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.
Building Local Thinking Global (BLTG) Resources
Learning Brief: Opportunities for Feminist Partnerships
This learning brief presents a summary of reflections by BLTG Coalition members, in an Endline Assessment conducted at the end of the three-year project. It documents successes and opportunities for Feminist Partnerships with Women’s Rights Organizations and Networks in Gender-Based Violence Emergency Preparedness and Response.
A resource on use of Feminist Language: Opportunities for Transformative Language within Feminist Approaches to Partnership
In many ways, the words we use create the reality we see. Words can communicate our biases and histories, and influence how we perceive our surroundings and the people with whom we interact. For several years, the Building Local Thinking Global (BLTG) coalition has discussed how power hierarchies are shaped and reinforced by language used within the humanitarian sector. This paper, developed through consultations with BLTG members, explores language and power hierarchies within humanitarian aid, and the impact of language on relationships between different groups, with the goal of identifying new language that is inclusive and empowering, and promotes equality. Read more here in English, Arabic, French, Burmese and Swahili.
GBV Emergency Response & Preparedness: Inclusion of Diverse Women and girls Guidance Note
Diverse women and girls are present in every humanitarian context. GBV actors should always seek to understand women and girls in all of their diversity, and take action to ensure that GBV programming is inclusive and addresses the needs, barriers and risks that diverse women and girls are facing. Diverse women and girls face multiple forms of oppression which further reduce their power, choice and protection from GBV, and increase their barriers to accessing services. This guidance note accompanies the IRC GBV Emergency Preparedness and Response model, assessment tools, and training package and is not recommended for use as a standalone resource on diversity and inclusion. The content of this guidance note will therefore be integrated within the GBV Emergency Preparedness and Response training package when it is next updated. Meanwhile, this resource addresses a gap in the proactive inclusion of diverse women and girls within GBV response and can be used as part of the GBV emergency response model to support GBV actors to examine their own attitudes, skills and knowledge, and take concrete actions to reach and support diverse women and girls throughout GBV emergency preparedness and response programming.