our projects

Building Resilience of Active Communities of Empowered Women

With the changes in trends, Women in International Security (WIIS) Horn of Africa (HoA) with the support from the United States Embassy in Kenya implemented a project “Building Resilience of Active Communities of Empowered Women” – BRACE Women from October 2019 to April 2021 in Kisumu, Busia and Kakamega.

The project focused on promoting factors that enable a community (or identity groups within a community) to adopt strategies and relationships that address the threat of violent extremism while building resilience to the dynamic forms of violence that threaten peace and development. The other forms of violence encountered within those counties included post-election violence, criminality, and Gender Based Violence (GBV). These forms of violence became entry points of discussions.

The project view on resilience as a key concept was it offers possibility of viewing prevention and countering violent extremism as a way that recognizes individuals and communities as agents of change rather than victims or sources of threat. The project focused on strengthening protective factors linked to resilience in communities. This meant encouraging entry points and discussions of topics that can intersect with long term security, governance, and well-being such as GBV, land rights etc

The project implementation employed approaches including, contextualizing using mapping and assessments and working with local community based organsiations (CBOs).

The community organizations selected designed and implemented activities relevant to their localities. Community engagements were mainly through dialogues with schools, law enforcement personnel, interfaith groups, women, and men at grassroot level. The primary stakeholders targeted for the project were women with over 1500 females reached and an overall total of over 2000 community members directly engaged through the project. Partnerships with CBOs during activities implementation particularly those that were women led, adopted tools of participation such as safe spaces, speaker boxes and use arts/drama to engage community members.

The participatory approach adopted in the BRACE project led to close working relationships of CBOs and county government authorities that would ensure the project sustainability within the counties in the region. During the closure of the BRACE I women project, an implementation and evaluation workshop was held to discuss experiences and lessons learned during implementation.

The recommendations provided will be used to enhance programming in the region in future and can still be applicable in other “emerging areas” as entry points for discussing prevention efforts.