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.
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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.

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.

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.

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.