Background

Women Peace Makers (WPM) began as a small youth working group in 2000, mostly comprised of female university students concerned about violence against women and how more peaceful relations could be achieved locally. In 2003, with the support of long-time Cambodian peace-building pioneers, WPM became a registered not-for-profit non-governmental organisation (NGO). WPM envisions a peaceful and gender-just society where everyone, regardless of identity and ability, can reach their full potential and live free from violence.

Presently, WPM is a leading organization in Cambodia working on the intersection of gender and peacebuilding. It has focused efforts on supporting the empowerment of women, youth, and communities to address conflict non-violently and to stand up for gender equality through community organizing, awareness raising, and capacity-building. At the same time, WPM has sought to build diverse networks of women and youth from all different backgrounds to engage in dialogue on women’s rights and contribute to positive social change. Its inception came from the observation of a serious rise in violence against women and a gap in women’s participation in Cambodia’s social action and peacebuilding work, despite their enormous contribution to rebuilding Cambodia’s culture, economy, and society in the aftermath of the genocide.

Today’s WPM is the culmination of almost two decades of action and learning in the field. It explores inter-sectional issues and intervenes in areas where it can positively contribute to powerful transformation by developing interventions that incorporate gender and peacebuilding elements, informed by theory and critical analysis of issues that the people we serve wish to change, transform, learn from, or replicate in their communities. WPM also serves as a knowledge hub, taking our lessons to others who might benefit from them in their own contexts, including communities, local organizations, and government bodies.

Women Peace Makers’ Main Activities

WPM works to support the empowerment of women and youth, transform conflict, and prevent violence, including gender-based violence, by providing creative tools and space for dialogue, deeper understanding, and strategic intervention on the issues of gender and peace. WPM focuses on 2 intersectional thematic programs: 1) Gender and Women’s Issues and 2) Peace and Conflict. We work at the local level with grassroots communities, at the national level with civil society and key stakeholders, and at the regional level with other NGOs, universities, and networks. Our gender work focuses on gender dynamics, women’s rights, and leadership including girls, while the peace work focuses on building interethnic harmony, preventing violence, and transforming conflict. As a women’s rights organization, all WPM interventions aim to understand gender inequality in every context and are cognizant of power dynamics involving gender. Whether hosted in the gender and women’s issues program or the peace program, every activity provides the opportunity to explore and promote women’s rights and interests to wider audiences. WPM also uses approaches that can ensure rights-based principles grounded within all activities.

Partnership with Ponlok Chomnes

Under the Ponlok Chomnes II Program, WPM provides advisory support to Ponlok Chomnes Strategic Partners on GEDSI in research, communication, dialogues, and networks, as well as supports the program to ensure GEDSI is embedded in its processes and activities, where relevant. WPM will also support the program as the SheThinks Network’s Secretariat in year 1 and 2 of the program (2023-2025).

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