About

Mission

Isis-Women’s International Cross-Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE) exists to promote justice and empowerment of women globally through documenting violations of women’s rights and facilitating the exchange of information and skills to strengthen women’s capacities, potential and visibility.

Isis-WICCE utilizes different creative strategies to generate and share information and knowledge to enable women to enhance their leadership potential and participate in decision making skills.

Isis-WICCE received its name from the Egyptian goddess of Isis who symbolises Wisdom, Creativity and Knowledge.

Isis-WICCE relocated to Kampala, Uganda at the end of 1993 with an objective of tapping African women’s ideas, views and problems and share the information with women at the international level. Since the move to Kampala, Isis-WICCE started National-and regional level programmes to facilitate the flow of information from Uganda to other parts of Africa and the rest of the world, and to contribute towards the strengthening of the Uganda and African women’s movement.

Isis-WICCE’s Transformative Peace Building and Post Conflict Recovery Journey 1995-2009

Contributing to the Beijing Platform for Action, UNSCRs 1325,1820 & MDGs

In the midst of intense armed conflict in some parts of Uganda, Isis-WICCE invested her energy and passion into peace-building and reconstruction processes using its powerful strategies. Isis-WICCE’s story shows how an individual organisation based in Uganda catalysed circumstances for women’s collective popular action and social change.
Isis-WICCE has used many strategies over a period of time to reach out to women and to create the space for their own empowerment. Isis-WICCE facilitated the space for women to engage in the process of education and enabled them to accept that there is something to be achieved, and somewhere to be reached.

2008 – 2009

After the collapse of the Juba Peace talks, Isis–WICCE continued to support and engage the women’s movement in peace-building and post-conflict recovery processes. It mobilised resources to review the Peace, Recovery and Development Programme (PRDP) framework from a gender and women’s rights perspective. It revealed the PRDP’s weakness in terms of gender equality and women’s rights sensitivity and responsiveness. Isis-WICCE spearhead a collective effort to ensure that women’s needs, interests and rights are prioritised and gender equality becomes a reality in the recovery programmeS. This led to the formation of the Women’s Task Force (WTF) for a Gender Responsive PRDP, coordinated by Isis-WICCE. The WTF consists of 21 vibrant and diverse women’s organisations from North and North Eastern Uganda (West Nile, Acholi, Lango, Teso and Karamoja sub-regions) and national women’s organisations with interventions in Northern Uganda.

2006-2007

Following the peace negotiations between the Government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) to end the 21-year civil war, Isis-WICCE was part of the core group of the Uganda Women Peace Coalition (UWPC) who lobbied for the needs, concerns and priorities of women to be integrated into the Juba Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which was to be signed. Isis-WICCE played a key role in providing key data and information to the negotiating partners and mobilising grassroots women’s groups to participate in the consultative processes as well as documenting the process.

1999-2003

As a follow up on its action oriented research, Isis-WICCE initiated a 5-year (1999-2003) leadership-training programme for women leaders from various war-ravaged communities in Uganda like the districts of Luweero, Gulu, Kitgum, Arua, Kasese, Lira, Apac, Soroti, Katakwi and Kumi on the theme Women Building Peace from Grassroots to Parliament. This was to enable them become effective change agents through mobilisation of communities for peace building. Isis-WICCE used the training to transform women’s wartime experiences into positive contributions to society using exchange visits. These exchange visits promoted women’s solidarity across ethnic and religious lines.
The trained women subsequently replicated the skills in their communities. They have played a significant role in building a new culture of peace at the local level by organising peace education and community-based reconciliation and social reconstruction activities. Some of the women formed community-based organisations which include Kitgum Women Peace Initiative (KIWEPI), Kasese National Women Exchange (KANWE), Kasese War Widows Network (KWWN), Lira Women Peace Initiative (LIWEPI), Luwero Women Development Association (LUWODA), Teso Women Peace Activists (TEWPA), Gulu Women for Peace, Reconciliation and Resettlement (GUWOPAR) and Kole Women Peace Initiative (KOWEPI).They have been instrumental in promoting the human rights and the human security of survivors of conflict. This has changed the image of women from being vulnerable victims to that of women of a highly differentiated group of social actors, who possess valuable resources, capacities and potential to transform lives.

Since 2003, Isis-WICCE has continued to support the groups in information sharing, training and empowerment efforts to promote peace in their localities. Furthermore, Isis-WICCE and these women’s groups have become partners in the peace-building and post-conflict recovery efforts to ensure that women’s needs are prioritised and are involved in the reconstruction of their communities, including ensuring that the needs of women war survivors are addressed.

1997

Isis-WICCE started documenting the impact of war on the women in Luweero, Uganda. Other in-depth studies on the impact of armed conflict on women in situations of armed and post conflict settings in Central, Southwest, North and North Eastern Uganda revealed high levels of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) against women, trauma, apathy and poverty amongst women war survivors
Major issues that were also identified specifically indicated systematic rape of women during the war and women’s lack of access to appropriate and important information. The documentation went beyond conventional images of women as victims of war to documenting the many different ways in which women contributed to rebuilding their communities as they emerged from armed conflict. The comprehensive research reports have given Isis-WICCE empirical data to use as evidence to prove that wars are fought on the bodies of women.
Realising that there were many women who needed medical attention, Isis-WICCE’s took on an action and feminist research approach. This necessitated mobilisation of resources and medical experts to carry out emergency medical interventions in sexual and reproductive health and trauma management. Emergency medical interventions were carried out in Luweero, 1999; Gulu, 2001; Teso, 2002; and Kitgum, 2005. Research was thus linked with activism.
Isis-WICCE’s work catalysed the Ministry of Health in Uganda to prioritise mental health in its 5-year strategic plan. Through the collaboration with medical professionals, it has been possible for Isis-WICCE to utilise the documented data to develop and produce the first ever comprehensive “Training manual for health workers in the management of medical and psychological effects of war trauma” (2006), which was adopted by the Uganda Ministry of Health – Mental Health section as its standard training manual.

1995

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women (1995) gave Isis-WICCE a niche and focus: Documenting and improving the situation of women in armed conflict and post conflict settings became the focus of Isis-WICCE for a decade.

1993

Isis-WICCE moved to Uganda (from Geneva). The move created both excitement and tension. The excitement arose from the fact that the vibrancy of the Uganda women’s movement was acknowledged, but tension emerged because Isis-WICCE’s niche was not clear then.
Isis-WICCE chose to do something that national women’s organisations were not dealing with and to complement their efforts; not to compete with them.

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