Continental study on the dividends of women in mediation efforts in Africa

at UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
Location Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Date Posted March 31, 2020
Category Consultancy
Job Type Contract
Currency ETB


The adverse effects of conflict impact women and girls harder than they impact their male counterparts. When men flee away from their communities either to avoid conscription or participate as combatants, women hold communities together singlehandedly. On the other hand, women are disproportionately at risk of being raped during conflict, as a means of ethnic cleansing, serving not only to terrorize individual victims but also to inflict collective terror on an ethnic group Nevertheless, women are not only victims of war but they also often participate actively as soldiers, informants, couriers, sympathizers, supporters and peacemakers.

Despite women's active role during conflict, women remain drastically under-represented in peace processes. Between 1992 and 2018, women constituted 13 per cent of negotiators, 3 per cent of mediators and only 4 per cent of signatories in major peace processes tracked by the Council on Foreign Relations. However, studies indicate that Women's direct participation in peace negotiations increases the sustainability and the quality of peace: A study investigating 82 peace agreements in 42 armed conflicts between 1989 and 2011 found that peace agreements with women signatories are associated with durable peace. The same study also found that peace agreements signed by women show a higher number of agreement provisions aimed at political reform and a higher implementation rate of these provisions.

United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR 1325) on Women and Peace and Security, adopted in 2000, was the first resolution to link women to peace and security, acknowledging that armed conflicts impact women and girls differently from men and boys. The 1325 agenda, driven by grassroots organizations and by women living in war and working for peace, recognizes the role and contributions of women in wartime and to peacemaking, as well as their fundamental right to be included in peace processes. Moreover, the UNSC has adopted nine more resolutions to provide a framework for the United Nations and Member States to promote the women, peace and security agenda. These resolutions promote women's active and effective participation in peacemaking and peacebuilding. They urge mediators to have women and women's civil society organizations effectively represented in peace processes and institutions, and to ensure adequate protection and funding for their needs.

In Africa, like the rest of the world, patriarchal norms overlook the role of women in formal mediation and reaching peace agreement. Hence, women's participation in conflict prevention and resolution has mainly been informal. This has constrained their ability to influence and shape peace policies and strategies. This is despite AU's several instruments that reference the WPS mandate including the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa ( Maputo Protocol adopted in 2003), the Solemn Declaration of Gender Equality in Africa (2004), the AU Gender Policy (2008), the Framework for Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development (2006), the AU Master Road Map of Practical Steps to Silencing the Gun by 2020, the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) Roadmap for the period 2016-2020 and the Africa Governance Architecture (AGA).

Much effort has been spent in developing elaborate policy frameworks to support women in their peacebuilding role. The breadth of these instruments is enough to mainstream the works of WPS within the AU considering the numerous policies, strategies and action plans developed at the regional and national level. However, the implementation of these normative instruments on the ground has been fragmented.

The AU Peace and Security Council has adopted the Continental Results Framework (CRF) on Women, Peace and Security in Africa (2018-2028). The CRF aims to institutionalize regular and systematic monitoring and reporting on the progress made in the implementation of WPS Agenda, generate data, enhance transparency, accountability. The reports are expected to contribute to AU's efforts for gender-transformative peace building and the integration of a gender perspective in conflict prevention, management, resolution and peace building.


Mediation is identified by Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations as a means for the peaceful settlement of disputes. It is a process whereby a third party assists two or more parties, with their consent, to prevent, manage or resolve a conflict by helping them to develop mutually acceptable agreements.

According to the multi-track approach, mediation can be divided into three tracks, which can happen in parallel, in sequence, or at various stages of peace talks. Track 1 is used to denominate formal talks at the highest level of decision-making, most commonly by states/governments, international and regional bodies, or even private organizations with direct links to power. Track 2 includes unofficial talks and problem-solving activities (such as workshops) aimed at building relationships, trust, and dialogue. These talks are often expected to inform track 1 (and therefore dubbed 'track 1,5') with new ideas or thinking and typically involve influential academic, religious, and NGO leaders, and other civil society actors who can interact more freely than high-ranking officials. Track 3 focuses on the grass roots and community level, and typically includes organizing meetings at the community level to gather voices from local levels.

The overwhelming majority of current Special Envoys and Representatives mandated to engage in conflicts at high-level (track 1) are men. In addition, evidence collected between January 2012 and December 2016 suggests that peace processes and peace agreements continue to take place in a strongly male-dominated context across Africa. Women's participation in peace processes occurs more often as part of their engagement in Track 2 processes, mass action or in unofficial consultative capacities outside of the negotiation room.

