This phase of building the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is a crucial moment for Muslim and indigenous women to define their demands for a gender-equitable society and anchor them in the new government structures.
Our project partner the Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute (GZOPI), based in Manila, has been organising local Women's Peace Tables in the three main BARMM areas in the southern region of Mindanao since 2015. The Women's Peace Tables (WPT) were also attended by parliamentarians and transitional justice professionals, but mainly by women from the conflict-affected region, including Christian settlers and indigenous women.
Through local and national WPT and advocacy activities, we continue to work with GZOPI to ensure that women play an active role in conflict transformation and peacebuilding, helping to shape a gender-equitable and sustainable peace. The project will continue for the duration of the transitional government, which has been extended by three years until 2025.
Women from civil society organisations for peace, human rights and development who were affected by the conflict take part in the events, which last several days. The participants work together, processing the violence experienced during the conflict, learn through workshops how they can use the transitional justice mechanisms laid down in the peace agreement to transform the conflict, and develop advocacy strategies. Key figures from the government and administration as well as the media are also invited so that women's concerns reach decision-makers. Some of the WPT also include public forums and awareness-raising events.
An important component of the first project phase which ended in mid-2021 was an exchange of knowledge and experience between the partners in Colombia, Nepal and the Philippines. The exchange began in 2019 with a first face-to-face meeting and reached an interim conclusion in 2021 with the joint development of the publication "From transition to transformation: strengthening women's effective participation in peacebuilding and transitional justice processes". This knowledge exchange will be continued in our project "From exchange to change".