Enhancing a Democratic and Dynamic Approach to Women Led Peace Building

NOV 2021 – An introduction to Collectiva Souriyat by Sharq.Org Executive Director and Collectiva facilitator Reem Maghribi
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REEM MAGHRIBI

Collectiva Souriyat was launched by the pan-Arab non-profit organisation Sharq.Org in November 2021 with the objective of nurturing a network of Syrian women dedicated to peace building in Syria. While Sharq.Org is the patron and initiator of the Collectiva, it does not own it, nor does it intend to dictate its shape or direction. Sharq.Org will however use its experience and extensive capacity in fundraising, networking, training, and project design and implementation to support and enhance the capacity of the Collectiva and its members.

A total of 175 Syrian women across the globe expressed interest in joining the Collectiva following publication of a public call. While Sharq.Org intends to support the expansion of the Collectiva over the coming months and years, 17 women were invited to initiate it. The network is made up of independent individual women with different experiences and political views who have chosen to come together, to learn from each other, and to develop initiatives together for the betterment of their country, Syria.

These founding members collectively reflect the diversity of Syrian society and have, over the past month, met regularly online to discuss and determine the Collectiva’s identity, purpose and goals in a process that is democratic and purposeful. We believe that the Collectiva must be shaped and built by its members, women who are motivated by a desire to cooperate, collaborate and compromise in the promotion and pursuit of peaceful coexistence following the protracted conflict in Syria.

All communities benefit from the active engagement of their members. Being part of a community promotes a sense of belonging. It needn’t however promote a sense of homogeneity. The members of the Collectiva are different, but united towards a common goal: peace and equality in Syria. This goal is based on a desire to prevent another bloody war, to ensure our children grow up with opportunity, and to promote prosperity for all, regardless of creed, ethnicity or location.

The Collectiva’s ultimate objective is the pursuit of equality and justice in Syria. We know however that this is a long-term goal that demands we take smaller steps along the way. The first step is the promotion and facilitation of peaceful coexistence. This was a reality in Syria before the war but is sadly no longer the case in many respects. We believe that equality and justice cannot be achieved before peaceful coexistence is restored. Once neighbours have worked through the trauma and pain of the war and its consequences, we hope they can come together to build peaceful communities that espouse cooperation and demand justice, and we intend to support that process.

What the Collectiva does and how it does it is shaped by the knowledge and experiences of its members, as well as their ongoing collaboration. The initiatives of the Collectiva are financially supported but in no way dictated by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Members are not compensated financially but rather through a sense of purpose, camaraderie, capacity building and the receipt of sub grants to support peace building initiatives developed collaboratively with other Collectiva members.

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