Women’s participation in the prevention and countering of violent extremism in the Sahel region is the focus of a three-day early warning training workshop hosted by the UN Women and the G5 Sahel Secretariat, in partnership with the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP). The workshop holding in Ouagadougou, from February 15 to 17, 2017 provides a platform for Sahelian women to reflect, inform, and share experiences on the subject matter as their contribution to peacebuilding through effective early warning mechanisms both at national and regional levels.
Ms. Khady Ba Faye, Programme Manager of the UN Women Regional Sahel Programme on Peace and Security in her opening speech explained that the partnership with WANEP in the implementation of the workshop was in recognition of “WANEP’s well established expertise on early warning.” The workshop is part of the UN Women Programme funded by Japanese government and seeks to situate women’s leadership at the center of all interventions of the G5 Sahel efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism and foster peace and stability.
Also speaking at the occasion, Mr. Masato Futaishi, Ambassador of Japan in Burkina Faso stated that "Peace and Stability provide the foundation for social and economic development in Africa. … Peace, security and development are inseparable.... In 2015, G5 Sahel countries explicitly recognized women’s crucial role in efforts to prevent the spread of violent extremism.” He added that “Due to their geographic positions and particular occupations, women from border communities are more exposed to violent extremism and are therefore best suited to detect warning signs".
The workshop has in attendance over 50 participants (mainly women) once more brought to the fore the critical role women can play in preventing and countering violent extremism if their leadership potentials are harnessed. It also reechoes the need for a multi-stakeholders approach; collaborating with governmental institutions and civil society organizations especially at grassroots level to address radicalization and extremism. Representative of the Burkina Faso Minister of Women Affairs, National Solidarity and Family, Mrs. Ouedrago Aina Koné in her speech attested to this saying, "I can already assure you that the recommendations and strategies which will be proposed as an outcome to this meeting will not remain vain at our level".
The Program Director of WANEP, Mrs. Levinia Addae-Mensah is leading the WANEP team at this important workshop with participants drawn from grassroots community-based organizations, governments, parliamentarians and representatives of the G5 Women national platforms of the G5 Sahel countries including Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, Mali and Mauritania. Participants are expected to develop a Regional Triennial Sahelian Action Plan for early warning and women's participation in preventing violent extremism in the Sahel at the end of the workshop.