Locally-Led Development: Moving the Agenda Forward

by Kyra Buchko and Alyson Lyons

The resounding call for locally-led development by USAID Administrator Samantha Power resonated deeply with us at PartnersGlobal. In her speech from May 2022, Administrator Power reiterated USAID’s commitment to locally-led development as an approach that “prioritizes and elevates the roles of organizations, institutions, and people of the countries we serve” and is “the key to delivering the kind of results that will be visible years and years in the future, long after our programs have wound down.” At PartnersGlobal, we couldn’t agree more. 

For more than three decades, our mission and vision for a more peaceful and prosperous world has centered on and assumes a preeminent role of local leadership and locally-led problem-solving. It is the reason we founded The Partners Network of 20+ local, independently operated nonprofits based in Central and Eastern Europe, the Americas, Africa, and the Middle East. We all share what we call The Partners Way – a collective commitment to locally driven development that brings together people, communities, and institutions to jointly reach decisions and take action that build peace and transform conflict. At its core, The Partners Way adheres to the values of inclusion, accountability, resiliency, justice, and nonviolence.  In practice, we focus on process guided by principles of locally-led development and centered on the role of local leadership – no matter the issue, topic, or thematic area.

As we begin to feel a real shift across the international donor community, and specifically US government agencies, to adopt a more locally-led development agenda, we are optimistic and hopeful about the next chapter of development assistance. And since we’ve been doing locally-led development for some time now, we’d like to share a few insights from our experience.

Shift Your Mindset to Shift the Power

The first step toward embracing locally-led development is to shift your mindset from one dominated by Western values and priorities to one guided by community-driven needs. The movement to decolonize aid is intricately connected with this idea. The purpose of decolonizing aid is to transform unequal power structures rooted in colonial constructs that prioritize Global North mandates and perspectives, impacting resource allocation and perpetuating discriminatory norms and practices in the international aid system.

So how do we shift our mindsets? First, we must start by asking questions and listening actively to local organizations and partners about THEIR priorities and needs. While it may sound easy, active listening is one of the hardest soft skills to do effectively because it requires that you pay attention, put aside judgment, and withhold opinions or criticisms. Practice, practice, practice active listening and ask for feedback from partners.

Second, we need to reimagine our relationship to our partners by engaging local leaders as peers and colleagues instead of ‘primes and subs’ to our programs. In this way, we can reorient ourselves to learning from each other, valuing everyone’s inputs and experiences. Further, we need to facilitate diverse and equitable participation and involvement in decision making. This means reaching out to amplify and integrate the voices of women, youth, and indigenous communities and peoples to ensure there is meaningful consultation, as detailed in the Global Fragility Act Coalition’s recommendations on local consultation processes. For project-based collaboration, it is critically important to engage all partners consistently and equitably before the program begins, throughout implementation, and well beyond the project’s end date. 

Third, let’s be intentional about the language we use when communicating to donors, partners, and peers. Language matters. At Partners, we seek informal and formal input from our partners about the optics and impressions created by the language we use in proposals, discussions with peers, and other communications.  This helps ensure that our messaging about our work and our values – including how we talk about local leadership – resonates with and is authentic to local perspectives. And it requires that any new or improved terminology and messaging are translated accurately in local languages and placed into appropriate context.

Progress through Partnership, not Programs

At the end of the day, trust is built and strengthened when we focus on partnership over projects. And trust is a necessary prerequisite for sustaining a locally-led development agenda. Partnership transcends transactional cooperation based on specific activities and forms the basis for continued connection well past the end of a project.  Not only do we work toward sustainability of project results and impact, but we view durable and resilient organizational and personal relationships as an ongoing benefit for all parties. 

