UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) hosted a discussion with 20 women representatives of civil society, local media, provincial council members, teachers and university students active on social media in Kandahar.
The participants agreed that social media campaigns and platforms are important means of advocacy for women to play their role in peace process.
Balancing the pros with the cons -such as risks of harassment from trolls and others- they created a closed social media group dedicated to empowering women.
The virtual group’s members in Kandahar plan to involve women from Nimroz, Helmand, Zabul and Uruzgan in the future. The initiative envisages women not only sharing views and ideas on the current affairs, with focus on the ongoing peace talks, but also helping build a strong network among women in the Southern region.
The role of women in peace and security was highlighted by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, during a visit to Helmand province earlier this month.
Yamamoto said, “Women’s participation in peace and security efforts contributes to more effective responses to complex situations. Women play a critical role in preventing conflict and sustaining peace. Building and sustaining peace needs women’s voices and leadership. Many studies show that when women are included in peace processes, peace agreements are more likely to be more durable.
There are different models of women’s inclusion and participation in peace processes. These range from direct representation, consultative mechanisms, commissions and high-level problem-solving workshops, to public decision-making.
Furthermore, a peace process is more likely to be successful and lasting when a combination of modes of inclusion are introduced throughout the process. As the Governor stated, “there is a strong need for the peace process to be sustainable. It is therefore important that we focus on women’s role in the peace process. Women’s participation is very important for the sustainability of peace.”