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South Asian Gender Alliance (SAGA) Programme
January 20th to 22nd 2009, Mahabalipuram, Chennai, TN


Women, Gender and Peace Building
20 – 22 January 2009

Given the context of wars, civil wars, heightened terrorist attacks, glaring injustices and the double speak of governments, civil society organizations are being galvanized to take up ‘peace building’ as a core intervention, integral to the process of human development and societal transformation.  It is necessary to constantly ‘beat an old drum’ for women bear the brunt of wars and poverties.  It is crucial to mainstream gender in every social intervention leading to transformation.

Peace is not the absence of war. “ Peace, in the sense of the absence of war, is of little value to someone who is dying of hunger or cold. It will not remove the pain of torture inflicted on a prisoner of conscience. It does not comfort those who have lost their loved ones in floods caused by senseless deforestation in a neighboring country. Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free. The XIVth Dalai Lama.

In the Judeo Christian tradition peace as shalom includes just relationships.  Peace cannot be separated from justice.  A terminology gaining popularity, over the last decade is ‘justpeace’ and this is self explanatory.  Lasting peace cannot be found unless justice is done.

Countries in South Asia are reeling under aggression and violence of civil wars, terrorist attacks, proxy wars.  Some of this engineered by external forces for profit.  The military industrial complex has to be featured into our attempts at doing social/gender analysis.  In as much as we need to see peace building as crucial for development, we must from the outset see gender as a cross cutting perspective and integrate gender equity concerns into peace building.

Goal of the workshop

Creating a forum  for ‘just-peace’ initiatives within  the Soth Asian Gender Alliance (SAGA) The specific objectives are listed below:

Objectives :

  • Mapping of conflicts in South Asia.  

  • Gender analysis of conflicts and peace building processes

  • Introducing  and applying   frameworks and tools for mainstreaming gender in peace building

  • Identifying scope and methodology for future interventions towards ‘just-peace’ through SAGA


The methodology will be participatory and will include role plays, case studies, theatre workshops, input sessions and group discussions.

Women, Gender  and  Peace Building
20 -22 January 2009
Tentative Schedule

Day 1, 20 January 2009




09:00 - 10:30


Inaugural & Introductions:

  • Participants introduction

  • Expectations

  • Workshop introduction

Lighting of lamps, reading, songs etc. Cards & categorizing
Power Point

10:30 - 11:00

Tea break


11:00 - 13:00


Identifying barriers to peace (Mapping conflicts in the region)

Exploring Self and the other – towards peace building

In country groups &



13:00 - 14:00

Lunch break


14:00 - 16:00


Gender and socialization : consequences for violence and peace

Group discussion and preparation of presentations

16:00 - 16:30

Tea break


16:30 - 17:30

Presentations and summing up






Day 2, 21 January 2009

09:00  - 11:00

Gender, social relations and institutions : Implications for peace building 

  • Social relations

  • Social institutions

  • Gender differentiated impact of conflicts

  • Gender differentiated needs and interests & access to relief and  rehabilitation


Case studies – countrywise & presentations

11:00 - 11:30

Tea break


11:30 - 13:00

Gender mainstreaming in peace building : Introduction of frameworks / tools


Group work Theatre

13:00 - 14:00



14:00  16:00


 Gender mainstreaming (contd.)

  • Future directions


 In country groups

16.00 – 16.30 Tea break  
16:30 to 17:30 Presentation of future plans  & summing up and evaluation  

Workshop – SAGA
SAGA- Workshop/Consultation:
“Women, Gender and Peace Building”

Mahabalipuram, 20th-22nd January, 2009


(Rapporteurs : Ms Monalisa, Dr Deepali Bhanot, Ms Krishani)

 The South Asia Gender Alliance Workshop on Women,
and Peace Building, supported by
CASA and NCA was held at Mahabalipuram
from the 20th-22nd January, 2009

35 participants representing different NGOs from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka participated in the Workshop.


The Goal of the Workshop was to create a forum for ‘Justpeace’ initiative within SAGA with the following specific objectives:

  • mapping conflicts in South Asia,

  • Gender Analysis of conflicts and Peace Building processes,

  • introducing and applying framework and tools for mainstreaming gender in Peace

  • identifying scope and  methodology for future interventions for ‘Justpeace’ through SAGA. 

20th January, 2008 (Day 1)

Inaugural Session:

The Inaugural session began with a multi-faith prayer.

Dr Shiela Jones, Regional Head CASA, welcomed the participants and informed them about the structure and objectives of the Workshop.  She also read out the message of Mr Stephen, NCA,who could not be present at the programme.

