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Articulate clear and consistent information flow and communication among partners

It can be hard to share information all of the time with all partners. However, this is a very important activity. It helps to ensure that all partners understand how goals and objectives are being interpreted in projects and programmes on the ground. It also helps partners to know what actions have been taken so that efforts are not duplicated. For example, by keeping communication open, safe cities for women programme partners are able to know if the local hospital is undergoing a new intake process for women who have been physically attacked. This might affect crisis line partners who need to give women information on hospital procedures. It might also affect a partner women’s group that wants to write a report about problematic hospital intake procedures and their effect upon women who have been attacked. Open communication requires that the information which is shared is written or stated in easy-to-understand language (WICI, 2007, 15). Assigning a person to the task of designated communication chair can help because he or she will have the responsibility of effectively and clearly communicating relevant material to all partners (Community Coordination for Women’s Safety Project, 2005, 57).

Partners will have to decide when and how they communicate about news, decisions, public announcements, financial matters, evaluation, and more. This can involve face-to-face meetings, as well as emails, website updates, memorandums, telephone calls and reports (depending on what types of communication partners have access to). Safe cities for women programmes should use strategies that ensuring that all partners are able to communicate with each other. This approach is especially important when working with women and vulnerable groups, who may not be used to sharing their opinions with others in a public setting (WICI, 2007, 15-16). Some strategies for including the opinions of women and members of other vulnerable groups are:

  • Go-rounds: In discussions, each participant is given a chance to speak in turn. Even first-time participants are strongly encouraged to give their input when their turn comes. This principle guarantees that all participants, regardless of how articulate or aggressive they are, will have an equal chance to share their views.
  • Equal time for all: Time limits are often used for go-rounds. Furthermore, interruptions, cross-talk, and speaking out of turn are not allowed. These guidelines help to keep the meeting moving forward and prevent a small minority from dominating the discussion.
  • Decisions by consensus: An initial go-round enables participants to raise questions, share general feedback and hear each other’s concerns. During the next go-round, participants articulate their stance on the issue. This iterative process continues until consensus has been reached. This principle ensures that all participants’ perspectives are incorporated into the final decision.

Source: Women in Cities International. 2007. Building Community-Based Partnerships for Local Action on Women’s Safety, Women in Cities International/Femmes et villes international: page 16.

Case Study: Comité de Asesoramiento – Libro Blanco (Advisory Committee - White Book) (2007).

In Bogotá, Colombia, a forum was created for various stakeholders and experts from the city to discuss public safety.  The objective of the group was to formulate and agree upon proposals that would make Bogotá safer. Part of this initiative included a panel on Gender and Safe Cities, where the issue of violence against women was discussed. The ideas generated during this session were pulled together and published in the White Book on Security and Coexistence in Bogotá published by UN-HABITAT. Various partners contributed to the initiative, including UNIFEM, the local university, the Subsecretary for Gender of the Municipality of Bogotá, and other governmental and non-governmental representatives (Dalmazzo; Serrano; Cardona, 2008, p. 38).

Additional information available in Spanish.

Resource:

INTRANET: Espacio de comunicación interna. (INTRANET: Internal Communication Space). INTRANET is a communication and exchange space that was created with the goal of facilitating interaction between all of the organizations from different Latin American cities involved in the UNIFEM-supported Regional Programme “Cities without Violence against Women, Safe Cities for All”, implemented by the Women and Habitat Network of Latin America and the Caribbean.  INTRANET is part of the Women and Habitat Network’s website and is accessible to all participating organizations. In this space, each organization can post information about actions, strategies, and plans developed in the framework of the Regional Programme, and can read about what organizations in other cities are doing. Contact the Network for more information.