Women’s Election Mechanism for Peace

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Increasing the prominence of women peacebuilders in local government elections

Photo: Keegan Thumberan

South Africa’s 2021 local government elections took place on 1 November 2021. To enhance the role of women in election processes, ACCORD provided conflict management training and logistical support for the Women’s Election Mechanism for Peace (WEMP). The training took place at ACCORD House in Durban, South Africa, on 28-29 October 2021. As a member of the WEMP’s steering committee, ACCORD also hosted the ‘Peace Room’ for KZN, which was a central convening point for the WEMP election observation mission between 31 October and 2 November 2021. 

The WEMP is a collaborative project between a number of organisations that serves as an early warning and early response tool for electoral and gender based violence. The WEMP’s Secretariat office is held by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, while the Steering Committee includes members representing the South African Women in Dialogue, Gertrude Shope Women’s Mediation Network, ACCORD, Women International Peace Centre, Genderlinks, and the Lady of Peace Community Foundation. 

WEMP seeks to promote women’s participation in the conduct of peaceful elections and in conflict prevention by training selected women peace actors in conflict analysis and management techniques. These peace actors are then deployed as election observers. Building the capacity of women to respond to the complex problems that may arise during an election is seen as crucial in the preparation for the deployment of election observers. The women trained by ACCORD were deployed in various constituencies deemed as hotspots for electoral violence in South Africa.

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