Resolve Network

Resolve Network empowers women most affected by conflict to reclaim their lives, rebuild communities, and build peace from the ground up. We target solutions at the root of violence: access to power and resources. Step-by-step, our three-tiered approach counters the cycles of violence that culminate in genocide. The tiers build from Micro to Macro: (1) Individual, (2) Communal, (3) Societal. We start by empowering women survivors through literacy and microfinance. Then, together we work to rebuild public services such as access to clean drinking water, sanitary latrines, education, and more. Finally, we grow to societal projects addressing security, health, and civic participation.

Resolve Network
4550 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 301
Washington, DC 20008
United States
202-656-2607
http://www.resolvenetwork.org

Board of Directors

Vijaya Thakur,Tanya Tuzman,Abayomi Taiwo

Mission

Resolve Network empowers women most affected by conflict to reclaim their lives, rebuild communities, and build peace from the ground up. We target solutions at the root of violence: access to power and resources. Step-by-step, our three-tiered approach counters the cycles of violence that culminate in genocide. The tiers build from Micro to Macro: (1) Individual, (2) Communal, (3) Societal. We start by empowering women survivors through literacy and microfinance. Then, together we work to rebuild public services such as access to clean drinking water, sanitary latrines, education, and more. Finally, we grow to societal projects addressing security, health, and civic participation.

