The Building Local, Thinking Global initiative aims to promote women’s transformative leadership in gender based violence (GBV) emergency preparedness and response by supporting NGO networks of local and national organizations to become local technical resources. The program recognizes that networks of local and national organizations are well placed to play a technical leadership role for their members who are active in emergency responses to violence against women and girls.
The initiative fosters a powerful coalition that brings together feminist, women’s rights organizations, activists, academics, community-based organisations, non-governmental organisations, and regional civil society networks from across Asia, East Africa and the Middle East. It is led by Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA), GBV Prevention Network, Gender Equality Network (GEN), Women’s International Peace Centre (WIPC), International Rescue Committee (IRC), El-Karama, and Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA).
Our goal is to harness our collective strength, access, and power within the humanitarian community to ensure women and girls are protected from GBV in emergencies. The coalition aims to realize this vision through four change goals:
- To strengthen the technical and operational capacity of women’s rights organizations and networks to prepare and respond to GBV in emergencies.
- To support women’s rights organizations and network to actively contribute and influence global humanitarian policies, strategies and funding decisions.
- To strengthen the solidarity between and among women’s rights organizations and network operating in emergency setting through the documentation.
- To promote good practices, learning and information sharing among GBV preparedness and response actors and networks.
Our collective approach is grounded in the following principles:
- Common foundation: We are driven by feminism and activism, and hold those central to our work together.
- Transformation: We work together to shift power and resources to local women and girls’ organizations to lead action in emergencies.
- Independence: We respect the autonomy and perspective of each member.
- Transparency: We are honest and open in our communication with each other.
- Mutual accountability: We are accountable to women and girls. We deliver on our commitments to each other, and contribute to collective action.
- Ownership and sustainability: We consider all members as equal owners, with voice and a role to play in determining our direction and priorities.
- Curiosity: We seek to learn, capture best practice, and adapt our approaches, and evolve our work.
- Solidarity: We are fueled by our commitment to end injustice and violence against women and girls.
- Influence: We demand that women and girls powerfully participate in humanitarian funding, strategies and policies.
The coalition defines transformative leadership as a social change strategy that provides an enabling environment for individual leadership development – equipping women to influence others, to bring about change, and to facilitate the empowerment of others. It includes leadership in personal, community, and systems levels, and in formal and formal spaces. Our collective efforts and investment in the short and long term are fundamentally concerned with shifting patriarchal power and inequality in humanitarian system. Our approach:
- Empowers self and others: Strengthening individual and collective levels of empowerment by building self-confidence and self-esteem in individuals, developing content knowledge and leadership skills, and
building capacity to implement change.
- Creates an enabling environment: Fostering spaces for the actualization of leadership potential.
- Articulates a political voice and position: Engaging in a gender analysis of strategic and practical needs and developing a gendered perspective to emergencies and humanitarian response, as well as addressing power relations
- Develops change agents: Promoting active participation through which women can claim their rights and space to participate, including rights to humanitarian decision-making structures at local, regional and global levels.
- Mobilizes toward a shared goal: Creating a shared vision, goal, and action plan with allies and collaborators.