Grassroot activism and its role in providing feminist perspectives to disarmament

Webinar 4: ‘Grassroot activism and its role in providing feminist perspectives to disarmament’

This webinar will provide a floor for female activists and politicians from grassroots organisations. Participants will have the opportunity to share their personal stories and experiences as members in armed groups, challenging preconceptions about the various roles of women during the different stages of warfare. To have an inclusive disarmament debate aims to understand how women experience war and to reflect on whether the current disarmament treaties adequately address the needs of women and of different communities.

The objective is to develop an understanding of the paramount importance of female activism and feminist perspectives for ensuring sustainable peace and humanitarian disarmament. How do female-led grassroot organisations, activists and politicians already contribute to disarmament deliberations?

31st March 2021 @14:00 GMT


Najat Abubakr (Africa)

Studied community development and is currently a phd student in psychological and social issues facing Darfuri refugees in the UK (case study: Birmingham and Nottingham). She heads the National Women Movement that was established in 2020 and a co-founder of women for peace and security in Sudan and a member in the coordination committee of Sudanese Women in Civic and Political Groups (MANSAM). She joined the armed group, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/ Army (SLM/A) led by Minni Minawi in 2002 and is the deputy-head of the movement's office in Khartoum state. She negotiated on the movement's behalf in the Juba platform and was responsible for the IDPS and refugees file for the party during the negotiations.

Shirine Jurdi (MENA)

Shirine Jurdi volunteers as executive member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom( WILPF) Lebanon Section. Since 2003 she has been a Stop Killer Robots Campaign Team leader in Lebanon and acts as MENA Regional Representative at the International Board as part of the Permanent Peace Movement (PPM), Secretariat MENAPPAC, Regional Liaison Officer of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict GPPAC, and Regional Gender Focal point. A graduate of the Lebanese American University (LAU), the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS), and a research fellow at SOAS, Jurdi’s present activism and research fall within women’s political participation and representation; WPS agenda and NAPS, localizations of NAPs in MENA perspective; conflict analysis, social cohesion and peacebuilding; Transitional justice, refugees, Early Warning Early System, SALW, the Women Peace and security agenda, Youth Peace and Security, SDGs especially (helped in forming a WPS and YPS networks in MENAPPAC) SDG 5, 10, 16 and 16+, Human security; and peace processes and enhancing negotiation skills and pool of women peace makers. Her work and dedication earned Jurdi the 2019 International Young Women’s Peace and Human Rights Award from Democracy Today for “exceptional dedication and work on conflict prevention and protection of human rights”.

Gioconda Belli (Latin America)

Gioconda Belli is a Nicaraguan poet and novelist. She’s had an active political life in her country as a feminist and defender of human rights. Although she was part of the struggle to topple Somoza’s regime and the Sandinista Revolution (1979), she split from the new sandinismo of Daniel Ortega in 1993. She writes both poetry and novels. Her poetry has received many prizes: Mariano Fiallos Gil prize, the Casa de las Americas Prize, Generacion del 27 Prize, Ciudad de Melilla and in 2020, the Jaime Gil de Biedma prize in Spain. Her first novel The Inhabited Woman (1988) became a literary and commercial success and was awarded the Best Political Novel of the Year and the Anna Seghers award in Germany in 1989. For her novel Infinity in the Palm of her Hand (2008) she won Seix Barral’s Biblioteca Breve and the Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz prizes. In 2010 she was awarded the Latin American prize, “La Otra Orilla” for her novel El País de las Mujeres, (Womenland). In 2019, she was a finalist for the III Mario Vargas Llosa Prize for her 2018 novel Las Fiebres de la Memoria (“Fevers of Memory”). She’s written four children’s books and a memoir of her guerrilla years: The Country under my skin. PEN Germany recently awarded her the Hermann Kesten Prize in 2018 for her defense of freedom of the press and her role as a women’s advocate. She’s a member of the Nicaraguan Royal Academy of Letters and Chevalier des les Arts et Letres of France. Her works have been translated in 20 languages.

Sarah Nyanath (Africa)

Born in the Itang Refugee camp in Ethiopia in 1970, Sarah is a mother and grandmother. She joined the armed group the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army in 1988 as a nurse after returning from training in Cuba and served in the Bright-Start Campaign and was a leader for female soldiers in the SPLM/A. She worked in health centres for refugees in Ethiopia and Kenya and founded and is the current director of the Gender Empowerment for South Sudan organization. She is also a former MP in Upper Nile State’s Legislative Assembly and later as Minister of Social Development in Upper Nile State. She was also a delegate in the High Level revitalization Forum for the IGAD-led mediation on South Sudan.