By Amie Sillah
The Senegal-Gambia- Bissau Guinea Women Peace Forum held two workshops from 19 to 25 November 2018 in Ziguinchor.
Participants were trained on the Techniques on Communication and Negotiation in the first workshop and on the Difference between Mediation and Negotiation in the second.
Three participants attended from the Gambia, four from Bissau Guinea and the rest from the Casamance Women Peace Platform. These groups of women form the Women Peace Forum of the three countries.
Two representatives from Tostan in Senegal also attended. The Activity was sponsored by the Global Partners represented by Olivia Baciu, Principal Trainer of Partners Global and USAID.
The training, an initiative of the Casamance Women Peace Platform, has taken place against the background of a long drawn-out armed conflict in Casamance, Senegal, which has impacted on all the three participating countries in the sub region. Participants put the issue in a historical perspective.
Senegalese participants narrated a historical perspective of the conflict which was detailed and promised to present a White Book where a detailed report will be shared with partners. At the moment there is peace in the midst of tension Casamance and insecurity in some areas where sporadic skirmishes are experienced by the people.
The Gambia and Bissau Guinea also narrated their experiences at their borders where some people engage in hit and run tactics which is blamed on the insurgents.
It was felt that advocacy was key to mediation and negotiation. Hence Knowledge was shared on Advocacy and Politics; Advocacy and Power. At the end of the exchange they concluded that to make advocacy effective key players must be tracked and spoken to; likewise the political players in the executive and the hidden powers who can help make one’s work easier.
Participants were also trained on the steps, principles and process of advocacy plans. Stakeholders were mapped out and approaches outlined, participants did many group work to explain concepts and it was very interactive.
The second work shop explained the concept of Mediation and Negotiation in facilitating Dialogues in Casamance. Alternative Strategies for Conflict Resolution was also discussed and concluded that both sides of the conflict are to be called at different times to explain their sides of the conflict.
UN Resolution 1325 which stressed the importance of women’s equal and full participation as active agents in peace and security, was singled out and it was agreed that the three countries develop a work plan around it to effect the implementation of the UN Resolution to ensure women participate from the beginning to the end and sit at the peace table with men.
The overall objective of the Senegal-Gambia-Bissau Guinea Forum is to strengthen the capacities of the Senegal-Gambia-Bissau Guinea and its partners to deliver effective advocacy plans as part of promoting peace in the Casamance and border regions.