Community based peacebuilding: challenges and best practices 

Women’s participation in peacebuilding is crucial. Everybody agrees that women’s voices must be heard to create lasting solutions to conflict, and for peace to be inclusive and sustainable. But is it easier said than done. That’s why ZOA, together with Saferworld and SUDIA, organized an international learning event in Uganda. This event brought together practitioners from different organisations working in Central and East Africa on community based peacebuilding.

Together, the participants addressed several issues: how to promote meaningful women’s participation in local peace and security committees? And what are the challenges of cooperation with traditional authorities and customary justice systems? The learning event resulted in 2 learning papers and 2 short videos on these topics.

Increasing women’s participation in peacebuilding

The participation of women in the committees is often a challenge in countries like Sudan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Congo to mention a few. Women are often not present, or they are officially member but don’t assume leadership roles nor participate in conflict mediation and dialogues because of traditional gender norms. In the learning paper we describe the different levels of participation of women, barriers for women inclusion and how to address them. We also give examples how community structures have contributed to transforming gender norms and values. 

Government and customary authorities 

Community based peace and security committees should not work in isolation, but look for cooperation with other stakeholders. However cooperation with the local government authorities is not always easy as these authorities can have different interests and might not be trusted by the committees because of a violent past. Customary authorities might have more local legitimacy, but the customary justice system is often discriminating women, youth and minority groups. In the learning paper on this topic we describe how NGOs deal with the challenges and opportunities in this cooperation. 

Learning papers and videos 

We would appreciate feedback on both learning papers. Please send your feedback and ideas to Corita Corbijn, sector specialist Peace Building.  In the downloads below you can find the 2 learning papers. 

The organization of the learning event was co-funded by the Knowledge Platform Security Rule of Law, through the Knowledge Management Fund. 

Want to read more about peacebuilding? Click here to read more about ZOA’s approach.