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Adelah*, 27, is a former Afghan school teacher now pursuing her dream career in information technology. She is developing an app that connects Afghan women with gynecologists abroad. Adelah participated in a design thinking workshop for young Afghan leaders organized by UN Women to identify existing capacities, needs and solutions to support women’s empowerment and gender equality, and influence peace discussions in their home country Afghanistan.
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Karima(*), 21, is a young university student who is passionate about helping others through teaching. Despite her young age, she has multiple years of teaching experience in Afghanistan. Now she wants to find ways to continue educating Afghan women given their exclusion from education within the country. Karima participated in a design thinking workshop for young Afghan leaders organized by UN Women to identify existing capacities, needs and solutions to support women’s empowerment and gender equality, and influence peace discussions in their home country Afghanistan.
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Zuleika*, 22, is a young Afghan activist who has initiated several social projects supporting Afghan women refugees. She advocates for women’s freedom of choice and strongly believes in the power of women supporting women. Zuleika participated in a design thinking workshop for young Afghan leaders organized by UN Women to identify existing capacities, needs and solutions to support women’s empowerment and gender equality, and influence peace discussions in their home country Afghanistan.
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Manuela Soares Brites, 42, is a mother, an entrepreneur, and a field officer in Ermera, Timor-Leste, for the Connect with Respect programme, which works with parents and teachers in three municipalities to promote gender equality and end violence against women in the family and community.
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Ishan Priyaranga, 27, is Minister of Public Transport (Kalutara District) in the Youth Parliament of Sri Lanka. In October 2021, Priyaranga attended a series of “multi-party dialogues” that UN Women hosted as part of its project, funded by the Government of Japan, on implementing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Sri Lanka.
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Vilashini Weerasinghe is Assistant Director of the Sri Lanka Planning Service, a Government institution in Badulla, capital of Uva Province. She has been working to address issues faced by plantation workers for the last 17 years. In October 2021, Weerasinghe attended a series of “multi-party dialogues” that UN Women hosted as part of its project, funded by the Government of Japan, on implementing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Sri Lanka.
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Chandrawathi Dissanayaka, based in Siyambalanduwa, in Uva Province of Sri Lanka, is the first and only woman elected as president of a Pradeshiya Sabha [local authority] in the country. In October 2021, Dissanayaka attended a series of “multi-party dialogues” that UN Women hosted as part of its project, funded by the Government of Japan, on Implementing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Sri Lanka.
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Aileen U. Hualde, 47, is based in Maguindanao Province in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, in southern Philippines. She is a leader of the Teduray indigenous people and founder of the Women Organization of Rajah Mamalu Descendants, which groups women whose families were displaced by armed conflicts. Hualde was first trained on gender and peace advocacy through the UN Women’s Speakers’ Bureau in 2016, and she and members of her organization attended a Training on Quick Community Response Teams on 5-7 July 2022 in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, the Philippines. The teams help people displaced by natural disasters and violent conflicts. The training was supported by STEP, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund Phase 3, and UN Women’s project Empowering Women for Sustainable Peace, which is funded by the Governments of Canada and the Republic of Korea.
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“We … have a host of cultural barriers that prevent women from seeking help. For example, victims of violence are often threatened not to go to court and are subject to extreme physical and psychological abuse. Women also find legal battles as a ‘hassle’ to their daily lives, because they have to juggle multiple responsibilities at home and work.
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Based on international standards, many policies have been put forward to ensure the safety of women and to address inequalities. However, implementation is lacking. If a woman goes to the police station to make a complaint, the system is such that they don’t often feel safe and protected.
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Sittie Janine M. Gamao, 32, is a Peace Programme Officer V, Ministry of Public Order and Safety in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the Philippines. Gamao helps to resettle in mainstream society former fighters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the violent extremist groups Maute/ISIS and Abu Sayyaf. She also helps widows of slain fighters.
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Kamala Thapa, 39, an indigenous Magar woman, is Indigenous Peoples and Local Community Manager at the Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Research and Development, a non-governmental organization in Kathmandu, Nepal.
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Tarikul Islam is a Commanding Officer and Superintendent of Police at Bangladesh Police’s Armed Police Battalion in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Since 2019, UN Women has supported the Bangladesh Police to strengthen gender-responsive policing in Cox’s Bazar and improve the availability, accessibility and quality of services in alignment with the United Nations "essential services package” for women and girls subject to violence.
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Over the years the people of Sulu province in the Philippines have experienced armed conflicts, violent extremism, kidnappings and multiple displacements. The province now is part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Nurrunihar Mohammad is a provincial representative for the Bangsamoro Women Commission and a former-combatant of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
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Police Lieutenant Colonel Melbeth Mondaya is Gender and Development Focal Point of the Philippine National Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region. The region has long been affected by private armed groups, violent extremism and violent clan feuding. In November 2021, Mondaya participated in a workshop on women, peace and security organized by UN Women and Bangsamoro Women Commission in cooperation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
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Our interviewee is a member of Sarah Carer, social workers trained by House of Sarah to help survivors of violence access information and essential services. She asked to remain anonymous.“For long, domestic violence was a norm in our community. Men would say it's a way of disciplining women. ‘Mind your own business. It's their problem,’ people would say if anyone tried to help. …
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Reverend Jone Tuiwaiwai, 60, is a House of Sarah project officer and a pastor of St. Luke Anglican Church in Suva, Fiji. Since 2018, the faith-based non-governmental organization House of Sarah has been piloting the project, Preventing Violence Against Women in Fiji’s Faith Settings initiative in three Christian communities in Fiji. House of Sarah is co-funded by the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls (Pacific Partnership), which is funded primarily by the European Union, the Governments of Australia and of New Zealand, UN Women, and the Fiji Women’s Fund (also supported by the Australian Government).
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Sani Daoni, 40, a member of Wailoku community in Suva, Fiji, has attended dialogue sessions given by the House of Sarah project. "I’m a man. I loved my power. I wanted things my way. I never shared responsibility with my wife. If things were not followed, I’d beat her up. I was harsh on the kids. I was always shouting at them. That’s how I disciplined my family,""
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Dynamic and award-winning Tongan athlete, ‘Atamaama Tu’utafaiva, believes here is no such thing as “man’s” or “woman’s” sport. Photo: Talitha Project/Alokoulu Ulukivaiola   My name is ‘Atamaama Tu’utafaiva. I am 24 and come from the village of Kolofo’ou in Tonga. I play for the Ha’apai Island national rugby team. The first time I played rugby was in 2016 for the 15s team for the village of...
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Siunipa Pahulu after a rugby training session in Tonga. Photo: Talitha Project/Alokoulu Ulukivaiola   My name is Siunipa Pahulu. I turn 20 in November I come from the small Island of Ha’apai in Tonga, but I reside in Ha’ateiho, Tongatapu. I’m a seamstress and I want to be a fashion designer one day. I undertake rugby training every morning and afternoon, and during the day I sew clothes to support myself and my family. I started playing rugby in February this year...