Incorporating Women in Conflict Resolution.

Incorporating Women in Conflict Resolution.

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Elgeyo Marakwet Deputy Governor, Prof  Grace Cheserek, has called on different organizations to partner with the county in the implementation of the County Action Plan (CAP), with each picking the area they can comfortably deliver.

 The CAP was developed in partnership with Rural Women Peace Link with technical and financial support from the Embassy of Finland.

The launch of the action plan is in line with the government’s commitment to United Nations Security Council resolutions which focus on the negative impacts of conflicts on women and recognize the undervalued contribution of women to conflict prevention, peacebuilding, and conflict resolutions.

According to the CAP, there is a rising number of female-headed households in the county due to the incessant conflicts in the Kerio Valley as men who opt to live in the wilderness to protect their property and families are killed, leaving widows to take charge of the families.

CAP seeks to upscale indigenous knowledge that can be utilized in solving disputes under the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) citing the legetio, a belt used by women to stop conflicts.

The CAP reveals that women are impoverished as they cannot inherit land from their families and where land is communally owned, which is common in the county women lose their rights to inherit the same.

“The law requiring women to inherit their parent’s property is just a theory in the county, however in cases where one is married, they may get their husband’s property. But where land is clan-based with no title deeds to such land, women lose their rights to the inheritance,” said the CAP.

The county has been listed among the 22 FGM hotspots in the country citing Endo, lower parts of Sambirir, Arror, Embobut, and Lower Emsoo as leading in the practice of the outlawed vice.

The action plan also calls for the establishment of a polycare which will be a one-stop shop where once the victims of gender-based violence report to the authorities concerned, the information will be used in the whole process of seeking justice instead of being forced to relive the experience as they narrate at each of the stages.

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There is a need to put women at the center of conflict resolution as they are key in gathering information that can be used in early warning leading to early response and thus averting conflict.

Marsabit county government launched a women, peace, and security action plan to recognize the group as powerful agents of peace-building efforts. Deputy Governor Solomon Gubo stated that since women are the majority they should take advantage of their numbers to play a key role in fostering peace further promising the adoption of a women’s peace security action plan into the county Integrated Development plan.

Conflict exists in all countries and in every level of society. Conflict per se is not necessarily a negative force; rather it is a natural expression of social difference and of humanity’s perpetual struggle for justice and self. Conflict resolution is directed at understanding conflict processes and alternative non-violent methods that help disputing parties reach mutually acceptable positions that resolve their differences.

The first time women were formally present at the negotiating table and efforts bore fruits was when they participated in a post-conflict dialogue held in 2008 after the Post-Election Violence whereby a group of women under the Kenya Women’s Consultative Group (KWCG) actively participated in the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation Process (KNDR). They presented a memorandum that highlighted the gender dimension to the conflict, women’s rights, and the mainstreaming of gender-responsive language in the negotiation agenda and agreements. They also led discussions on Sexual Gender Violence (SBGV) that occurred during PEV which ultimately led to the forming of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission, which addressed this dimension in the cohesion and reconciliation process. The efforts of women are therefore important and should not be overlooked, whether formally or informally.

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