Kashmir June 2013

Mothers Move in Kashmir 3 [c] WwB

Mothers Move in Kashmir 2 [c] WwB

Mothers MOVE! in Kashmir

WwB/SAVE currently launched a research project on mothers and their concerns, hopes and whishes in one of the most conflict ridden regions of the world.

Kashmir is one of the most highly militarized regions in the world, and the presence of security forces in Kashmir has become increasingly entrenched since the partition of India and Pakistan in 1946. While India and Pakistan both lay claim to the territory, there has been increasing agitation over the past few years, especially among the young generation, for Kashmir to gain autonomy. The conflict is not only political—religious and ethnic differences significantly complicate the fabric of daily life in Kashmir.

The “Mothers MOVE in Kashmir” project therefore intends to focus on the inclusion of mothers in the establishment of peace in the region, on both the family and the community levels. The prerequisite to this process, however, is gathering their opinions, experiences, and expertise as well as identifying the support mechanisms necessary for the realization of effective security strategies.

To this end, Women without Borders (WwB) conducted 50 in-depth interviews with mothers on each side of the conflict. On the Indian side, WwB partnered with Archana Kapoor, the chairperson of Smart NGO and long-standing WwB-India representative; on the Pakistani side, WwB worked with Arshi Saleem Hashmi, an associate professor and key researcher at the Defense University of Islamabad. Both partners were responsible for identifying 50 interview participants each and facilitating travel throughout Kashmir.

After listening to these women, WwB firmly believes that Kashmiri women, and particularly mothers, must play a key role in the security paradigm, and must be sensitized to their role in building peace in the region. Mothers are a natural group for taking on security issues, for their central position in both the family and community allows them unique access to influence the young generation and therefore the future of the region. Mothers in strongly patriarchal, restrictive societies such as those found in Kashmir, however, must first understand their experiences and build their self-confidence in order to fully and effectively engage in dialogue and peace-building.

The Mothers School model, developed by WwB and currently implemented in Tajikistan and other parts of India, seeks to empower mothers to combat violent extremism by equipping them with the necessary knowledge, confidence and skills.


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