Thursday, November 1, 2007

Workshop on Endendering Early Warning

My Experience from the Training of Trainers Workshop at Bo

The Workshop was a challenge for me because it was my first workshop on residential (where i had to stay over night), and on Peace Building. I was one of the reporters, so I had to be attentive to all speakers for valuable contributions. Working at MARWOPNET I was able to learn about “Engendering Conflict Early Warning and Response” which is the right for women to participate actively and contribution substantially to peace consolidation not only in Sierra Leone but in the Mano River Sub-region. This workshop was the first step to develop the capacity of community women to embark on conflict early warning and to begin to explore.

The workshop was opened by Dr Nana Prat, who is the Focal Point for Marwopnet. She outlined the purpose of the workshop and gave the meaning of MARWOPNET. She talked about how the organization has contributed to the peace process in Sierra Leone.

One of the goals of Marwopnet is to learn how to build and maintain peace. To create trust and confidence and respect for each other. Some Expectations of participants included:- To teach men about gender equality.-
Teach community about conflict and how to stop conflict.

I interacted with Marwopnet members from Kenema and Kailahun District. We learnt about the community and how to settle conflict through early warning. Situations were compared in communities, before the war, during the war, after the war, what is conflict, the causes conflict includes: - provocation - youth unemployment - political grudge. Group discussions were educating and interesting; it exposed me, and gave me privilege to present on behalf of our group. I presented several times on different topics. Gained a lot of knowledge on gender equality, and my role as stakeholder.

UN Security Resolution 1320 of the year 2000 states that women are no longer regarded as victim but involved as active participant in peace building. Women as early warners should be at the center, they must be vigilant, self confidence and don’ take sides. We also gain knowledge on how to analyze conflict, why it is important to monitor conflict. We should monitor conflict as early warners, and to know how to settle conflict in a way both parties will be satisfied.

The Millennium Development Goal enriches women policies, gender equality and gender conditions which deal with welfare of women. On the last day of the workshop, Security Personel were invited to link them to women in the community who were designated as early warners of conflict. These groups included: Sierra Leone Military, Sierra Police, Immigration , Office of National Security, DIESEC, PROSEC, Chiefs and Traditional Rulers. This linking was done between the Early Warners and the Security personel need to join hands in order to get authority and legitimacy. The security personel should recognize women and work with them side by side. Marwopnet did a significant and important task by linking the different groups.

Women presented recommendations and programs to Marwopnet, on how they can put in place the knowledge gained. We had fun with participants, especially at night, we watch football games and Nigerian film, I enjoyed the conversion and political arguments, during this conversation the green (star beer) and black(stout) bottles collided. Our stay in Bo was a good experience. The food was delicious. I enjoyed my stay in Bo and the opportunity to be included in the MARWOPNET workshop, I hope to participate next time.

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