One way to build and maintain trust over time is to collectively design your process for collaboration rather than focus on specific project activities or objectives. The end goal is important, but how you get there matters more in the long run. Ask your partners HOW they view and approach collaboration. What is important to them in terms of process? Where is collaboration needed and not needed? How can systems for program implementation be set up that encourage and foster inclusive participation and input? The emphasis on collaborative process helps to decentralize power and facilitates shared responsibility. It places decision-making more equitably in the hands of the local partners and communities impacted by a development or peacebuilding program.

The locally-led development agenda calls on all of us to be far more ambitious in expanding who we work with, and changing how we work so that collectively we drive the sustainable, lasting change that we all seek. This is how we at PartnersGlobal will continue to support local leadership to inspire and guide communities to peacefully manage change.

As the humanitarian crisis unfolds in Ukraine, now is the time to have a conversation about global peace and peacebuilding. The FrameWorks Institute, Alliance for Peacebuilding, and PartnersGlobal joined forces to deliver evidence-based recommendations for more effective narrative strategies that build public understanding and support for peacebuilding. The new brief includes:

  • Existing mindsets around peacebuilding
  • Research-based framing recommendations
  • Ideas for applying these frames in discourse & debate

The ongoing work of building bridges across divides must continue if we hope to create a world where conflicts are addressed without resorting to violence. Shifting the narrative of peacebuilding won’t happen overnight. But aligning messaging and consistency within the peacebuilding field will help the public and policymakers better understand what peacebuilding looks like in practice and why it is a productive mindset and policy option. | For access to the full report, please click HERE or read below:


During March, we celebrated the powerful and resilient women who have strived to make changes for the sake of making an equal and fulfilling space for all of us. Women have been the backbone of many political, economic, and social movements. They have been the faces and voices that have made us look inward and ask ourselves, “Are we the best of who we can be?” As we leave March 2022 behind us please take a moment to reflect on this question. And check out all of the ways we celebrate women in peacebuilding and civil society resiliency spaces.

Resilient Conversations

Resilient Conversations is a forthcoming podcast organized and hosted by PartnersGlobal that explores different facets of individual, organizational, sectoral, and systemic resiliency. The short video series above includes clips from different episodes. Featured guests on the podcast will include our own staff like Co-Executive Directors Roselie Vasquez Yetter and Kyra Buchko; ResiliencyPlus colleagues and coaches Alexa Brand, Olivia Baciu, and Susan Njambi Odongo; and civil society colleagues such as Zuza Fialova of Partners for Democratic Change Slovakia and Carole Frampton de Tscharner and Heloise Heyer of Peace Nexus Foundation.

MENA Women’s Roundtable

Recently, MENA and Civil Society Strengthening Director Rasha Abdel Latif of PartnersGlobal sat down (virtually) with women peacebuilders and Partners Network colleagues from Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, and the US to talk about women’s role as leaders and peacebuilders in the MENA region. Enjoy this 20 minute conversation between these incredible women as they reflect on what inspires them to work in this space.

Co-Leadership Model as a Resiliency Approach

We are on our own resiliency journey at PartnersGlobal as we navigate the shifts on our operating environment. One way to shore up our resilient capital is to build in innovative leadership and operating models like co-leadership. This approach both builds in redundancies AND creates space for inclusion and diversity of thought, which contributes to more effective problem solving and organizational management. Get to know our co-Executive Directors Roselie and Kyra by watching the short video above!

Women Peacebuilders Blog Series

Below are a series of blog posts by staff and partners at PartnersGlobal that depict the real stories and impacts of various women peacebuilders across our portfolios. Enjoy!

March 22, 2022 – PartnersGlobal is pleased to join the Coalition for Racial & Ethnic Equity in Development (CREED) and sign the Pledge for Racial & Ethnic Equity (REE). PartnersGlobal joins more than 30 not-for-profit and for-profit development organizations committed to building racial and ethnic equity within international development. 

By signing the REE pledge, PartnersGloblal commits to: 

  • strengthening its commitments and accountability for racial & ethnic equity within its policies, systems, and culture; 
  • creating practical and quantifiable standards for advancing racial & ethnic equity; and 
  • working to instill racial and ethnic equity as a core principle in the development sector. 

