Consultant – Study on Gender and Stabilisation Dialogues

Location: Remote, with visits to Mali and DRC

Application closing: 6 July, 2022

Interpeace

Interpeace is an international organization for peacebuilding. With over 25 years of experience, it has implemented a broad range of peacebuilding programmes in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Interpeace was officially recognised as an international entity by the Swiss Federal Council in 2018.

Interpeace tailors its approach to each society and ensures that its work is locally designed and driven. Through local partners and its own local teams, it jointly develops peacebuilding programmes based on extensive consultation and research. Interpeace helps establish processes of change that promote sustainable peace, social cohesion, and resilience. The organization’s work is designed to connect and promote understanding between local communities, civil society, governments, and the international community. Interpeace also assists the international community – especially the United Nations – to play a more effective role in peacebuilding, based on Interpeace’s expertise in field-based work at grassroots level. Interpeace achieves this primarily by contributing innovative thought leadership and fresh insights to contemporary peacebuilding policy. It also assists the international community through ‘peace responsiveness’ work, in which Interpeace provides advice and practical support to other international organisations (especially those in the security, development, and humanitarian aid sectors), enabling them to adapt their work systemically to simultaneously address conflict dynamics and strengthen peace dynamics. Interpeace is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and has offices around the world.

 

Background & Rethinking Stability programmes

Rethinking Stability – Phase 1

In the last 20 years, international stabilisation operations have become a major part of the international intervention toolbox in conflict affected settings. Mandated to improve the stability and peace of communities experiencing armed conflict, their stated purpose is to reduce violence and lay foundations for longer-term security. In practice, however, they have too often failed to meet their stated goals and have in many instances further contributed to local conflict dynamics. Local populations thus raise questions about which interests are prioritised, and whether such operations, as they are currently designed, ultimately enable local and national actors to manage their security challenges.

To address these issues, Interpeace is leading a two-year initiative in partnership with the German Federal Foreign Office, the Bundesakademie für Sicherheitspolitik (BAKS), and The Atlantic Council called ‘Rethinking Stability’. Through a series of frank local, national, and international dialogues, bilateral meetings, and original research papers, the programme seeks to revisit and question the conceptual and operational norms behind stabilisation efforts, with the aim of improving the effectiveness of future efforts to promote lasting peace for the communities they serve.

In 2021, Interpeace held dialogues in Washington D.C and Bamako, met with the leading experts and organisations working on stabilisation, and developed papers on the key Challenges facing the field, on lessons learnt so far from the initiative, and its original research on Examining International Stabilisation Efforts in Mali (EISEM).  We have been inclusive in our approach, with the Bamako dialogue on ‘People’s Perspectives on Stabilisation’ an important opportunity to bring lived concerns into high-level policy discussions. As a result of our work, Interpeace has built a reputation for asking the right questions of stabilisation actors at a time when introspection is clearly needed, with INGOs, think tanks, and government affiliated bodies seeking our counsel. Although yet to be published, the EISEM report’s findings have been validated by MINUSMA, the GFFO, FCDO, the UN DPPA/DPO West Africa division, and academics. All have indicated that they look forward to receiving practical recommendations for their work.

As the programme moves into its second phase, making sure efforts remain people-centred and rights focused will give further credibility to our engagement with international stabilisation actors.

 

Rethinking Stability – Phase 2

The first phase of the Rethinking Stability project identified a number of challenges that will need to be met if Exit Strategies are to leave behind systems, networks and relationships able to uphold peace and resilience. These challenges are vast and diverse, covering issues as broad as inclusive governance, security, mediation, transitional justice, youth, climate change, gender equality, mental health and psychosocial support, livelihoods, and the return of internally displaced persons and refugees. As such they require a blend of bespoke short and longer-term activities. Therefore phase 2 will both respond to the urgent need for better immediate stabilisation outcomes for people in DRC and Mali, as well as develop the structures, networks and relationships needed to pursue more inclusive longer-term Exit Strategies that reflect the needs and priorities of people in both countries.

To do this, Interpeace and partners will establish inclusive local dialogues connecting different groups, state and non-state governance actors, and multi-lateral agencies. We will then facilitate processes to help communities define the Peace Conditions considered necessary for the safe exit of international stabilisation actors, and the joined-up responses to help these conditions develop. Defining Peace Conditions marks an important reframing of what transitions are necessary for genuine stability to emerge. Crucially, it also locates the source of this definition closer to the people who experience stabilisation interventions, and who will be the ones left behind once international interventions depart. Activities will be flexible, inclusive and work across the nexus to explicitly strengthen stabilisation actions at the local political level, focusing on governance mechanisms, human rights, and collaboration between civil society and local authorities.

