Tata Diko: “Peace is personal”

“Leadership is a crucial space women should occupy in all peacebuilding initiatives,” says Tata Diko Duku, a spoken word poet and athlete. The South Sudanese feminist activist uses her poetry as an advocacy tool to criticize injustices and uphold humanity. We asked her questions about women’s rights and peacebuilding.

What spaces do women need to occupy more in society to enhance peacebuilding in their communities?

Leadership is a crucial space women should occupy in all peacebuilding initiatives. This gives women the platform to contribute and ensure their perspectives are incorporated in the decision-making process. At the initial stages, at the family level, women should be entitled to make decisions pertaining to their life and be part of household decision making. [Women should also be in] leadership and managerial positions in their community.

What needs to change to bring about peace in your community, country, world?

Peace is personal. Peace begins with an individual who has the freedom to express his or her authentic self, while being mindful of others and seeking coexistence. When all forms of discrimination and violations are eliminated, sustainable peace is easily achieved. At the community level, harmful social norms should be eliminated to build social cohesion.

What actions need to be taken to promote women’s rights and promote their physical and mental safety?

We need nations to adopt and ratify the international legal frameworks on Women, Peace, and Security, which is vital to developing comprehensive national action plans.

And we need an amendment of the constitution to ensure it is an inclusive and effective legal system that upholds justice.

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