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As peacebuilders, all three women have been motivated by their personal suffering from the conflict. And in the communities, the damage lingers, they said. Damayanthi said her father disappeared during the conflict in 1989. “It doesn’t matter if we are Sinhala, Tamil or Muslim -- we have all suffered losses due to the conflict,” she said.
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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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Rajeshwari Diaz, 46, and Kaweeda Manohari, 48, are among the many women who have seen these benefits as they attend trainings and community dialogues organized by a project called Promoting Women’s Engagement in Effective Solid Waste Management. UN Women is running the project jointly with United Nations Office for Project Services and Chrysalis, a local non-governmental organization. The 2020-2021 project is expected to directly benefit about 4,000 people in Puttalam and Mannar, fishing and agricultural districts along Sri Lanka’s western coast.
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When I saw this happening, I did not want to be a silent spectator. I wanted to make a difference in my community. This is when I joined the village dengue prevention committee. We worked hard to raise awareness among the public and helped remove mosquito breeding sites. I am proud to say that our hard work paid off and we managed to eradicate dengue in the area.
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For the hundreds of families in the coastal communities of Barangay Tanza 2, the always-ready area Administrator, Irma Bantique Glomar, is the one to seek out if something needs fixing. “If something goes wrong, always ask Admin,” they like to say. And with a little help from UN Women, “Admin” has been instrumental in fixing the dilapidated wooden-plank walkways that traverse the community, connecting households and connecting the community to the main road outside.
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When Tranh Thi Gam first started her biogas digester business, she raised many eyebrows. In the little district of Ung Hoa, located south of Viet Nam’s capital, Hanoi, villagers were not accustomed to seeing a woman take the reins of a business. But eight years later, Tranh Gim has achieved not only financial success, but has played a role in a larger fight in Viet Nam against the devastating impacts of climate change.
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A courageous survivor of Nepal’s conflict empowers herself and starts an organization to help other women re-build their lives.