Possible with Only Half the Community?

February 20, 2013


Women are key actors in the peacebuilding process.

For more than 35 years, Creative has worked extensively with women, youth, and gangs as a means of bringing greater security to communities that have been impacted by violence, instability and conflict. Now, Creative’s CEO, Charito Kruvant, is conducting a research project to investigate how the Development Community can improve business practices and better support the preparation of women for inclusion into community security, justice, and policing in conflict countries receiving development assistance.

Astoundingly, women aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence globally than from cancer, car accidents, war, and malaria, according to World Bank data. The U.S. Department of State’s Implementation Plan of the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security outlines commitments to accelerate, institutionalize, and better coordinate efforts to advance women’s participation in peace negotiations, peacebuilding, conflict prevention, and decision-making institutions. UN Resolution 1325 calls on all actors involved to negotiate and implement peace agreements that address the special needs of women and girls during repatriation and resettlement, rehabilitation, reintegration, and post-conflict reconstruction. Such a gender perspective would also include measures to support local women’s peace initiatives and indigenous processes for conflict resolution, involving women in all implementation mechanisms of peace agreements, particularly as related to the constitution, the electoral system, the police, and the judiciary.1

Community_Security-300x149 Given this backdrop, in conjunction with Creative’s on the ground experience, this research will endeavor to better understand the challenges and barriers to implementation, associated connections to local culture, historical norms, and other influencing factors; and attempt to identify best practices that have impacted the successful integration of women into local law enforcement in countries that currently have larger percentages of women in police forces, such as Nicaragua, or that have a current focus on incorporating women into the justice and policing sectors, such as India and Afghanistan. By learning from our own experiences and the successes and failures of these other programs, we hope to contribute to building a viable framework for implementation in this sector. The review will also analyze how the efficacy of women-oriented, community-based program activities is currently measured; in particular, it will determine whether empirical or anecdotal evidence more greatly influences activities and the degree to which U.S. Government stakeholders consider local laws and customs when establishing outcomes, objectives, and expectations for U.S. Government assistance.

As part of this initiative, Creative aims to establish an interactive and international community of interest that will add value to the discussion on furthering the role of women in community security, justice, and policing in conflict countries, while contributing to the body of knowledge that can continually update and add to the framework. The review and broader conversation seek to address the following issues:

  1. Why is the inclusion of women in security a strategic imperative for the United States Government foreign assistance programs, especially in conflict prevention, peace agreement implementation, and stabilization/reconstruction activities?
  2. Should community-based experience translate into broader policies about security assistance that require greater gender inclusion in program design and execution?
  3. Are the policy frameworks, such as the National Plan of Action, sufficient to inform and support effective integration of women into the security and police forces that are being established in countries receiving U.S. government funding?

The project research is being coordinated by Richard Jaskot, Director Stabilization and Development Practice Area for Creative, in partnership with Johanna Mendelson-Forman and Michelle Hughes. To join the conversation or receive additional information, please contact Richard at

— Richard Jaskot, Director, Stabilization and Development Practice Area

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