The Chief Guests for the day were Ms. Jayanthi, District Magistrate and Ms Kannagi, Commissioner, Social Welfare.

Ms Jayanthi in her inaugural speech spoke about the importance of Peace and emphasized that Peace should begin at home.  Women have an important role as Peace makers because God has created her for this specific purpose.  These days even the women are being trained as terrorists.  But the need of the hour is to train people for peace. 

Women are targeted for all kinds of violence despite the constitutional provision of equality for all.  It is the duty of all of us especially, the women to establish peace and justice. The choice is ours whether we want to become a terrorist or Mother Teresa.  She added that this workshop was an wonderful opportunity to learn about ‘justpeace’ and each participant should be worthy of this workshop and go back as messengers of peace.

Ms Kannagi said that  God has created women to complement men so that could work together.  The women today are working for their empowerment. Especially,  SHGs is a silent revolution through which women are strengthening themselves economically. Women are capable of  standing  up to any challenge in the form of  alcoholism and other social evils.  She too was of  the opinion that Peace should start at home and it is important to stand up for Peace with Justice.

Session I :

Ms Mercy Kappan , Gender Trainer,  representing ,Visthar was the facilitator for the session. She started the session with an exercise of mix and match cards so that participants could introduce each other in pairs.  From this individual introduction of participants, she summed up that all the participants have some common identities but each one of has multiple identities. In order to establish Peace, we need to identify the barriers to building peace.  Co-existence is very important in establishing peace as this involves not only learning to deal with and live with differences but also to celebrate differences. It also involves learning about different identities and about different perspectives of hope.

This was followed by a group activity in which the participants in six groups were asked to match 15 concepts regarding Gender Basic Terminology with their definitions in order to deepen the understanding of Gender. Discussion was also held on PGN, SGN and on the Access and Control of resources.

Expectations of the Participants:

The expectations from the workshop were listed in the following four categories: 

  • Gender mainstreaming

  • Peace and Conflict resolution

  • Sharing and Learning

  • Networking and Advocacy related issues

Session II:

Mapping Conflict in the Region:

The participants were divided into six groups in accordance to their countries to discuss the following question in experience sharing:

  • Nature of conflict you have worked on

  • What are the gender-specific vulnerabilities that women/men girls/boys faced in the conflict?

  • How did you respond?

  • Were you able to address both the PGN and SGI of the affected women/girls and men/boys and what were the constraints?

  • What are the gender stereotypes you encountered while working with government?

  • What are the internal organizational changes you made to make the response gender sensitive?

  • Do you have any program for conflict transformation/peace building? Specify.

By the end of the day two groups from Sri Lanka and one group from Bangladesh made presentations

Presentation – Bangladesh Group:

Topic: Domestic Violence, Ethnic based discrimination and others

    Gender Specific vulnerability: 

  • Access to Service /Information

  • Access to control over resources

  • Local Judicial system ( not women friendly)

  • Restricted mobility

  • Lack of participation in decision making process

Response of the RDRS & CCDB:

·        Awareness raising / Capacity building;

·        Policy change / Advocacy (enforcement of the existing laws   and advocating for new law
   on DVAW).

  • Dialogue with different stake holders

  • Interfaith sharing / Dialogue

  • Networking / Alliance

Practical / Strategic Needs:

  • Grass root Institutions need to be strengthened

  • Birth registration

  • Women participation in UP / NP


  • Lesser access in decision making processes

  • Traditional / Negative attitude towards women

Organizational Changes:

  • Cross cutting issues

  • Gender sensitive planning

  • Gender policy in action


  • Conflict resolution ( Mediation)

  • Legal assistance

Presentation Sri Lanka Group 01

Ethnic / Religious conflict that has turned into a war for the past 30 years.  Women and children have been the worst sufferers.

21% women headed households, women suffer trauma, insecurity in IDP camps that shelter around 8,00,000 displaced persons, Family life structure has been disturbed especially in the conflict areas. No Assets / Properties.  Children have been orphaned- are insecure- no education – child marriages and there are forcible conscriptions.


Relief work – Integration camps / exchange programmes – psychological support – Training & Capacity building / livelihood/ awareness – Inter-religious dialogue – Human rights / legal aid / advocacy – Inter faith nurseries.

Practical Needs:  Being provided support within our means.

Strategic Needs:  Minimal – should be done by the government.  Women’s participation was nil in negotiation and decision making when the CFA was signed.

The majority in all communities do not approve of division on ethnic lines.  They aspiration is to live as Sri Lankans in peace and unity while preserving their ethnic identity.

