A theoretical exploration of non-State actors and gendered dimensions of conflict prevention/sustainable peacebuilding in West Africa
In countries rebuilding from war and violence, women are becoming important voices for peace, rights and inclusion. They are increasingly mobilizing across communities and using their social roles and networks to prevent violence and promote peace. Women individually and collectively contribute to peacebuilding in many ways. Yet, their contributions are often overlooked because they take unconventional forms, occur outside formal peace processes, or are considered extensions of women’s existing gender roles. Even when women do not reach formal positions of power, they have been at the forefront of impactful movements related to global peace and nonviolence. Thus, building inclusive, sustainable, peace in societies affected by violent conflicts requires analysing and addressing gendered power dynamics, as well as gender roles and expectations. This study, therefore, examines the role of non-state actors in conflict prevention, management, and peacebuilding in the West African Sub-region, and seeks to evaluate the relationship among civil society groups, regional and sub-regional organizations from a gender perspective. It specifically investigates the role of women in conflict transformation and peacebuilding and concludes that women must be allowed and encouraged to bring their unique insights and gifts to the process because women and men have different experiences of violence and peace.