Rubiyanti Khalifah, country representative of AMAN in Indonesia. AMAN is an organization working for peacebuilding through increasing the capacity and participation of women.
iKNOW Politics: Women are often underrepresented in peace processes. What needs to be done for their voices to be heard?
First, we must raise people's awareness of the tremendous effort and work that women do in peacebuilding. But one of the initial problems we face is that there is a misconception of the notion of peacebuilding. It must be understood that peacebuilding is not only related to formal activities such as dialogue, it also encompasses informal activities where women are highly involved that can be considered as peacebuilding… but unfortunately those activities are usually invisible to the public opinion.
Any single contribution made by women to achieve peace needs to be well documented and shared. Women’s capacity for leadership needs to be increased as well as their organizational skills, and they should also be encouraged to work with multi-stakeholders.
iKNOW Politics: What should be done to guarantee an enabling and inclusive environment for women in post-conflict countries? How can their role be strengthened?
When working in a post-conflict area, there is a key element that should not be forgotten: reconciliation. It should be taken into account in any post-conflict intervention program as working towards reconciliation benefits the society as a whole, women included. The access to justice for victims from gender-based violence during a conflict must also be addressed. Compensations to victims need to be given as this would give security for women and the rest of the community as well.
iKNOW Politics: How does your organization support the inclusion of women in peace processes?
The Asian Muslim action Network (AMAN) works at a local, national and regional level. Locally, we work to strengthen the capacity of women’s groups and individuals. Peace and development analysis is used as a framework to work at a grass root level, integrating peacebuilding and development so people can sense a direct impact on their wellbeing while their value on peace is strengthened.
At the national level, our role is based in promoting dialogue with other organizations around the country as well as sharing information. As a national organization, it is our duty to share knowledge on women, peace and security among others issues. Finally, at the regional level, AMAN provides capacity building and training and engages in dialogue with different groups and strengthens communication among Muslim women living in conflict areas.
iKNOW Politics: What particular challenges are you facing in Indonesia?
The biggest challenge in Indonesia is to find an effective way to mobilize people to become supporters of the issues of women, peace and security. Also, sharing experiences and knowledge needs to be translated to reality by achieving results through effective mechanisms. We want each of our members to have the necessary knowledge and skills to be able to advocate for the role of women in peacebuilding. We need to pour more energy on making our members effective not only in post-conflict situations but also in pushing towards conflict resolution.
iKNOW Politics: How can online networks have an impact on peace processes?
In my experience, the Internet has been an important tool that enables people to promote and strengthen peace processes. It is a powerful tool to raise the awareness of certain issues among public opinion, provoking and mobilizing people to support a given process.