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In a heat of almost 40° Celsius and in a room without air condition we gathered, women from a number of civil society organisations and I (Emmicki Roos), in Khartoum to engage in a workshop concerning the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325. The meetings that took place last week were organised by Operation 1325, focusing on what should be included in a Sudanese national action plan for 1325, how to conduct advocacy around the issue and how the implementation of the resolution best can be monitored.

Intense discussions were held concerning how advocacy to realise resolution 1325 should be maintained. Within this subject, the participants lifted the hardships in advocating women’s rights towards the government in the authoritarian state of Sudan. The discussions for example centrered themselves arounf the difficulties in using media to raise awareness and advocate since most of the medias are controlled by the government. Few journalists are prepared to write about initiatives from civil society since critique against the government might lead to prosecution and even jail. But despite that the participants concluded that the risks are great and the challenges many, they also concluded that meaningful advocacy can still be made, as long as there is creativity.

Results from the workshop

In the end of the workshop the participants, who represented eleven different civil society organisations, held a meeting where they decided to create a network for the realisation of resolution 1325. The network will be active with pushing the agenda for a Sudanese national action plan regarding resolution 1325, and will also monitor the implementation of the resolution. The participants also discussed starting a 1325 campaign in social media to spread the knowledge about the resolution and the need for a 1325 action plan in Sudan.

Creativity and courage

Despite the burniong heat and all challenges that were put forward, the participants ended the workshop full of enthusiasm and new ideas around how to cooperate to realise resolution 1325. As the leader of the workshop, I was very content to see such determination and creativity. I also feel humbleness towards the risks that the women I have met face in order to change the Sudanese society.

When I asked the participating women if anything was possible to change in Sudan, I often received the answer Insha’ Allah (if God wants to), or implied: We will try. I think that is the strongest impression I carry with me from the workshop and the women from civil society that I met: The will and enthusiasm to try. The challenge may be huge and overwhelming, but we can only make a change if we try; therefore I believe in their cause.

Emmicki Roos
Project Manager Operation 1325