Women CSOs Join Security Sector Reform

By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy

Several women organizations and groups have been motivated to assist the security sector in consolidating the peace as the United Nations Missions draws down its troops from the country.

The call was made at the one-day event on the launch of a book entitled, ‘The Women’s Guide to Security Sector Reform in Liberia’. Serving as a proxy on behalf of the 2nd Regional Vice President for the Mano River Women Network (MARWOPNET), Dr. Evelyn Kandakai said the UN Resolution 1325 has brought into question and debate women’s participation globally.

Dr. Kandakai said since then, there has been a floodgate of deliberations and forums to increase women’s participation in aspects as outlined in that Convention on the Elimination of all forms of   Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

She said there are many security issues that affect women directly and it should therefore be at the heartbeat of every woman to have good security because without security she cannot carry out her daily chores. Also serving as proxy for the Minister of Gender and Development, Madam Magdalene Dagoseh urged participants to use the guide and look out for more participatory dialogue particularly in Nimba and Lofa Counties.

Madam Dagoseh said, “In the absence of peace there can be no security and no such gathering therefore women who have been considered the torch bearers of peace in the country should learn to relate to each other and do what they can to ensure that Liberia enjoys lasting peace”, adding, “Peace and security must be our goal.”

Introducing the Women’s Guide at the event, the Deputy Head Operations 111 of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), Daniel de Torres said security is not the business of the law enforcement officers, the judiciary and correction but for all.

He said 1325 being an action plan makes it everybody’s business to ensure that the security sector is reformed and sustained and hoped that the Guide is resourceful to all women of Liberia as it will enable them to sit and hold discussions in that direction.

In remarks, the Country Director of Medica Mondale said the long days and months women as civilians sat in the gap to ensure that Liberia gains its stability is now being valued by the launch of the Women’s Guide noting, ‘We all have suffered war and this is to ensure that there is always a platform to discuss.”

“This Guide can be used for other platforms and discussions and we must apply it. Policy makers have to take interest so as to make this right decision for all and we together must consolidate the peace as UNMIL draws down so that we do not revert to the ugly past,” he noted.

The purpose of the Guide is to engage each woman from civil society in transforming the security sector in their communities and countries. It also encourages them to be part of dialogue and decision making and to be involved in security reform sector.

The Guide is for women who have not formally studied security and worked with the security sector and as well inspire those with knowledge of the issues. It provides essential information and tools for action and draws on the rich and varied experiences of women in civil society from across the world in sharing examples of practical and sometimes innovative actions.

It contains information about understanding security, getting involved and the tools for action, forming a coalition, planning for action, developing recommendation, advocating for change and engaging with the security sector. The launch was an undertaking of MARWOPNET and DCAF in collaboration with the Liberia National Law Enforcement Association and the Liberia Female Law Enforcement Association.

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