Canada recognizes KAIROS partner for gender, climate and peace work


Global Affairs Canada awards Organización Femenina Popular during the second annual Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Awards Ceremony

(Toronto – Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit) – KAIROS is thrilled to announce that Global Affairs Canada (GAC) awarded the Organización Femenina Popular (OFP) in Colombia with a Civil Society Leadership Award during the second annual Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Awards Ceremony, held virtually on June 12.

The OFP is a long-standing KAIROS Women of Courage partner and is one of four partnering organizations of the GAC funded KAIROS Women of Courage: Women, Peace and Security program.

Moderated by Jacqueline O’Neill, Canada’s Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security, the WPS Awards Ceremony showcased the achievements of women peacebuilders in Canada and globally in addressing the intersecting dimensions of gender inequality, climate change and conflict – this year’s theme.

OFP 50 years

The OFP was formative in the development of KAIROS’ Women of Courage program and KAIROS’ understanding of women, peace and security. It exemplifies a women-led organization that empowers women, and victims and survivors of war and climate conflict, to become human rights defenders themselves and to advocate for peace with climate justice.   

For several years, the OFP has been among several KAIROS partners that have flagged gaps in addressing the intersection of gender, environment, and peace in policy and practice, particularly in conflict and post-conflict contexts. Despite the persistent gaps, the OFP continues to organize and establish collective action, community-based projects and advocacy initiatives for peacebuilding, human rights, and ecological justice.   

Its Guardianas de la Vida / Guardians of Life and Nature program builds women’s capacity to implement Colombia’s peace accords in relation to gender and the environment. The program provides women with training and resources to protect local ecosystems and to address the impacts of the climate crisis through adaptation strategies such as sustainable agriculture, seed preservation and local reforestation projects. 

OFP Members
OFP Members

During the awards ceremony, Ambassador O’Neill asked Yolanda Becerra, the OFP’s national coordinator: “Why is it critical that women are at the forefront of climate action, and how does this support broader initiatives around conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding?”

Yolanda Becerra, who accepted the award on behalf of the organization among room full of women from the OFP, said that popular feminism is at the core of their approach to addressing women’s roles in peacebuilding as well as climate change. She emphasized that this approach involves caring for life, resolving conflicts, and mediating – all of which are critical aspects of women’s everyday lives. Yolanda spoke of the central role of local women, rural and urban in protecting and recovering nature in the aftermath of civil conflict in Colombia:

“For over fifty years, the OFP has been defending lives, territory and peace. We apply the knowledge of an economy of nature – to produce, reproduce and conserve life, and this has made it possible for us to address climate change and to protect the environmental and natural resources.  In all of our work we strive to uphold this intrinsic work for peace.”

Today, the OFP is formative in our understanding and development of policy and programming related to gender, conflict, climate, territory and the environment – with a feminist face.

“A huge congratulations to the OFP for putting this work on the map,” said Rachel Warden, KAIROS Global partnerships manager. “The work of women peacebuilders is so often overlooked. Their work in addressing the nexus of conflict, climate and gender is practically invisible at the level of policy makers, yet it is the reality that women and communities are living, every day. This award is an important opportunity for us to recognize and celebrate the courageous work that women peacebuilders, including all of our partners, are doing to build sustainable, just and equitable peace with climate justice.”

Global Affairs Canada launched the WPS Awards Program in 2020 to mark the 20th Anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. This annual program is a collaboration between Global Affairs Canada and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). It was established to improve implementation of the WPS agenda in the lead up to its 25th anniversary in 2025.

GAC-WPS-Awards Ceremony held online June 12, 2023

The purpose of the WPS Awards Program is to help address some of the gaps that hinder the full implementation of the WPS agenda – notably, a lack of recognition for the important role civil society plays in implementing it, and to help strengthen the research and the evidence base to support implementation of the WPS agenda.

About KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives:

KAIROS is a social justice organization that includes ten Canadian churches and religious organizations. We are Indigenous, settlers and newcomers in Canada working with people of faith or conscience all over the world for ecological justice and human rights. We deliberate on issues of common concern, advocate for social change and join with people of faith and goodwill in action for social transformation.

Media Contact:

Cheryl McNamara, Communications & Advocacy Coordinator, KAIROS Canada, cmcnamara [at] kairoscanada [dot] org.

Filed in: Ecological Justice, Gender Justice, Gender Justice/Women of Courage, Global South, Latin America, Media Releases, Social Justice

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