We celebrated our 30th anniversary 2015! In honor of this milestone, we profiled 30 remarkable leaders who have partnered with AJWS to build a better world. These are but a few of the thousands who have raised their voices worldwide with our support, changing the lives of millions for the better.
Seynabou Male Cissé
Mobilizing women to make peace
Twenty-eight years of deadly armed conflict in Casamance, the southernmost region of Senegal, have left many women feeling powerless. Powerless to stop the frequent deadly bursts of guerilla violence. Powerless to feed and educate their children amidst the chaos of the conflict. But Seynabou Male Cissé believes women have the power to stop the bloodshed, and she is doing all she can to make peace a reality.
In 1999, she launched USOFORAL (“let’s join hands”)—a grassroots organization that has mobilized thousands of Senegalese women to strive for peace in Casamance through dialogue and conflict mediation. In 2010, she made it possible for these women to raise their voices even louder. With AJWS’s support, she co-founded Plateforme des Femmes pour la Paix en Casamance (PFPC), a coalition that united 210 local civil society organizations and more than 40,000 women who have since rallied, marched and advocated for peace together.
Seynabou recently said: “I am convinced that if we have the resources necessary to carry the torch of peace in Casamance with the involvement of rural women, this region will experience the most exciting moments showing our commitment to creating a fair and equitable society in Senegal.”
Her dream may soon become a reality. After intense pressure from Seynabou and her organizations, the warring factions agreed to come together with President Macky Sall to negotiate peace. In recognition of the women’s peace movement’s role in achieving this momentous progress, Sall has promised Seynabou and the members of PFPC a seat at the table to represent the women of Casamance during the peace talks.