Amplifying women’s voices in Peace-making processes in Eswatini

The project successfully amplified and coordinated the voices of women in the peacebuilding process; provided civic education and awareness to thousands of citizens; and build the capacity of both implementing partners and women’s coalition members and women-led CSO leaders on national peace-making

Written By Thobekile Masilela

On March 20, 2023
Communications Specialist.

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Implementation Period



Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF)

Implementing Partners

Liphimbo Labomake, Stitching Cordaid

Stakeholders and Collaborating Partner

Various Women Led CSOs, DPMO Gender Unit,

Goal of The Project

Amplifying Women’s Voices in Peacemaking Processes in Eswatini

Target Beneficiaries

Women CSO Leaders, Women, Youths, Political parties, Trade unions, community leaders and other key stakeholders

Target Communities

National (Hhohho, Lubombo, Shiselweni, Manzini Regions)

Project Activities

• Over 30 local CSOs supported with capacity building to effectively influence or participate in peace negotiations.
• 4 Regional Capacity Building Trainings Conducted reaching 220 women leaders at community level.
• Over 36 000 women and girls directly reached with advocacy events, civic education and dialogues conducted by women-led CSOs
• 40 Civil society organizations and 5200 women and girls directly reached with advocacy campaigns, civic education and awareness
• Over 5000 branded IEC materials on Women’s Rights and peacebuilding distributed.
• 5 coalition meetings and dialogues conducted with political parties and trade unions.
• Government officials, parties, trade unions and independent MPs engaged through dialogue meetings.
• Two engagement discussions with SADC on the Women Peace and Security Agenda conducted.

Summary Results

Summary Results Eswatini has a dual systems working in parallel. Besides Roman Dutch Law, there is the traditional Swazi Customary law which can be very oppressive to women and girls’ rights. According to old Swazi Customs, Women in a marital relationship are treated as minors under the care of their husband or male relatives. They could not own property without the signature of their husband or first-born son. Under these customs, a woman has little grounds to divorce her husband under any circumstance but the husband is allowed to divorce the woman on allegations of witchcraft or if she has committed adultery. The Swazi society is deeply entrenched in patriarchy with little to no spaces for women in leadership positions across the divide. These were the prevailing conditions in the country as the project was implemented.

The project thus sought to strengthen the negotiation skills of human rights defenders to ensure women’s voices are represented in decision-making. So far, the programme has reached over 30 CSOs, 10 communities, and hosted 225 women CSO leaders in trainings and engagements of CSOs, political parties and trade union. The total reach via trainings, community engagements, civic education, distribution of educational material and a community radio was 11,473. Over 60 000 people were reached via a social media and media campaign. We have also been successful in raising awareness about gender equity across all four regions of the country.


Impact The project successfully amplified and coordinated the voices of women in the peacebuilding process; provided civic education and awareness to thousands of citizens; and build the capacity of both implementing partners and women’s coalition members and women-led CSO leaders on national peace-making, conflict management and negotiation. In the implementation of our activities, the team took a human rights approach, ensuring to support arguments made for women’s equal participation with constitutional considerations. This had an immense impact on the women who initially saw many of the gender discrimination which typically prevents or hampers their participation as something backed by law, which is not the case. It also gave a base for women to claim their rights to equally participate without discrimination in their communities and beyond.

At the culmination of the project women were able to conduct a SWOT analysis of their ability to influence the road towards an inclusive dialogue, and the current decision-making and impact status within their various institutions before subsequently producing action plans towards increasing their impact and engagement in these spaces. An action plan on how women can also push for the adoption of the UNSCR 1325 was also generated. These key documents will be carried forward as part of a sustainability plan to carry forward the work started during the implementation of the project. In conclusion, our engagements of women resulted in a resounding call for an increase in platforms for women to hold conversations on the subjects presented by the project, deepen their knowledge on peacebuilding, their rights and the constitution, selection and capacity building of women in the communities to champion this cause, and capacity building on leadership skills.

Women want to engage in peacebuilding and desire to have representatives from among them who could be adequately prepared to represent them when carrying out peacebuilding efforts. Alongside disparities in knowledge on the political conflict, the project uncovered glaring gaps in women’s engagement in decision-making even on the home front. Here, reliance on male counterparts, gendered hierarchies in everyday societal life, and fears of discrimination were cited as major hinderances to women’s participation. However, the eagerness to carry the peacebuilding agenda forward and great appreciation for the knowledge gained throughout the project is evidence of the immense work put forward through this project and the hope that women will continue to push for peace. We believe the strides made during the implementation of the project have paved the way to engage in continued peace building.

Success Stories

A stronger more resilient women’s movement has emerged in Eswatini and the recommendations and demands formulated will form the basis of women’s engagement and involvement in peace issues for a long time in Eswatini.

Six (6) positions were drawn on women’s demands for peaceful engagement in Eswatini and 1 joint statement with Lipimbo Labomake

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