The Mano river women's peace network 2001
Updated: Jun 28
Kaba Hadja Saran Daraba (President), Theresa Leigh Sherman (First Vice President), and Agnés Taylor Lewis were among the founding members of the network, which included religious leaders, lawmakers, union members, businesswomen, homemakers, and educators (Second Vice President). MARWOPNET formed a twelve-member executive board from the Mano River sub-region, with three members from Sierra Leone, five from Guinea, and four from Liberia. They decided that the organization's presidency would be rotated among members from the three member countries. The founders of MARWOPNET have established five technical commissions to work on fund-raising, resource mobilization, and programming.
Liberian women rally against their country’s civil war, a campaign documented by the film “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.”
Courtesy Pewee Flomoku, Fair use image
In 2002, the Liberian Chapter of MARWOPNET convened a summit that brought together President Charles Taylor of Liberia, President Lansana Conté of Guinea, and President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone. The Liberian Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended a civil war that began in 1989, was signed the following year, and the organization was a signatory member.
In 2003, MARWOPNET received the prestigious United Nations Prize for Human Rights in recognition of its efforts. MARWOPNET hosted a youth seminar in Conakry in 2004 that drew over 60 participants from all over Africa. MARWOPNET started educating market women in dispute resolution, primary education, and entrepreneurship later in the decade. In Liberia's heavily contested presidential election in 2011, MARWOPNET educated women acted as poll watchers. In Sierra Leone, it opened the MARWOPNET Peace Radio in 2011.
In 2012, MARWOPNET collaborated with The Global Network of Women Peacebuilders and The National Organization of Women in Sierra Leone to hold workshops on UN Security Resolution 1325 (which calls for the inclusion of women as peacekeepers) and UN Security Resolution 1820 (which calls for the inclusion of women as peacekeepers) (which focuses upon ending gender based violence in conflict zones). The aim of these workshops was to educate women in war-torn Sierra Leone about international law and how they can engage in conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
MARWOPNET, based in Freetown, Sierra Leone, publishes Voices of Peace, an online publication that features first-person narratives, poetry, photography, and testimonials from women and men impacted by war and conflict. MARWOPNET empowers women by developing professional networks, hosting sub-regional meetings, supporting youth-focused programs, and partnering with other peacekeeping organizations.