The United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), in collaboration with the Grenier International NGO, conducted an awareness-raising session on preserving a peaceful post-election environment for about 100 women in Nagnénéfoun Village, in the northern commune of Korhogo, on Friday 7 January 2011.

Justifying the mission’s presence in their locality, UNOCI information officer Bakary Bakayoko explained that encouraging initiatives aimed at establishing and preserving a peaceful post-election environment was part of UNOCI’s mandate.

« Our role is to exchange ideas with you and encourage you, as actors of civil society, to become involved in the peace process and maintain a peaceful environment, » Mr. Bakayoko said. “UNOCI will always be at your side and will spare no effort to help Ivorians to emerge from this socio-political impasse and find lasting peace,” he said, adding: “Go and serve as examples to other communities […] by demonstrating to them the importance of unity, cohesion and lasting peace.”

Salimata Coulibaly, president of Grenier International, called on the women to better organise themselves to take up the challenges of cohesion and development in their village. She said she was prepared to supervise and advise them in this regard. “Use peaceful means and dialogue to settle your differences because that will demonstrate to development partners your capacity to take care of yourselves,” she said, advising the women to cultivate peace around them.

Soro Damengueman, chairperson of the Wolonabedjo Association, made up of women from the village, stressed her group’s determination to raise awareness within their community on the protection of social cohesion. “We commit ourselves to protecting the people from other regions of Côte d’Ivoire who live in our village, even if there are reports that our people are being attacked in the South. We feel that since life will resume after this socio-political storm, it’s better to preserve our relations with others and continue to live in peace, » she said.

The women also mimed the current political impasse and proposed that the political leaders exercise wisdom in order to end it, for the benefit of the populations who are suffering as a result. They committed themselves to preserving the peaceful environment reigning in the village and also called on UNOCI to help them by financing income-generating activities.