Dandi Lou Hélène Amanan – Cote d’Ivoire

Linked with West African Network for Peacebuilding WANEP.

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

She says: “The exclusion of women in early crisis talks was a huge mistake. It is now up to the women of Ivory Coast to correct that mistake”.

Read: Her texts on UNjobs. (full text).

Dandi Lou Hélène Amanan - Cote dIvoire redim 55p.jpg

Dandi Lou Hélène Amanan – Cote d’Ivoire

She works for the Women in Peacebuilding Network WIPNET, (exists also in french), and for Vision et action des femmes africaines contre les guerres VAFAG.

Hélène Amanan served as a secretary of the permanent mission of the Ivory Coast for the United Nations in New York, was an international official (1992-1999) in charge of coordination of social affairs and protection of refugees for the High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ivory Coast and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She was coordinator of the program Women in Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET) of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding.

Since 2004, Madame Dandi has been the French regional adviser (West Africa) of the Network of African Women for Peace. The goal of Madame Dandi Lou’s NGO is to involve African women in building peace, preventing or managing conflict and giving urgent help to vulnerable people (women, children, refugees, handicapped, elderly people). As it’s leader, she worked on a national and international plan to deliver the message to women affected by the wars.

Madame Dandi Lou says there has been effective involvement by woman in the peace process in the Ivory Coast and Africa. Her organization, Vision and Action of Women Against Wars (AFVAG), has experience in assisting vulnerable people, in the management and the prevention of conflicts and in appealing for peace and stability in Africa. Since its creation in 1999, VAFAG uses the radio, television, newspapers and public lectures to voice its appeals. The NGO lobbies with the parties involved in inter-Ivorian conflicts to encourage them to reach lasting peace in the Ivory Coast.

VAFAG carried out humanitarian work with urgent operations aimed at helping those displaced by the conflict in Ivory Coast. These operations took place in government zones that are in zones controlled by new forces. For Madame Dandi and her colleagues in VAFAG, there is only one Ivory Coast and before long it will become one again.

In order not to be labelled as partisan, VAFAG chose absolute neutrality in dealing with all the parties in the conflict, a scenario that allies well with NGO work. VAFAG is apolitical and characterised by moral integrity.

Hélène works in difficult conditions with her NGO but increases the initiative and work against the war everyday. However, the political actors attracted by power have very little consideration for the efforts and aims of VAFAG for peace. The people of the NGO often traveled in dangerous conditions and risked their lives. This was especially true of the many journeys into rebel areas and the area of the former leader, Robert Guèi in order to promote a positive mood and to persuade them to participate in the democratization process of the Ivory Coast. This last initiative was a success, as Guéi ended up listening to them. However, he was eventually killed in unknown conditions. VAFAG contributed to making women of the Ivory Coast aware of the necessity to act for peace. Since the beginning of the war in September 2002, organizations and womens’ networks for peace were created.

Hélène has religious convictions and always puts always herself outside a conflict in order to remain apolitical. She maintains that VAFAG should remain a neutral NGO. This courageous Ivory Coast woman is well known in her country for her determination to fight for the emancipation of women in the Ivory Coast and for the unity of the nation. Her work centres on the Vision and Action of African Women Against War as she realises that, in all the war zones in Africa, women are the first victims. They are violated and stripped of their goods and honor by the fighters. They are even slaughtered or used as sexual slaves. Faced with the reality of such a flagrant violation of basic human rights, Madame Dandi Lou believes the vision of African women must be taken into account and that their action against the wars be respected by all. (1000PeaceWomen).

Une africaine parmi les 10 gagnants du prix Sigrid Rausing Trust: Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi et le Fonds de Développement de la Femme Africaine ont gagné un prix de £100,000 du Sigrid Rausing Trust en reconnaissance du travail exceptionnel réalisé pour les droits des femmes. Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi est cofondatrice et Directrice Exécutive du Fonds de Développement de la Femme Africaine- la première organisation de mobilisation de fonds et d’octroi de subventions aux femmes africaines- Ancienne directrice de Akina Mama wa Afrika, une organisation internationale de développement des femmes africaines, elle a contribué à la mise en place de l’African Women’s Leadership Institute. (full text).

Read: Sigrid Rausing Trust, award winners.

Read: Wildaf West Africa Newsletter, N°23 – July 2005.

Dandi Lou Hélène Amanan a travaillé comme secrétaire de la mission permanente de la Côte d’Ivoire aux Nations Unies à New York. Elle a été une personnalité officielle internationale de 1992 à 1999 en charge de la coordination des affaires sociales et de la protection des réfugiés pour le Haut commissariat pour les réfugiés (UNHCR) en Côte d’Ivoire et dans la République démocratique du Congo. Elle fut coordinatrice du programme Femmes dans le réseau de construction de la paix (WIPNET) pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest. Depuis 2004 Madame Dandi est la conseillère régionale de langue française pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest du Réseau de femmes africaines engagées pour la paix. La réalité et les conséquences des conflits restent des situations injustes et intolérables que Dandi Lou Hélène Amanan ne supporte pas et qui la font réagir. En tant que dirigeante de l’ONG Vision et Action des Femmes contre les Guerres (VAFAG) elle a travaillé sur un plan national et international pour porter son message aux femmes affectées par les guerres. (full text).

Link: f-information, Consultation pour femmes, Geneva.

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