What we do

Athena recognises the importance of process issues as well as technical substance, and offers a range of support to those working in and on mediation, conflict resolution, peacemaking and peacebuilding. This includes:

  • Direct, practical advice and technical support to mediators, peace process actors and women in and around peace processes.
  • Agreement text drafting and review.
  • Programme and policy development, design and implementation.
  • Mentoring, coaching and side-by-side support to officials and other peace process actors to strengthen good practice.
  • Representation and advocacy.
  • Advising and working with national counterparts on the drafting of National Action Plans related to the six 'women peace and security' UN Security Council resolutions.
  • Policy relevant research.
  • Provision of country and issue briefs on a range of peace and security relevant themes.
  • Training.
  • Evaluation of programmes and policies.
  • Peer reviews of analytical material.
  • Remedial work on reports and documents including editing and drafting..
  • Substance editing, drafting and remedial work on text of all kinds (agreements, policies, reports).
  • Dissemination and messaging of policy and practitioner analysis across various forms of media, policy communities and networks.

With Athena’s extensive networks amongst international institutions, civil society, and governments, our specialists have significant experience developing communications strategies, creating and delivering presentations to conferences, seminars and workshops at all levels.

Demonstrating for equal citizenship and equal rights for men and women in Beirut, Lebanon  © Jenny Gustafsson/Courtesy of IRIN www.irinnews.org
Demonstrating for equal citizenship and equal rights for men and women in Beirut, Lebanon © Jenny Gustafsson/Courtesy of IRIN www.irinnews.org

An endorsement for Athena from Ram Manikkalingam, Director, Dialogue Advisory Group and former Senior Advisor on the peace process to former Sri Lankan President Kumaratunga. "Athena knows how to use gender to make peace. It engages women on the ground in armed conflicts and in international policy debates on how to resolve them"

Examples of current and past work include:
• Providing strategic advice, contributing to international policy and hands-on support to mediation and dialogue work as Senior Manager for Mediation Support, Gender and Inclusion to the Crisis Management Initiative (September 2013 to date) e.g. on projects in Central African Republic, Guinea Bissau, South Caucasus, South Sudan, and Yemen and high level training for peace envoys in cooperation with PRIO and UN Department for Political Affairs.

• Member of the Expert Advisory Board for the project Broadening Participation in Track One Negotiations run by the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding at the Geneva Institute for International Development Studies, and the University of Bilkent (2013-2014).

• Providing expert commentary on and collaborating in the launch of OSCE guideline on gender and mediation (2013).

• Providing expert input on women and peace building to cross Whitehall Women Peace and Security Training (UK Department of Defence, Department for International Development and Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (November 2013)

• Providing training to women from Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia on women's inclusion in peace processes for UN Women and the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (2013).

• Devising a mentoring scheme for the HD Centre Asia office that was low-cost, bespoke and provided ongoing support to staff to develop their skills and confidence on how to include gender in their work (2011-2012).

• Developing a custom-designed gender audit for the HD Asia programme to assess strengths and weaknesses in understanding and implementing gendered approaches in operational and policy work.

• Providing technical support to the EU, UN Women, and the Office of the UN Special Representative on the Sahel through HD for the May 2013 High Level Conference on Women’s Leadership in the Sahel.

• Providing expert advice, contributing to policy and shaping advocacy to the EU on gender, peace and security to the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (September 2011-September 2013).

• Devising creative ways to communicate complex policy concerns such as masculinities and violence. In 2006, Cate Buchanan commissioned two photographers to develop portraits of men from Uganda, Sudan, Colombia, El Salavador and Guatemala to illustrate men's diverse relationships to armed violence as prevention advocates, perpetrators, survivors and victims, policymakers. The "Men and Guns" exhibition has traveled to many countries.

• Leading strategic planning processes which prioritize gender inclusivity (Concern Worldwide 2000, Oxfam GB 2009).