The press release issued by the Scottish Government on 15 March 2023.
Funding extended for sustainable conflict resolution in 25 countries.
Funding to support women working to prevent and resolve conflict in 25 countries will be extended for 2023-24, the First Minister has confirmed.
The Women in Conflict 1325 Fellowship, run by Scottish cultural exchange non-profit Beyond Borders, will receive a grant extension of £300,000 during 2023-24 from the Scottish Government’s International Development budget.
The Fellowship equips female peace-building activists from countries affected by conflict across the Middle East, South Asia and Africa with skills in gender-sensitive conflict resolution, mediation and reconciliation.
The funding will support the principles set out by the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women’s participation in peacemaking and peace-building initiatives in conflict-affected regions.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“This funding will support Women in Conflict 1325 Fellows to continue their vital work to promote peace and equality. Their expertise, specialism and – above all – compassion in dealing with the broader issues resulting from conflict, which are being further exacerbated in many cases by the impact of climate change, is invaluable.
“I have been privileged to attend several fellowship meetings, and every time I am impressed and heartened by the devotion and determination of the women carrying out extraordinarily difficult work across the globe.
“It’s no wonder the organisation has grown from strength to strength since 2016 to now number 42 Fellows in the 2022-23 project year, with a broader network of alumnae spanning over 300 women from some of the countries hardest hit by conflict – each and every one of whom make an enormous contribution towards building and maintaining peace.”
Mark Muller Stuart KC, Founder of Beyond Borders, said:
“Since 2016, Beyond Borders has helped to establish and nurture a unique community of practice of over 300 women peace practitioners who operate across the globe.
“Through this programme, Scotland has not only provided these Fellows with a platform by which to exchange best practice with seasoned peace practitioners – including from the UN. It has also offered a critical safe space for them to share experiences and connect with other women working in peacebuilding and conflict resolution as well as learn about devolution and Scotland and the UK’s own remarkable constitutional journey.
“Beyond Borders is particularly indebted to the First Minister for her inspirational support and visionary leadership, which time and again has helped to further galvanise this remarkable community of women peacemakers in their ground-breaking work.”
Alaa Assani, a Syrian Fellow of the November-December 2022 Women in Conflict 1325 Fellowship Programme, said:
“Through the Fellowship I have met amazing and incredible women Fellows who supported me with their feminist solidarity during my most difficult times as an asylum seeker – supporting my family Syria and Turkey after the devastating earthquake while I was in the UK. The conversations with other Fellows and the reflections on our feelings, standing by each other and exploring opportunities and resources to support ourselves and others affected by this disaster, were significantly helpful for me.
“The Fellowship encouraged me to start my self-care and healing journey by acknowledging my challenges, revisiting my priorities and prioritising my mental health after it was neglected in the last 12 years due to the ongoing Syrian war and accumulative traumas over the years. This helped me restore energy which I have poured into fighting for women’s rights and accountability, and seeking for justice and sustainable peace for my Syria.”
The Women in Conflict 1325 Fellowship was piloted in 2016 and then launched as a full programme in 2017. The Fellowship progresses UN Sustainable Development Goals 5 – Gender Equality and 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions which supports Scotland’s contribution to International Development. Since financial year 2017-18 the Scottish Government has contributed £300,000 per annum, bringing total funding to £2.1 million including grant funding for 2023-24.
In November 2021, a new Fellowship on gender, conflict and Climate Change, was announced at COP26: Supporting women in climate action and conflict resolution – gov.scot (www.gov.scot)
The total number in the Alumnae Network is now over 300 women from Asia, Africa and the Middle East.