In addition, the lessons that emerge from local activities will be fed into political transitions at the national level via a series of National Stability Dialogues in both the DRC and Mali. These dialogues will result in the development of National Stability Action Plans in support of inclusive Exit Strategies. Importantly, because Peace Conditions are things that can be observed and measured, defining them will provide monitoring frameworks for stabilisation efforts and establish metrics to guide safe exits.

Finally, the programme will support better international policy formulation and coordination on Exit Strategies by organising annual International Rethinking Stability Dialogues in three key stabilisation policy sites: New York, Addis Ababa, and Brussels. These International dialogues will take stock of national progress towards the realisation of Peace Conditions in DRC and Mali, and provide space to design better integration and evidence-based policy making at higher UN, AU, EU and donor levels.

Study on Gender and Stabilisation

There is a substantial gap in the practitioner and expert literature on the gender effects and dynamics of stabilisation operations. Just as the programme’s second phase will aim to initiate inclusive National Stability Dialogues to determine the Peace Conditions necessary for the safe exit of international stabilisation actors, Interpeace is also acutely aware of the challenges for the inclusion people’s specific gendered needs and experiences in such national consultative processes. In many cases, women and gender discussions are excluded from such processes. When they are included, this if often done in a tick-the-box fashion which does not allow for adequate representation or sufficient space for addressing these concerns.

In order to inform phase 2 of our work, the purpose of this study will be to gather best practices and guidelines for ensuring that any future dialogue is gender inclusive. Based on these findings, the study would design and test a flexible model for inclusive consultation. These tests will seek to understand the relationship between gender and stabilisation activities, with a view to identifying the Peace Conditions necessary for a gender responsive exit strategy in DRC and Mali.

The researcher should be attentive to the effective gendered contributions, both positive and negative, of stabilisation efforts on people’s lived experiences. In addition, it should address the evolution of local gender dynamics attributable to stabilisation interventions, with an eye to ensuring that these are factored into consultations to determine Peace Conditions for the exit of international stabilisation actors. The study should also prioritise sensitivity to local gender-related perspectives, frustrations, and hopes, and avoid unmeasured application of Western or other external value judgments on gender within conflict affected societies. Furthermore, the study should be mindful of ensuring a representative sample of people from various backgrounds and circumstances within the chosen target regions.

The purpose of this research will ultimately be to deliver a stand-alone report which documents an informed best-attempt at the meaningful inclusion of gender in stabilisation discussions, and provide a platform for conveying gender concerns and aspirations vis-à-vis stabilisation actors and Peace Conditions for their safe exit. Its findings will serve to orient Interpeace’s work in Phase 2 of the Rethinking Stability programme as well as provide guidance and lessons learned for the replication and expansion of this work.

Service or Assignment Description and Objective(s)

This project will comprise of a best practice review focused on methods for gender inclusion in stabilisation discussions in general and specifically in DRC and Mali; followed by the design of an inclusive methodology and practical guidelines for gender inclusive consultations on stabilisation; a testing phase for this methodology in DRC and Mali; followed by a findings synthesis and lessons learned exercise. The study will result in a narrative report which showcases the study’s methodology and evolution, the substantive findings of this exercise (i.e., the Peace Conditions which emerged), and recommendations for what could be done better and how these consultations could be conducted more broadly in the specific context of Rethinking Stability 2, as well as in future such consultations by international actors.

The study will thus specifically aim to:

  • Conduct a best practice review on intersectional gender inclusive consultations on international stabilisation in Mali and DRC through focus group discussions, key informant interviews, and desk reviews.
  • Based on findings from the best practice review, design an adaptable methodology and practical guidelines for intersectional and gender inclusive consultations on stabilisation, and validate the approach with relevant actors.
  • Determine target regions and local partners for pilot implementation of the consultation methodology.
  • Conduct gender inclusive consultations in chosen regions with the aim of highlighting gendered effects of stabilisation interventions and determining Peace Conditions for the safe exit of international stabilisation actors from a gender perspective.
  • Review and consolidate findings from these consultations to determine the emergent Peace Conditions for the safe exit of international stabilisation actors.
  • Document the study throughout its implementation and provide a final self-evaluation of the study’s methodology for consultation in order to generate lessons learned and recommendations for future replication of gender inclusive consultations on stabilisation issues.

