Our response is two-fold: advocating on a global level, urging the UN and other government leaders to follow through on resolutions that protect women in conflict zones, and funding programs on a local level through our implementing partners in three of the most dangerous places to be a woman - the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Syria/Iraq.
"Break the silence. When you witness violence against women and girls, do not sit back. Act."
—Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General
Our implementing partners help ensure survival for women experiencing violence in war zones through emergency relief in the form of immediate food, clothing, and shelter. Because sexual violence is often leveraged against women during war, emergency relief also includes rape or sexual violence treatment, trauma assistance and medical support. Protecting women and ensuring the care of survivors is essential.
"If women could be fully engaged in peace building there would be a much lower rate of relapse into conflict."
— UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet
Efforts on behalf of the international community to end violence against women are integral to peace, but local-led conflict resolution can prevent war before it breaks out. If women are not included in this peace building process, gender-based violations in times of conflict will not be given proper attention and consideration. One Million Thumbprints believes it is imperative women have a voice in the peace of their communities. Our implementing partners work for a culture of peace within communities affected by conflict through mediating structures like churches, schools and businesses. They actively train women leaders within their communities in conflict resolution skills, trauma care, mediation techniques as a means of stabilizing their community and preventing future violence against the vulnerable.
If we can work for sustainability, and we can work to pre-empt the cause of conflict, we will be contributing to an end to conflict.
— Wangari Maathai
Sustainable, long-term solutions for peace in war-torn regions must include economic and educational development opportunities that empower women. Programs often look different in different conflict zones, even in the same geographic region. They include community micro-savings, microfinance, farming co-ops, agribusiness, as well as refugee care and education leading to resettlement.
Esperance, who experienced the violence of war, and the millions of women like her, are the inspiration for this movement. They have an unfolding story that gives us hope and confidence in our response. Esperance was given immediate emergency relief in the form of clothing, medical care, and shelter. She receives trauma counseling and hopes to be trained as a trauma counselor in the future. She and those supporting her are directly involved in providing stability and ongoing sustainable progress in her community. She represents the hope fueling our desire to see more women protected and empowered to bring peace to their communities.
Funds raised by One Million Thumbprints will support grassroots programs through our partners who are implementing grassroots-level peacebuilding to end violence against women and restoring survivors especially in areas of conflict. Currently, One Million Thumbprints supports grassroots peacebuilding work in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Iraq and Syria.
Header Image: Benjamin Edwards/World Relief