Last year, a regional peace network was looking to identify potential partners from among women’s organisations doing peace work. We set out to make a list and that grew into this set of directories, Women and Peace–a compilation of organisations (largely but not exclusively, women’s organisations) that work on both women’s rights and peace in South Asia.
Defining ‘peace’ was in itself an interesting exercise. Women identify as integral to peace a host of other issues and concerns that might more conventionally be categorised as development work or human rights work or governance-related advocacy. It was hard to filter, because even our small desk-based research efforts yielded so many answers. We came up with a set of ‘keywords’ (or phrases, really) whereby we could capture quickly the kind of work they did. And we tried to cover all the eight SAARC states–Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
No desk-based study can generate anything more than an incomplete list. Moreover, this is a region where not every organisation doing good work has an Internet presence. We acknowledge that and invite you to send us suggestions of other organisations we might include, along with a URL for their website or more information about them. Contact information is particularly important. You can email your suggestions and other feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The research for this project was undertaken by Vignesh Rajendran, who wrote the first draft of the profiles and prepared the index. Mitha Nandagopalan cross-checked information and edited the directory.
Women and Peace has been organised into separate country directories as well as a consolidated regional one. You can access all the directories here.
This project means a lot to us at Prajnya because it fulfils our three-fold mandate of research (to learn), public education (to make accessible) and (to enable) network-building. The topic itself lies at the intersection of our interests in women’s contributions to the public sphere on the one hand and in peace education on the other.
More than anything, we are delighted that having found 175 organisations with an interest in both women’s rights and peace, we have hopefully found a resounding response to the usual excuse, “We would include women, but where can we find women with experience in peace-building.” The answer we now have is, “Within the pages of our directory.” And we’d like to reiterate here, to make a political point, that the directory is far from exhaustive–it only lists what we could find.
We hope you will find this work useful and that it will open the door to greater collaboration and sharing.
Here’s wishing you a happy 2015 and a peaceful, violence-free world!