The WIM-RAMP Story
Advancing Women’s Roles in Building Community Resilience
March 7, 2023
In her work as a peacebuilder, Charmaine Dagapioso often likes to quote renowned Norwegian sociologist and pioneering peace and conflict academic Johann Galtung.
“Peace is a revolutionary idea - the tasks are endless, and the question is whether we are up to them,” Charmaine often cites Galtung, sharing the unique and varied risks, challenges and opportunities she has experienced in her work with the Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc. (BMFI).
To Charmaine and many women advocating for the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda in Mindanao, the everyday work that they do in their organizations and communities are nothing short of revolutionary. Through the Women Insiders Mediators - Rapid Action and Mobilization Platform (WIM-RAMP), this revolutionary work is further carried out by women peacebuilders and mediators as they play more active roles in building and sustaining peace in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
THE WIM-RAMP STORY
Launched in 2021 through the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Bangsamoro Women Commission (BWC) in March 2021, the Women Insider Mediators Rapid Action and Mobilization Platform (WIM-RAMP) was organized as a group of community-based women mediators from Moro and Indigenous Peoples communities in the BARMM.
Composed of members representing their own respective organizations, the WIM-RAMP agreed to work towards common goals and aspirations. Specifically, the WIM RAMP members, mostly coming from Maguindanao and Cotabato City for the first batch, have committed to work together towards changing attitudes and behaviors that promote violence; creating spaces for dialogue, and connecting different mediations tracks in a manner that helps prevent conflicts and help peace agreements endure.
They have also pledged to organize purposively to facilitate, negotiate and conduct mediation for the peaceful resolution of conflicts in their communities. Among the focus areas for action of the Women Insider Mediators RAMP are the following: (1) implementation of humanitarian response initiatives in conflict areas; (2) advocacies against Violence Against Women and Children, gender-based violence, and child, early and forced marriage; (3) community-based mediation and early warning and response; and, (4) advocacy on prevention of violent extremism/promotion of peaceful engagement.
From capacity-building initiatives to information and communication dissemination, to local government engagement and network-building, the WIM-RAMP has been involved in an array of interventions aimed at helping cement women’s role in peace and development in the Bangsamoro. Some of these stories of transformation and empowerment as shared by WIM-RAMP members are provided below.
BUILDING SKILLS AND CONFIDENCE AS WOMEN MEDIATORS
Wilma Madato, a member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Women Auxiliary Brigade (BIWAB), shares that the training she has received under WIM-RAMP has greatly increased her ability to understand and mediate conflict.
“When women are thrust between two parties in conflict, people often see them as fairer and more impartial,” recalls Wilma, who added that compared to men, women are often seen in the community as “less controversial.”
Wilma further shared that she has now put to good use the concepts she learned in conflict resolution in her everyday work in the communities - which, in turn, increased her confidence in her skills as a mediator. “We have greater confidence in ourselves as women,” she adds.
EMPOWERING WOMEN ACROSS THE PEACE-HUMANITARIAN NEXUS
Indigenous Peoples (IP) advocate Aileen Kesa Marie Hualde, meanwhile, credits the WIM-RAMP for helping strengthen their already existing community programs. Hualde, who serves as Executive Director of the Women Organization of Raja Mamalu Descendants (WORMD), says the partnership with UNDP has empowered them to continue peacebuilding and humanitarian efforts even amid the challenges brought by the pandemic.
“We have conducted over 1,700 community outreach programs in Mindanao,” shares Hualde, adding that in South Upi, Maguindanao alone, they have provided assistance to 11 barangay community response teams as well as distributed hygiene kits and food packs to 599 of the town’s most vulnerable families affected by armed conflict.
EXPANDING SPACES FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT AND SOLIDARITY IN PEACEBUILDING AND GOVERNANCE
For Jehan Usop of the Moro Women Development and Cultural Center, Inc. (MWDECC), the WIM-RAMP has provided an even more conducive space for women empowerment in the peace and development sector. “There is an urgent need for women to have a greater part in decision-making processes,” Jehan says, underscoring the importance of capacity-building initiatives so that women are empowered to address issues that are directly affecting them. After all, only women themselves can best represent the myriad issues confronting women.
“In a patriarchal society, a lot of women who are abused never get the justice they deserve,” Jehan cautions. In addition to the technical skills and the renewal of a sense of agency and responsibility among WIM-RAMP members, the sense of solidarity built among WIM-RAMP members from different organizations and provinces have also served as a source of strength for women peacebuilders and mediators.
To Nor-Ain Lambitan of the Muslim Women Association for Good Governance (MWAGG), one of the greatest benefits of the program has been to make new friends. “I gained friends along with knowledge,” she adds, highlighting that community-building and forming genuine connections are just as valuable as technical skills.
Since its launch, the WIM-RAMP has expanded its initial core membership from 30 to more than 80, has engaged more than 40 BIWAB leaders, and has trained 40 young women on transformational leadership. [END]
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