This is the first blog in a new series focussing on the challenges and opportunities for advancing gender equality goals, women’s voice and agency in fragile and conflict-affected countries. Jelke Boesten outlines why we should not focus on rape in war without taking into account the fact that sexual violence permeates the everyday lives of women throughout the world.
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With preliminary results rolling in at the time of publication, William Avis follows up on his blog written at the start of the election - will the BJP reach the magic number of 272 seats to form a government? If not, what form might a coalition government take? And what questions will remain to be answered regardless of which way the results go?
Drawing on forthcoming Development Progress research, Karen Barnes Robinson writes that while we are seeing ‘overall’ progress in Liberia, women and girls remain vulnerable to specific types of insecurity and violence that remain invisible and unaddressed. She draws out the issues that need action, including political will and equity, and wonders whether we can really claim progress whilst such issues remain.
Tony Killick OBE takes a look at how development policy in the UK has transformed over the past few years, from a focus on 'MDG type concerns' to a policy driven by the pursuit of growth. He argues that there should be a stronger public and intellectual discussion of this transformation, and poses a series of questions that he believes should be asked of DFID.
Security progress cannot be pursued without a deep understanding of the political conflicts underlying instability in the places we work. Using Ethiopia as an example, Sophie Stevens shows how the different views of what security means at various levels of state and society – and in particular the views of ordinary citizens – need to be what informs security sector reform programmes.
While it’s important to ensure security programming is ‘context specific’ – programmers need to be aware of their role in shaping this context, and how it constantly changes, argues Mareike Schomerus. Drawing a parallel with computer science, it is also ‘end users’ of security, and not external actors, that should judge whether programmes respond effectively to context.
How do you actually measure progress in security? Fragile states often present a lack of reliable data - but there are ways to gain a clear perspective, such as perception surveys. Taking Timor-Leste as an example, Todd Wassel talks through the process of running a perception survey there and the conclusions that can be drawn from it.
What does the security landscape look like in Bangladesh following January's turbulent elections? Will Bennett looks at both the political elite level and the community level, noting that at the community level peace in Bangladesh largely held. He attributes this to community security approaches that are helping to find solutions to end and prevent violence.