In light of our announcement this week at the Clinton Global Initiative regarding our new campaign on gender-based violence in the context of armed conflict, we wanted to provide more information on our new partner and a few of our proposed activities.
After our initial research process led us to settle on gender-based violence in the context of armed conflict and political repression as one new programmatic focus for our network campaign model, we began to assess which organization would be the best fit for this collaborative initiative. Our criteria for selection included: potential impact of video in the organization’s campaign, agency of local voices within the campaign agenda, and value added of WITNESS’ involvement in the campaign.
From the very beginning of this process, one organization stood out clearly as a potential partner in this campaign: Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice. Women’s Initiatives is an international women’s human rights organization that advocates for gender justice both at and through the International Criminal Court (ICC). Women’s Initiatives works with locally-based organizations in the countries currently under investigation by the ICC – the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and Uganda – and has programs that include:
•Political and legal advocacy for accountability and prosecution of gender-based crimes,
•Documentation of gender-based crimes in armed conflicts,
•Conflict resolution and integration of gender issues within the negotiations and implementation of peace agreements, and
•Advocacy for reparations for women survivors of armed conflict.
Women’s Initiatives also works to increase the gender balance of the ICC by advocating for the appointment of women, especially experts on gender and sexual violence, to posts within the Court. Women’s Initiatives produces an annual Gender Report Card to track this along with the progress of gender-based crimes being included in the investigations and cases before the ICC.
As this exciting new collaboration unfolds, we have several campaign-related activities on the horizon. From October 12-17, the World March of Women will being together over 1,000 women activists for a march beginning in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo, in an effort to bring attention to the linkages between gender-based violence, militarization, and the ongoing conflict in that country. Immediately preceding the march, WITNESS will conduct a short training in video advocacy for 13 Women’s Initiatives partner organizations from the DRC, and will support them to collect footage during the march for a video that will be screened at the event’s closing.
Additionally, we are planning two intensive 10-day trainings on video advocacy methodology and production- the first being in November in Uganda for several of Women’s Initiatives Ugandan partner organizations. The second will take place in South Africa for other groups from Women’s Initiatives country programs in February 2011. After these trainings, we will be supporting these organizations to produce and strategically distribute their videos to key domestic, national and international decision-makers to create change in policies, practices and behaviors that affect gender-based violence.
We are thrilled for this new campaign and our partnership with Women’s Initiatives and their locally-based partners, please look for new posts here and on our website as the campaign progresses.
Bukeni Waruzi, Program Manager for Africa & the Middle East, contributed to this post.