A Maranao, speaking at a recent high-level meeting on peacebuilding last month in New York City, earned a warm applause from the crowd after she introduced the indigenous handwoven piece “malong” as a symbol of inclusivity to peacebuilding.
Farah Ali Ghodsinia, who hails from Marawi City, said the handwoven fabric represents how crucial meaningful participation of women is in conflict-prevention and peace building.
“This malong is actually handwoven by the women of my community in Lanao. Like the presence of you and women today, I believe that we actually recognize the importance of integrating more women in the decision-making processes of peacebuilding,” Ghodsinia said in her speech.
“Aside from that, we also recognize that conflict tends to create a greater adverse result or adverse effects on girls and women. Thus, we should also actively shape policies that are gender sensitive,” she added.
She said including more women in general in the decision-making process provides a vital representation of their communities.
She recounted how the devastated Marawi was wrought by armed conflict, which she described as “one of the worst devastations that happened in my country.”
She, however, noted that the government has been vigorously pushing for the rebuilding of the war-torn city and regional development.
“Recently, a war actually happened in my region and our city today Marawi is completely in ruins… And now our government is actually working hard to rebuild our city and to also forward other causes such as the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” she said.
Ghodsinia, the tenth president of the National Youth Parliament, also called for the greater empowerment of youth, citing the United Nations (UN) youth envoy’s message that the youth is the “missing piece” in tackling global challenges.
“I believe it is important for us to support young change makers not only in providing organizational support but also financial support so the future of today depends on what we actually do now,” Ghodsinia said.
“I believe that investing in our youth and seeing them partners of peace and security would be of benefit to all of us, to the old ones, young ones and to the future to come,” she added.
Ghodsinia said the malong, with all its interwoven threads and colors, represents how people can stand united in peace and security amidst diversity.
“By integrating, and weaving together different stakeholders and different factors then we can better attain and sustain peace,” she said. (PNA)