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Members of the Women Peace Builders’ Community of Practice

1. Center for Women in Governance
     Country: Uganda
     Established in 2006, CEWIGO is a think tank dedicated to policy analysis and research on women’s role in politics. CEWIGO produces impact studies, assessments of needs, and analyses of best practices. The organization aims to increase women’s political participation and promote democracy.
    Link: http://cewigo.org/

2. CORDAID
     Country: Netherlands (International)
     CORDAID is an international development organization aimed at poverty eradication, emergency aid, and other causes. CORDAID focuses its programs in four sectors: participation, emergency aid and reconstruction, health and well-being, and entrepreneurship.
     Link: http://www.cordaid.nl/index.aspx

3. femLink Pacific
     Country: Fiji
     Femlink Pacific is a non-profit community media organization that develops, produces and distributes media and communication materials. They focus on all women, with an emphasis on young women, women with disabilities, and under-served women. Femlink Pacific also collaborates with civil society organizations, the mainstream media, and relevant government agencies in their work on gender policy and planning.
     Link: http://www.femlinkpacific.org.fj/

4. Fokus
     Country: Norway (International)
     Fokus (Forum for Women and Development) is a resource center on international women's issues and an organ for the coordination of women's organizations in Norway. Fokus works internationally with 71 women’s groups in Norway, including traditional and radical feminist organizations, environment and solidarity organizations, women in trade unions and workers organizations, immigrant and refugee women, and women's units in development NGOs, church organizations and political parties.
     Link:  http://www.fokuskvinner.no/English

5. IFOR  Women Peacemakers Programme (IFOR WPP)
     Country: Netherlands (International)
     IFOR’s Women Peacemakers Program (WPP) began in 1997 and works to support and strengthen women's peacemaking initiatives. IFOR WPP holds annual international training sessions for nonviolence trainers, gender and nonviolence trainings, and campaigns such as the annual ‘May 24 International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament.’ IFOR WPP also documents women's peace initiatives. The WPP supports programs that specifically empower women peacemakers and encourage women and girls to become involved in peace-building and civil society building. The organization aims to increase the empowerment of women through active nonviolence.
     Link: http://www.ifor.org/WPP/index.html

6. Isis International
     Country: Philippines (International)
     Isis International is a feminist NGO committed promoting the voices of women within information and communications structures and systems. Isis believes women’s access and capacity to participate in generating and disseminating their own knowledge and experiences through various mediums of communication can lead to the transformation of society. Isis is also committed to challenging inequities, stereotypes, and cultural and political homogenization. 
     Link: http://www.isiswomen.org/index

7. Lira Women Peace Initiative
     Country: Uganda
     Unavailable
     Link: Unavailable

8. Liberia Women Media Action Committee (LIWOMAC)
     Country: Liberia
     The Liberian Women Media Action Committee (LIWOMAC) works to highlight the concerns of women and children in response to the abuses suffered by women during the insurgency of 2003. It deals with human rights and justice issues, working on projects such as an anti-sexual violence campaign. LIWOMAC also trains community women and helps with relief.
     Link: unavailable
     Information from: http://www.i-m-s.dk/files/publications/Liberia_webfinal%201202-2007.pdf

9. Luwero Women’s Development Association   (LUWODA)
     Country: Uganda
     LUWODA works to improve the economic, social, political and leadership status of Luwero women through exchanging ideas and experiences, skills training, solidarity action and networking. The community-based organization works to facilitate easy access to information, to equip local women and youth with conflict resolution and peace-building skills, to curb domestic violence, and to inform women of their human rights. The organization uses workshops, seminars, and video shows, among other activities.
     Link: http://www.wougnet.org/Profiles/luwoda.html

10. Miriam Center for  Peace Education
     Country: Philippines
     The Center’s mission is to help advance a culture of peace through education, using teacher-training and student development in conflict resolution, working on curriculum development at Miriam College, by generating and disseminating materials on peace-building, and advocating and networking (nationally and globally) for peace.
     Link: http://www.mc.edu.ph/centers/centerforpeaceeducation.html

