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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Asia Foundation Launches Report on "Gender and Conflict in Mindanao"

The Asia Foundation
For Immediate Release
(DISCLAIMER: Any opinions written in this post are Dakila Philippines' own and do not reflect the viewpoint of any other Naga City Deck and/or NCD Contributor)

Media Contact:
Steven Rood, Ph. D. Country Representative
The Asia Foundation
The Asia Foundation Launches Report on “Gender and Conflict in Mindanao”
New book examines women’s roles as mediators and peace advocates
Last week, a historic peace Framework Agreement was signed between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The agreement seeks to end the separatist insurgency the rebel group has waged for decades in the Southern Philippines, home of one of the world’s longest-running violent conflicts. In this troubled area, a new book examines the dynamics of gender and armed conflict in the Southern Philippines, primarily the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The Asia Foundation (TAF) last Friday launched a timely and insightful book, “Gender and Conflict in Mindanao,” which examines the complex gender dynamics of conflict by looking at the Philippines as a case study.
Prior to this report, little research has been done on the nature or extent of conflict-related psychological distress in Mindanao, and how it impacts on how women and men function socially, and how it could be addressed effectively. Co-written by Leslie Dwyer, Assistant Professor at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution of the George Mason University, and Rufa Cagoco-Guiam, Director of the Institute of Peace and Development of the Mindanao State University – General Santos City, the book reports on women’s roles as mediators between warring clans, and as peace advocates in the rural communities in Mindanao. The book was launched to the development community, media, national government agencies, and civil society organizations last October 19, 2012 in Makati City.
In August 2010, the Foundation commissioned a study to examine the dynamics of gender and conflict in Mindanao. The study focused on the various transformative processes that take place during and after armed conflict, especially those that have serious implications on the traditional roles of men and women in grassroots communities. A field-based research and a literature review were conducted to identify the challenges and opportunities for women and men in community and national peace building.
In this report, Dwyer and Cagoco-Guiam discussed among other things – the psychosocial impacts of armed conflict on men: its implications on their mobility, and eventually, their educational attainment. The book also discusses the importance of pushing for mobile livelihood that strengthens communities and non-traditional programs both for men in women in areas vulnerable to armed conflict. Lastly, the book illustrates the need to intensify efforts in training and supporting women as mediators of community conflicts.
Background on “Gender and Conflict in Mindanao Report”
• In Chapter I, the book initially gives an introduction on gender and conflict zones, and then provides a backgrounder in Chapter II on the conflict situation in Mindanao: geographic and ethnic profile, a brief history of Mindanao’s long-running conflict, and an initial profile of gender dynamics in the conflict zone.
• Chapter III then illustrates the impact of the conflict on women, and on gender dynamics in Mindanao discussing some issues on gender and mobility, displacement, economic burdens, young women and girls, psychosocial effects, and the nexus of gender role transformations and cultural values.
• After tackling women’s roles in peace building in Chapter IV, it then discusses in Chapter V how to make assistance “more gender sensitive” including the need to strengthen women’s civil society to play a more influential role in peace negotiations and conflict resolution. Chapter V also reports on the importance of enhancing gender and conflict policy and ensuring its grassroots relevance – building on women’s strengths as community conflict resolvers; strengthening holistic approaches to conflict, and strengthening the knowledge base on gender and conflict in Mindanao.
• For its conclusion, the book emphasizes the transformative potentials of gender analysis– incorporating women’s experiences and capacities and acknowledging complexity and making space for difficult conversations to address gender issues. The report argues that programming is more effective when comprehensive gender analysis is utilized and that such an approach can be transformative in societies trying to emerge from conflict.
The study was funded through The Asia Foundation’s annual US Congressional appropriation, and with support from the United Kingdom's Department for International Development. In the Philippines, The Asia Foundation's programs on conflict are funded by AusAID, DFID, USAID, and the World Bank.
About The Asia Foundation in the Philippines
Since 1954, The Asia Foundation's programs in the Philippines have been strengthening good governance and economic development. The Foundation has supported programs in Mindanao for more than 30 years through its assistance to local governments, the private sector, and non- government organizations to work toward peace and prosperity in the southern Philippines.
About The Asia Foundation
The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization committed to the development of a peaceful, prosperous, just, and open Asia-Pacific region. The Foundation supports Asian initiatives to improve governance and law, economic development, women's empowerment, the environment, and regional cooperation. Drawing on nearly 60 years of experience in Asia, the Foundation collaborates with private and public partners to support leadership and institutional development, exchanges, and policy research.
With 17 offices throughout Asia, an office in Washington, DC, and its headquarters in San Francisco, the Foundation addresses these issues on both a country and regional level. In 2011, the Foundation provided more than $97 million in program support and distributed nearly one million books and journals valued at over $41 million.
For more information, please visit: http://www.asiafoundation.org.


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