As a gender expert focusing on peace and security, Nushofarin has designed and worked on projects bringing together community leaders, young people and policymakers to advance the Women, Peace and Security agenda in Central Asia. Seeing herself as someone who connects people and transfers knowledge, Nushofarin draws from her experience in feminist thought, foreign policy, preventing violent extremism, and countering human trafficking.
When women mediators take over
I think that the role women play in their communities and families, in part, comes from their experience of practising a certain gender role throughout their lives. Even though it usually fits the patriarchal society, it also opens a door to shaping and influencing communities and families.
When we include more women in mediation processes, they represent not only themselves, but the whole community at large. I see it often in my work when decision-makers and practitioners are only men, who may be representing important social structures, and not their communities.
I am originally from Tajikistan, and I find it painful to see more conflicts with our neighbours on our borders. When these happen, it is often the women mediators and community mobilizers that step in to promote dialogue and peace. Unfortunately, many of the mediators on the ground are not fluent in foreign languages. This becomes a barrier when international opportunities are available for strengthening their capacities in mediation processes. My personal hope is that I will be able to transfer the skills that I learn from the OSCE’s Women Peace Leadership Programme to local partners on the ground.
Learning from the sisterhood
Now that I am part of the Programme, I know that I am not only getting this enhanced capacity in peacebuilding and mediation but also access to networks in different regions. This is what being part of a community of practice is all about, and I wouldn’t have this connection without becoming a mentee here.
As part of the kick-off week, we had a fireside talk with Catherine Fearon, OSCE Deputy Director at the Conflict Prevention Centre and former Co-founder of the Northern Ireland Women Coalition. I was truly inspired by her in so many ways, her work and commitment to peacebuilding across the world. It made me think of the women who have reached very high positions and yet are so approachable. I have also seen this humbleness in both mentors and other mentees of the programme.
Reflections on accountability
It is important to me that in whatever project I take on, I always follow the do-no-harm principle. I suppose this is something my previous experience has taught me. People may wish well with their words and actions, but may unknowingly harm a person or even a community. So, in anything I do professionally and personally, I stand by the principle that in no way should my actions and statements promote the gender stereotypes that we try so hard to break.
The projects I have worked on are usually funded by various governments, internal and international donors, which is essentially taxpayer’s money. I feel very much responsible and accountable and do my best to make sure that the funds trusted upon a project are committed to achieving the impacts and results promised.
My parents always emphasised the importance of education. Growing up, I might have not always agreed but I am so thankful to have had this support because I see the value of it now reflected in my work in so many ways. My mother, who earned her PhD in her early 30s, is one of the smartest and most results-oriented people I know, and she has always been a true inspiration to me.
Coming from a diplomatic family, I have been so privileged in my life. I acknowledge this and want to share the knowledge and opportunities that I have had with my fellow Tajik women.
In our region, women are usually disenfranchised and yet they stand so tall. Perhaps the most inspiring stories are the ones told by women coming from the most difficult situations and with the greatest achievements, like those I heard from my other mentees in this programme from Afghanistan and Ukraine.
Nushofarin Noziri, peacebuilder and participant of the OSCE Women’s Peace Leadership Programme (OSCE/ Luiza Puiu)
Nushofarin Noziri (middle), during the kick-off week of the OSCE Women’s Peace Leadership Programme, next to Programme participants Caroline Brooks (left) and Hanna Manoilenko (right) (OSCE/ Vera Djemelinskaia)
Nushofarin is one of the 12 mentees from around the OSCE area and Afghanistan, participating in the OSCE Women’s Peace Leadership Programme, an initiative of the OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid. The Programme aims to strengthen the ability of women to meaningfully engage and influence peace processes at all levels. It is a part of the OSCE’s flagship project WIN for Women and Men, which covers the Networking platform for Women Leaders including Peacebuilders and Mediators. The WIN project works with OSCE-supported networks and gives rise to new networks, fostering women’s participation and leadership, as well as broader men’s engagement in achieving gender equality.