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Women, Peace and Security Awards Program

United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1325 calls on us to recognize women as powerful agents of change. Far too often, the invaluable role that women play in ending and preventing conflict goes unnoticed. The world must respect, listen to and stand with women in all their diversity.

In honour of the 20th anniversary of the resolution, Global Affairs Canada launched its Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Awards Program. These awards recognize those who have gone above and beyond to advance the WPS agenda by highlighting excellence in research and civil society leadership.

The purpose of this awards program is to help address some of the gaps that hinder the full implementation of the WPS agenda—notably, the lack of recognition of and support for the important role civil society plays in implementing the agenda and the gaps in the evidence base supporting the agenda’s implementation. The program includes a research award led by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and a civil society leadership award led by Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

Since 2021, Canada has recognized outstanding women peacebuilders and feminist organizations for their contributions to the implementation of the WPS agenda . Learn more about past recipients of the WPS awards and past annual themes below.

The 2023 Women, Peace and Security Civil Society Leadership Award: Conflict-Related Sexual Violence & Gender-Based Violence

The Civil Society Leadership Award is once again awarded to one international and one Canadian recipient.

The 2023 Award will recognize individuals, organizations, and/or networks whose contributions address conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) and gender-based violence (GBV), which are not only serious human rights violations, but also a threat to international peace and security.

Nominations under the International Category must meet the criteria of work addressing CRSV. Work addressing GBV more broadly will only be considered for Canadian nominations of the National Category.

To submit a nomination, please read the instructions and criteria in the Women, Peace and Security Civil Society Leadership Award 2023 Call for Nominations package and submit the Nomination Form 2023 by 11:59 pm EST on 11 December 2023.

The 2022 Women, Peace and Security Civil Society Leadership Award: Gender, Climate Change and Conflict

The Civil Society Leadership Award is once again awarded to international and Canadian recipients to recognize their efforts in advancing the WPS agenda.

The 2022 Award recognizes individuals, organizations, and/or networks whose contributions address the disproportionate impact of climate change-related conflict and insecurity on women and girls. Recognized by the United Nations Security Council as a significant ‘threat multiplier’, climate change contributes to heightened fragility, and can further destabilize fragile and conflict-affected settings and undermine peace and security in climate-impacted communities.

Recipients of the 2022 WPS Civil Society Leadership Award

Canadian recipient: Sheri Lysons, Michelle Vandevord, and Darlene Yellow Old Woman-Munro

The Canadian award is shared by three mentors from Preparing Our Home, who support each other in their work at the intersections of gender, climate change and conflict, to empower Indigenous women to be safe and secure in their communities.
Preparing Our Home is a community-based resilience program that strengthens disaster response capabilities in Indigenous communities by training and empowering Indigenous youth as emergency preparedness leaders.

Sheri Lysons

Sheri Lysons is a Fire Chief from the Adams Lake Indian Band, in British Columbia. She leads a diverse Fire Department, made up of youth, women and men, Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples working together. The team was formed during the 2021 Sparks Lake wildfire, which coincided with the ongoing pandemic, and the trauma with the discovery of 215 children near the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Sheri fosters reconciliation in action, with her work advancing trauma-informed fire service and building community safety capacity across ages, genders, and race.

Michelle Vandevord

Michelle Vandevord is the longest serving female firefighter and the first female Captain of the Muskoday First Nation Volunteer Fire Department, in Saskatchewan. In addition to being the Associate Director for Saskatchewan First Nation Emergency Management, and President of the Prince Albert Grand Council's Search, Rescue & Recovery, Michelle was voted in 2020 as the first female President for the Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada to develop national and regional Indigenous bodies to serve Indigenous communities.

Darlene Yellow Old Woman-Munro

Darlene Yellow Old Woman-Munro, is an Elder, Chief, and the Treaty 7 Zone Director, Medical Services Branch from the Siksika Nation in Alberta. In 2013, Siksika experienced the worst flooding disaster in their history. Darlene, an evacuee herself, created the Dancing Deer Disaster Recovery Program to assist evacuees in their long journey of returning home, delivering age appropriate culturally safe services in the Blackfoot language. The centre works with single mothers, people with disabilities, and Elders through periods of displacement.

International recipients:

The West Africa Network for Peacebuilding – Nigeria

WANEP-Nigeria was selected as a recipient of the 2022 WPS Civil Society Leadership Award for outstanding achievements in gender-transformative interventions, specifically aimed at addressing conflict related to climate change. The organization has used innovative programming to reduce farmer-herder conflict by operationalizing an early-warning mechanism. It has trained women leaders in peacebuilding and climate change adaptation in the Niger Delta, and works with State and non-State actors to build and strengthen peace architectures.

WANEP-Nigeria is a member of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding, a regional network of peacebuilding civil society organizations in West African States founded in 1998 as a response to the outbreak of civil wars across the region.

Organización Femenina Popular (Colombia)

OFP was selected as a 2022 recipient of the WPS Civil Society Leadership Award for its Guardianas de la Vida (Guardians of Life and Nature) Program. Operating in the Magdalena Medio region, an area rich in natural resources and focal point for internal conflict, the program aims to build the capacity of women through training and resources, to protect the environment and address the impacts of climate change. Interventions focus on climate change adaption and mitigation strategies such as sustainable agriculture, seed preservation, and local reforestation projects. OFP is also recognized as a women-led organization, with a tireless commitment to peace and security in Colombia over the past 50 years.

2022 Women, Peace and Security Research Award

The Women, Peace and Security Research Award was launched in collaboration with the IDRC to promote a greater understanding of the vital role women play in addressing the gendered impacts of climate change-related insecurity and conflict. The award targets early-career researchers or research institutions in fragile and conflict-affected states in the Global South, or a North-South collaboration.