“To be effective and create meaningful shifts, CREED’s Racial & Ethnic Equity pledge is taking a focused view to build equity by concentrating on strengthening racial and ethnic equity within United States-based organizations,” said Indira Kaur Ahluwalia, Founder/Chair of CREED and CEO of KAUR Strategies. “CREED welcomes PartnersGlobal to a learning community of like-minded organizations committed to integrating racial and ethnic equity into how we work.” 

“We encourage our global development sector colleagues to be partners in addressing racial and ethnic equity to improve and deepen the impact of our collective work. Strong democracies cannot be achieved without racial and ethnic equity. We all have a responsibility to push for meaningful change.”   – Roselie Vasquez Yetter

About CREED 

The Coalition for Racial & Ethnic Equity in Development (CREED) is a collective of international development and humanitarian assistance organizations based in the United States committed to building REE. We pledge to advance racial and ethnic diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within our own organizations’ policies, systems, and culture in keeping with attainable and measurable goals; and work to instill REE in international development. 


For questions about the pledge or how to sign, visit https://coalition-for-racial-and-ethnic-equity-in-development.org/  

Partners has been appointed for the three-year Regional Secretariat function of Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) in North America. GPPAC is a network of NGOs actively working on conflict prevention and peacebuilding. The network promotes multi-stakeholder collaboration and local ownership of strategies for peace and security and it also serves as a community of practice to advance new knowledge, share ideas, and convene regular reflection spaces between peers.

GPPAC is organized around regional subnetworks and we have been involved in GPPAC North America for the past three years. GPPAC North America includes very well-known and respected organizations in the peacebuilding and human rights spaces in Canada, the US, and Mexico:

  • Alliance for Peacebuilding
  • Peace and Conflict Studies Association of Canada
  • Mennonite Central Committee
  • Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative
  • Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation (SWEFOR)
  • Servicio Internacional para la Paz (SIPAZ)
  • Servicios y Asesoría para la Paz (SERAPAZ)
  • Comisión de Apoyo a la Unidad y a la Reconciliación Comunitaria (CORECO)
  • Centro Fray Bartolomé de las Casas
  • Centro de Colaboración Cívica (CCC)
  • PartnersGlobal

For us, GPPAC North America represents a community of practice and learning created to promote new knowledge, approaches and methodologies to advance peacebuilding and peace consolidation, share ideas and experiences on concrete interventions, as well as enable spaces for reflection among peers on situational and structural issues that impact stability and peace at the regional level. In this sense, our affiliation and formal participation allow us to take better advantage of the vast experience of the members of the network to strengthen our programs and interventions and strengthen ties with organizations working on issues of peace, violence prevention and promotion of human rights in Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

Each morning, fourteen-year-old Fairouz woke up early to take the long walk to get water from a spring outside Al-Manwar, a small village surrounded by hills and green terraced fields in Ibb governorate in Yemen. After she completed 8th grade, Fairouz left school to help her family with everyday errands, such as collecting water and firewood.

“In our village, girls have to fetch water, collect firewood, or tend sheep. My father insisted that I stop going to school in order to help get water for the family… I used to get up in the morning to get water and see other girls going to school. I burst into tears seeing them going to school. I used to ask myself, ‘Why do I not do that? Why does my father not let me go to school?’”

The Roots of Community Level Conflict

Al-Manwar is located about 200 kilometers from Sana’a, on a remote clifftop at the end of a series of dilapidated roads connecting the village to the city of Jeblah. Life in Al-Manwar can be difficult for residents of the village – particularly young girls. For years, they trekked across unpaved roads to reach their school, located 1200 meters from the village. Despite this distance, many girls were able to attend school until the country-wide conflict began in 2015. The war waging across Yemen took a toll on the area’s economy and the ability of its people to access basic services. After the conflict began, the electricity that powered local water pumps stopped flowing to Al-Manwar and families started connecting a haphazard network of private pipes to the local spring.