Programs

Resolve has already begun to shift the landscape of peacebuilding. Our programs are designed to empower networks of women to not only break, but to also counter the cycles of violence and become the source of sustainable peace and development in their communities. Working with women at the grassroots level has a multiplier effect, and we design all of our programs based around that knowledge. Working with one woman will raise her entire family out of poverty; working with a small group of women will raise their entire community out of poverty. Our three tiered, participatory approach builds from micro to macro, starting at the foundation and building up with cumulative and upward momentum. We begin with the individual, empowering women survivors through literacy and microfinance. From there, we work together to rebuild communities and public services. Finally, we grow to the societal, with projects addressing security, health, and civic participation. In the first tier we use microfinance to empower women to reclaim their lives and earn a sustainable income. Instead of adding interest to the microloans, which often creates a burden rather than an accountability system, our microfinance program uses a group lending practice that asks women to form small co-ops and meet weekly in efforts to promote repayment. These weekly co-op meetings create strong social support network, and helps bridge the first and second tier of our programs. The second tier is dedicated to working with the women's co-ops as they identify unmet needs in their communities and then design and implement programs to meet those needs (sanitation and water supply, agriculture, education, etc). To further a sense of ownership over these projects, a portion of the loan repayment from the microfinance program are used to provide these services to their communities. Finally, the third tier uses technology to connect isolated and communities for broad-based societal change. Women unite across war-affected provinces to develop and implement their visions for a better future. PROGRAM DESIGN Tier 1: Financial Literacy and Microfinance Program The financial literacy program is a two week program, facilitated by local economist who volunteer their time to to train participating women (approx 40 in a class) in debt management, budgeting, financial negotiations. savings, banking services and finally develop a business plan. Upon completion, the women are required to review their business plan with facilitators and field staff and pass Financial Literacy Exam. Included in the business plan, will be a thorough budget that includes cost of start-up and personal expenses. If women do not pass exam the first time or business plan is not accepted they have two more chances to redo both. Microfinance Program Once the Financial Literacy Program has been completed women are given $60-$80 interest free loan and sign agreement that requires them to repay at minimum 2% a week or 10% of loan, attend weekly group or co-operative meetings with fellow participants and monthly one on one meetings with field staff. Although, there are checks and balances built into program, however if women do default on loan, they are eligible to retake the class and receive another loan. Within a year of the loan disbursement, women should repay entire loan and no longer be living at the poverty level. On the programmatic side, field staff who works weekly with group and monthly with individual woman, keep records of financial gains and lose, monitors participation, and measures and records point system on monthly basis. Tier 2: Community Building Projects After approximately 6 months of loan repayments and while attending co-op meetings, women begin to plan and implement which various community building projects they wish to use a portion of their pooled loan repayments on. This list non-exhaustively includes water and sanitation projects ) installing water pumps, irrigation systems, and latrines), health education, and voter education and registration. Women utilize their own decision making skills and choose the top three projects to undertake ( depending on manpower needed and cost). These projects take anywhere from 3 to 9 months to be implemented. At the moment women hire outside people to implement projects, but Resolve hopes to increase knowledge management and human capital among the women, which will enable them to learn, teach and implement the community projects themselves. Share the Seeds The second community building program called Share the Seeds, is a demo field project that enables 10 female farmers having gone through microfinance program to work with an agriculturist on their plot to experiment with optimal growing techniques and produce ( cabbages, onions, carrots, etc) for sustainable agriculture. The women are able to sell produce and keep revenue, but are required to share the seeds with community and educate 5 women to do the same. This program prevents women from having to walk in perilous areas for 6 hours to the bordering county Rwanda to purchase those same produce for selling. Tier 3: Technological Innovation Technological innovation is the cornerstone of the third tier. Increasing women's access to technology can have substantial and multiplying effect on every aspect of peace building and development from security to health to education to economic development and so forth. In efforts to combat gender specific structural violence, access to technology can reduce isolation often found in the rural communities. Technology enables women to inform others of injustices brought onto her and her family in real time without having to walk dozens if not hundreds of kilometers in dangerous terrains. This is the reason we developed Crisis Mapping, Community Mhealth, and Women in the Media programs, so that women can use mobile phones and netbooks to alert on the ground task forces for help, access healthcare in their villages while communicating with nurses in the cities, and take control of how their stories are told. By targeting women and developing programs where the technological tools are designed specifically for them, we are transforming lives and enabling women to significantly alter the economic, social, and political structures in their communities and abroad. Crisis Mapping and Early Warning System Crisis mapping is a unique method to counter isolation by leveraging the power of connection. This particular crisis mapping program, was originally a Columbia University/USAID pilot project, which Resolve took over. This program uses a decentralized cell phone based SMS platform for collating events information. The pilot program, which was launched in a total of 19 villages over the 2009-2011 year period (4 in Kalehe, 6 in Walungu, 4 in Mwenga, 3 in Uvira), provides cell phones to three community members (one representing traditional leadership, one representing women's groups, one elected by communities), monthly credit, solar charger, and a codesheet of possible events, the recipients were able to send messages about theft or violence in the area. Using Frontline SMS software, the during a violent episode, recipients send numeric or text posts to a phone number linked to laptop at the headquarters. We use the data to adapt existing early warning models to better identify local signs of rising security threats. The ultimate objective is to predict and prevent violence by coordinating early response mechanisms with our partners from the UN mission's Rapid Response Task Force. We are ready to expand the program throughout Eastern Congo and connect Congolese civilians to relevant parties for fast intervention and humanitarian assistance. Women Empowerment Network (WENet) In efforts to quell the "the danger of a single story" (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie), which often depicts African women as destitute victims, Resolve wishes to provide a platform for women to tell their own stories. WENet program is designed to provide that platform for women to share their experiences, best practices, and advice to women on the local, regional, and international level. Women will have various opportunities to interact with the world. Using various media platforms like, radio commercials, marketing campaigns, and video tutorials, participating women will be able to share their best practices and new techniques with other women on the local level. The women in the villages will be given the platform to be heard as they speak with people all over the world about her experiences through " Day in the Life" on the ground coverage, that will collect footage of their lives. Community Health Program The Community mHealth program is designed to improve health by increasing the local health workforce with trained Community Health Workers and utilizing mobile technologies. Integrating rural health care training with Medic Mobile opensource software, our program connects remote villages to urban health care providers. We facilitate trainings with our partner, Panzi Hospital, and build information and communication networks between community health workers and local clinics and hospitals to create a system of superior patient care. This program, which will launch it's pilot program in a rural Eastern Congo village during the Spring of 2013, already has 46 health centers and 6 hospitals including Panzi that have signed on to participate in this program in the future, enabling Resolve to potentially reach nearly 30,000 community members.

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