Implementation of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security

Executive Summary

In December 2011, President Obama released the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace,and Security and signed an Executive Order directing the Plan’s implementation. In accordance with the Executive Order, USAID has developed this Implementation Plan to identify actions the Agency will take in support of the objectives of the National Action Plan (NAP), as well as to highlight our current work to advance this agenda around the globe.

Ensuring the meaningful participation and protection of women and girls in countries affected by crisis and conflict is critical to building lasting peace and to achieving long-term development objectives. In these, as in other areas, USAID invests in gender equality and women’s empowerment to promote the rights and well-being of women and girls, as well as to foster peaceful and productive communities that are equipped to cope with adversity, recover from crises, and pursue development progress.


USAID’s actions fall within the five objectives of the NAP. The following highlights represent key commitments included in the Implementation Plan:

Objective 1:Integrate and institutionalize a gendered approach to peace and security

Integration of women, peace and security (WPS) principles and objectives within strategy and programs, and in efforts to build staff capacity and enhance coordination, are the primary vehicles through which USAID will implement the NAP and ensure comprehensive, systematic, and sustained attention to WPS priorities.

Planned Actions:

  • Develop strategies for countries threatened or affected by crisis, conflict, and insecurity that reflect strong gender analysis and clear approaches for advancing gender equality and female empowerment.
  • Equip USAID staff with skills to integrate the protection and empowerment of women and girls throughout the Agency’s work in crisis prevention, response, recovery, and transition.
  • Improve crisis response by systematically assessing our efforts to address the needs and priorities of males and females and applying the lessons we learn to future responses.
  • Track our investments in women, peace, and security and monitor our progress with new foreign assistance indicators designed to measure gender equality, gender-based violence (GBV), and women’s empowerment results.

Objective 2: Promote women’s participation in peace processes and decision-making

USAID will enhance longstanding efforts to bring women’s participation, perspectives, and skills to bear on the challenges facing their societies. USAID will target initiatives that support women’s participation in transitional political processes.

Planned Actions:

  • Increase women’s participation and leadership in peacebuilding, reconstruction, and transitional political processes through training, financial support to address key barriers such as childcare and transportation costs, and assistance with developing and communicating strategic platforms for action.
  • Improve the recruitment and retention of women in government through programs that build the skills and capacity of female candidates for office, parliamentarians, civil servants, municipal officials, police officers, and judges.
  • Empower women to play leadership roles in the civic arena through programs to build the professional capacity of female journalists and engage local women, including female youth, in peace and policy dialogues.
  • Strengthen civil society’s ability to advocate for the development and implementation of gender-sensitive laws and policies related to land reform, political parties, elections, transitional justice, human rights, genderresponsive budgeting, and national gender and UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 action plans.
  • Build resilience through assistance that supports women’s roles in the management of natural resources,mitigation of resource-related conflict, and adaptation to climate change in fragile and conflict-affected states.

Objective 3: Strengthen protection of women and children from harm,discrimination,and abuse

USAID will build upon its work to protect and empower vulnerable populations in situations of crisis and conflict and to combat the effects of violence and abuse that threaten individual wellbeing and the resilience of entire communities.

Planned Actions:

  • Provide integrated services that respond to the diverse needs of survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and women and girls at risk of violence or exploitation in emergencies and countries recovering from crisis and conflict.
  • Hold U.S. personnel, contractors, subcontractors, and grantees to the highest ethical standards with regard to trafficking in persons and implement programs to prevent the trafficking of vulnerable women and girls and assist trafficking victims in conflict-affected countries.
  • Promote the safety of women and girls in conflict settings through research and programming around innovative technologies – for example solar lighting, fuel-efficient stoves, or mobile phone applications – that have the potential to reduce vulnerabilities to violence and abuse.
  • Target underlying norms, attitudes, and behaviors that perpetuate gender-based violence through support for research and evidence-based interventions in countries such as DRC, Pakistan,Haiti, and Uganda.
  • Combat impunity and support women’s access to justice through programs to build the capacity of governments to investigate and prosecute gender-based violence, including specialized courts and assistance centers.

Objective 4: Promote women’s roles in conflict prevention

USAID will build on established and new initiatives to promote women’s engagement in preventing and managing conflict and reducing risks posed by natural disasters; ensure that early warning and response efforts are responsive to risks affecting women and girls; and invest in women’s and girls’ health, education, and economic empowerment to build resilience.

Planned Actions:

  • Strengthen gender integration in early warning systems and tools to ensure that the different experiences of females and males inform our analysis and approaches to conflict and atrocity prevention.
  • Engage women in disaster risk reduction efforts, early warning and crisis planning, and community-based conflict mitigation in countries such as the Philippines, Somalia, and Georgia.
  • Invest in women’s economic empowerment through microfinance programs and assistance that links women to markets, builds their skills and leadership in business and agriculture, and increases their access to productive assets such as land and credit.
  • Increase access to education for 15 million learners in conflict-affected environments, including programs targeting girls’ enrollment and retention and safety in schools.
  • Promote the access of women and girls to quality health services in crisis and conflict-affected environments, including their ability to make and influence decisions about healthcare and social services management in their communities.

Objective 5: Address the distinct needs of women and children in disaster and crisis response

USAID will build on our commitment to provide effective humanitarian assistance that meets the needs of men and women, boys and girls; protects vulnerable populations; and lays the groundwork for inclusive, sustainable recovery.

Planned Actions:

  • Build the capacity of local and international partners to address the protection needs of women and girls in disaster and conflict situations through support for training, gender expertise, and action learning.
  • Increase USAID’s ability to deliver effective humanitarian assistance for women,men, boys, and girls by ensuring that disaster response personnel are trained in humanitarian protection and have access to gender and protection advisors to assist with situational analysis, needs assessments, planning, and programming.
  • Provide direct support for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in crisis and conflict-affected communities (medical, psychosocial, legal and economic assistance), including assistance to enhance the GBV services of hospitals and health centers and engage communities in GBV prevention.
  • Respond to the needs of vulnerable women and girls, including those who are internally displaced, through assistance that engages women in economic recovery activities and supports their access to education and reproductive healthcare.

The effort to implement the NAP is not static, nor does it occur in isolation. The actions laid out in this Implementation Plan represent one part of USAID’s broader effort to transform the way our Agency pursues its development mission and particularly its approach to supporting gender equality and women’s empowerment. The NAP and the Implementation Plan are being released alongside complementary efforts that move our Agency forward and improve our collective ability to pursue gender equality, advance women’s empowerment, and protect vulnerable populations. At the same time, other U.S.Government-wide initiatives are also advancing these objectives. As USAID pursues the actions laid out in this plan,we will work with our partners across the U.S.Government and civil society to examine our efforts and determine where we have been successful,where we have faced challenges, and how, through the empowerment and protection of women and girls,we can achieve greater results for the benefit of all.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 - 10:00am

Last updated: December 13, 2013