Workshop in Mindanao: From Female Combatant to Post-War Community Leader


© Simone Heuer

© Simone Heuer

On April 3-5 in Cotabato City, Mindanao (Philippines), the Berghof Foundation convened a group of women from the former Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for a peer-advice workshop on obstacles and opportunities for female combatants’ post-war economic, social, and political leadership. This event was part of the Women as Post-War Community Leaders project, funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung, and was co-led with negotiation expert Shadia Marhaban (Aceh).

Despite increasing international awareness on the importance of women’s leadership in peace(building) processes, female members of armed liberation movements are rarely given the same opportunities for post-war  leadership as their male comrades. This workshop aimed to provide a space for members of (former) women’s battalions within GAM and MILF to learn from each other’s experiences and jointly identify support needs to overcome personal, organisational, and structural barriers for post-war empowerment.  On the final day of the workshop, the participants presented their conclusions to selected guests representing the local and international peacebuilding community.

The workshop results will be presented in a workshop report and a Policy Brief in June 2016.