A peacebuilder's story: Shahribonu and Farzona, Tajikistan

We believe that peace requires the equal participation of all members of society, including men, women, girls, boys and gender minorities.

To mark International Women's Day 2015, we are sharing the stories of our inspiring peacebuilders around the world – both men and women – and their views on peace and gender equality.

Shahribonu Shonasimova, Tajikistan

Shahribonu is Project Coordinator for our work on 'Promoting the role and capacity of civil society in Tajikistan', and is based in Dushanbe.

Why did you decide to work in peacebuilding?

"I realised my values were very close to that of Alert and peacebuilding, and my work on increasing the role of civil society is very relevant at the moment."

Why is International Women’s Day important to you?

"In the Soviet times, 8 March was marked as Women’s Day, and now it’s celebrated as Mother’s Day in my country. Unfortunately, I think it’s the only day of the year when women feel appreciated and receive gifts."

Why in your opinion is gender equality important for peacebuilding?

"Gender equality and peacebuilding are closely linked. Both men and women experience violence, but women and girls are especially vulnerable. Moreover, gender equality is crucial for peace – there are many examples of women becoming peacebuilding champions, and making an enormous contribution to end violence and bring peace."

Farzona Rahmatbekova, Tajikistan

Farzona is Finance and Administration Assistant for our 'Promoting the role and capacity of civil society in Tajikistan' project, and is based in Dushanbe.

Why did you decide to work in peacebuilding?

"Working for an organisation that deals with peacebuilding and helping the poor has always appealed to me. I am really proud to be able to say what I do and where I work!"

Why is International Women’s Day important to you?

"I think women create love and kindness around them. That is our strength. Women are peacemakers in the home, in society and in the world in general. This is why I think women should be loved and appreciated, if not every day, then at least once a year."

Why in your opinion is gender equality important for peacebuilding?

"Both women and men need peace, so women must be given the opportunity to participate in peace processes."