Noor-us Salam or "Light of Peace" is a network of Aleemat or Muslim women religious scholars, women leaders, peace advocates and women organizations aimed to effectively mobilize the women sector in advancing the desired peace and development in Muslim Mindanao and other Muslim communities in the country.
Noor-us Salam sees women as sheer embodiments of new beginnings and symbols of hope and optimism amidst their own unique and distinct spheres, domestic or community, private or public, that are similarly without flaws and challenges.
These women peace advocates consistently give much to the communities, unceasingly help to usher and guard peace especially in conflict-ridden areas such as battered Muslim Mindanao. More importantly, these women have clear vision and steadfast actions to let the message of Islam be felt and implemented in various sectors among different walks of life.
The effort to empower the Aleemat and Muslim women is a classic example of a project or an endeavor that is principally driven by the passion and enthusiasm of the very beneficiaries of the project. while some projects struggle to get the support of key stakeholders, the aleemat project was initiated by demands from the aleemat themselves who, in meetings with PCID and MKFI expressed their desire to form a formal network among Muslim women religious scholars.
During the implementation of the project, women would volunteer their ideas and services to ensure its success. They religiously attend the workshops organized and participate actively in discussions and workshop sessions. Organizing the women, in this sense, was almost effortless on the part of PCID and MKFI.
The formation of a network of aleemat, Muslim women, and women peace advocates, which they called Noor-us Salam (literally "light of peace") is therefore a testament to the resolve of the aleemat and Muslim women to pool together their resources in addressing the many issues that face their families and communities.
What needs to be done now is to ensure that Noor-us Salam becomes a strong framework within which the women's enthusiasm can be effectively translated into something concrete that would benefit their communities.
First, the aleemat, Muslim women and women peace advocates need capacity building support to help them run organizations, manage projects and marshal resources. Organizational capacity coupled with women's passion for their causes are proven ingredients to success.
Second, donor agencies, government institutions and other civil society groups should support Noor-us Salam as it ventures to accomplish the agenda it set out in their Declaration.
Noor-us Salam has already started laying the groundwork for accomplishing its vision. With the help of PCID, the aleemat has partnered with the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) in helping ensure credible elections last May 10, 2010.
In addition, discussions are on-going in terms of the participation of the aleemat in the health as well as literacy projects.
The initial success of the Noor-us Salam is remarkable, the future exciting. And its just the beginning.
Noor-us Salam: Women of Faith, Light of Peace / Proceedings of the Regional Conference of Women Peace Advocates / 24-27 January 2010 / Waterfront Insular Hotel, Davao City