Women Building Peace: Sharing Know-How

Assessing Impact: Planning for Miracles

<p>The <em>Women Building Peace: Sharing Know-How </em>workshop on <em>Assessing Impact </em>was held in London in July 2004. The meeting brought together women from conflict and transition contexts in Africa (including Uganda, Sudan, and Somalia), the Middle East (Israel), South Asia (Nepal), the Caucasus (Georgia and Abkhazia) and South America (Colombia).</p><p>The workshop brought to an end the current phase of the Women Building Peace: Sharing Know-How component of International Alert’s <em>Gender and Peacebuilding Programme</em>. The meeting aimed to identify how women peace activists and practitioners measure the impact of their work, both for their own internal goal-setting and planning purposes, and as a means of communicating their achievements and experiences to their stakeholders. Critical questions informing the workshop included: <em>How do women implement, monitor and evaluate their activities? What tools do they use for monitoring and evaluation? What lessons have they learned? How do women plan for miracles? </em></p><p>Women’s work in peacebuilding is varied, complex, and multi-layered, and it is essential that they find ways of reflecting this in their communication with donors and policy makers. This is a major reason for their interest in monitoring and evaluation, along with the need to be constantly improving the quality of their work through reflection and learning, and the need to tell their painful stories amongst themselves as a strategy for healing. Women’s organisations engaged in conflict transformation and peacebuilding work want donors and policy makers to know what peacebuilding means to them. In particular, they wish to convey that:</p><ul><li>The depth of women’s suffering and sacrifices during violent conflict and war hone their values and influence their involvement in peace activities</li><li>Their commitment to peace is derived from these experiences, and should be valued for this reason alone, as much as for the results that their commitment may yield, and</li><li>Women want to demonstrate that the peacebuilding work in which they engage is <em>costefficient </em>and that there is an advantage for donors in funding organisations that work <em>outside the box</em>. In short that women’s peacebuilding work has <em>added value</em>.</li></ul><p>In assessing the impact of their peacebuilding work, participants to the workshop recognised the need to combine two types of planning models and ways of working – the results-driven model and the process-driven model.</p><p>Results-driven planning entails a project cycle approach in which evaluation information is gathered and recorded in a systematic manner, while in the process-driven approach, work develops organically and in response to evolving contacts and dynamics. For participants to the workshop, the two models need to be combined in ways that fit both the organisation and the conflict or peacebuilding context in which it finds itself. For organisations that value intuition and solidarity and that respond to situations as they arise, the question is: <em>how to marry this way of working with traditional systematic planning frameworks and indicator-driven processes? </em>For organisations that regard careful planning and documentation as a stepping stone to achieving results, the question is: <em>how to capture the creativity and spontaneity of unplanned inspiration</em>?</p><p>Women peacebuilders and peace activists seek a middle ground between the two approaches that would enable women’s organisations and their potential donors to develop a shared <em>language </em>of communication, and in which different types of organisations working towards peace could find a more consistent basis for sharing and networking.</p><p>Workshop participants appreciated many aspects of the current frameworks presented to them; especially those tools that enable them to analyse and strategise more effectively, and strengthen their advocacy, and as a result, develop strategic alliances. However, they also critiqued these frameworks, on two main grounds: not only do they lack gendered indicators, but they also fail to illustrate the different ways in which women’s peacebuilding organisations operate. In essence, standard frameworks have emerged from a particular type of <em>malestream </em>organisation, and do not necessarily respond to the <em>alternative </em>organisational culture, which many women’s organisations consciously seek to establish.</p>

  • Author(s):
    Judy El Bushra with Ancil Adrian-Paul and Maria Olson
  • ISBN:
  • Download:

  • Date:
    June 2005
  • Language:
  • Pages:
  • Topics: