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Meeting of African First Ladies Peace Mission
an article by Lusubilo Sichali, Nyasa Times

Malawi’s Head of State Joyce Banda flies to Abuja, Nigeria on Wednesday to attend the 7th African First Ladies for Peace Mission (AFLPM) Summit. The summit runs from Tuesday, July 24 to 27, 2012. The convener of the summit is the First Lady of Nigeria, Dame Patience Jonathan, wife of President Goodluck Jonathan. Its theme is “The African Woman: A Voice for Peace”.

click on photo to enlarge

According to the Concept Paper, the main objective of the summit is to facilitate the flow of authentic conversations and ideas that will create powerful new paradigm for the African Woman.

The paper says several African countries have experienced upheavals in recent decades, including violent and often brutal intra-state conflicts. According to the United nations Commission on Human Security, most of the 24 major armed conflicts recorded worldwide in 2011 were on the African continent, with 11 of those conflicts lasting eight years or more.

“It is generally accepted that conflict has heavy social and development costs. Indeed, the human and social consequences of war are usually catastrophic and affect the poorest and most vulnerable social groups, mostly children and women,” reads the Concept Paper, adding that what African countries need to do, therefore, is to try to “break the vicious cycle of conflict and poverty and promote a virtuous cycle of peace and development”.

According to the paper, women have the means and the opportunity to extinguish tension and crisis and that they must do this as a matter of enlightened self interest.

The AFLPM was established in 1997 and aims at the prevention and management of conflict as well as the preservation of peace through civil and humanitarian diplomacy. The other objectives include building a culture of peace and development in Africa; offering support and services to victims in conflict affected countries; and using appropriate mechanisms and institutions to protect women and children in armed conflict situations.

The Abuja Summit’s overall objective is to generate strategies and recommendations “that will give vigour and coherence to the work of African Ladies Peace Mission in their efforts to turn Africa’s vicious cycle of conflict and poverty into a virtuous cycle of peace, development and prosperity”.

President Banda has strong passion for women, children and the under-privileged. She has been involved in development and humanitarian work way back before she joined front-line politics. The AFLPM summit will therefore provide President Banda with a platform to share with her fellow women of substance what she has been able to do to provide opportunities and space to the less privileged members of her country to reach their full potential and contribute positively to the social and economic development of the southern African nation.


Question(s) related to this article:

What are other First Ladies doing to support the culture of peace?,

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Latest reader comment:

Eleanor Roosevelt was such an inspiring First Lady.
Does anyone know whether Laura Bush has done anything to support the culture of peace?  or Mrs. Putin, for that matter?

This report was posted on July 27, 2012.