11. REFED/KINHSASA
     Country: Democratic Republic of Congo
     Unavailable
     Link: unavailable

12. Saathi
     Country: Nepal
     Saathi is a non-governmental organization established in 1992 to address contemporary challenges being faced by Nepali women, particularly violence against women and children. Saathi works to eliminate violence and injustice against women and children and to provide support to survivors/victims, working at all levels of Nepali society. Saathi provides residences and empowerment programs for women, conducts research in urban and rural Nepal, and advocates for the formulation and development of national plans and policies to improve the current situation of Nepali women and children.
     Link: http://www.saathi.org.np/

13. Teso Women Peace Activists (TEWPA )
     Country: Uganda
     TEWPA exists to promote empowerment of women, tolerance and peace through documentation and dissemination of information and advocacy. TEWPA uses media, posters, music, dance and drama and the Internet. The organization works on networking and advocacy for women’s rights, income generation for women through modern and diversified agriculture, training in conflict resolution, human rights, and use of information and communication technologies to enhance peace.
     Link: Unavailable
     Information from: http://www.wougnet.org/cms/index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=140&Itemid=65

14. WANEP
     Country: Ghana
     The West Africa Network for Peace Building works to enable peace-building practitioners and organizations in West Africa by promoting cooperative responses to violent conflicts, providing the structure through which these practitioners and institutions will regularly exchange experience and information on issues of peace-building, conflict transformation, social, religious and political reconciliation, and promoting West Africa’s social cultural values as resources for peace-building.
     Link: http://www.wanep.org/aboutwanep.htm

15. Women Environmental Program
     Country: Burundi
WEP aims to address the gender injustices on environmental, social and economic rights of women and youth in society through lobbying and advocacy, education, research and publication, capacity building and micro finance.
     Link: Unavailable
     Information from: http://www.conserveafrica.org.uk/african_NGOs.php

16. WANEP/Women in Peace-Building Program (WIPNET)
     Country: Liberia
     WIPNET aims to mobilize women, build their capacity and encourage collaboration to build lasting peace and promote human security in West Africa. WIPNET works for the integration of women’s concerns and their participation in policy formulation and the implementation of policy related to peace and security issues in the sub-region.
     Link: http://www.wanep.org/programs/wipnet.html

17. Women for Justice in Africa (WJA) 
     Country: Kenya
     Unavailable
     Link: Unavailable

18. Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights
     Country: Philippines (International)
WGNRR is a feminist, grassroots network of groups and individuals from every continent who aim to achieve and support reproductive and sexual health rights for women everywhere. Founded in 1984.
     Link: http://www.wgnrr.org/

19. Women of Bawku
     Country: Ghana
     Unavailable
     Link: Unavailable

20. Women Peacemakers Program
     Country: Zimbabwe (International)
     WPP develops educational materials on women and peace-building and offers training on gender sensitivity and nonviolence. It is in partnerships with and has created a number of programs with specific goals and objectives that relate to these overall causes. Founded in 1997.
     Link: http://www.ifor.org/WPP/index.html

21. Women Peacemakers Program/RDC
     Unavailable
     Link: Unavailable

22. Institute of Human Rights Communication
     Country: Nepal
     IHRICON is a human rights NGO that monitors and advocates for human rights, especially working with women and children affected by conflict. IHRICON has worked to reduce violence and raise awareness, to promote the involvement of local women, and to generally create peace. The organization takes part in human rights training and generates advocacy campaigns as well. Founded in 2000.
     Link: http://www.ihricon.org.np/index1.php?component=content&id=9





What are communities of practice?

