Philippines has recorded significant gains in gender equality and is the only South-Asian country to be ranked in the top 10 of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index – currently ranked 8th out of 149 countries. The Philippines also holds the distinction of being the first country in Asia to adopt a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. Furthermore, the previous chairperson and chief negotiator of the Philippine Government’s negotiating panel in the formal peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, a 2014 N-Peace Awardee. She is globally recognized as the only woman in history to serve in this role and sign a formal peace agreement, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

Despite this track record for championing women’s empowerment, decades of armed conflict in the Mindanao region has had a disproportionate impact on the rights of women from marginalized communities. In 2018, the Philippines enacted the Bangsamoro Organic Law in accordance with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro of 2014. The newly formed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao presents a unique set of Women, Peace and Security challenges as governance structures are established and reformed to meet the aspirations of the post-conflict era. Linked to this is the continuing threat of violent extremism manifested in the siege of Marawi City (2017). Remnants of prolonged conflict and threats of violence have also posed significant challenges to community resilience and social cohesion, which have the potential to provide an enabling environment for extremist violence.

Women currently only make up 16 of the 98 members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, indicating a decrease in participation from the signing of the peace agreement which saw women make up 32 per cent of the negotiators and 25 per cent of the total signatories. In order to revitalize momentum in inclusion of women to rise to meet current and future peace challenges, this year’s call for N-Peace CSO Grants will aim to support women as mediators at grassroots levels for increased efforts in promotion of social cohesion, the prevention of violent extremism and meaningful inclusion in newly formed governance structures.

Congratulations to the following organizations who have been selected for the grants!

Pambasang Kongreso sa Kanayunan / National Rural Women Congress

For galvanizing its network to respond to the intersectional peace and security challenges faced by indigenous women.

Alternative Bridge to Community Development (ab2cd) & Centre for Alternative Development Bangsamoro (CABDI)

For their proposal aimed at increasing women’s participation in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Centre for Emergency Aid and Rehabilitation (CONCERN)

For fostering engagement of internally displaced women leaders in community mediation, promotion of social cohesion and women’s leadership for the prevention of violent extremism.