Women Peacebuilders - The Gambia
Sustainable Development Goals: 5, 16
- SDG 5 - Gender Equality
- SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Stories of Exceptional Women Building Peace Around the World
ADELAIDE SOSSEH, 73, DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON TRUTH, RECONCILIATION AND REPARATIONS COMMISSION, THE GAMBIA.
"Peacebuilding means many things to me depending on whether I apply an individual or societal perspective, but the essence of this notion for me rests on managing relationships to ensure harmony. Ensuring harmony in oneself or one's society or with one's environment goes beyond sustaining peace I believe because often, peace is understood as simply the absence of conflict and often reigns at the cost of much suffering. A harmonious individual and society are one where "love" is the order of the day and peace is attained through the daily enjoyment of one's human rights, including cultural, social and economic rights."
BUILDING PEACE IN THE GAMBIA
Ms. Sosseh is the Deputy Chairperson of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) and Chairperson of the Reparations Sub-Committee. She also works very closely with the TRRC Women's Affairs and Communications and Outreach Units to ensure that gender is highlighted in all aspects of the Commission's work. This includes providing training and mentorship to Commissioners and staff on gender issues.
The TRRC was set up by the National Assembly of The Gambia in December 2017 to investigate and establish an impartial historical record of the nature, causes and extent of violations and abuses of human rights committed during the period of July 1994 to January 2017.
The United Nations Secretary-General's Peacebuilding Fund approved funds to help the government and national stakeholders establish credible transitional justice processes and human rights mechanisms that promote sustainable peace in The Gambia. Together with UNDP and OHCHR, the project helps the TRRC in strengthening the capacity of its staff and support to proceedings.
Ms. Sosseh has supported peace initiatives in The Gambia throughout her life long promotion of quality education for all, especially the girl child. She has passionately and successfully advocated for female participation in public debate, policy-making, and peace processes in The Gambia. Her career is marked by a series of gender-sensitive programmes focusing on underlying gender norms that give rise to negative attitudes and behaviors that can be both a driver of conflict and an obstacle to peace. Beyond The Gambia, Ms. Sosseh also contributed to the development of manuals on peace and security at the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre and Kofi Annan Centre for Peace.
MESSAGE FOR PEACE DAY
"Peace is a requisite for sustainable human development. We need peace to survive as people. Now more than ever before there is heightened awareness of the need to build peaceful societies. Climate change, food and water scarcity, the global economic crisis, increased wealth disparities and migration are all factors that can stoke up violent conflict in the years ahead as resources become scarcer, political and inter-ethnic/group tensions flare and international responses become less accommodating. As these forces make themselves felt with ever-pressing urgency, we must learn how to live and work together peacefully to overcome these challenges to our survival. This can be achieved through the establishment of just and equitable societies where the rights of all are respected, maintained and protected. Not only at the state but at the individual level.
Starting with oneself and extending it to others, respecting diversity in all its forms and treating other persons as we want to be treated; respecting the environment and the rule of law. People and nations must set aside their vested interests and greed for power and resources and make adjustments to their ways of living for the common good. By doing so, the fundamentals of a society's progress are created through human capital formation, infrastructure development, markets and so on. This is the only way in which we can all contribute to making the world a safer and more peaceful place for all of us to live in and for future generations."