Côte d'Ivoire: Dandi Lou Hélène Amanan

The exclusion of women in early crisis talks was a huge mistake. It is now up to the women of Ivory Coast to correct that mistake.

— Dandi Lou Hélène Amanan

Hélène Amanan served as a secretary of the permanent mission of the Ivory Coast for the United Nations in New York, was an international official (1992–1999) in charge of coordination of social affairs and protection of refugees for the High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ivory Coast and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She was coordinator of the program Women in Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET) of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding. Since 2004, Madame Dandi has been the French regional adviser (West Africa) of the Network of African Women for Peace.

The reality and consequences of conflicts remain unfair and intolerable situations that Dandi Lou Hélène Amanan does not allow to pass without reacting. As a leader of the NGO Vision and Action of Women Against Wars (VAFAG) she worked on a national and international plan to carry the message to women affected by wars. The goal of her NGO is to involve African women in building peace, prevention and management of conflicts, and to give urgent help to vulnerable people. Since its creation in 1999, VAFAG uses radio, television, newspapers, and public lectures to voice its appeals. The NGO lobbies with the parties involved in inter-Ivorian conflicts to encourage them to reach lasting peace in the Ivory Coast. In order not to be labelled as partisan, VAFAG chose absolute neutrality in dealing with all the parties in the conflict; thus, VAFAG is apolitical and characterized by moral integrity. Hélène works in difficult conditions with her NGO, but she increases the initiative and work against the war everyday. The political actors attracted by power have very little consideration for the efforts and aims of VAFAG for peace. The people of the NGO often travelled in dangerous conditions at risk to their lives. This was especially true of the many journeys into rebel areas and the area of a former leader in order to promote a positive mood and to persuade the different parties to participate in the democratization process of the Ivory Coast. This last initiative was a success since that former leader ended up listening to them even though he later was killed in unknown conditions.

Women in Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET) Vision et action des femmes africaines contre les guerres (VAFAG)