The Stories

Changing societies

Zekia Musa (South Sudan)

“Inequalities are rife across South Sudan. We have to have equal laws and equal justice for everybody. Disabled people need to be included in decisions that impact us directly. I advocate for our rights because I want to see us being included and heard in the future of our country.”

Photo by Maura Ajak/Copyright © UN

Fifi Baka (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

“I remain convinced that as long as women are not sufficiently considered and involved in decision-making and in peace negotiations, we will not have peace nor sustainable development in our country.”

Photo by Ley Uwera/Copyright © UN

Loda Coulibaly (Mali)

“Women play an incredibly important role in society, therefore I advocate for the participation of women in the ongoing transitional process in Mali.”

Photo by Kani Sissoko/Copyright © UN

Transforming Politics

Béatrice Epaye (Central African Republic)

“Only when we leverage on women’s leadership and mobilization power, will we achieve peace in my country. It is our right to sit at the decision-making tables, not just around them. Last elections showed we still have a long way to go.”

Photo by Leila Thiam/Copyright © UN

Olla al Sakkaf (Yemen)

“The war has killed hope and turned our lives into a tragedy, but my work pushes me to persevere and makes me hopeful about the future. Every small change I cause in my community gives me hope for a better future for me and for women and youth like me.”

Photo by Hana Haza’a/Copyright © UN

Randa Abu Salih (Lebanon)

“I think that the challenges ahead for Lebanese women are huge and we need to ensure all women access their rights, effectively participate in decision-making and that justice is equitable.”

Photo by Rawan Mazeh/Copyright © UN

Ola al-Aghbary (Yemen)

“It takes hope to be able to do the kind of work done by Yemeni women and youth peace advocates. We need to believe we can bring youth home from the frontlines, and that roads will one day open, and that women will one day assume leadership positions and have more influence.”

Photo by Heba Naji/Copyright © UN

Building Peace

Hawa Games Dahab (Sudan)

“My loyalty and love for my community has always fueled my striving for peace, because we cannot forget where we come from. Peace is the most valuable asset for a society that needs to be built from scratch. Peace cannot be confined to meetings and speeches in lofty conference halls, but instead must spread from the streets.”

Photo by Maimana El Hassan/Copyright © UN

Alokiir Malual (South Sudan)

“We are growing. We have smartly taken advantage of the peace process, making sure to gain more for women: we achieved a 35% participation quota by uniting as women and as groups, and coming up with one position, one demand. A formidable achievement by the women of South Sudan.”

Photo by Maura Ajak/Copyright © UN

Maha Zeinelabdin Abdelwahad Sidahmed (Sudan)

“I believe that gender issues in Sudan are interconnected and should be addressed in terms of ethnicity, age, religion and geography because Sudan is so diverse in all these aspects.”

Photo by Ola Mohsin/Copyright © UN

Victoria Sandino (Colombia)

“I aspire to contribute to the transformation of our country, from this war and violence that we have experienced to a different Colombia: a Colombia in peace, with social justice and equal rights for men and women.”

Photo by Samy Vasquez/Copyright © UN

Sustaining Peace

Mouna Awata Touré (Mali)

“Because of the conflict, the men left Gao. Women were left on their own. So, we decided to create the Peace Hut where everybody is represented: Arab women, Tamasheq women, Fulani women… Everybody. This platform has really helped us overcome our challenges and differences.”

Photo by Kani Sissoko/Copyright © UN

Marthe Mbita (Central African Republic)

“When I make someone feel at peace, when I help people live together peacefully, it enriches not only me but the country as a whole.”

Photo by Leila Thiam/Copyright © UN

Daniela Soto (Colombia)

“I come from a place that has historically been hit hard by violence of all kinds, from racism, discrimination to armed conflict and economic inequality. I hope that I can contribute to social transformation, which is not only in my hands, but the responsibility of everyone in this society.”

Photo by Deisy Tellez Giraldo/Copyright © UN