Presentation Sri lanka Group 02

Nature :  Conflict within the family

Vulnerabilities :  Patriarchal attitudes – power imbalance / control – suppression of women & children within the family – economic hardships- effects of prolonged war – social status – Gender expectations.


-     Awareness raising / gender sensitization  through electronic & print media , judiciary, law enforcement, government, health , society at large and school system

-     Economic empowerment by income generation (IG) and skills training

Practical:   Counseling, legal aid, shelter, IG activities, medical aid, Policy level strategies:  NCW, Judges’ training, women’s desks in police, PIL, Research & influence in policy , Medical officers’ training.


  • Attitudes of law enforcement

  • Insensitivity of Judges towards gender issues

  • Women are the weaker sex /men stronger( stereotypes)

  • DV is a family / private affair



  • working with men

  • sensitizing judges / law enforcers

  • vigilant groups

  • community watch dogs

  • women’s centres

  • working with media

  • working with the youth

21st January, 2008 ( Day 2)

The day began with the chanting of a Tamil devotional song.

Presentations by Organizations:

 Five participants had come prepared with individual presentations regarding the work/projects being carried by their organizations.  Due to paucity of time, it was decided that all the participants will receive these presentations in a CD along with the report.

Presentation   Nepal Group:

Types of Conflicts:

Domestic violence,  caste conflicts and regional conflicts between the refugees and the host countries.  Conflicts occur as the donor agencies wish to provide relief for the refugees and not for the host communities.  Due to this conflict problems like rape, trafficking, violence, abuse, psychological problems, poor health, physical disabilities,school drop outs etc occur.

What they have done:  Vocational skill training has been provided not only to the dalit community but also to the host community.  Support to the refugees has been given for the last 18 yrs.  There is no refugee law in Nepal for the vulnerable women and refugees.  Therefore now the government is being forced to pass the Refugee Law to provide them with Human Rights and Land Rights.

To Mitigate conflicts:

A number of institutions have already been established to deal with conflicts.  Distribution of food and other relief material to the refugees has been systemized. Information desks for safe migration and to deal with trafficking have been set up.


The social norms and values stand in the way of welfare initiatives for the women.

Discriminatory Inheritance laws of the Nepalese government favour the daughter if she is unmarried.  But   if she marries, then she has to return the property. Moreover, even though the law exists it is   not implemented.

The environment is insecure. Different political parties operate in their own personal interests.

Initiatives undertaken by LWF:

Monetary support of Rs 500 per month is  available for 2 yrs to girls to go for higher studies. Peace committees have been formed to mediate between the conflicts between the host communities and refugees. The LWF, Nepal  provides infrastructure to the host communities like rooms, water supply, toilets etc in order to minimize conflicts among the host communities and refugees. Skill training is also being provided.


Each year about 1,20,000 girls are being trafficked to other countries.  In Kathmandu sex-workers are increasing. There are more female headed households. Violence still persists. Men and women do not have the same access to resources. But the women are being trained who train other women.  The property captured by the Maoists is not being returned and the people have lost faith in the police and administration. The Law also supports the transit point for Tibetan refugees in Nepal but the government does not get involved in this politics.

Group Photo:

A Group Photo was taken after the morning session and all the participants received the photo later in the day.

Presentation India Group 02 :


  • Caste/ethnic / religious conflicts

  • Power / political dynamics

  • Systematic issues of government

Gender specific vulnerabilities:

  • Women and girls, especially, pregnant, elderly, disabled are targeted

  • The women have no privacy in relief camps / hospitals

Local Groups ( Panchayats)

  • Religious groups

  • Youth groups

  • Political leaders

Gender stereotyping:

  • Government agents want husbands to receive relief on behalf of wives

  • Male staff more than women


Working with women, Internal organizing, Gender empowerment, Conflict sensitivity, Assam Riots rehabilitiation, Action for non-violence.

They also spoke about PDI (Post Distaster Incidents) _Example Cyclone NISHA after Tsunami – the local panchayat emerged as the strong group and it is male dominated .- In order to counter it local youth were trained- local panchayat leaders found it as a threat-  they also had training programmes for fishermen and dalits to empower them. Similar experience in post Tsunami situation where the traditional panchayats took away all the relief material given to  women and distributed according to their own decisions.

Relief work needs to be culture/gender specific. People’s participation in planning relief is important.  IAG (Inter Agency Groups) came together for relief work. In the Kandhamal, the government infrastructure was not prepared to deal with conflict.

Discussion: after presentation

Gender Policies:   are they gender specific or gender blind?  Do they only support men?

