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Locally Led Capacity Strengthening Toward Gender Equality and Social Inclusion in Women, Peace and Security Programming

October 2023 — This white paper describes the Networks for Peace project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), as a case study on how long-term, locally led approaches can strengthen local actors’ capacity to institutionalize gender, equity and social inclusion (GESI) considerations into their peacebuilding work.

The paper provides background on GESI’s importance in peacebuilding and explains the challenges of using traditional capacity strengthening models. It then describes the Networks for Peace project’s effective approaches for inclusive peacebuilding and offers examples of how the project facilitates locally led capacity strengthening.

The paper makes the case for donors to fund comprehensive capacity-strengthening initiatives for local actors to incorporate GESI considerations into their peacebuilding work. The Networks for Peace project has demonstrated an effective approach that can improve the involvement of women and marginalized people in peacebuilding, ultimately leading to better peacebuilding efforts.