The field of peacebuilding has, in recent years, turned increasing attention towards the empowerment of women and girls, and the promotion of lasting gender equality throughout the world. Such efforts have multiplied since the passing of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in 2000. It is from this context that the Women’s Empowerment Demonstration Project (WEDP) was launched.
A unique joint-venture between the Alliance for Peacebuilding and the United States Institute of Peace, the WEDP is a meta-evaluation of six women’s empowerment projects that aims to strengthen the practices and evidence base around women’s empowerment, and to produce best-practices and lessons learnt through meta-analysis. It examines six projects throughout the world from CARE, Partners for Democratic Change (PDC) and Search for Common Ground (SFCG).
One of the more interesting aspects of the WEDP project for me is that it is comparing a whole range of approaches to women’s empowerment. Some of the projects have sought to link peacebuilding with a gender lens with poverty reduction and development activities, while others have made linkages to issues of good governance and political participation, as well as rule of law and security. Some of the insights yielded thus far include:
The fact that most of these programs use advanced indicators is important: it represents the maturation of women’s empowerment project design and measurement. Whether the level of maturation is equal, less or greater than the maturity of the field of peacebuilding (see, for example, Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church, “Evaluating Peacebuilding: Not Yet All It Could Be”), I am not qualified to say. But I would be curious if others have any thoughts on this?
The Women’s Empowerment Demonstration Project will ultimately produce a full report, due to be completed towards the end of 2012, and I for one certainly look forward to reading it. Projects such as this serve a far larger purpose than the improvement of the participating projects and organizations: they produce critical information to improve the effectiveness of the field’s practices, something we all need.
Check out the Women’s Empowerment Demonstration Project now at the Learning Portal for DM&E for Peacebuilding.