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BARMM government advocates women participation in conflict resolution, peacebuilding

COTABATO CITY (PIA) -- The government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is eyeing to involve more women in peacebuilding efforts and conflict resolution activities in the region.

In an effort to facilitate more involvement, the Bangsamoro government has continued to implement programs that will enable women to perform their role as facilitators, convenors, and mediators in sustaining peace in the region.

BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim addresses his constituents during the 2023 National Women's Month celebration in March, emphasizing the important contributions of women in the community, especially those who are actively engaging in peacebuilding activities in the region.

“We implement certain programs and initiatives that aim to empower our women, uphold their rights, spot and boost their potential, and allow them to empower others too,” BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim said during this year’s celebration of women’s month.

Through the BARMM’s Ministry of Public Order and Safety (MPOS), more than 70 women mediators from different parts of the Bangsamoro region will soon be joining the team of MPOS in facilitating the settlement of clan wars, locally known as ‘rido.’

This was after the MPOS conducted a series of capacity training aimed at strengthening the skills of women mediators in helping the BARMM government resolve and prevent family feuds and other conflict in their respective communities.

"Nothing is more rewarding and fulfilling than seeing women be the leaders and advocates in the peace process," said MPOS minister Hussein Muñoz, during one of the training sessions held in Koronadal City.

Muñoz said women mediators from the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, and del Sur, barangays from the Special Geographic Area (SGA) in North Cotabato, and Cotabato City were trained on basic mediation skills, facilitation techniques, profiling, monitoring, reporting, and documentation of identified clan wars.

They also underwent a series of lectures, workshops, and interactive discussions where they were able to share their personal experiences and insights as women local mediators in their respective communities.

BARMM's Ministry of Public Order and Safety (MPOS) Minister Hussein Muñoz (front row, middle) leads the five-day capacity training workshop for the 25 women mediators from the province of Maguindanao, Cotabato City, and BARMM’s Special Geographic Areas. The training was conducted by MPOS-BARMM. (Photo: Ministry of Public Order and Safety, BARMM)

The series of training was made possible through the support of UN Women, Relief International, Nonviolent Peaceforce, and other partner stakeholders of the BARMM government.

Meanwhile, Relief International provincial coordinator Maissalam Tahir emphasized the crucial role of women in decision-making and peacebuilding initiatives.

“Tayong mga kababaihan ay effective na mga mediators, tayo yung nagsisimula ng kapayapaan sa loob ng ating tahanan, dahil ang kapayapaan ay nagsisimula sa loob ng ating bahay [Women are effective mediators. We are the ones who start peace inside our home because peace starts inside our house],” she said.

Some 20 women mediators from different areas in the province of Basilan participate in the two-day capacity training conducted by the Ministry of Public Order and Safety. The women will be involved in the peacebuilding efforts and conflict resolution activities in the BARMM region. (Photo: Ministry of Public Order and Safety, BARMM)

Aside from the capacity enhancement for women, the Bangsamoro government, through the Bangsamoro Women Commission (BWC), has also completed this year the Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security (RAP-WPS) for 2023–2028.

The six-year action plan is intended to address the various needs of women and establish a more concrete and gender-sensitive plan for the promotion of women's protection in the Bangsamoro.

According to BWC, also included in the action plan are the current issues and concerns of women and girls in conflict in BARMM.

The plan will also serve as a guide for the BARMM ministries and other stakeholders to strengthen women’s meaningful participation in various spaces, including peacebuilding, conflict prevention, resolution, and post-conflict processes, among others. (LTB – PIA Cotabato City)

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