For more information on the WPS Research Award, visit IDRC - International Development Research Centre.

Recipients of the 2022 WPS Research Award

Dr. Julia Palmiano Federer and Lorelei Higgins,
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The work of these two researchers, titled, The Power to Protect: Climate Change, Intersectional Environmentalism and the Leadership of Indigenous Women, seeks to investigate the nexus between gender, climate change and contentious sites of conflict and insecurity, beyond traditional armed conflicts. Additionally, they seek to understand and highlight the impacts of climate change on Indigenous women and girls, and role of women in mitigation and resilience-building.

Dr. Julia Palmiano Federer (left) is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ottawa and is the Head of Research at the Ottawa Dialogue.

Lorelei Higgins (right) is a Métis Canadian Cultural Mediator, a Rotary Peace Fellow and Positive Peace Activator as well as a Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Program alumna. As the current Mrs. Canada Globe and a Women in Need Foundation Ambassador, Lorelei is leading efforts to increase female leadership in peacebuilding efforts locally and globally.

Kiden Sawala Lukudu and Dr. Umar Mohammed
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The work of these two researchers, titled, Climate Change, Conflict and Gender Nexus: Evidence from South Sudan, aims to higlight the impact of climate change on women’s safety and security in Jonglei and Unity States in South Sudan. Their work will also address the barriers to women’s meaningful participation and leadership at the local-level while outlining inititatives taken by women in these regions to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change-related conflict.

Kiden Lukudu (left) is an economist. She lectures at the University of Juba, South Sudan and does consulting for non-governmental and community-based organizations as well as government. Her areas of expertise include women peace and security, safeguarding, agricultural economics and economic development.

 

Dr. Umar Mohammed (right) is a lecturer at Hitit University in Turkey, and holds PhD in economics from Ankara Yildirim Beyazit University. His research focuses include the economics of migration, refugees, forced migration and development.

Julliet Nafula Ogubi and Salome Aluoch Owuonda
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The work of these two researchers, titled, Participation of women in peacebuilding during drought and climate change-related conflict: The Case of the Endorois and Ilchamus Communities in Baringo County, Kenya, examines the participation of different gender groups in peacebuilding in cases of drought, and proposes strategies to improve equal and meaningful engagement of marginalized groups towards effective conflict resolution and long-term peace.

Julliet Ogubi (left) is the monitoring and evaluation officer at the Centre for Minority Rights Development (CEMIRIDE) in Kenya. She is an environment and climate-change specialist, and is recognized for her 15 years of experience and contributions to environmental research.

Salome Aluoch Owuonda (right) is the climate change program manager at CEMIRIDE. She is recognized for her more than 11 years of experience in gender mainstreaming and analysis, climate governance, and food systems in Kenya.

2021 Recipients of the WPS Awards

The Civil Society Leadership Award is awarded to one international and one Canadian recipient to recognize the role of individuals, civil society organizations and networks in advancing the WPS agenda.

This year’s awards recognize women peacebuilders who make outstanding contributions to conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict peacebuilding and, through these actions, are an inspiration for and example to future women peacebuilders.

Women peacebuilders eligible for this award include:

  • mediators
  • negotiators
  • peace and human rights activists
  • Indigenous, community, social and youth leaders
  • other women contributing to the prevention and resolution of conflict and to building peaceFootnote 1

Recipients of the 2021 WPS Civil Society Leadership Award

Canadian recipient: Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada

Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada

Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada is a not-for-profit organization that has advocated for the empowerment of Inuit women for over 35 years. It was selected as the Canadian recipient of this award for its significant contributions in promoting and protecting the human rights and safety of Inuit women and girls in Canada through its political leadership and diplomacy, for its contributions to programming and capacity to deliver results.

International recipient: Tejido Mujer - Çxhab Wala Kiwe

Tejido Mujer - Çxhab Wala Kiwe

Tejido Mujer is a women’s rights and peacebuilding organization in Cauca, Colombia.

It was selected as the 2021 international recipient in light of its significant contributions to the advancement of Indigenous and Caucan women’s rights and to the peace process in Colombia through providing space for meeting and political training and peaceful resistance to the conflict.

2021 Women, Peace and Security Research Award

The Women, Peace and Security Research Award was launched in collaboration with the IDRC to promote a greater understanding of the vital role women play in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict peacebuilding. The award targets early-career researchers or research institutions in fragile and conflict-affected states in the Global South, or a North-South collaboration.

For more information on the WPS Research Award, visit IDRC - International Development Research Centre.

Recipients of the 2021 WPS Research Award

Marsin Alshamary

Marsin Alshamary

Marsin Alshamary is a researcher with extensive fieldwork experience in Iraq. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. IDRC selected researcher Marsin Alshamary for her important research on Iraqi women leaders in formal politics and in civil society, which shows the connections between the 2 groups.

Hafsa Afailal and Muzna Dureid

Hafsa Afailal
Muzna Dureid

Hafsa Afailal (left) is a humanitarian worker and researcher and holds a Ph.D. in Social Sciences from the Rovira I Virgili University in Spain.

Muzna Dureid (right) is a policy analyst and humanitarian practitioner, and co-founder of the Syrian women's political movement to engage Syrian women in politics and peace talks.

IDRC selected researchers Hafsa Afailal and Muzna Dureid for their joint research on the digital security of women human rights defenders, activists and peacebuilders in Yemen and Syria.

Awards ceremony

The 2022 WPS Awards program ceremony was held in June 2023.

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