Photo: UN Women
One of the core elements of Inclusive Security’s programming has been to build the capacity of civil society and government actors to meaningfully affect the outcomes of peace processes.
Equipping Women To Build More Sustainable Peace:
A Step by Step Guide
1. Use skills and tools for conflict transformation: Bring advocates together from different sides of conflict and diverse backgrounds (religion, age, ethnicity, geographic region, economic status, areas of expertise, etc.) and build relationships that are the foundation for advocacy.
2. Do joint analysis and planning: Guide advocates through a process to analyze root causes and effects of conflict, determine the change they want to achieve, and how they want to get there. Conduct research to understand how different people are affected by insecurity and determine who can address these problems.
3. Build technical knowledge of the processes and issues: For women advocates to be taken seriously, they often need to demonstrate greater knowledge on subjects like peace process design; transitional justice mechanisms; implementation of a peace agreement; reconciliation processes; disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration; and security sector reform.
4. Increase awareness of the importance of inclusive security: Highlight the need to expand the range of stakeholders to promote peace and security. Advocates must understand the international norms and translate those into concrete, operational plans for action.
5. Create a platform: Advocates leading conflict resolution efforts, particularly women, often function in isolation without a network of allies. This can be addressed by establishing a structure—such as a network or coalition—to support women’s joint work.
6. Determine a concrete agenda for change: Creating concrete, relevant recommendations for structural change and choosing activities that achieve long term advocacy goals are key components of our programs.
7. Advocate: Facilitate constructive relationships between women and policymakers, technical experts, the media, and other influencers to transform your proposed solutions into actual changes in policy and programs.
8. Reflect and learn: Jointly assess how advocacy activities went and recalibrate strategy as needed.
Our training resources integrate content modules about peace and security with skills modules that equip advocates to advance a concrete agenda for change.
Training in Action:
Examples from Programs Around the World
Photo: UN Nations
In partnership with the Center for Civil Society and Democracy, we trained 185 women of diverse ethnicities, religions, incomes, and age ranges from inside Syria as well as refugee communities. Participants gained practical knowledge, tools, and tactics to effectively advocate to local and international decision makers. To put these skills into practice in Syria, they mobilized other women in their communities into more than 30 “peace circles.” Each group created and implemented advocacy strategies to address local security threats, such as monitoring ceasefires, enhancing detainee rights, ending child marriage, empowering women in the economic sphere, and increasing access to education.
Sudan and South Sudan
Inclusive Security has worked in Sudan and South Sudan since 1999. In 2012, we initiated the Sudan and South Sudan Taskforce on the Engagement of Women in the Peace Process. This is a bilateral group that regularly engages in deep analytical work to identity the causes of the conflict. This analysis informs their ongoing engagement with policymakers in their own countries, regionally, and at the African Union. Even after the civil war in South Sudan broke out in 2013, international representatives observed that this extremely diverse taskforce continues to work together to seek peaceful solutions within and between their countries.
To strengthen women’s networks across South Asia, we worked with the United Nations Development Program to deliver a series of regional and in-country training-of-trainers programs for participants from Afghanistan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Timor Leste. As a follow up, participants facilitated 30 in-country workshops of more than 1,000 men and women. This led to a growing community of practice whose members are regularly consulted by the UN, civil society, and governments for their training and content expertise.
In partnership with the Afghan Women’s Network, we trained cohorts of women from eighteen provinces—including members of the High Peace Council and Local Peace Councils—on advocacy, mobilization, and the peace process. Participants looked at the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program (APRP) with a gender lens and created recommendations on how to improve programs, integrate women, and create buy-in at the community level. Each workshop included a policy forum, where women offered Afghan national and provincial policymakers specific suggestions on how to adjust the implementation of APRP. The final gathering included a donor conference in which participants presented their advocacy action projects to potential funders.