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Gender Equality and Development

Empowerment of Women in Central Africa
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This project aims to facilitate social transformations based on the universal values of justice, freedom and human dignity, to promote the human rights, and status of women living in the Great Lakes region in Africa.
Building on work carried out by UNESCO in previous years as well as on the recently developed Social and Human Sciences sector (SHS), strategy for the promotion of women’s empowerment, the Gender Equality and Development section (GED) is pursuing policy-oriented research, consultations, networking, and capacity building. A central objective is to assist in women’s participation in post-conflict resolution, democratization, and governance, as called for in the Dar-es-Salaam Declaration on Peace, Security, Democracy and Development in the Great Lakes Region, First Summit of Heads of State and Government, 20 November 2004.

This strategy is also inspired by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 which reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, and the need to implement fully international humanitarian and human rights law that protects the rights of women and girls during and after conflicts. In light of the SHS mandate in UNESCO, particular attention was given to the need to:
  • Increas[e] the representation of women at all decision-making levels;
  • Support women’s grassroots organizations in their peace initiatives;
  • Ensur[e] protection of and respect for the human rights of women and girls.

In that context, a consultation was organized in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 30 May – 1 June 2005. The purpose of this meeting was to bring together policy and decision makers, academics and other specialists on women and gender issues, and representatives of women’s NGOs from the Great Lakes Region to discuss their priorities and needs in the social and human sciences and to agree on the main lines of a plan of action for gender equality and development.
Specific recommendations included the establishment of a women’s research and documentation center in Kinshasa, DRC, along with women’s studies programs at the major universities in Burundi and Rwanda. (There exist women’s studies programs at the University of Kenya in Nairobi, and Makerere University in Uganda.)

Prior to the close of the consultation, the relevant participants were asked to prepare proposals for the women’s studies programs and to send them directly to us. Extra-budgetary funding will be sought for these institution building activities.
As part of the follow-up to the consultation, we will finalize the short papers presented during the meeting, and will compile them into a document that will form a background study to be submitted to the second summit of the Dar es Salaam Declaration process, scheduled to take place in Nairobi in November. A LISTSERV will be prepared so that the network can remain in touch.

For detailed information see the report:
> Consultation Report

See also:
> Background Paper

> Presentations at the Addis Ababa Conference, Ethiopia, 30 May – 1 June 2005:

Start Date 08-07-2005
End Date 08-07-2005
Contact First Name Eunice
Contact Last Name Smith
Keywords women, empowerment, Great Lakes, post conflict, reconstruction

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