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New WILPF Group Launches In Guinea To Advance A Future Of Feminist Peace

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The WILPF movement continues to grow with the formation of a new Group: WILPF Guinea.

With a current membership of 11 feminists and counting, WILPF Guinea was established to advance Group members’ shared belief in the urgent necessity of feminist peace. The founding members decided to combine and formalise their personal efforts after learning about WILPF through a workshop facilitated by Sylvie Ndongmo, WILPF Africa Regional Representative.

“We were impressed by the size and history of WILPF,” says WILPF Guinea’s newly elected President, Mabinty Soumah. “The values and objectives advocated by the organisation made us realise how important it is for our country to belong to such a group.”

The need to advance a future of feminist peace in Guinea is great.

Located in West Africa, Guinea is facing various political, social, and economic crises. In 2021, the military overthrew the government and imprisoned the incumbent president, Alpha Condé. In addition,55 per cent of Guinea’s population of 13.4 million people live in poverty, 24,4 per cent of children under five suffer from stunting, and 47 per cent of women are married by the age of 18 – realities that pose significant threats to the human rights of people throughout the country.

However, some progress is being made to address Guinea’s challenges: the Ministry of Human Rights, which had been inactive for the past six years, has been re-established. Gender concerns are also being given serious consideration and efforts to promote gender equality are on the rise.

But, as the members of WILPF Guinea note, there is still significant work to be done to achieve equality for all people in Guinea and ensure the fulsome representation of women in the country’s political and peace processes.

Collaborating for peace

The founding members of WILPF Guinea share an aim to establish a culture of cooperation and unity throughout Guinea by engaging every member of society with their vision of feminist peace. As Soumah states, “An approach is needed to enable us to create corridors of collaboration.”

Given the socio-political realities in Guinea, WILPF Guinea will focus on political education, advocacy with traditional chiefs and leaders, and monitoring electoral processes among political actors and their militants.

In this period of transition, Soumah says it’s important to monitor the development of the current political situation in the country. In this context, it is also important to note that there is a certain enthusiasm among the population for Guinea’s current leadership.

To advance their efforts, the Group will focus on creating frameworks for cooperation that will enable WILPF Guinea to forge close links with the Republic’s institutions, departments responsible for equity and equality, women’s civil society organisations, and international development partners.

In addition, the Group is keen to attract and involve diverse community members in this work. To engage Guineans from all walks of life, the cooperation frameworks will enable people to contribute to the common cause of peace and the Group’s vision – a peaceful Guinea where a culture of cooperation helps to achieve feminist goals.

In establishing this culture of cooperation, the Group wants to help build a stronger and more unified society in a country with 24 ethnic groups and promote the idea of feminist peace.

Soumah says youth engagement will be key to the Group’s pursuit of their agenda.

“For safe and inclusive communities, it is necessary to foster youth engagement,” she says. “In considering how to engage youth in our work, we intend to focus on consultation and capacity building.”

WILPF Guinea also aims to promote peace in the region by initiating consultations and conducting awareness-raising campaigns, with a focus on engaging young people and traditional authorities, on issues of political citizenship and peaceful conflict resolution at the community level. In particular, these awareness-raising campaigns aim to educate young people to counter language glorifying violence and hate.

A long-term vision for a country in transition

In ten years, the Group visions, Guinea should be a country where more women are involved in the peaceful resolution of conflicts, responsible and peaceful political youth are engaged and promoted, a national women’s media committee is established, and effective parity in decision-making bodies is achieved.

In the midst of an uncertain and unstable socio-political situation, these first steps and the vision the Group strives for are already positive signs of a promising future ahead.

Here’s to a warm welcome for our new members in the WILPF community!

If you are keen to get in touch with WILPF Guinea, you can say hello by emailing bintousoumah.wilpf@gmail.com We wish to thank Mabinty Soumah and the whole WILPF Guinea Group for helping us to write this piece.