dialogues in border areas in Burkina-Faso (Gorom Gorom), Chad (Dabua), Niger (Nguigmi), Mali (Mopti), and Mauritania (Nema). Mrs Addae-Mensah further expressed gratitude to UNWOMEN and the G5 for the programme initiatives and the choice of WANEP as one of the executive implementing body.

These initiatives form an integral part of a Japan-funded programme which seeks to situate women’s leadership at the center of all efforts to prevent violent extremism and foster peace and stability in the Sahel region. A total of 55 participants representing community-based organizations, governments, parliamentarians and representatives of the G5 Women national cells of the G5 Sahel countries, comprising Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger attended the workshop.

Cross section of participants at the workshop 

Ms. Comfort Lamptey, UN Women’s Regional Advisor on Governance Peace and Security for West and Central Africa, in her closing remarks reiterated the commitment of her organization to the fight against violent extremism saying; “UN WOMEN will remain supportive and engaged to accompany efforts at both national and regional levels… time has come to call on all governments and the Donor community to mutualize efforts and provide resources to fight violent extremism and specifically allocate funds to Women’s Leadership and participation initiatives”.