From 27-30 September 2011, the IANSA Women's Network and SweFOR, in collaboration with the UN Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), held a regional Women only Training Institute on women, gender and small arms in Lima, Peru.
Participants linked their work on domestic and sexual violence with international instruments on firearms and the global campaign against gun violence. Most of them came from civil society organisations, several of them working closely with local governments in disarmament programmes and campaigns against gender based violence against women.
The Training Institute was also a valuable opportunity for regional networking and to learn about local and national research projects, advocacy work and campaigns implemented by women to create safer communities for women and girls.
"Comparing our realities, national gun laws and the initiatives to make them stronger was enlightening. Now I feel better prepared to give information to policymakers about the impact of gun violence on women. We will keep on working patiently but without pause to make sure women are included in peace and disarmament processes!" said one of the participants when she received her certificate.
The participants are now fully committed to share what they learnt when they return home. Plans are already underway to organise conferences and workshops with women's groups, police officers, the judiciary and law students. There were 17 participants from 10 countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The next Women only Training Institute on women, gender and small arms will take place in Papua New Guinea in November 2011. Other trainings have already been held in Ethiopia, Mexico and Mali, and there is demand from other regions for more to be held in 2012.