March 23, 2016
JICA and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security have been carrying out joint research on peace building, disaster risk reduction and women since March 2015. The second authors' workshop was held in Washington on March 10, 2016, to put together a report on the case studies taken up by the research. Co-Editor Ichiro Tambo, the director of the JICA Research Institute, with other research members had a discussion with the participants from GIWPS.
The purpose of the joint research with GIWPS is to make recommendations on how best to strengthen support for promoting gender mainstreaming and women's participation and leadership at each stage of peace-building, at the stages of restoration, reconstruction and prevention in the field of disaster risk reduction and at every stage of individual projects, including planning, implementation and monitoring. These suggestions are to be compiled based on examples of specific JICA assistance.
The projects reviewed by the research are as follows: In the field of peace-building they include the training of Afghan women police officers in Turkey with the cooperation of the Turkish government, and assistance for women in the Bangsamoro region on the island of Mindanao, the Philippines. In the field of disaster risk reduction, they include assistance given to Sri Lanka, which suffered damage from the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami and assistance to the Philippines toward recovery from damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan (or Yolanda), as well as earthquake damage in Haiti.
Besides Tambo, JICA participants in this meeting include Hideya Kobayashi, a senior advisor to the director general the JICA's planning department as the project research coordinator, Senior Advisor Yumiko Tanaka, (a contributor on gender and disaster risk reduction) and Senior Advisor Makiko Kubota (a contributor on gender and peace-building).
JICA is taking the lead in the field work. GIWPS joint researchers also participated in the training of Afghan female police officers in Turkey. GIWPS also conducted interviews in Washington on the earthquake in Haiti.
As part of the research, the project held "Promoting women's leadership and participation in peacebuilding and disaster risk reduction," a side event to the World Assembly for Women in Tokyo: WAW! 2015, in Tokyo in August 2015. In the event, GIWPS Executive Director Melanne Verveer (former U.S. Ambassador for Global Women's Issues) gave the keynote address, and interested parties from the U.S. Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development and areas being studied in the research were invited for workshops on the role of women in the peace-building and reconstruction processes.
At this second authors' workshop, comments on the case studies included the following: "The draft report furnishes ample information acquired from field work." "The cases provide insightful observations on grass-roots-level assistance from the standpoint of the participation and leadership of women." "More analysis on the fragility and coping capacity of women during times of crisis would make the report more valuable."
Tambo says, "There were many good comments on the survey outcome and case studies. I also sensed strong leadership toward the joint research from Executive Director Verveer. I would like to work to bring together the final results to bridge the practices and knowledge on the ground, and effective policy recommendations."