Conflicts, leading to injustice, violence, is bad.  However, conflict is seen as raising a voice as it leads to resolution/transformation (Resistance)

Presentation India Group 01

Nature:   Post Tsunami (survivors were kept in masses and women did not attend meetings, caste/ patriarchal/gender issues created conflicts and deprived the Dalits from relief measures. 


  • We will not have programs without women.

  • Land ownership will be in joint name.

  • Boats were issued in the name of women.

  • To use culture to benefit women.

  • Some interventions still continue.


Has the government supported UN Res. 1325, etc. 

Government has signed it.

Self help groups: space provided for women to come together.  It has been the case that the political parties manipulated the situation.  In Andra Pradesh, resources were mobilized by women but were manipulated by the government for instance.  Practical problems were not considered.

Continuation of the session – by Mrs. Mercy Kappan

In our responses, there are several UN responses, etc are we working disregarding the above or are we using the provisions to make our state responsible on daily basis(structural violence)?

-     Up to a certain extent – Sphere standards were used.  UN resolutions are ratified but not followed by the governments.  We do not lobby for it.

Do we see relief as charity or right?  It’s their right and they are not objects.  In Rights Based Approach, there is a Rights holder and a Duty Bearer.  Are we making the duty bearers accountable?

-     Right to Food in the Indian constitution – Article 21, many civil society groups involved.  Many provided affidavits, etc.  There are nine Social Security Schemes and state is accountable.  Universalisation of this scheme is discussed.  All donor agencies should be aware that there are enough resources and advocacy is important.

Awareness creation of RBA could be done after a certain extent of empowerment.

While we are meeting practical needs we need to look at strategic needs.

Post tea break session

Gender and conflict: Understanding the links:

Understanding Masculinity:

Exercises included – walk, talk, cry, laugh like a man/woman

Socialization of a man and a woman is different. – If all are socialized in a feminine manner what would be the result? Although there will be no physical violence, care and nurturing .But it will also have negative impact. As an example,

woman is supposed to be patient and  sacrificing – depriving her of her rights.

Therefore both of these qualities of masculinity/femininity should be inculcated in all

Gender Mainstreaming:

Roles identification:  Who does what ? (24 hrs day list of activities for both men and women can be made and then analysed as an activity). The roles that women follow – Productive, reproductive, community role- Women do productive work but their work is not recognized.-Women are earning for the family and contributing towards to the family income – but their income is considered as supplementary income.

·     A Gender analysis is needed for Gender mainstreaming.

In Roles identification, reproductive work also includes caring, nurturing, cooking, helping etc for a woman and Community work is voluntary work  and they are very rarely paid for the work they do.

In Community work both men and women are involved

Thus women have triple role : Reproductive, Producive and Community work  while men have only double role. 

Access and Control – Who has access and who has control ?



List out under following headings as to who has access to resources and who has the control over them:

Resources          Access w/m           Control w/m

Include time

Needs profile / identification  ( for Gender analysis)


List under : PGN / SGI (Practical Gender Needs / (Strategic Gender Interest)

Many NGOs are involved in income generation programs for women and are involved in assisting in Practical needs

Opportunities / Constraints: 

-     Opportunities or do they come with constraints.

The Aspirations : People have different aspirations as persons, human beings --- an agricultural laborer/farmer has different aspiration than a rural woman’

Self – there is a potential in all individuals for aspiration

In all societies it is the men, the upper caste and the rich who rule.

Gender Equity & Gender Equality is very important for Gender mainstreaming—Now we are in ‘Male-stream” – we need to create society with women and men with same rights

(There is an oppressor within each one of the oppressed

Policy approaches : Welfare approach, Anti Poverty, Efficiency approach, Equality app, Empowerment

The tools: 

Equity was explained through the story of fox and crane story –ending how both of them could be served the soup – the fox in the plate and the crane in the jar – This is called Substantive Equality or Equity.  

Similarly, the benefits could be distributed men and women for equitable access.  We need to be aware of the specific needs of men and women and their biological and social

Implementing Gender Mainstreaming

Gender analysis

Gender planning

Need to look at policies, program /projects and budget- at the level of practice not only at the level of perception/perspective

We need to look at every stage how gender has been mainstreamed.

It should be considered as to what is the outcome, who is the ultimate beneficiary. 

Women’s Empowerment (Presentation by Ravi – Dan Church Aid – New Delhi, India)  See attachment.

Sara Longwe: Basic issue of welfare needs to be looked into when thinking about empowerment.  Knowledge about access to production, services and benefits is important.


Four dimensions of being a Human Being :

“Being”, “doing”, “have” and “relating”

Control – over sexuality, mobility, resources, fertility,(do women have control over the above mentioned  dimensions)

Conflict Transformation:

Animal conflict styles

Force field and institutional approach to gender planning ( See attachment 5.3) Consider Religion as the enabling forces (opportunities) and disabling forces (constraints).