This created tension in the community, with some unable to afford the equipment to build the pipes. In 2016, a group of young men who saw this system as unfair destroyed many of the pipes, disrupting the flow of freshwater to village residents. Since then, young girls have borne the brunt of collecting water for drinking and washing, dropping out of school in order to carry out this task. Throughout each day, girls from Al-Manwar walk more than a kilometer along the long path to the spring and carry water back to their families’ homes. Carrying the containers on their heads, these girls walk down narrow and difficult paths fraught with danger, scared of what they might encounter. Many face sexual harassment from young men when they walk alone.

After several years of conflict within the community, local residents and community leaders of Al-Manwar were desperate to find a solution to repair the social fabric, bring water back into the homes of villagers, and help the girls go back to school.

Then in 2021, local organization Al-Shaimaa Foundation, together with PartnersYemen, designed an initiative centered on community dialogue and building support for a new water system. At the heart of the initiative was the creation of a seven-member Conflict Resolution Committee that included local sheiks, authority officials, and other influential community members and whose mandate was to peacefully resolve community issues in Al-Manwar.

Employing Dialogue to Find Sustainable Solutions

An initial dialogue was facilitated by Al-Shaimaa Foundation and PartnersYemen to assist the committee in finding a solution to the water crisis. The committee proposed the establishment of a consolidated water supply network to deliver water equally to all local households. Using their enhanced dialogue and facilitation skills, the Committee was able to secure an agreement with all the relevant parties, including a man who lived near the spring and had benefitted the most from the status quo. The negotiated compromise included extending a water supply pipe to his house.

Shortly thereafter, the villagers signed a reconciliation agreement that set the terms for access to the water supply network, formed a maintenance committee for the system, and established a mechanism for dealing with any future conflicts around water management in the village.

Two weeks later, fresh water reached Al-Manwar’s village center.

Today, Fairouz is back in school and excited about the opportunities now open to her in the future. Fairouz’s new reality only became possible after the intervention of Al-Shaimaa Foundation and PartnersYemen, who helped create and then worked together with the Conflict Resolution Committee to address a set of issues that had plagued the residents of Al-Manwar since 2015. Young girls like Fairouz, who had disproportionately suffered before the project, now benefit the most from the new water system. In all, the 23 girls who had dropped out of school were able to go back and continue with their studies.

“Had water not been delivered to the village, my father would not have been convinced to send me back to school… Thank God, I have resumed classes and I go to school regularly,” Fairouz said. “Now, water is in the vicinity of our home. We no longer need to fetch water from that faraway source.”

PartnersYemen’s Work with Communities

Since 2016, PartnersYemen has set up over 90 similar community committees in 18 governorates across Yemen. These committees have served as essential links between community members and local authorities by resolving conflicts that provide more equitable access to local services. Some committees have even established their own new civil society organizations, sustainably advocating for changes at the local level.

In recent years, PartnersYemen and its local civil society partners have found that such committees – when provided with guidance and technical support for facilitation and dialogue – can play key roles in resolving conflicts, forging multiple community reconciliation agreements over resources and service delivery issues.

Partners’ local network of CSOs, of which Al-Shaimaa Foundation in Ibb is a key member, is an important local link to communities across the country. These organizations use their knowledge of local community dynamics to select the local CRC members, develop the Committee’s scopes of work, and provide guidance to help mediate reconciliation sessions with conflicting parties.

While Fairouz and her classmates have benefited greatly from this initiative, important work remains to be done both in Al-Manwar and other underdeveloped rural areas across the country that have suffered under the pressures of the conflict. By utilizing similar conflict resolution and dialogue tools, and with support from Yemeni-led civil society organizations like PartnersYemen and Al-Shaimaa, other communities may be able to work towards sustainable solutions like Ibb’s water system to strengthen their communities and provide opportunities for the most vulnerable.