Historically, African women have been actively denied from taking part in track 1 of mediation. To mention a few examples, although, Somali women were participating in informal peace activities, they remained excluded from the formal and official peace negotiations in 2002. Only representatives of Somalia's five clans were allowed as official representatives and, traditionally, only men represent the clan. This being the case, Somali women created the so-called 'Sixth Clan' - the women's clan. By coming together as the Sixth Clan, these women were able to participate in the Somali Peace and Reconciliation Conference in Djibouti. Similarly, In Burundi, women were initially denied access to the official peace process, in 2000 so they set up the All-Party Burundi Women's Peace Conference in Arusha, which brought together women from the 19 negotiating parties, observers, refugees and internally displaced persons. A more recent example is the role of Sudanese women in December 2018 revolution. Women were at the forefront of the resistance movement making up the majority of demonstrators when popular protests swept the capital starting in December 2018, eventually leading to Bashir's removal on 11 April. However, women were almost entirely absent during the negotiation phase between civilian groups and the army, aimed at reaching a power-sharing agreement.

AUC Peace and Security Department, with the support of UN Women, commissioned a study to map existing networks and associations working on women's participation in mediation. On 13 March 2017, the AU PSC endorsed the modalities for the Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation, officially referred to as FemWise. As part of the APSA and Agenda 2063's 'Commitment to Silence the Guns by 2020', the AU PSC developed the action point to train female mediators in conflict prevention. Among the priorities of FemWise, professionalizing the role of women in preventive diplomacy and mediation at Track 1, Track 2 and Track 3 levels is one.

Engagements of African women in conflict prevention and mediation, either individually or through their movements and networks, have had great impact at different levels but this has not been enough reported and highlighted. In the context of implementing the 'Silence the Guns by 2020' ambition; there is a need to demonstrate the dividends of women's involvement across tracks 1, 2 and 3 of mediation initiatives on the continent. This will allow the African Union, Member states and their partners to understand better, the urgent need to enhance women's meaningful roles in conflict prevention and mediation for sustainable peace. The dearth of data and documentation on African women's role in mediation, especially in conflict and post-conflict states calls for research to bridge the gap between the normative instruments and the practice on the ground.

Duties and Responsibilities

Towards the development of the continental study, the consultant will support the following tasks;

  • Map international and regional policy frameworks and tools of the UN and AU and identify the gaps in implementing the gender aspects of the frameworks.
  • Conduct a desk review on women's role in conflict prevention, mediation and peace building in Africa and identify 3 to 4 reference countries.
  • Conduct online interviews with African women mediators, who have been involved in conflict prevention and mediation initiatives in Africa.
  • Provide analysis of the progress of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, challenges and lessons learned as well as recommendations to improve implementing the agenda based on the finding from the 3-4 countries including Burundi, Central African Republic and Somalia.
  • Document the dividends of women's involvement in conflict prevention and mediation processes based on the findings from the 3-4 countries.
  • Make recommendations to AU, Member States and partners for promoting sustainable peace through the participation of women in conflict prevention and mediation at all levels
  • Make recommendation to AUC, Member States, RECs and the UN to bridge the gap between the normative frameworks and practice on the ground.


Compliance with UN core values

  • Demonstrates integrity and fairness by modelling the UN's values and ethical standards.
  • Commitment to UN Women's mission, vision, values and strategic goals.
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability.
  • Treats all people fairly without favouritism
  • Fulfils all obligations to gender sensitivity and zero tolerance for sexual harassment

Required Skills and Experience

Education background

  • The consultant should have a background in Social Sciences Research especially in Political Science, International Law, Gender, International Development and related fields;


  • At least 7 years of progressive and grounded relevant experience in national, sub-regional and regional policy advocacy, research, capacity building and programming initiatives on gender, peace and security, leadership, democracy and governance in Africa.
  • The consultant should have a well-established track record of conducting similar researches in the field of gender, peace and security, governance, democracy and human rights in Africa;
  • Experience working with intergovernmental and/or Regional organizations including the United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU)

Language and other skills

  • Excellent knowledge of written and oral communication in French and English. Knowledge of any other AU language is an asset
  • Full command of Microsoft applications, particularly Word, and other relevant software.

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence. UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.

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