Group activity:   Constraints- enabling factors / disabling factors

Game : nine dots

Lessons learnt:

It usually does not occur to us that we need to go out of the box for finding a solution.  Same is with our life in relation to co-existence.

See attachment on Transformation.

Personal – developing a sense of self, individual confidence and capacity, and undoing the effects of internalized oppression.

Relational- Developing the ability to negotiate and influence the nature of a relationship and decisions made within it.

Structural- Including involvement to change oppressive structures.  Collective action based on cooperation rather than competition.

“Development, Liberation and Transformation are all aspects of the same process. It is not a marginal activity.  It is the core of all creative human living” – TFT

Feed back from the participants:


  • Excellent/Good

  • Informative and enriching

  • Effective learning

  • Knowledge enhancing

  • Activities were fun/enjoyable

  • Subject is relevant

  • challenging

  • Stimulating

  • Interesting

  • Useful (topics such as Gender Analysis Tools)

  • Helps analyze the programs and projects through a Gender lense

  • Too vast


  • Interesting and interactive

  • Lively and participatory

  • More audio visuals  could be used

  • The facilitation was good.


  • Relevant to work

  • Framework for Gender Analysis and Concepts are good.

  • Understanding how to mainstream Gender in Peace Building


  • Tools were useful and relevant

  • Topics can be applied at the level of planning, implementation and monitoring


  • Inadequate time for the workshop/ Time Management

  • More than one facilitator could be explored

  • Country presentations could be structured

  • SAGA theme should be planned ahead of time

  • More case studies could have been inco-operated

  • Be specific on agenda/follow schedule

  • Could add “Gender Budgeting”

  • Follow up program needed

  • Include Peace Building in depth

  • Field visit could have been included

  • Increased participation of male members/participants.

  • Conflict Resolution should be discussed at length.

22nd January  ( Day 3)

SAGA Strategic Planning Workshop:


At the end of the strategic planning workshop the SAGA network members would:

  • Have a clear understanding of implications of recent developments in  South Asia on marginalized women

  • Have prioritized three gender issues confronting marginalized women in the region that the network would like to address at regional, country and organization level

  • Have decided upon six actions on the three gender issues at regional, country and organizational level

  • Revisited the vision and mission of the SAGA network formed in 2002

Session 1

The day began with an unique interfaith prayer led by Rev Packiam Samuel who encouraged the participants to enact a small story from each faith tradition that showed how a woman with immense faith and devotion was able to move the heart of a prophet or a preacher.

The session included Introduction to the one day SAGA strategic planning  and introduction to the participants and resource person. The resource for the day was Ms Ranjani Murthy

Session 2

This session dealt with the development in South Asia and implications for marginalized women.  The methodology used was through brainstorming in cards and Regional group discussions on implications for marginalized women.

The two main issues that emerged from the cards were Conflict and Poverty.  The participants in groups discussed about the Gender implications of poverty and Poverty – impact of economic recession.

The implications of the regional development for marginalized women and girls were identified as trafficking and migration.

The causes for Conflict were acknowledged as political agenda, feeling of superiority (in case of religion), limited resources-unlimited needs, discrimination, majority/minority issues, unequal distribution of resources, segregation due to language, caste/class conflicts, national identities/border disputes, bullying based on economic power.

Sessions 3 & 4

The theme chosen for action programmes were Conflict and Poverty.

Conflict   - Gender based violence – rape, exploitation, sexual harassment etc (The participants were asked to also look at the UN Security Resolution1325).

                -  Harmony and promoting respect for diversity

Poverty   - Discrimination of women in the family  with regard to  education, health, nutrition and assets.

Four issues were identified:

1.      Violence against women in conflict ( public and domestic)

2.      Promoting harmony and respect for diversity

3.      Discrimination in health, education, nutrition and assets

4.      Trafficking and migration

Session 5 

The Vision and Mission of SAGA evolved in 2002 was re-examined. ( Revised Vision & Mission will be circulated later)

Session 6

In the wrap – up session,  Dr Afroz Mahal of Bangladesh was chosen as the  focal person for the next SAGA workshop to be held in Bangladesh.

The meeting ended with a vote of thanks to the resource person, Ms Ranjani Murthy,    the outgoing focal person from Sri Lanka and to Dr Shiela Jones and her team.

( The detailed report of the workshop held on the 22nd January (Day 3), will be circulated later by the Rapporteur for the day, Dr Afroz Mahal).


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