This piece was co-written by Saddam Al-Dhelaa, PartnersYemen and Matt Ciesielski, PartnersGlobal. For more information on our work in the Middle East and North Africa, please visit our website HERE.

Photo Credit: Girls in School by Julien Harneis

Taiz, the second most populated city in Yemen, has been under siege for almost seven years. Ansarallah forces are exercising tight control over all three entrances to the center city, which is controlled by Republic of Yemen Government (ROYG)-backed forces. Only two rugged, one-lane dirt roads with heavy traffic lead out of the city to the North and South. Overcrowded vehicles carry travelers and commuters between the two sides of the city along with trucks and pickups loaded with supplies – including potable water – that rarely reach residents.

The situation has left Taiz residents in a dire situation with limited water supply. This was further exacerbated when nine water reservoirs inside the city came under the control of an armed group that sold the water for profit.  In response, the government-run Water Authority cut the supply completely, inadvertently depriving residents in three districts – Al-Mudhafar, Al-Qaherah, and Salah —of water. Women, girls, and children were forced to travel long distances on unsafe roads to fetch water, putting them at risk for gender-based violence and sniper attacks.

Challenging Gender Norms

Ola Al-Aghbari is a young Yemeni woman and civil society leader from Taiz who heads the Sheba Youth Foundation. In 2016, Ola participated in a series of trainings that PY conducted with youth and community leaders in partnership with the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy and UNDP, and developed skills in conflict mitigation and mediation, gaining practical experience to identify and address community needs and resolve conflict. She founded the Sheba Youth Foundation shortly thereafter to continue serving her community.

In 2021, Ola observed the dire situation in Al-Mudhafar, Al-Qaherah, and Salah and approached PartnersYemen with a proposal to resolve the water crisis. Through the support of a small grant, as well as coaching and mentoring provided by the PartnersYemen team, Ola started working on the issue. Soon after, however, several radical mosque preachers spoke out against her efforts claiming, “People who allow a woman to lead them are doomed.” Traditional gender roles in Yemeni culture frown upon women taking the leading role in certain situations, especially when it comes to anything political. Ola knew she had to get in front of the situation and ensure her legitimacy – and her organization’s – remained intact.

Ola adopted a new strategy to counter the influence of the conservative leaders and build credibility. Ola consulted with local figures and political party leaders in the city and formed a committee with members who were selected based on their status and influence. They included a prominent tribal leader, a local government representative, a Chamber of Commerce representative, a local female mediator, and lawyer, and a highly-respected local caricaturist. With Ola facilitating, the group managed to convince the military commanders to hand over nine water reservoirs to the Office of the Ministry of Water and Environment (OMWE) in Taiz. To date, there are formal agreements to hand over control of six wells, one of which is now officially run by OMWE. This initiative not only gave access to clean water to 41,000 residents in Al-Mudhafar, Al-Qaherah, and Salah districts, but it also supported governance structures in Taiz to deliver services. As the director of OMWE noted,

Thanks to the successful mediation by Ola, taking control of the water reservoirs is a first step to revive the role of the Water Authority so that it can better serve the people.”

Ripple Effects

With PartnersYemen’s support, the Sheba Youth Foundation further developed an interactive map of the water sector in Taiz that will set the stage for future efforts to resolve water-related conflict and improve water delivery to residents in the besieged city. Ola’s efforts spawned demand and support for similar interventions throughout Taiz. Several civilians and community leaders asked the Sheba Youth Foundation to continue its mediation efforts to bring public facilities under the control of the local authority. Toran Al-Hadad, one of the beneficiaries from the initiative shared,

There were several local initiatives to free the water facilities before, but all of them failed. However, there are tangible and sustainable results on the ground led by Sheba Youth Foundation and we hope that continues.

Sheba Youth Foundation was invited to share the story of their successful mediation efforts at the UNESCO conference that took place at the end of September 2021.

  November 24, 2021

This op-ed was written by Mohammed Abu Dalhoum, Senior Program Associate for the MENA Team at PartnersGlobal. It first appeared in the online news outlet Arab News. It is lightly edited and extended here with an addendum from Athir Hatem, General Manager for PartnersIraq. The views expressed by the authors of the piece are their own.

Last month, Daesh carried out an attack on a small village in Diyala, Iraq, killing 11 defenseless civilians, indicating that Iraq’s security forces are unable to protect its citizens. Even more problematically, it warns us that Daesh is anything but gone.

Over the past decade, several scholars have put forth arguments to examine the life cycle of violent extremist groups. They agree that terrorist groups come and go; they will exert their control for a few years, lose out, break into dormant cells, recruit, regroup, and come back in a different shape.

This life cycle is centered on a scramble for popular support between them and governments. At the peak of its control, Daesh recruited more than 40,000 foreign fighters from 120 countries. Such individuals were targeted through social media and face-to-face interactions, and many of them were disenfranchised with conditions in their own countries. Unemployment, poverty, a lack of opportunities, and social marginalization contributed to their decisions to join. Many of them were not necessarily indoctrinated, but child and adolescent recruits were.

Those who defected, in addition to those who were captured upon Daesh’s defeat, underwent certain rehabilitation and deradicalization programs, mostly in prisons in their native countries. Such programs are overly securitized and work on re-educating returnees with counter-narratives. They are also mostly ineffective, as many of those who were captured still retain much of their radical ideology upon their graduation/release. These programs have existed for years, yet more people joined terrorist groups than for any of the previous waves of violent extremism.

Drivers and Conditions for Violent Extremism in Iraq

Looking at the situation today, it is quite evident that socioeconomic conditions in the Middle East and North Africa are worse than they were in 2011. When evaluating MENA states’ ability to have a monopoly on the means of violence, composite data curated from the Global Peace Index, World Values Survey, Arab Barometer, and Transparency International reveals an average score of 49.5 out of 100, whereby 100 means the states can fully protect people, such protection is entirely legitimate, and security spending is transparent.

As such, political and economic disenfranchisement, as well as apathy and social marginalization, are still persistent. Governments are unable to create jobs and the COVID-19 pandemic has been economically disastrous. Further, there are more armed conflicts than before. Power vacuums are still there. Released returnees are still indoctrinated and the formerly adolescent recruits are now vengeful.

Millions of dollars have been spent on countering violent extremism projects, yet the conditions are now ripe for a Daesh 2.0 that may be as destructive as its predecessor. Over the past decade, governments and international organizations have focused on countering violent extremism projects, as they reasoned they could not have anticipated such levels of recruitment. Today, the early warning signs are crystal clear; thus, their efforts ought to be centered on preventing violent extremism projects.

Our young people are more at risk of falling into the vicious hands of terrorist groups. With record-high unemployment and rising drug addiction rates and suicide cases, governments and international organizations need to act pre-emptively. Youths in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Sudan are particularly susceptible, given the security situation in these countries.

With the danger of another wave of terrorism in the region looming on the horizon, there must be comprehensive, holistic, and consistent preventive strategies. These strategies ought to encompass non-security actors and they need to address the underlying causes contributing to the susceptibility of our youth. It is the responsibility of decision-makers to find whichever means necessary to address the issues of unemployment, political and economic disenfranchisement, and social marginalization.

We cannot ignore the clear signs pointing toward another catastrophic wave of terrorist activity in the region. It is imperative to intercept it before it starts. The Global Coalition Against Daesh was successful last time, but we cannot afford to hope for the same political will and the presence of adequate technical and financial capabilities this time around. Resources are better spent on prevention, while international cooperation is a must if we are to avoid an inherently international disaster.

Reflections from Athir

Achieving the preventive mechanisms combating violent extremism is a collaborative responsibility amongst the community, governmental institutions of both the local and federal levels, and local and international civil society organizations. It should include various educational, religious, tribal, legal and other sectors, and is inclusive of all segments of society, such as community leaders, youth, women, civil activists, and others. Therefore, success does not fall on one entity or the other and is not ascribed to one specific party; rather it is a result of collective efforts.

Achieving justice within official legal and institutional structures and systems is crucial. Also, it is necessary to establish and track early warning indicators to help avoid or mitigate the drivers of extremism, such as ensuring a safe environment, providing social welfare, practicing political moderation, adhering to good governance principles and frameworks, investing in a sustainable economy, and promoting rule of law.

As for the reintegration of extremists back into society, we must advocate for developing collaborative mechanisms with the security services, local and central governments, and human rights committees to implement reintegration and rehabilitation programs during the sentence period in prison and beyond, providing protection and care for their reintegration into civil life.

  September 25, 2021

Over the past year, we’ve compiled and shared resources, tools, articles, research, and case studies from all sectors and partners on different aspects of organizational resiliency. This month, we looked back at everything and pulled out some of our favorites. Learn more more about our work on Resiliency HERE.  

Factor: Resiliency Ethos

Learn more about the Resiliency Ethos factor in the Resiliency+ Framework here.

Patterns for Change recently released this interactive guide for nonprofits looking for behavioral guidance during times of change and uncertainty.  

How does the mind work during and after a crisis? And what we can learn from this information to create positive sustainable change? Read about it in The Disrupted Mind, a blog piece from Mindworks Lab. And dive deeper into their 6 Mindset Factors.

This is a great diagnostic tool from Innovation For Change geared toward civil society organizations working on policy and advocacy. It helps to identify their strengths and weaknesses in the policy and advocacy areas while sharing resources to address your organization’s specific needs.

In his new book Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know, Adam Grant draws on research and storytelling to “help us build the intellectual and emotional muscle we need to stay curious enough about the world to actually change it.” Tune in to this conversation with Adam and Brene Brown for more insights.

Factor: Adaptive Capacity

Learn more about the Adaptive Capacity factor in the Resiliency+ Framework here.

Download this GUIDE from the International Civil Society Centre about how to scan the horizon and make strategic decisions in an uncertain world.

Leadership coach Stephen Kotev explores the concept of polarities and how to manage them when trying to resolve seemingly entrenched conflicts on his blog post HERE.

How do you build up adaptive capacity? Going International works to support organizations to create a better world. They have assembled an expansive list of toolkits and manuals on everything from a diversity and inclusion organizational assessment to tools for social innovation.

The ability to adapt to change is at the core of organizational resiliency. In The Future of Team Leadership is Multimodal, Robert Hoojiberg and Michael Watkins discuss the post-pandemic future of teamwork and foresee a hybrid model of virtual coordination and in-person collaboration.

The FrameWorks Institute report, Mindset Shifts: What Are They? Why Do They Matter? How Do They Happen? explores the best practices and most effective strategies for moving mindsets.

Factor: Connectedness

Learn more about the Connectedness factor in the Resiliency+ Framework here.

The podcast, Partos Future Exploration – Shifting Civic Space discusses civil society connectedness amidst civic space challenges with CIVICUS Secretary-General Lysa John and Barbara Oosters, Civic Space lead at Oxfam Novib.

Tectonica’s new model evaluates how social movement organizing works to build power and impact political change. It draws on examples of success from movements like BLM and others to demonstrate the importance of measuring organizing and the process of learning through experimentation and failure.

Strengthening connections with our constituencies and our peer organizations is an important piece of resiliency. In her Ted Talk, How to have constructive conversations, speaker Julia Dhar discusses how to have “productive disagreements grounded in curiosity and purpose.” She says that this type of disagreement can actually help to strengthen relationships.

