Policy & Practice Briefs

The Policy & Practice Brief series forms part of ACCORD's knowledge production work to inform peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. They aim to provide succinct, rigorous and accessible recommendations to policy makers and practitioners and to stimulate informed and relevant debate to promote dialogue as a way to peacefully resolve conflict. Each issue draws on field research or the outcomes of thematic events, with analysis underpinned by rigorous research, academic theory and methods. 

Mediating peace in Africa

Enhancing the role of southern African women in mediation

Policy & Practice Brief 25

Although the need to engage women in peace processes is widely acknowledged, most mediation teams do not include or encourage the voices and representation of women. Promoting women’s capacities to participate in peace processes is crucial for their advancement and ability to contribute to peace, development and security. This Policy & Practice Brief (PPB) mainly bases its discussions and recommendations on debates which took place during the Southern African Women Mediators Seminar (SAWMS), hosted by the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), in collaboration with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women): Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Islands from 20 to 21 November 2012 in Pretoria, South Africa.

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This brief makes the case that women’s potential in mediation remains largely untapped and that organisations engaged in peacemaking should improve their support for women’s increased capacity and participation in peace processes. It examines the inhibiting factors preventing women’s participation in the southern Africa region and offers recommendations which can contribute to the inclusion of women in mediation processes. The PPB also analyses Madagascar, Mozambique and Zimbabwe as case studies to illustrate the evolution of women’s involvement in peace processes in the region over the past two decades.

This Policy & Practice Brief was produced in collaboration with the UN Women: South Africa Multi-Country Office and forms part of ACCORD's knowledge production work to inform peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.