Empowered Women, Peaceful Communities
Results and lessons learned from the regional programme on preventing violent extremism in South and Southeast Asia
In April 2017, with generous support from the Government of Japan, the UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific began implementing one of UN Women’s largest programmes; a programme focusing on preventing violent extremism entitled “Empowered Women, Peaceful Communities”. From 2017 through 2022, UN Women has contributed, in a context of ongoing threats of violent extremism, to the development of more cohesive and peaceful societies in the region through women’s empowerment, particularly in Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.
The programme has engaged in four mutually reinforcing areas of prevention: 1) women’s empowerment, 2) policy support, 3) research and awareness raising, and 4) knowledge exchange. The women’s empowerment area entailed promoting women’s leadership and economic empowerment as strategies for strengthening community-level social cohesion. The policy support area aimed to influence policy by various means, including through strengthening women’s groups and networks that support social cohesion and work to prevent violent extremism. The research and awareness-raising area enhanced the evidence base and social understanding linked to the roles that women play in preventing violent extremism. The knowledge management area promoted South-South cooperation, knowledge exchange and experience sharing. This brief summarizes key achievements, lessons learned and good practices emerging from the Empowered Women, Peaceful Communities programme.
Through this programme, UN Women contributed to the implementation of the Secretary General’s Plan of Action on Preventing Violent Extremism and to the achievement of the Agenda 2030 goals, particularly SDG 16 on promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, and Goal 5 on promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.