In celebration of International Women Day the 8th March, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane hosted a Banquet Dinner at the Presidential Guest house and seminar at DIRCO on “Women, Peace and Security: Lessons learnt, shared Experiences and Building Sisterhood focusing on the role of the Lumumba Family in the liberation of the DRC”. ACCORD was represented at both the events by Pravina Makan-Lakha.
The seminar took place within the context of consolidating the African Agenda with the 2010 African Union being declared by the AU as a Year of Peace and Security in Addis Ababa during the 12th Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government, and the African Women’s Decade 2010-2020.
The Seminar in partnership with the Progressive Women Movement of South Africa (PWMSA) hosted special guest Ms Zunaid Bangura the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sierra Leone and a delegation of Women who are actively involved in Women, Peace and Security in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ms Bangura was a civil society activist before assuming the Ministerial position. In addressing the banquet and the seminar she was vociferous on her personal experiences as a women refugee in West Africa and her lessons in leadership from the women movement and working in the African Union. No doubt Ms Bangura is a role model for future generations of women leaders. ACCORD will have the possibility of Ms Bangura during the APA and her rich experience and time here should be capitalised on.
The seminar organised under the theme of Women Peace and Security had two sub topic areas for discussion “Women in Conflict” and Women in Governance”. Issues of gender based violence; the plight of women refugees and the status of the girl child in the context of conflict were presented from a South African perspective and a DRC perspective.
While the conference illuminated the challenges confronting women in conflict situations, speakers called for multiple levels of intervention and involvement. Women in leadership were urged to take responsibility to share their experiences and lessons beginning at the most basic of levels e.g. the immediate and extended families, in the community, in work places, in social and professional networks. The message was
“EMPOWERED WOMEN BECOME THEIR OWN LIBERATORS”!
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane