Gendering reconciliation: Local reintegration from an international perspective

How does one secure sustainable peace after long-term armed conflicts? Processes of Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) are crucial for this by supporting former combatants to reintegrate into civilian life. 

La reincorporación y la transformación de las relaciones de las relaciones de género

'La reincorporación y la transformación de las relaciones de género'

(English version of the video) The transformation of gender relations through reintegration

The transformation of gender relations through reintegration

Reintegration is often addressed as a security issue, focusing on the handing in of guns in return for cash. This is a simplistic approach to a complex process with profound socio-economic implications. Although DDR processes and research often focus on ex-combatants, failure to understand and address host communities’ needs risks causing resentment, which undermines peace and reconciliation.

DDR policy and research have not always sufficiently addressed gender dynamics. Attention is often limited to women, simplifying their experiences as either victims of forced recruitment and violence, or representing them as even more violent than men, their transgression of gender norms being considered more shocking. A more complex and nuanced understanding of both men’s and women’s gendered experiences can increase the success of reintegration.

‘Gendering reconciliation’ will analyse the complex local and gendered dynamics of reintegration to improve understanding of how DDR processes can better consider the needs of ex-combatants and host communities alike, and how conflict-era gains in gender roles can be consolidated, to prevent post-demobilisation violence and increase gender equality.

Download the policy brief on Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR): Lessons from Guatemala

Download the policy brief on Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR): Lessons from Guatemala (Spanish)

Research objectives

Gendering reconciliation aims to contribute to the theory and practice of gendered post-conflict reconciliation, based on a localised, historical and comparative analysis of how DDR processes address (post) conflict gender roles and the socio-economic aspects of reintegration and the building of social trust. The overarching research question is: how can DDR processes contribute to more gender-equal reconciliation?

Specifically, the project addresses three key research questions:

1. How do DDR processes engage with ex-combatants’ gendered experiences in relation to gender roles in the host communities to increase gender equality?

2. What are the social and economic conditions and practices that foster the building of social trust between ex-combatants, host communities and the state?

3. How do DDR processes address the complex and gendered victim-perpetrator identities of ex-combatants and transform social perceptions regarding these?

The main focus of this project will be Colombia. Colombia’s 2016 peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) ended a decades-long armed conflict. Successful reintegration and restoration of trust are vital to a country plagued by decades of conflict, where high levels of criminal and gender-based violence persist despite previous DDR processes.

The project will study on-going and previous DDR processes in Colombia through surveys, ethnographic and participatory visual research. Comparing the Colombian experience with previous DDR processes in Guatemala and Nepal, ‘Gendering reconciliation’ will contribute to academic theory and provide international policy recommendations.

Download Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR): lessons from Guatemala

Project lead

Sanne Weber








Project lead

International Development Department
Research Fellow

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