IDRC Awards for research on women, peace and security, and climate change
Increasingly, communities experiencing the impacts of conflict and insecurity also face the compounding effects of climate change. Just as women experience conflict differently and more acutely than men, so are the effects of climate change more severe for women. Three IDRC awards are funding research to understand this gender, climate change and security nexus as well as the role women can play in strengthening community resilience in the face of conflict, insecurity and the climate crisis.
The research is made possible through the Women, Peace and Security Awards Program supported by IDRC and Global Affairs Canada. These annual awards aim to strengthen the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda of the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 in Canada and the Global South. Under this year’s theme, “Gender, climate change and security nexus: In search of environmental peace,” three IDRC research awards are advancing knowledge about women’s contributions to inclusive peace and security. Another three civil society leadership awards, awarded by Global Affairs Canada, recognize outstanding contributions to advancing women, peace and security.
Recipients of the Women, Peace and Security Research Award
- Julliet Nafula Ogubi and Salome Aluoch Owuonda, for research examining gender participation in peacebuilding in drought-induced conflict among pastoralists and semi-pastoralists in Kenya.
- Kiden Lukudu and Umar Mohammed, for research exploring women’s experiences of climate change and their potential role in peacebuilding in conflict between farming communities and cattle herders in South Sudan.
- Julia Palmiano Federer and Lorelei Higgins, for research on the links between gender, the climate crisis and environmental conflict between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Turtle Island.
The 2022 Women, Peace and Security Research Awards
The 2022 IDRC-bestowed research awards support studies on the role of women in addressing climate-related security challenges and conflict in Kenya, South Sudan and Turtle Island (an Indigenous name for the continent of North America).
Julliet Nafula Ogubi and Salome Aluoch Owuonda are examining the participation of different gender groups in peacebuilding in the context of drought-induced conflict among pastoralists and semi-pastoralists in Baringo county, Kenya. This county has been a hotspot for conflicts among various communities related to extremes during the dry seasons. Some of the affected communities are the Endorois and Ichamus, who are Indigenous Peoples.
Using interviews, focus groups and case studies, the researchers will engage with both the Endorois and Ilchamus communities to identify the roles that diverse groups of men and women play in solving drought-induced conflict. The research will also generate insights on the gender norms that guide participation in peacebuilding and potential avenues for peacebuilding between the two communities during drought-induced conflict.
Julliet Nafula Ogubi is the monitoring and evaluation officer at the Centre for Minority Rights Development (CEMIRIDE) in Kenya. She is an environment and climate-change specialist with 15 years of experience in environmental research. Salome Aluoch Owuonda is the climate change program manager at CEMIRIDE. She has more than 11 years of experience in gender mainstreaming and analysis, climate governance and food systems in Kenya.
Kiden Lukudu and Umar Mohammed will explore women’s experiences of climate change and their potential role in peacebuilding in South Sudan, where a decade of armed conflict has displaced populations and disrupted lives. Increased flooding that has submerged grazing lands has exacerbated conflict between farming communities and cattle herders in Jonglei and Central Equatoria states. As women’s roles are to provide food, water and energy for their household, they risk insecurity and violence when trying to access these resources. They are also uniquely placed to mitigate conflict and contribute to peacebuilding efforts.
Through focus groups and interviews, Lukudu and Mohammed will delve into the social norms and inequalities that make women more vulnerable to climate change and conflict. The researchers will examine the role women play in conflict mitigation and the approaches that could encourage their participation in adaptation and mitigation strategies. The aim is to provide an evidence-based framework to engage women more profoundly in natural resource management and conflict mitigation related to climate change in South Sudan.
Kiden Lukudu is an economist and a gender specialist. She lectures at the University of Juba, South Sudan and does consulting with non-governmental and community-based organizations as well as government. Her areas of interest are women peace and security, safeguarding children and women from sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment, and agricultural economics and economic development. Umar Mohammed is a lecturer at Hitit University in Turkey. His research focuses on the economics of migration, refugees, forced migration and development.
Julia Palmiano Federer and Lorelei Higgins will investigate the links between gender, the climate crisis and environmental conflict in Turtle Island. While much of the research on this nexus focusses on the Global South, Palmiano Federer and Higgins will examine this nexus in the contexts of the Standing Rock Sioux’s resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline and in the relationships that Indigenous women living in urban areas of the West Coast of Turtle Island have with water, particularly in unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations also known as the city of Vancouver.
The research will explore how the climate crisis impacts Indigenous women and girls in the context of exacerbated water, food and other forms of insecurity during situations of conflict between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. The researchers seek to understand the role women play in the advancement of Indigenous ways of knowing and being that strengthen communities’ resilience to the climate crisis. They will use Indigenous and decolonial research methodologies based on oral histories and storytelling.
Julia Palmiano Federer is head of Research at Ottawa Dialogue and a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Ottawa. She specializes in gender and peace mediation and dialogue processes. Lorelei Higgins is a Métis Canadian cultural mediator. She has worked with government agencies, non-governmental organizations and the business sector on peace and conflict transformation, Indigenous matters and the elevation of women’s voices in leadership.
The Women, Peace and Security Civil Society Leadership Awards
As part of the same initiative, Global Affairs Canada is bestowing a civil society leadership award. This award recognizes the work of individuals, civil society organizations or networks active at the grassroots level who have made outstanding contributions to advancing the women, peace and security agenda in fragile or conflict-affected states or in Canada.
This year, the international Civil Society Leadership Award recipients are the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding, Nigeria and Organización Femenina Popular, Colombia. The Canadian recipients are Sheri Lysons, Darlene Yellow Old Woman-Munro and Michelle Vandevord, who are Indigenous women mentors from Preparing Our Home.
Global Affairs Canada and IDRC held an online awards ceremony on June 12, 2023, moderated by Canada’s ambassador for Women, Peace and Security, Jacqueline O’Neill, who also spoke on behalf of Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Mélanie Joly. Canada’s Minister of Indigenous Services, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, IDRC Acting President Julie Shouldice and several more honoured guests also participated.
Visit the Women, Peace and Security Awards Program page on the Global Affairs Canada website for more details.