The Promote Musharikat National Conference on Women in the Peace Process was held on December 10th – 12th, 2018. with participation from 98 women from the Provincial Peace Committees, 34 leading mullahs (one from each province), four members of the High Peace Council, 18 activists from the Mothers of Peace organization, and 110 CSO and activist members of the Musharikat Women in the Peace Process Coalition.
The first day of the conference focused on reviewing the current status of the peace process and understanding the challenges and opportunities faced by women within this broadly defined initiative. Vice Chairperson for the High Peace Council Dr. Habiba Sarabi, who was the first woman Governor in Afghanistan, shared her perspective on the process and the importance to work together during the conference. Leading CSOs, such as the Afghan Women’s Network and Mothers of Peace, described their role to date and desired outcomes for the process. Representative mullahs, who were there to support the women, provided an insightful perspective on their roles and challenges they face while being “in the middle” between the Taliban and the government.
On the second day, participants reviewed the process for designing a planning framework, and then broke into working groups to develop a draft advocacy plan for women in the peace process to guide subsequent activities by coalition members and key stakeholders.
The third and last day featured the formal closing ceremony with insightful remarks from Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Abdullah Abdulla, US Ambassador John Bass, and High Peace Council Vice Chairperson Dr. Habiba Sarabi. Portions of these remarks were highlighted prominently by the leading Afghan news agency Tolo. The coalition members also presented their vision for women in the peace process, the outline of the advocacy campaign to support this initiative, and the conference’s accomplishments and concrete action steps. Their objectives going forward will be to: 1) Raise awareness on the critical importance of women’s roles in the peace process; 2) Increase ability of provincial peace committee members to support and engage in the peace process; 3) Establish support and advocacy networks for the provincial peace committees; and, 4) Undertake advocacy and lobbying for greater inclusion of women in the peace process.