Statement: Peace Hut Women of Liberia wins 2019 UN Population AwardStatement by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women, to honour the National Peace Hut Women of Liberia selected as 2019 UN Population Award laureates
Today we celebrate the National Peace Hut Women of Liberia whose courageous efforts in conflict prevention and peacebuilding, using the peace hut model, have been recognized by the 2019 UN Population Award. The women of Liberia have provided the world with a powerful example of how women are able to rise above the horror of civil war and lead the way for peace.
We applaud these brave women in Liberia who were able to find effective, community-led alternatives to the male-dominated, ‘business as usual’ mechanisms of conflict resolution and adopt the Peace Hut concept, which is truly a grass-roots initiative. An idea started after decades of war has now grown into 38 Peace Huts throughout the country, which provide spaces for women and young women to engage in mediating local disputes, serve as vigilant watchdogs on the police and justice services, prevent gender-based violence (GBV), refer GBV victims to support services, raise community awareness of peacebuilding priorities, and mobilize on other critical issues such as elections and the importance of women’s political participation, and governance. With a clear focus on both the present and the future, these amazing Peace Hut women have forged partnerships with male champions, justice and security actors and entire communities.
UN Women is proud to support the initiative, and we are thrilled that the Peace Hut is now a registered Community Based Organization (CBO) and a solid part of the peace infrastructure in Liberia. We are grateful to the support of the Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund, the Governments of Sweden, Australia and the UK, UNDP and other partners throughout the years, without whom the Peace Huts could not have come to fruition.
I am inspired by the powerful example that the National Peace Hut Women of Liberia have set for women’s leadership and resilience. The Peace Huts are successful because of the dedication of the women who volunteer their time and money to sustain their operations, even at times when there is no external support. Because of their personal investment and ownership, the Peace Huts were able to withstand the shocks of the tragic Ebola outbreak. The initiative has won the trust of the local community members, as well as with the government, which recognizes the Peace Hut as a vital link between community, county and national peace and security infrastructures. The effectiveness and sustainability of the Peace Huts have been acknowledged in many reports, including Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict, a joint study of the United Nations and The World Bank.
Our special appreciation goes to Annie Nushann, the leader of Peace Huts, for her leadership and selfless dedication and to our Liberia Country Office for the continuous support to the initiative.
UN Women remains committed to supporting the Peace Huts and urges Member States to continue to support the National Peace Hut Women of Liberia, to learn from their transformative example and to support the replication of Women Peace Huts in similar contexts as an effective women-led conflict prevention and peacebuilding initiative that yields vital peace dividends.