A Global Advocacy Campaign to Connect Women Peacebuilders


International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) is an organization that recognizes the gendered impact of violent conflict and the critical role of women peacebuilders. They work to promote inclusive and sustainable peace in countries affected by violence, or levels of extremism, militarism, or a closing political space. 

ICAN partnered with Media Cause to help launch a global advocacy campaign that would engage communities around the world in standing with women peacebuilders and build power to advance policy change.


The Challenge

ICAN’s work and their membership is multifold and complex. They needed to unite and serve women peacebuilders and their communities around the world in a way that was culturally and locally relevant. They also needed to break down a complex issue of building peace in a way that would be accessible to a wide range of audiences, from everyday citizens to governments and policy makers.

The Strategy

ICAN’s work is incredibly complex, and the term, function, need, and impact of women peacebuilders is not widely understood. The campaign’s success depended on developing a strategy that would raise awareness about women peacebuilders, educate the public on the critical roles they play in conflict zones, and provide action opportunities to support women peacebuilders.

We worked with leaders across ICAN’s team to gain a deep understanding of their mission, objectives, issue space, partners, and audiences. Based on that knowledge, we developed a campaign strategy that allowed us to identify key performance indicators, critical deliverables, and form an aggressive production timeline.

The campaign was implemented by women peacebuilders around the world, across multiple countries, communities, cultures, and languages and represented the movement everywhere from local contexts to the United Nations. 

Women peacebuilder groups used the She Builds Peace campaign to unite their messaging and calls to action in the countries where they live and work, holding launch events, meeting with government and local leaders, and incorporating the framework and visuals into their efforts through out-of-home advertising, producing campaign materials in their local languages, and rallying their communities to support the campaign’s calls-to-action.

The Implementation

We built the campaign “She Builds Peace” to center around our goals of highlighting women peacebuilders and their active role in building less violent, more stable communities around the globe. The clear statement allowed for simple translation, ensuring no margin for error as the campaign was translated into multiple languages around the world.

The visual identity of the campaign was designed to communicate the warmth, accessibility, and inclusivity that define ICAN and the movement of women peacebuilders. The color gradients point to grassroots origins and building power from the bottom up. The icon features the simurgh, a character from Persian mythology, whose origin story points to solutions to problems lying within the communities themselves.

It’s no secret that conflict resolution, peacebuilding, and policy change are extraordinarily complex areas of work. Effective She Builds Peace communications needed to break down these complicated issues into simple enough language for the general population to understand, without losing their nuance.

We created a messaging framework that would allow ICAN and its partners to communicate the campaign’s core objectives succinctly and memorably called SOAR: 

  • Safety for women peacebuilders 
  • Obligation – holding governments accountable to their commitments 
  • Appreciation – recognizing the valuable and heroic work women peacebuilders play despite the anger and difficulty of their work
  • Resourcing – providing much-needed resources to women peacebuilders to support and expand their work

The SOAR acronym aligned perfectly with the visual identity of the campaign and made it easier to recall the core campaign objectives.

Due to the complex nature of the messaging, we knew a video would be the best medium to explain the campaign, so we developed an introductory campaign video that would be translated into various languages. We use the stories of experienced women peacebuilders to bring the campaign to life through their real stories and images.

Watch the video here.

As part of the initiative, we needed a way to communicate and activate women peacebuilders and their communities around the world. We developed a Campaign Activation Kit to provide women peacebuilders and supporters with everything they needed to promote, understand, and communicate She Builds Peace. The toolkit was designed to be translated into multiple languages and cultural contexts.

The Campaign Activation Kit included an introduction to ICAN, education around the campaign, as well as campaign assets so that all peacebuilders were equipped with the resources needed to activate more women.

Knowing the campaign would be scaled over the next five years, we created a digital hub for She Builds Peace to serve as its home base. The campaign landing page serves as a central repository for resources and action opportunities, and was built to scale along with the campaign.