By Emiko Perea
“The family is the first place where children learn love and respect. Children also learn the lessons of integrity, hard work and responsibility.” —Dr. Junsook Moon, Chairwoman, Global Peace Women
Thousands of leaders, including regional and international educators, business leaders, clerics, parliamentarians, and heads of state from 16 countries, gathered in Uganda to explore peacebuilding and sustainable development across the continent at the 2018 Global Peace Leadership Conference hosted in Kampala.
The Women’s Track, Peace Begins in the Home: Women-led Initiatives for Peace and Development, provided a wide range of approaches and models for comprehensive peacebuilding from home to the world, with topics such as healthy relationship building, financial capacity building, and women’s participation in the decision making process. Speakers also shared how women-led initiatives could play a crucial role in meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and new opportunities for peace and development. More than 300 women leaders, policy makers, NGO experts, educators, civil society leaders, business leaders, and artists from 12 countries attended the women’s track.
Speeches by influential women leaders and interactive discussions at the conference was a model of how dialogue and the sharing of resources can lead to peace and development on the grassroots and community levels.
Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, and Hon. Janat Mukwaya, Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, stressed that dialogue and trust is essential to build relationships, while women’s participation in decision making promotes gender equality. Hon. Mukwaya said,“We need to use statistics and indices, which must be disaggregated by gender, age and other parameters so that government planners use them to draft programs that benefit women.”
Rev. Canon Rosemary Mbogo, Provincial Secretary of the Anglican Church in Kenya, and H.E. Hajiya Amina Sambo, Founder of I-CARE Women & Youth Initiative, emphasized that women lead the way in addressing poverty, drug and alcohol addiction, and violence against women. Therefore, women’s leadership promotes prosperity and health as a way to strengthen healthy families and societies. Her Excellency Hajiya Amina Namadi Sambo said, “As African women, we are expected to be the chief molders of mind, character, and behavior at home and in the community. The success or otherwise of society therefore lies in the roles women play. Consequently, the presence or lack of peace will be laid on the doorstep of women and mothers.”
Prominent business leaders, such as Mrs. Amina Hersi Morghe and Mrs. Julian Nyamahunge Omalla, held capacity-building trainings and business-development trainings to provide a means for success for the women in the session.
As the Keynote speaker, Dr. Junsook Moon, Chairwoman of Global Peace Foundation women’s division, shared, “Naturally, women are peace-builders, harmonizers and healers. This is because we are endowed by our Creator with innate qualities of empathy, grace and caring for others. This is most evident in motherhood, when a mother is completely committed to the wellbeing of her child, giving every ounce of her body and soul.”
She continued, “While women have assumed various duties beyond the immediate care of their families, we must remind ourselves that our intrinsic value is not determined by professional success or socio-political status. The true value of a woman, which is unique and irreplaceable, resides in the fact that she can bring new life into this world, infuse her children with genuine love, and allow them to experience the dignity and divinity of human life, beginning in the home and expanding into society and the world.”
The Chairwoman highlighted the positive impact women make in society by tackling the fundamental issues that affect basic God-given human dignity and the value of all people. She also indicated that the tribes, faith communities, and government bodies must reinforce and support the values-based lessons taught from the family level through appropriate policies and assistance. Therefore, solutions that emphasize the value of family and women’s indispensable role in their homes and communities will make a lasting, positive impact on the world.
Each session provided an opportunity for discussion with the speakers who shared their best practices and unique approaches to peacebuilding with the participants.