Promoting women’s leadership for peace in Asia

Amina Azimi lost a leg in a rocket attack at just 11 years old. She has been working with Afghans Landmine Survivors Organization (ALSO) and reaching out to people with disabilities and war-related injuries in Afghanistan. Photo credit: Amina Azimi

Women are often at the front lines of conflict and the hardest hit by war, yet their contributions towards building peace rarely make the headlines.  The N-Peace Awards shine a light on women who demonstrate leadership in building peace and empowering their communities, profiling peace advocates from Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Nepal, Afghanistan and the Philippines.

Coordinated by UNDP– via the N-Peace Network – the Awards showcase the often untold stories of women change-makers. The N-Peace Network offers an opportunity to share experiences of how women can be partners in building peace. In just three years since its creation, the N-Peace Network has 1,200 members who communicate online and through forums and special events, such as the N-Peace Awards.

UNDP support to this network includes training to build skills in areas such as negotiations, leadership and advocacy. Across the six network countries, N-Peace also serves as a means for engagement between government, civil society and other groups on the issues of women, peace and security, and broader conflict prevention and peace building work.

Through coordinating a campaign around the Awards, UNDP has galvanized hundreds of thousands of supporters to empower women peace advocates:

  • Over 150,000 people have shown their support online for women peace advocates.
  • More than 6,500 people are now fans of women’s leaders for peace the N-Peace Awards Facebook.
  • Over 2.7 million people are able to be reached with personal narratives of peace advocates via Facebook.
  • More than 6,000 people have viewed the documentaries created to showcase the stories of N-Peace Awardees.
  • Close to 80 news articles have been published on nominees or awardees, helping to re-shape the usual ‘women as victims’ representation.

From high-level public figures to grassroots activists, N-Peace Awardees include reformers who push for women’s place at peace talks, advocates for human rights, and supporters of women’s entrepreneurship to fight poverty.

Amina Azimi, a survivor of a rocket-propelled grenade attack who now helps women with disabilities in Afghanistan, is also an Awardee. ‘When I received a call from my colleagues that I would be awarded the 2012 N-Peace Award it made me really happy, I even cried for joy after hanging up the phone’, she said. Amina was just 11 years old when the attack on her parents’ home resulted in the loss of her right leg. Today she works for the Afghan Landmine Survivors Organization advocating for the rights of other women survivors.

Galvanizing thousands of supporters: from Heads of State to community members 

Through N-Peace, UNDP has advocated for women’s leadership for peace by telling the personal stories of peace builders. To date, over 200 people have been profiled via the N-Peace Awards.

Quhramaana Kakar, N-Peace Awardee and former Gender Advisor to the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme (APRP), felt empowered by the recognition ignited by the N-Peace Awards. ‘This is motivating me to do more and struggle further for women in Afghanistan. This award gives me the sense that my work is very important. The way people participated in this process is recognition for the hard work I have done,’ she said.

UNDP has also engaged high level figures in support of women leaders and peace advocates, including the President of the Philippines who personally honored the N-Peace Awardees in 2012. ‘In your own individual capacities, you have embodied the belief that a just and lasting peace can only be achieved when every sector takes part in the process of peace-building and development… when men and women alike are empowered to take part in nation-building.’

Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee of Liberia has similarly expressed her strong support. ‘N-Peace Awards provide the means to recognize women’s leadership and their collective strength as advocates for peace,’ she said.

For more information on the N-Peace Awards and the N-Peace Network visit

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What inpired Quhramaana Kakar to build peace in Afghanistan

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