Communities of practice are formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning in a shared domain of human endeavor: a tribe learning to survive, a band of artists seeking new forms of expression, a group of engineers working on similar problems, a clique of pupils defining their identity in the school, a network of surgeons exploring novel techniques, a gathering of first-time managers helping each other cope; a group of women from Global South and Global North countries working to highlight women’s roles in peace building, conflict resolution and reconstruction; and promoting and protecting women’s human rights.  

In a nutshell:

Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.

Objectives of the Women Peace Builders’ Community of Practice

 1.      To coordinate and consolidate efforts of women in peace building, conflict resolution and reconstruction  

2.      To find commonalities and synergy and share strategies, approaches, experiences and information on work around  Resolutions 1325 and 1820  

3.      To draw lessons from each other’s experiences in lobbying and policy advocacy and in actual on-the ground implementation of peace initiatives. Lessons from both successful and not so successful strategies and approaches will be drawn and shared among the WPBCoP members.

4.      To coordinate and/or collectively organize and implement activities, campaigns or projects when it is most strategic to do so  

5.      To optimize on human, financial and other resources that women’s advocacy for just and lasting peace requires        


The criteria for membership in the Women Peace Builders’ Community of Practice are: 

 1.      Women’s groups implementing peace building initiatives on the ground in the framework of Resolutions 1325 and 1820 particularly in the Global South. Such initiatives could include but is not limited to: advocacy work at the national and community levels that aim to adopt and implement national action plans; amend and or implement existing national policies that promote women’s roles in peace building and conflict resolution. They could also include provision of legal services; psycho-social support and counseling; education and training for women to understand Resolutions 1325 and 1820 and how these link to their national laws and/or traditional laws; documentation of women’s participation in peace negotiations and post-conflict reconstruction; media and information and communication projects to raise awareness of the Resolutions and promote national and community accountability.   

2.      Commits to supporting the WPBCoP and its members by sharing their experiences, information, strategies and resources in advocating for the implementation of Resolutions 1325 and 1820 such as but not limited to training modules and materials and documentation of experiences     

3.      Commits to participating in a collective action the WPBCoP identifies   Three characteristics of the Women Peace Builders’ Community of Practice:



1. The domain

A community of practice is not merely a club of friends or a network of connections between people. It has an identity defined by a shared domain of interest. In this particular case, promoting women’s roles as peace builders and decision makers because we believe that when women are fairly and equally involved, peace processes and peace building efforts are more likely to succeed. It must also be highlighted that the work in promoting women’s roles as peace builders and decision makers is carried out using Resolutions 1325 and 1820 as policy frameworks. Membership therefore implies a commitment to the advocacy for women’s roles as peace builders and decision makers. This also implies a shared competence that distinguishes members from those who are merely interested in the issue. This domain is not necessarily something recognized as "expertise" outside the community which sets the Women Peace Builders’ Community of Practice apart from consultants or academic researchers, for example.



2. The community

In pursuing their interest in their domain, members of the Women Peace Builders’ Community of Practice engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information. They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other. A website in itself is not a community of practice. Having similar interests or similar projects does not make for a community of practice unless members interact and learn together. It must be clarified that members of the Women Peace Builders’ Community of Practice do not necessarily work together on a daily basis. What is essential are the interactions that makes them a community of practice even though they implement most of their projects and programmes on their own.



3. The practice

A community of practice is not merely a community of interest--people who like certain kinds of movies, for instance. Members of a community of practice are practitioners. They develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems—in short, a shared practice. This takes time and sustained interaction.   The interaction may be through participation in the same conferences, meetings or training. In the course of all these discussions and conversations, they have developed a set of strategies and experiences that have become a shared repertoire for their practice.   In this particular case of the Women Peace Builders’ Community of Practice, the practice is focused on advocacy for the full implementation of Resolution 1325 and 1820.   It is the combination of these three elements that constitutes a community of practice. And it is by developing these three elements in parallel that one cultivates such a community.


