Today I bring to you my meaning to security as a woman based on my personal experiences. “Security means my well-being and inner peace”. Well-being is essential for me to overcome difficulties and achieve what I want. Past experiences impact well-being and how you go about things in your family and community to impact your world either positively or negatively. My well-being at all levels means my entitlements given to me as deserved such as education, and rights respect. With this I feel safe, happy and have inner peace to reciprocate the entitlements.
39 years ago I became one of the living creatures of a world in which conflicts are natural and inevitable. Growing up in a polygamous home of fourteen and being the last female in my family, gave me a lot of experiences that shaped who I am today. My mum suffered a lot of economic violence, domestic violence as well. Being a member of such a home going to school was a nightmare. But what kept me going was the self-esteem my determination and love for education. I had difficulty to go to school not only because of financial challenges since my family was just one of the low class but because my parents had the notion that “school is not meant for women” and I hated this belief. I saw my elder sister got pregnant after graduating from primary school and was forced into a marriage to her boyfriend who was jobless. I became very scared and in my mind I decided that my education was all I needed and promised myself not to have a sexual relationship until I got educated and picked a job. After primary education my elder brother opted to sponsor my secondary education and when I graduated from the high school I was expected to get married but I rejected all the men that they negotiated for me. I told them I have to go to school until I get a job before getting married and the choice for a partner will be mine. Everyone stopped to support me in education based on my contrary opinion. I did petit business like selling fried groundnut and enrolled at the University knowing that my family could come in to pay my fees seeing my determination. I bought some books and started schooling no one opted to pay my fees. I had to drop out even after I had written some exams. I was motivated by my situation to register for the entrance examination into the professional school of teachers which I later wrote and passed. Since my family understood that a “girl” will become a civil servant they started paying my fees but no extra allowance was given. If I should dare asked I will be told “you are already big you do not need to ask for extra allowance and rents from us” a very pregnant statement. However I had to push through on my own. I managed to complete with a lot of debts for rents and my name was written in a book in a provision store with my debts. My belongings were seized several times because I never completed my rents before semester break. I only paid the debts when I had an award as one of the best science female candidate from the professional school of teachers. I endured all of this not because I did not see men who could support me in my education. The men were coming for a relationship and to support me financially in school but I kept rejecting because most men who will sponsored your education will turn you into a “boxing bag” after he gets marry to you or even when you are not yet married to him. I noticed this from other women around me in my community and vowed never to become a victim. Thus I got the right partner at the right time.
While teaching I found out that my girls students were not doing well academically and I decided to dig deep and voluntarily seek solutions to their problems. Most of them had similar cases like mind. I used my experience as a woman positively to create a gender club and networked with mainly women rights based Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to empower the students and broaden my scope into the communities with women and girls. I decided to go to the communities with my peace building programs to help provide solutions to my female counterparts. My first program was on” peace at home” and I moved voluntarily to women’s meeting groups to empower them and the young girls on their rights building their capacities to fight against domestic violence and rights abuse. I organized programs on the International Day of the Girl Child on topics like the importance of education to the girl child and a lot more. Today I am not only at the national level but I spread my tentacles of peace-building internationally everywhere I go, preventing conflicts and gender issues thanks to my experiences. I realized that while striving to gain my well-being and inner peace which is security for me I became an outstanding individual for positive impacts in my family, community and my world.
Relating to my world and community my experiences still continue. 2 years ago I suddenly became a victim of conflict living in a violent crises situation. My children and I became internally displaced people most of the time. At times the floor is our bed in order to protect ourselves from stray bullets, the 4 walls of a classroom has been taken far away from my children, they no longer experience the teaching learning process and our family economic activities are highly affected. I know there are many women in other places experiencing similar scenarios reason why “the future of security is women”. Yes we have what it takes especially when we live in it and are the most affected during hard times and crises.
The question that runs through my mind now is “Do I still have my wellbeing and inner peace?
In a bit to answer my question I am the only one to speak about my situation if I am given the opportunity to seek solutions. No one can tell my story however I need someone to listen to my story about why my wellbeing seems not to be there. How can you give me my security when you do not know what I went through and how best do you know how my problems can be handled without bringing me to the table? This is the right questions to be asked by many women out there. The best way is to include me in whatever solution whoever wants to advance regarding my experience in the conflict. The focus in dealing with conflicts is not only transforming conflicts but transforming the actors in the conflict as well. A call for more women participation and inclusion in decision making, getting involve in peace processes and signing Peace Accords.
Again, the rights of people have always been a very vital key which they see as their entitlements especially the fundamental Human Rights. The practical question I keep on asking my self is “How do we realize Peace and justice in our everyday world if the Reciprocity in Rights Respects to Promote Positive Peace is absent”? The respect of rights of everyone is what makes human beings happy. Be it economic, social, cultural and Human Rights. The rights are well written out in constitutions however we need to reciprocate and do more of mutual obligation exchange of the entitlements and privileges among us as peace practitioners. This is a way of enabling an environment for well-being and inner peace.
Strong institutions and justice at all levels will promote positive peace. Strong collaboration from governing institutions in countries and citizens is vital to promote peace. Job creation, youths and civic engagement, ending violence against women and men, mutual respect of rights of people, indigenous people, refugees, irrespective of their cultural background is very essential to promote peace. It is true that conflicts will never end but what makes people feel happy is the way we deal with them so that conflicts will not take the place of peace but will rather promote Peace. Women are affected the most during conflicts therefore stand a better chance to make peace in conflicts and mitigate the conflicts.
Personal or self-examination is also necessary to promote positive peace and wllbeing. We need to think of ourselves and our actions first before thinking of the reactions and responses of others. What we do with the rights of others should be a reflection always and will help us to have mutual respect of rights. Striving to respect the rights of other people means striving to have your own entitlements hence promoting the Right to peace, human rights for peace and positive peace. Giving more energy to build peace through our different communities and showing love to others around us still remains the key. Harmony, forgiveness and well-being leads to inner peace above all reciprocity in the respect of rights irrespective of the status of individuals will command the promotion of positive peace and build security. Women we have to grip space to influence our world and promote peace and security. Peace and security efforts are more sustainable when women are equal partners in the prevention of violent conflict, the delivery of relief and recovery efforts and in the forging of lasting peace. This is also affirming by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. Notwithstanding fellow women let us continue to grasp the space on our own to foster well-being and inner peace for security.
A stand for
#SDG 16 Peace Justice and strong institutions#
#The Right to Peace#
#Human Rights for Peace#
# Positive Peace #