This workshop provides practical tools for engaging and amplifying local knowledge and analysis to share more direct and impactful approaches to peacebuilding. These tools work to overcome the inherent biases that underpin the international peace system and state-centric approaches to managing security and conflict.

In recent years, local peacebuilding initiatives have grown in prominence, leading to greater international support for civil society, religious groups and community leaders in conflict resolution. Yet policymaking on peacebuilding is still driven by a state-centric approach that prioritises national security interests over both root causes of conflict and the rights of people affected by conflict. Peacebuilding programs and security policies regularly emphasise strong governance, economic development and law and order as solutions to intractable civil conflicts. These interventions too often exacerbate local tensions and increase violence against state-led development activities.

These dynamics are particularly present in civil conflicts adjacent to international borders, where states prioritise territorial integrity, trade flows, and control. The interests of local women and men are often poorly understood in these areas. This lack of knowledge, along with state-centric policymaking and peacebuilding that fail to reflect local causes of violence, can marginalise conflict-affected communities.

To address these challenges, the workshop focuses on sharing tools for integrating local voices as an indispensable component for policymaking that actively seeks to mitigate conflict and promote peaceful societies. The session emphasises two specific and interconnected peacebuilding objectives: first, by showing how local knowledge and analysis is vital for building an understanding of conflicts that is reliable and robust, that accurately reflects the effects on local communities, and that captures diverse perspectives including those of women and girls, minorities, and marginalised populations; and second, by providing real world examples for developing local voices in policymaking settings, and for integrating community experiences into effective and representative policy decisions.


  • Lydia Stone

FCDO Senior Research Fellow (Conflict & Governance) Research and Evidence Division, FCDO

  • Nathan Shea

Assistant Director, Conflict and Fragility, The Asia Foundation

  • Mohanad Hage Ali

Director of Communications and Senior Fellow, Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center

  • Azeema Cheema

Director Research and Strategy, Verso Consulting

  • Sahra Ahmed Koshin

Founder and Director, Somalia Gender Hub