Where possible, consultations and access to local populations may be supported by Interpeace country teams or partners. The study would furthermore be assisted by Interpeace’s Rethinking Stability programme team at critical points and where necessary, in addition to regular consultations and debriefs on findings.

The project is expected to be conducted part-time for a period of 3-4 months over a length of 25-35 working days. The consultant will be expected to travel to Mali and DRC for the conduct of this study.

 

Scope of work

This job entails:

  • Working collaboratively with Interpeace staff.
  • Completing a best practice review on intersectional gender inclusive consultations on stabilisation issues with a focus on Mali and DRC
  • Designing an adaptable methodology and drafting practical guidelines for gender inclusive consultations on international stabilisation efforts
  • Coordinating or conducting local intersectional and gender inclusive consultations to determine the gendered effects of international stabilisation efforts and the Peace Conditions for the safe exit of international stabilisation actors.
  • Consolidating findings from the consultation exercise, and producing lessons learned and recommendations for replication or expansion of this work.
  • Producing a report on guidelines and frameworks for effective gender inclusion in stabilisation consultations in DRC and Mali
  • Regular communication with Interpeace staff, and production of short memos or debriefs on progress and findings.

 

Activities, Deliverables and Timeframe

Deliverables and Activities Other persons involved Deliverables Dates due
Induction meeting with Interpeace staff Interpeace RS team

Interpeace Mali and DRC country teams

Meeting Day 1
Completion of best practice review with local actors and key experts Interpeace RS team

Interpeace Mali and DRC country teams

Local partners

Debrief presentation

Best Practice Review

End of week 3
Designing an adaptable methodology and guidelines for intersectional gender inclusive consultations on stabilisation issues

Presentation of methodology to Interpeace staff for feedback and fine-tuning, followed by validation with relevant actors

Interpeace RS team

Interpeace country teams

External actors and experts consulted during the design process

Draft methodology and guidelines

Meetings

Final methodology, guidelines, and justification

Weeks 4-5
Determining target regions for the pilot and conducting consultations Interpeace country teams

Local partners and/or civil society networks

Attendance sheets

Process tracing notes

Consultation notes or summary briefs from each session

Weeks 6-10
Completion of a first synthesis and analysis of findings from the consultations, with a focus on Peace Conditions.

Completion of a lessons learned review and recommendations for improvement, replication, and expansion of this approach in consultation with implementing persons.

Presentation of findings and debrief to Interpeace teams for discussion and feedback.

Interpeace RS team

Interpeace country teams

Local implementing partners

Synthesis notes on consultation findings

Lessons learned review notes

Meetings

Weeks 10-14
Incorporating findings from 1) methodology consultations, 2) methodology and guidelines design, 3) process tracing and summary notes from conduct of consultations, 4) Peace Conditions synthesis, and 5) lessons learned into a narrative report which discusses the process adopted to design and pilot these gender inclusive consultations in Mali and DRC, its findings, and lessons and recommendations for improvement, replication, and expansion of this work. Interpeace RS team First Draft report

Review Meetings

Final report

End of week 16 (or end of contract, as agreed)

 

Qualifications

  • Expert knowledge of gender aspects of stabilisation operations and dialogue processes
  • Experience in dialogue processes and/or qualitative field research
  • Demonstrated ability to take initiative and work independently with limited supervision, and to steer research based on established priorities
  • A peacebuilding mindset with a strong sensitivity for people living in conflict’s perspectives and experiences
  • Strong interviewer and analytical writer
  • Passionate about gender equality, peacebuilding, and the conduct of effective international interventions
  • Good team player who communicates in a collaborative, effective and timely manner
  • Demonstrated capacity to produce quality writing in English
  • Fluent in French

Application

Please submit the following to recruitment@interpeace.org with the subject line “Gender and Stabilisation Study” by 6 July 2022:

  • Resume
  • Motivation letter
  • Financial Proposal, containing a proposed all-inclusive, daily consultancy rate in USD. The cost of preparing an application and negotiating a contract, including any related travel, is not reimbursable nor can it be included as a direct cost of the assignment.