WILPF is a 100+ year old social movement promoting a just, feminist peace. It is a vehicle for activism at both the community and global policy level, with a focus on disarmament, human rights, the Women Peace and Security agenda and crisis responses. It also implements grant-funded advocacy and civil society mobilising/capacity-building projects on the ground.
WILPF currently works in over 55 countries, through 41 national WILPF Sections and 5 Groups, and is present in an additional 10 countries through its partners, initiatives and campaigns. It is recognised for its feminist and holistic analyses of the root causes of war and conflict, and for its tireless advocacy work. On the ground, it creates and nurtures safe spaces for civil society dialogue and learning, collaboration and exchange, and guards against polarization, building over the years a far-reaching network of allies in the spheres of policy, academia and women’s movements. Finally, it works to mobilise and shift resources in an effort to counter a universal system that disadvantages those with the most contextual knowledge and impact.
Originally a predominantly European and US-based movement, WILPF has grown to be truly global, bringing an increasing diversity in organisational cultures and approaches. The international secretariat has also grown from a two-person office to a professional team spread over three offices, implementing projects and raising significant funds for feminist peace. As a result, WILPF is a hybrid organisation with multiple identities, notions of membership and understandings of its place in the global work.
WILPF requested support in developing a shared vision for its future, both in terms of strategic objectives that could guide the work of the movement at large and of an organisational and governance model that would fit its values and ambitions.
Results to date
WILPF adopted a new International Programme at its 2022 Congress. Remarkable efforts were made to make it an inclusive, participatory process with global consultations over the course of a year. A single strategy now provides guidance to both the international secretariat and the national sections, thereby building a strong foundation for WILPF’s work in the years to come.
The process also identified a number of organisational development priorities for the coming years, including an accountability framework and internal protocols which will support the work of the newly elected Board as it seeks to address tensions, structural power dynamics and inequalities in the organisation.
A six-day induction of the new Board at the end of the year helped build trust and create a shared understanding of respective roles and mutual accountability with the international secretariat. The significant amount of time invested is to be commended given that all Board members are volunteers, yet necessary given the complexity of the movement. It was reported to be incredibly useful in defining what feminist governance looks like, given also the fact that most meetings now take place on-line.
The way forward
The next phase of support will focus on the implementation of the organisational development priorities, ensuring that they are owned by the movement at large while also translated into national strategies that are adapted to their context. This will include continued strengthening of governance at different levels of the organisation.