Check out this Platform Design Toolkit designed to support organizations in collaborating, co-creating and engaging in enriching conversations with others. 

Factor: Business Acumen

Learn more about the Business Acumen factor in the Resiliency+ Framework here.

Organizational resiliency requires a commitment to ongoing innovation. States of Change released a new playbook for innovation learning, targeting practitioners looking for new ways to spread innovation skills, methods, and tools.

Collaboration Superpowers compiled a super-list of tools and apps to help us all work better while working remotely. Check out the list here and perhaps submit a tool of your own!

And find a curated list of donors supporting activists, civil society organizations, and small, informal civil society groups at DONOR FINDER from CIVICUS.

Change is hard for everyone and navigating it intentionally can be especially important for organizations. Check out The Social Age Guidebook Series: Free Action Focused Resources from Julian Stodd for resources and carefully guided reflections around the implementation of learning, leadership, and cultural and organizational change.

Factor: Legitimacy

Learn more about the Legitimacy factor in the Resiliency+ Framework here.

Hear from Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken and Srilatha Batliwala on this NGO Soul+ Strategy Podcast talking about Politics, Power and Feminist leadership in organizational dynamics.

Don’t know where to begin in terms of increasing your organization’s legitimacy with your constituencies? Check out this interview featuring Stanford professor Patricia Bromley for insights on how nonprofits can and should balance professionalization and formalization with trust and community building.

Solidarity Action Network has compiled a repository of case studies that showcase best practices, challenges, and lessons learned from resilience practices of international civil society organizations.

According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, “the global pandemic, the economic crisis, and our national racial reckoning of 2020 have deeply impacted the trust individuals have in all of our institutions and sectors.” Read more as Kristina Gawrgy Campbell shares four important takeaways for nonprofit and philanthropic leaders looking to build back trust.

Factor: Narrative Competency

Learn more about the Engaging Narratives factor in the Resiliency+ Framework here.

Narratives matter. They help us to make meaning of the world while also holding the power to drive and shape culture and policy change. Engaging with relevant meta-narratives in society requires capacity and infrastructure. Explore this article from Pop Culture Collaborative for five ways to strengthen narrative rapid response.

Understanding and practicing narrative competency is key to organizational resiliency, but where do you start? Take a look at this mini masterclass series convened by Future Advocacy and FrameWorks Institute UK on how to reframe the issues we care about to affect change.

Read the Center for Media and Social Impact’s Storytelling and Social Justice in Action: Leveraging Documentary Films to Strengthen Local Movement Building report for insights around the role nonprofits play on a local level as “civic network builders” and the art of storytelling and film as vehicles for empowering communities and strengthening social justice movements.

Genevieve Sauberli and Christina MacGillivray weigh in on the issue of ‘othering’ in the context of migration and migrant communities and offer a seven-step toolbox that shifts us away from zero-sum ‘us’ vs ‘them’ thinking to help us achieve lasting and impactful change. 

In 10 Website Design Best Practices for Nonprofits, Heather Mansfield postulates that websites are the foundation upon which digital communication and fundraising campaigns are built and are essential tools in narrative change.

Factor: Situation Awareness

Learn more about Situational Awareness in the Resiliency+ Framework here.

What is systems change, and why does it matter for your organization? Experts from Systems Innovation answer these questions and others in this visual and interactive presentation

The first draft of the Systems Innovation Ecosystem Template was recently released.  This template is designed to help you think through and define the different aspects of developing a systems innovation ecosystem. 

Navigating Civic Space in a Time of Covid from Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) – an international research program that explores how social and political action can contribute to empowerment and accountability in fragile, conflict, and violent settings, with a particular focus on Egypt, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

For more on systems thinking you can watch this video presentation from the University of Hull’s Centre for Systems Studies on “An Introduction to Systems Thinking for Tackling Wicked Problems.”