Pastoral women as peacemakers

Research commissioned by the Community-Based Animal Health and Participatory Epidemiology (CAPE) Unit of the African Union’s Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU/IBAR) in 2003 looked into the traditional roles of pastoral women in peace and conflict, seeking to gain a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of different methods for working with pastoral women on conflict issues. It included documentation of the methodology and impact of the alokita – Women’s Peace Brigade – method that had been used by the CAPE Unit since 2001. The study Pastoral women as peacemakers confirmed that women play important roles, both positive and negative, with regard to raiding and other forms of conflict. Women’s support of raiding is linked to the acute economic hardship within the Karamojong Cluster. This indicates that conflict must be tackled by improving the economic wellbeing of pastoralists. The informal power held by women in pastoral households is crucial for peacebuilding interventions to build on. Women can greatly influence the behaviour of husbands and sons, and intervening organisations should encourage the positive impacts that women can make. The informal power complements the increasing participation of women in formal structures such as District Peace and Development Committees, although these tend to involve urban women who may be rather distant from the day-to-day concerns of pastoral communities. The research revealed the efficacy and urgency of involving pastoral women in peacebuilding.

Posted on 30 September 2012 in Pastoralism & Gender