Teduray woman wins award for peace-building in Maguindanao

Philippine Daily Inquirer - http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/721693/teduray-woman-wins-award-for-peace-building-in-maguindanao#ixzz3lhTNJGjE
Date of publication: 
13 September, 2015

SOUTH UPI, Maguindanao—A Teduray woman was recently named the lone Filipino winner of this year’s N-Peace Awards for her passionate work as an advocate of peace and nonviolent action.

Jo Genna Martin Jover of Maguindanao province was being credited for organizing members of her tribe to continue working for justice “amid such injustices as intrusion into their traditional lands.” She has also been working hard to bring about change in “lumad” and Moro communities in Maguindanao by adopting strategies of nonviolence and peace-building.

N-Peace is the Bangkok-based multicountry network of peace advocates initiated by the UN Development Programme, which seeks to advance women, peace and security issues in Asia.

Jover, known as Jude among the Teduray, hails from Barangay Timanan in South Upi town.

Recounting her story as member of the Kutawato Council for Justice and Peace, N-Peace’s “Untold Stories: Women Transforming their Communities,” said Jover’s work in her community includes raising awareness of the rights of indigenous peoples and Moro women.

She has led consultations with various women and also organized training to ensure their meaningful participation in governance as well as in peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction.

The training, N-Peace said, provides women with skills such as conflict resolution, mediation and early warning and early response tactics.

At one time, she tried to enter politics because of her desire to bring about change. But she failed.

Jover facilitates listening sessions with grassroots Moro communities affected by the decades-long conflict with the government. She is also a member of the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission.

She said despite the intense stories of violence and oppression she hears from some communities, she remained unyielding to calls from groups to take a hard line within the peace process.

She said she was confident and resolute that peace was achievable and that justice for indigenous peoples could be attained through dialogue and other peace-building methods.

“It is an opportunity to let the world know that ordinary women can contribute to peace-building,” she said after winning the award.

Fr. Dennis Gui, OMI, parish priest of Timanan, South Upi, said Jover brought honor to South Upi.

“Our Parish is one with her in peace-building and in promoting the rights of the indigenous peoples,” Gui said.

On Oct. 4, the local community Timanan will offer a thanksgiving Mass in honor of Jover.

The other N-Peace winners include Hassina Neekzad of Afghanistan, who was dubbed the passionate teacher of peace;, Jull Takaliuang of Indonesia, justice-seeker for the most marginalized members of society; Ja Nan Lahtaw of Myanmar, peace activist; Sharmila Thapa of Nepal, who works to bring dignity to Nepal’s single mothers; and Rubina Feroze Bhatti of Pakistan, who has been very courageous in defending the rights of Pakistan’s women and minorities. Edwin Fernandez, Inquirer Mindanao