Jointly creating

equitable societies

during conflicts

and in their aftermath

Women, Peace and Security

The risks of a conflict resur­gence after a peace agree­ment are high: approx­i­mately half of all countries emerging from civil wars experi­ence armed clashes again within a decade after a peace treaty.

When women partic­i­pate in the peace process, the likeli­hood of peace enduring even 15 years after the peace treaty is signed increases by 35 %.

Crises recur when the causes of the problems are not addressed. Estab­lishing the rule of law, bringing about social justice and assisting in the transi­tion to democ­ratic societies are there­fore impor­tant measures for preserving peace.

That’s why the Federal Foreign Office supports projects in these fields:

Bolstering the rule of law


Gender equality in local media­tion commit­tees

Project partner
Associ­a­tion for Devel­op­ment of Women and Legal Educa­tion (ADWLE)

In Laos, if a female farmer gets into a row with the ferryman on her way back to her village from the weekly market where she was selling chickens and fruit about whether she already paid for her return ticket, and the two of them cannot agree, they consult the village media­tion committee. These commit­tees are the first port of call in the Lao legal system and are respon­sible for civil disputes or complaints and smaller crimes which arise in village commu­ni­ties. The media­tion commit­tees are of great impor­tance because their ruling deter­mines whether cases or complaints can be brought to the court system.

Even though the commit­tees are thus the first instance in the Lao legal system, their members receive hardly any formal training from the govern­ment. Some commit­tees base their decisions on customary or tradi­tional law, which can be very disad­van­ta­geous for women, rather than on national legis­la­tion, which prohibits gender-based discrim­i­na­tion. In addition, women are signif­i­cantly under­rep­re­sented on the commit­tees. This can lead to the row between the female farmer and the ferryman being judged unfairly and in a discrim­i­na­tory way. In criminal cases concerning sexual violence it is also possible that commit­tees misjudge the gravity of the offence and consider themselves respon­sible even though the cases should be referred to the criminal courts. This can lead to the trivi­al­i­sa­tion of sexual violence such as rape or the covering up of the offence.

The organ­i­sa­tion Associ­a­tion for Devel­op­ment of Women and Legal Educa­tion (ADWLE) wants to bridge this gap. It is taking a two-pronged approach: in close cooper­a­tion with the respon­sible justice authority, the organ­i­sa­tion offers gender-sensi­tive legal training for committee members in the Sangthong district in the Vientiane Capital region. The aim is to improve the training programme and raise aware­ness among the committee members of gender equality, children’s rights, women’s rights and human trafficking. In parallel the organ­i­sa­tion carries out aware­ness-raising work in village commu­ni­ties and schools in order to educate the members of these commu­ni­ties about sexual and gender-based violence, family law, gender equality and access to justice.

Bolstering gender equity


Reinte­gra­tion into society of women from armed extremist groups

Project partner
Inter­na­tional Organ­i­sa­tion for Migra­tion (IOM)

Despite the progress which has now been achieved in stabil­i­sa­tion and state-building in Somalia, the situa­tion remains precar­ious after decades of armed conflict, uncer­tainty, polit­ical insta­bility, poverty, societal divisions, natural disas­ters and insuf­fi­cient economic devel­op­ment. Violence remains a daily occur­rence in many parts of the country.

Armed extremist groups further fuel the conflict and are the most direct threat to peaceful devel­op­ment in Somalia. Since 2015 Germany has supported the Somalian programme for dealing with former members of armed groups and at risk young people, which is being imple­mented with the help of the Inter­na­tional Organ­i­sa­tion for Migra­tion (IOM) and other partners.

The aim of the programme is to create viable, reliable, trans­parent and nation­ally accepted processes to enable exit strate­gies for former members of armed extremist groups and to support them with their reinte­gra­tion into society. In this way the programme is reducing the drivers of conflict and encour­aging resilience at individual and societal level.

