Happy International Women’s Day! The United Nations formally recognizes March 8 as a time to reflect on the progress made, and celebrate the courage of ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in their countries and communities. It is also an opportunity to recognize the additional steps we must take to achieve U.N. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5: Gender Equality, SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities, and ultimately SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.

The Rise In Violent Conflict

Violent conflict is at a 30-year high. When conflicts escalate to violence, there are tremendous costs to society. The Global Peace Index estimates the economic impact of violence tops $14.8 trillion. The World Bank reiterates the debilitating effects on economic and social sectors. Peace Direct emphasizes the need to take proactive, rather than reactive, measures to curtail these effects.

Conflict is inevitable, but violence is not. The GSDRC indicates the potential of conflict competency processes to reduce and prevent violent conflicts. With the right skills and tools, communities can develop conflict competency and transform conflict into sources of understanding, creativity, and resilience.

Women’s Role in Creating Change

A key barrier to addressing violent conflict is the exclusion of critical actors. Women are often ignored or actively discounted in community matters. But the GCSP indicates that complex, volatile, and enduring conflicts demand more inclusive processes and increased representation of women globally. 

The UN highlights ample evidence that women’s participation makes peace and security processes more inclusive, effective, and durable; in violent conflict, their efforts are indispensable in responding to the communities’ complex needs; and in humanitarian contexts, they’re essential in designing and delivering sustainable solutions; and in general, they’re integral to creating nonviolent spaces to prevent, transform, and heal from conflict.

The UN Secretary-General is strongly committed to women’s leadership and participation in long-term conflict prevention, because “it is women who are often the first to pick up the pieces of shattered societies and broken relations, to pave the way to social cohesion and reconciliation.” The UN is calling all to create the space for women to lead the change.

What Mediators Beyond Borders Is Doing

Mediators Beyond Borders International recognizes that women are vital to durable peace processes, and equips women in communities around the world with conflict competency and peace leadership skills, in order to seed sustainable solutions and social change. 

These women are now transforming their communities, and continue to demonstrate that conflict competency has limitless potential across all industries, sectors, cultures, and contexts. They now shape policies of inclusion; bridge generational divides; reintegrate former combatants and armed groups; reduce electoral violence; reconcile fragmented communities;  prevent leaders’ assassinations; facilitate community dialogues; negotiate land conflicts peacefully; collaborate between faith groups; educate young leaders; integrate refugees into education systems, and empower vulnerable populations.

These women’s impact not only transforms communities; it transforms generations. When we invest in women, women reinvest in their homes and communities. They empower the next generation with conflict literacy and equip future leaders with the ability to respond to conflict constructively, to prevent the future eruption of violence in times of conflict and crisis. These women are creating more vibrant and inclusive societies and providing stability in times of uncertainty and change for generations to come.

Become a Part of The Decade of Peace Initiative

The Decade of Peace Initiative is a global movement to scale these peacebuilding efforts around the world, and advance U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. Here’s a few ways you can become a part of this global initiative today! 

1. Support The Work of Our Women Around the World
Your contribution is an investment in a better future, and a more peace-able world. Invest in SDG 5: Gender Equality, SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities, and SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions today!  [Invest in Impact]

2. Become a Member: 
Become a member of MBBI and gain access to member-exclusive tools as they are released. [Become a Member]

3. Join the Challenge!  “$2020 for 2020”
If you have the capacity, we ask that you consider being a part of the $2020 for 2020 Challenge to help kick off the Decade of Peace Initiative. If just 200 people participate in this challenge, it would allow us to scale our impact in unprecedented ways. [Pledge Today!]

4. Send Us Your Accomplishments
If you are a woman in our network, please share your work and accomplishments with us so we can continue to spotlight your work this week and throughout the Decade of Peace Initiative. [Send Here!]

Thank you so much for your continued support, passion, and commitment to this work. We will continue to showcase the amazing work of these women throughout the week, and we look forward to working more closely with each of you as we continue to scale these efforts around the world.