What does the Women Peace Builders’ Community of Practice of practice look like? Communities develop their practice through a variety of activities. The following table provides a few examples:

Problem solving "Governments and civil society in West Africa cannot seem to figure out what a national action plan on Resolution 1325 might look like. Can we brainstorm on some ideas based on others’ experiences?"
Requests for information "Where can I find best practice example on the use of media to promote accountability to Resolution 1325?"
Seeking experience "Has anyone successfully partnered with national machineries on women in pushing for implementation of Resolution 1325?"
Reusing assets "We have a module on engaging men in the implementation of Resolution 1325. I can send it to you and you can easily tweak it for your own training."
Coordination and synergy "Can we co-organize a campaign during the 10th anniversary of Resolution 1325 to maximize outreach?”
Discussing developments "What do you think of the new Resolution 1820? How will it help implement Resolution 1325?"
Documentation projects "We have faced this problem of weak implementation for eight years now. Let us write down all our experiences and share them with a bigger audience."
Mapping knowledge and identifying gaps "Who knows what, and what are we missing? What other groups should we connect with?"

While they all have the three elements of a domain, a community, and a practice, communities of practice they come in a variety of forms. Some are quite small; some are very large, often with a core group and many peripheral members. Some are local and some cover the globe. Some meet mainly face-to-face, some mostly online. Some are within an organization and some include members from various organizations. Some are formally recognized, often supported with a budget; and some are completely informal and even invisible.


Where is the concept being applied?

The concept of community of practice has found a number of practical applications in business, organizational design, government, education, professional associations, development projects, and civic life.   Today, there is hardly any organization of a reasonable size that does not have some form communities-of-practice initiative. A number of characteristics explain this rush of interest in communities of practice as a vehicle for developing strategic capabilities in organizations:

* Communities of practice enable practitioners to take collective responsibility for managing the knowledge they need, recognizing that, given the proper structure, they are in the best position to do this.

* Communities among practitioners create a direct link between learning and performance, because the same people participate in communities of practice and in teams and organizational units.

* Practitioners can address the tacit and dynamic aspects of knowledge creation and sharing, as well as the more explicit aspects.

* Communities are not limited by formal structures: they create connections among people across organizational and geographic boundaries.

International development: There is increasing recognition that the challenge of developing nations is as much a knowledge as a financial challenge. A number of people believe that a communities-of-practice approach can provide a new paradigm for development work. It emphasizes knowledge building among practitioners. Some development agencies now see their role as conveners of such communities, rather than as providers of knowledge.

The web: New technologies such as the Internet have extended the reach of our interactions beyond the geographical limitations of traditional communities, but the increase in flow of information does not obviate the need for community. In fact, it expands the possibilities for community and calls for new kinds of communities based on shared practice.


Reference

Largely based on Etienne Wenger’s writings on communities of practice. Etienne Wenger. (n.d.).  Retrieved from http://www.ewenger.com/theory/index.htm on August 31, 2008




Further reading

For the application of a community-based approach to knowledge in organizations:
* Cultivating communities of practice: a guide to managing knowledge. By Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott, and William Snyder, Harvard Business School Press, 2002.                

* Communities of practice: the organizational frontier. By Etienne Wenger and William Snyder. Harvard Business Review. January-February 2000, pp. 139-145.                   

* Knowledge management is a donut: shaping your knowledge strategy with communities of practice. By Etienne Wenger. Ivey Business Journal, January 2004.  

For technology issues:                     
* Supporting communities of practice: a survey of community-oriented technologies
. By Etienne Wenger. Self-published report available at www.ewenger.com/tech, 2001.  

For in-depth coverage of the learning theory:                   
* Communities of practice: learning, meaning, and identity.
By Etienne Wenger, Cambridge University Press, 1998.  

For a vision of where the learning theory is going:                 
* Learning for a small planet: a research agenda. By Etienne Wenger, available at www.ewenger.com/research, 2004.    


Revised: November 23, 2008