The programme also considers the partic­u­larly vulner­able situa­tion of women and girls formerly associ­ated with extremist groups who are often survivors of conflict-related sexual violence. Compre­hen­sive and gender-specific rehabil­i­ta­tion and reinte­gra­tion programmes are offered which support women in returning safely to their commu­ni­ties. In rehabil­i­ta­tion centres, individ­uals formerly associ­ated with violent and extremist groups receive full support; including monthly allowances, religious guidance, basic educa­tion as well as assis­tance in gener­ating income and setting up small businesses. Female survivors of conflict-related sexual violence also receive access to hygiene sets as well as medical treat­ment and psychoso­cial support. IOM runs two rehabil­i­ta­tion centres for women in Somalia and works with three women’s civil society organ­i­sa­tions. In 2019 the programme supported 180 women with their reinte­gra­tion into society in Mogadishu, Kismayo and Baidoa.


Women and young girls find their voice with Radio Daljir

Project partner
Radio Daljir

After decades of civil war the human rights situa­tion in Somalia remains critical. The main triggers for human rights breaches are contin­uing armed conflicts in several parts of the country, including clan conflicts and the fight against terrorism. What’s more the radical Islamist terror militant group al-Shabaab continues to control areas in the south of the country and children and women in partic­ular are suffering under its rule. State actors and other non-state actors are also respon­sible for human rights breaches. Sexual violence, forced recruit­ment of children as well as kidnap­pings, torture and illegal killings are widespread. Somalia is one of the countries with the world’s highest rates of female genital mutila­tion; the UN puts the percentage of affected women between the ages of 15 and 49 at around 98 percent. According to the UN, almost 50 percent of young women in Somalia were married before their 18th birthday. The percentage of women in parlia­ment is 24 percent.

The local radio station Radio Daljir promotes regional devel­op­ment and human rights. It works together with human rights defenders and with local author­i­ties. One main focus is the issue of gender equality: discus­sions, talk shows and radio plays highlight the themes of equality and equity between the sexes. There is a wide array of topics ranging from tackling and preventing sexual violence, the educa­tion and employ­ment situa­tion of women to the partic­i­pa­tion of women in polit­ical processes. Training programmes prepare young women to be Radio Daljir editors.

Between January 2019 and March 2020 and with support from Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, Radio Daljir was able to provide women and girls from Galmudug with the oppor­tu­nity to exchange ideas about questions relating to gender equality in 40 radio shows, commu­nity meetings, training events and social media posts. At the same time this strength­ened public aware­ness of these issues among the popula­tion.

Democ­ratic Republic of the Congo

Being a woman in the Democ­ratic Republic of the Congo

Women in the Democ­ratic Republic of the Congo are fighting for equal distri­b­u­tion of power, equal rights and equal access to resources. The index of the United Nations Devel­op­ment Programme, which measures gender inequality, ranks the Democ­ratic Republic of the Congo at 156 out of 189 countries. Partic­u­larly in the east of the country this also concerns involve­ment in conflict resolu­tion and protec­tion against sexual and gender-based violence, which has increased massively again in recent years and is destroying women, families and social cohesion across gener­a­tions.

Yet the involve­ment of women in peace processes is more than a question of women’s rights: where women take part in peace processes, the agree­ments reached last for longer, are more strongly geared towards social change through polit­ical measures and more greatly involve civil society stake­holders. The inclu­sion of women in peace and security processes is there­fore an essen­tial element of such policies.

To mark the anniver­sary of Resolu­tion 1325 on women, peace and security, the German Embassy in Kinshasa invited partic­i­pants to submit their thoughts on the issue in the form of an essay, poem, short story or tribute.

Ruth Maketa impressed the jury with her poem “Being a woman in the Democ­ratic Republic of the Congo” in which the medical student from Kinshasa addresses both the different roles played by women in the Democ­ratic Republic of the Congo and those they will increas­ingly be targeting in the future.

Her winning poem was published in the French original on the website of the German Embassy:

Etre femme en RDC

Depuis que, des horizons du Congo
Le soleil, de l'aurore, a éclos
La vie de la femme congo­laise
N'a ainsi cessée d'être une vie d'une fonceuse.

Meilleur cocktail de la création
La nature lui a doté d'un cœur en diamant
Et le soleil a peint sa robe d'une peau en mosaïque
Elle épouse les éclats de la lune
Et se substitue à l'ébène
C'est la femme-beauté

She gave her body to the Creator as a workshop
Où la création du peuple congo­lais a eu lieu
Elle l'a nourri de la sève de son cœur
Elle a gardé la flamme de sa vie afin qu'elle ne se meurt
C'est la femme-mère.

Cet être à tout faire
Celle qui fait fondre le fer
Celle qui cultive la terre
Celle qui, de ses larmes, éteint les terreurs
Sans jamais se plaindre
Et autant bénévole
plays all her roles
C'est la femme-au foyer

Réduite à la mater­nité, au plaisir sexuel
Restreinte à la lessive, aux casseroles
Elle se voit margin­al­isée, sans droit au mot
Jusqu'à ce jour par l'homme dans son désir macho
Elle reste dommage la femme-objet.

Rester bras croisés n'est pas son fort
D'elle dépend pour sa famille, survie et confort
Petit ou grand que ça soit son business
Elle y met abnéga­tion et conscience
Ambition et déter­mi­na­tion sont ses atouts
Rien ne l'arrête même la peur de son statut
She’s the business­woman, the all-rounder.

Dans la déter­mi­na­tion à diriger une entité
Elle se bat pour se faire une place dans la société
C'est la femme d'État
Celle qui se démarque, celle qui se bat.

Sans arriver à l'anéantir
Les coups de la vie font sa force
Entre deux cris, elle donne la vie
Entre deux larmes, elle transmet un sourire
Les coutumes ont cousu sa bouche
Mais par les batte­ments de son cœur
Elle sait s'exprimer, elle est incoercible
C'est la femme invin­cible.

N'est ce pas là le meilleur cocktail de la création?
Pour un Congo encore plus fort parmi les nations
Let us value the Congolese woman
Elle est ce piédestal qui saura l'élever au rang des grands
Car la grandeur et elle font un.

Ruth Maketa

Being a woman in the Democ­ratic Republic of the Congo

Ever since the sun rose at daybreak
above the Congolese horizon
the life of the Congolese woman
has been that of a doer.

The optimum blend of creation,
nature gave her a diamond heart
and the sun coated her dress with a mosaic skin
She embraces the radiance of the moon
and super­sedes the ebony.
She is woman and beauty.

She gave her body to the Creator as a workshop
to give birth to the Congolese nation
She fed it with the juice of her heart
protected the flame of its life lest it go out
She is woman and mother.

This being that does every­thing
that melts iron
that ploughs the fields
that wipes out fear with her tears
without even so much as a murmur
and with constant readi­ness
plays all her roles
She is woman and house­wife.

Reduced to mother­hood, sexual pleasure
tied to washing and stove
margin­alised, denied the right to speak, to this day
by the man and his macho culture
Sadly she remains woman and object.

Doing nothing is not her strength
The family depends on her to survive
She goes about her business, whether large or small
with devotion and commit­ment
Ambition and resolve are her assets
Nothing holds her back, not even fear for her status
She’s the business­woman, the all-rounder.

Deter­mined to manage a unit
she fights her way up in the company
She’s the stateswoman
who stands out, who fights.

She’s not defeated by the hardships of life
Instead they make her strong
She gives life between two cries
She gives a smile between two tears
If customs have sealed her mouth
she speaks with the beat
of her heart, she is indefati­gable
She is the unbeat­able woman.

Is she not the optimum blend of creation?
For a stronger Congo amid the nations
Let us value the Congolese woman
She is the pillar upon which the country achieves great things
For great­ness and she are one.

Ruth Maketa