Global evidence demonstrates that women’s involvement in peacebuilding efforts positively changes both its processes and outcomes, from the negotiating table to post-conflict governance. However, women around the world encounter myriad obstacles—such as obstructive cultural mores, deep-rooted discrimination, and disparities in educational attainment levels—that impede their participation in peace processes.
Additionally, women’s ability to positively impact such processes is hindered by their lack of training and mentoring, limited support networks, lack of confidence, and insufficient access to power brokers. Even if policy shapers want to include women, they also often lack the know-how to craft inclusive peace structures and implement gender-sensitive policies.
The Institute for Inclusive Security’s training programs mitigate women’s marginalization and help decision-makers effect more sustainable peace. Through interactive workshops and consultations that combine skills-building with content, our trainings increase the knowledge and capacity of women peacebuilders and policymakers to promote the inclusion of all stakeholders in conflict prevention, resolution, and transformation.
Since 1999, Inclusive Security has trained hundreds of women leaders in conflict areas worldwide—including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Colombia, Guatemala, Iraq, Israel & Palestine, Jordan, Liberia, Nepal, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Rwanda, and Sudan—to lead peacebuilding initiatives at the local, national, and international levels. The Institute also facilitates workshops and seminars for global policy shapers on topics such as negotiations, transitional justice, and security-sector reform that highlight women’s vital contributions to strengthening peace processes and provide practical strategies to increase women’s participation.
Our methodology is highly interactive and rooted in experiential learning. We combine engaging presentations, plenary discussions, role-play activities, simulations, and small group work to create a dynamic workshop environment that draws on the expertise of participants. According to evaluation surveys, our trainings are dynamic, unique in the field, and of great value. Inclusive Security has also published two highly effective training guides—our Toolkit and Curriculum—that are regularly applauded as primary resources for individuals and institutions working to bolster women’s efforts to prevent violence, stop conflict, and rebuild war-torn societies.
Currently, the Institute provides three types of training:
- Training of Trainers (ToT)
- Training of Policymakers
- Training of Practitioners
Training of Trainers (ToT)
Through the ToT program, launched in fall of 2009, the Institute strives to create a growing pool of conflict resolution and peacebuilding experts with the knowledge and skills to train and support others in advocating for women’s inclusion. Each ToT guides 15-20 experienced trainers through the Institute’s innovative training methodology and curriculum. Through the eight-day workshop (the average length of each ToT program), participants increase their capacities to train others in advocacy, building coalitions, message management, and strategic planning – all geared toward facilitating women’s full participation in peace and security processes.
ToT alumni are offered additional resources and opportunities to continue developing their core competencies as facilitators and scale-up their training efforts. While support is dependent on the needs of the individual trainer, most participate in at least one of the following opportunities: (1) they can become part of a resource network, giving them access to extensive materials and opportunities that aid their growth as facilitators and trainers; (2) they can enter into an apprenticeship with the Institute’s training program to gain further insight into the application of the Institute’s methodology; and (3) they can receive technical support for their training and advocacy efforts.
Training of Policymakers
Building on the success of the curriculum for women peacebuilders and trainers and in response to increasing requests for training from multi- and bi-lateral organizations such as the US Department of State, the United Nations, and NATO, the Institute is developing a formal training program focused specifically on the needs of policymakers. The goals of this new effort are two-fold: (1) to help policymakers understand the positive role women can play in resolving conflicts; and (2) to assist policymakers to focus on implementation strategies, translating rhetorical commitments on issues of women, peace, and security into tangible policies and programs. While some materials are already in use, a formal curriculum is still in development.
Training of Practitioners
Our consultations convene women peace builders in conflict-affected areas to generate comprehensive strategies to promote women’s inclusion in their own context. Since 1999, Inclusive Security has facilitated consultations for women peace builders from conflict areas including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Colombia, Haiti, Iraq, Israel & Palestine, Jordan, Liberia, Libya, Nepal, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, and Sudan, South Sudan, and Syria.
The primary goal of our consultations is to provide women with the skills and knowledge necessary to exercise leadership at the local, national, and international levels. We integrate both peace and security knowledge and skills development into our workshops to encourage women to advocate for a greater role in peace processes, thereby increasing their capacity as decision makers. Our approach is inclusive; we aim to convene a broad constituency of actors from across conflict lines.
Consultations hone women peace builders’ skills to advocate, build coalitions, craft messages, plan strategically, and generate comprehensive strategies for change. We design our workshops to stimulate action; recommendations developed during these unique strategic consultations will be used later as an advocacy platform for participants.
Please contact Carrie O’Neil at 617.995.1945 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how a consultation could help advance women’s advocacy in conflict-affected areas.
Examples of Our Work
Held seven consultations, including two co-sponsored by NATO and the Afghan Foreign Ministry, on increasing women’s engagement in security sector reform.
Central and South America
With the Organization of American States, organized training in Guatemala and Peru for policymakers from 10 countries on gender and peace building.
Conducted workshops with the National Commission on Reparations and Reconciliation, including one for Supreme Court magistrates to ensure gender-sensitive implementation of the Justice and Peace Law.
Hosted the first delegation of Iraqi women leaders to the US in collaboration with the American Bar Association, US Institute of Peace, and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, followed by field training funded by the National Endowment for Democracy and others.
Organized with the World Bank and UN Development Fund for Women a gender symposium in conjunction with their Partners’ Forum that brought the priorities of women to bilateral and multilateral aid agencies worldwide.
Trained women members of Nepal’s Constituent Assembly on coalition building in partnership with the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding.
Trained high-level women leaders with the International Civil Society Action Network and the Harvard Program on Negotiation in preparation for peace negotiations.
With Norwegian Government support, fostered a national coalition of leaders to support the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and trained the Government of National Unity’s parliamentary women’s caucus.
Designed and carried out training for policy-makers from civil society, the UN, and US Government on women and demobilization, disarmament and reintegration for the US Naval Post-Graduate School.
Designed and facilitated women, peace, and security course for Peacebuilding and Development Institute Summer Institute. The week-long “Expanding Participation of Women in Peace Processes” is part of the professional training program at American University and exposes participants to the concept of “inclusive security.”
For more information about our training programs or publications, or to discuss customized training opportunities for your organization, please contact Carrie O’Neil at 617.995.1945 or email@example.com.