News and Updates

ICAN’s Annual Report 2019

ICAN’s 2019 Annual Report is here!
Producing it in the midst of the pandemic felt like reminiscing over distant memories. But it was a reminder of how much our team and our partners achieved. We consolidated our programs and sustained our dual focus on advancing global policies on women, peace and security, and sustaining local women’s peace work. This dual strategy enabled us to pivot quickly to address the additional challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
I’m privileged to work with a dedicated and professional team and a supportive board. The trust of our peacebuilding partners in WASL and those of our financial partners internationally is humbling. Together they inspire and enable us to do our work while remaining creative and cutting edge.
Click here for more details and highlights of our breakfast with the UN’s Secretary General and annual forum with HRH the Countess of Wessex, and H.E Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, Norway’s Foreign Minister.

Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, MBE

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Sanam Naraghi Anderlini’s Remarks at the 7th Biannual Review of the UN Counter Terrorism Strategy

“Stop the rhetoric on promising rights, development and gender equality, and deliver on that promise. If your promises stay empty, you lose the trust of the people,” warned ICAN’s Founder and CEO, Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, MBE, during a high level session of the UN’s 7th Biannual Review of the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy.

Ms. Anderlini spoke alongside Professor Ni Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, the UN’s Special Rapporteur Ambassador Pascale Baeriswyl, Switzerland’s Permanent Representative to the UN and Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the UN in a session on “Protecting and promoting Human Rights as a cornerstone of building resilience against terrorism”.

Read Ms. Anderlini’s full speech.

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The Ever-Present Cycle of Conflict and Peace Making

Around the world, women peacebuilders are working within their communities to de-escalate violent conflict and prevent the recurrence of conflict in post-conflict or transitional environments. However, their work is made increasingly more difficult by the framing of conflict resolution as a linear process. WASL partners suggest that conflict is actually a cycle and that most countries will experience multiple phases of the cycle, simultaneously.
In the 14th virtual WASL call, peacebuilders discussed the ‘cycle of conflict’ and how it affects their work on conflict prevention, de-escalation, and peacebuilding.
Read the full summary.

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The Importance of Global Connectivity in Peacebuilding

The concept of interconnectedness is one that ICAN has directly addressed through the formal establishment of WASL, meaning “to connect” in Arabic, Farsi and Urdu. In the 12th weekly call, WASL members shared their stories of what this alliance means to them as a family and community of support.
“ICAN and WASL offer moral and political support to women. They energize us and empower us to raise our voice.”

Read the full summary.

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Secondary Impacts of COVID-19 and the Role of Development Aid

As COVID-19 has exacerbated existing gaps in services on the ground, and many women peacebuilders pivoted their work during the pandemic to deal with urgent humanitarian response, the question of whether development aid reaches local communities arose. Members of the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) highlighted the need for change so that development aid can reach local communities and provide the basic services of food, healthcare, and education.
Canada’s Minister of International Development, Karina Gould, and Canada’s Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security, Jacqueline O’Neill joined WASL members in the conversation.
Read the full summary

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How Women Peacebuilders are Balancing Work on COVID-19 and Violent Extremism

During the COVID-19 pandemic, women peacebuilders witnessed an increase in xenophobia and extremist messaging. Weakness in state infrastructure and response has left a vacuum which extremist actors have exploited for their own interests. Women peacebuilders are meeting this challenge by building a counter-narrative that is also grounded in the local culture, religion, and traditions.
“We need to be connected with you and establish new working methods for inclusive, sustainable peace,” remarked State Secretary Marianne Hagen from Norway who joined the 9th weekly call with the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL).

Read the full summary of the call.

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Mitigating Domestic Violence During COVID-19

Called the “shadow pandemic”, domestic violence has surged since the emergence of COVID-19. Globally, reports indicate a 25-33% increase in domestic violence with civil society and governments trying to address the crisis.
ICAN, after consultation with partners in the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) across 38 countries and a review of existing literature, offers key steps to governments and the international community for new initiatives and urgently needed reforms that can prevent and reduce domestic violence immediately and sustainably.

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Women Peacebuilders Exchange Experiences on Domestic Violence and MHPSS during COVID-19

As the levels of domestic violence have soared globally since the COVID-19 outbreak, women peacebuilders have been the first to respond to the crisis in their own communities adapting their peacebuilding approaches to tackle the dual challenges of COVID-19 and domestic violence.
Across the range of countries, women peacebuilders consistently identified the issues of rising domestic violence and the need for mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) in light of this pandemic. In response ICAN facilitated two separate sessions on these topics to support in-depth analysis, cross regional exchange of learning and best practices, and strategic discussion.

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Carrying the Weight of Caring for Communities and Countries: Women Peacebuilders and COVID-19

As some countries begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, for many others, respite is not on the horizon. During the eighth virtual meeting of the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) on May 21, 2020, women peacebuilders highlighted some tough truths about worsening poverty, mismanaged Covid-19 funds, tragic events that have been largely ignored, and feelings of desertion by the international community.

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How do Women Peacebuilders Cope with Rising Domestic Violence and the Humanitarian Impacts of COVID-19?

“Where is the State?”
With a deficient response from, and sometimes the complete absence of, governments and the international community, civil society and women peacebuilders across the world are taking the responsibility of responding to their communities needs.
However, they need the resources, recognition, and support of their governments and the international community. In the words of a peacebuilder from Cameroon, “civil society is there ready to take the lead, but by what means and by which roads.”
The fifth weekly virtual meeting of the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) focused on women peacebuilders’ humanitarian response with guests including H.E. Ambassador Kåre Aas, Norwegian Ambassador to the US; Luc Duckendorf from the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Amjad Saleem from the International Federation of the Red Cross.
Read the full summary of the meeting.

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Ground Realities: Women, Peacebuilding & the Pandemic

How can people stay home when they are dependent on daily wages to feed their families? How can they wash hands if there is no soap or water? From Cameroon to Yemen, women are making soap, and tackling the lack of water. As first responders, women peacebuilders are trying to fill the vacuums and urgent basic needs in terms food, sanitization and security such as mediating ceasefires and calling for prisoners’ release.

On April 23, 2020. Assistant Secretary General Asako Okai, UNDP’s Crisis Bureau Director, and her colleagues joined the ICAN-hosted call with some 45 women peacebuilders across Asia, Africa, the Arab World and Latin America to discuss health care, livelihood and crisis management in the time of Corona.

Read the full summary of the meeting

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Part II: How are Women Peacebuilders Responding to Covid-19?

The second weekly virtual meeting of the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) continued the discussion of what women peacebuilders around the world are doing to respond to COVID-19. The conversation also revealed emerging trends in the way the pandemic is impacting peace and security, from reinforcing authoritarian practices to providing fuel for extremist narratives.

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