Namibia women's experiences and challenges in peace-keeping and conflict management: A case study on the Namibian Defence Force.
Nakapipi, Martha Emmi Ndinelago
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In recent years, there has been increasing recognition at the international level of the importance of including females at all levels of conflict management and post conflict recovery. There are a number of benefits for their participation. Female involvement in peace-keeping missions can trigger positive change for women in the countries where they serve and where women are often kept at the margins of society, by providing positive examples of women’s leadership. The aim of this research was to explore and describe the experience and challenges facing women in peace-building and conflict management. Furthermore, this research aims to determine if women’s empowerment will increase their participation in decision making, peace-keeping and conflict management. The research utilized both qualitative and quantitative research design. Data analysis and interpretation were made by means of factual statements, table and graph. The population of the study was female soldiers from units within Khomas Region who participated in peace-keeping operation, including those who participated in the liberation struggle. Sampling method was done conveniently whereby 60 participants from the population were selected as respondents (n=58), while female senior officers (n=4) were purposively selected for the interview as key informants. The findings highlighted that women play a crucial role as actors for change in building the capacity of communities to prevent new and recurrent violence. The role of women is even greater when they are involved during the early stages of a peace-keeping mission. (Yet, women are often marginalized from mission planning, peace negotiations, and implementation of peace processes). This research will help provide better solutions to challenges facing women in peacekeeping and conflict areas, improve greater possibilities for women empowerment and promotes the needs and importance for women’s participation in the decision making process.
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