Experience and scholarship show unequivocally that:
- The involvement of civil society movements in peacemaking substantially increases the chances of sustainable peaceful solutions;
- Women’s movements combined with the power of international treatise are the primary drivers of change and especially of the promotion of gender equality worldwide;
- Gender equality is a critical indicator of both development and peace.
Our Strategy – to connect, amplify, inform, resource & create
Our strategy is to strengthen women’s institutions and activism for rights, peace and security in their countries, while amplifying their presence and gendered perspectives in regional and global policy arenas. We do this by:
- Providing a shared global platform for a growing alliance of independent women-led organizations (not just individuals) active in peace and security issues with a gender/rights based lens under the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) umbrella;
- Investing in Trust by providing funds through the Innovative Peace Fund (IPF), technical assistance and connectivity to WASL partners’ so that their institutional and professional capacities are strengthened, while maintaining their autonomy and deepening their access and impact locally;
- Amplifying women’s voices in the global peace and security policy community through the Global Solutions Exchange (GSX) so that they can inform and influence policy making and have direct access to potential resources and decision makers;
- Telling the inspirational stories by expanding our strategic communications and increasing the media presence of our staff and WASL partners;
- Providing original analysis and practical tools by producing gendered political and security country and regional analyses in the What the Women Say policy series and relevant guidance such as the Better Peace Tool (BPT) for the international policy community to foster greater understanding of why gendered approaches and the inclusion of women peace builders are needed for the effective promotion of peace, security and prevention of extremism;
- Deepening the bench by ensuring that we have younger women having access to the spaces needed, to build up the next generation of women leaders in promoting national and global peace and security.
- Enabling sustainability by proactively and deliberately creating new innovative structures e.g IPF, GSX, as alternative mechanisms and platforms for accessing and supporting grassroots groups.
Our partners have highlighted the critical need for greater presence and bolstered advocacy opportunities in the global policy making spaces. We also recognize that the grassroots and horizontal linkages must be complemented by cogent practice-oriented analysis to inform national and international policy spheres. We have drawn on our relative size and agility to leverage larger institutions, acting as a conduit to bring the voices and perspectives of our regional counterparts to the international arena.
In 2016 we launched the Global Solutions Exchange (GSX) in partnership with the Royal Norwegian Government at the UN General Assembly. The GSX will provide opportunities for regular interactions and exchange of issues, ideas and solutions between senior representatives of governments and members of WASL and other independent civil society organizations with a track record in addressing extremism and related militarism. It has now expanded to include key civil society organizations in its steering group, co-led by WASL and the Prevention Project.
Analysis and Solutions
ICAN, in collaboration with its partners, was an early leader in producing objective gendered political and security country and thematic reports based on field research. These briefs inform our advocacy and are the basis for discussions in the GSX working groups.
Investing in Trust
ICAN has an established track record of providing small, timely grants to its partners for targeted programming. In 2015, ICAN in consultation with its partners designed and established the Innovative Peace Fund (IPF).
The fund channels resources directly to independent women-led organizations active against extremism, conflict and violence and where they are promoting promote rights, peace and pluralism.
Trusting our partners’ assessment of their communities’ needs is a guiding principle for the IPF. We value their wisdom, experience and knowledge and invest in their judgment. In return they trust us, as we offer strategic support and guidance to enable them to innovate, expand and enhance their approaches and impact.
The IPF puts the word and spirit of the women, peace and security agenda into practice by putting women civil society leaders as equal partners “at the table” in the design of the initiatives, and the determination of critical areas of activity to fight extremism and promote peace, security and pluralism.
Connecting Across Countries and Providing Safe Spaces for Learning
To have effective participation of women’s peace/rights organizations, their in-country programming and outreach work has to be strengthened and expanded. Connecting across countries, trust building, learning from each other and collective strategies are essential.
ICAN’s approach has been to provide support for safe spaces and connections on four levels:
- Deepening our partners’ individual/personal resilience to cope with the crises and traumas they endure so that they can conduct their work;
- Building their professional capacities and knowledge;
- Strengthening their institutional capacities and increasing outreach and impact of their work;
- Enabling global connectivity to amplify their solutions and their expertise.