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Community of Practice

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The need

Why a community of practice?

All current approaches for the protection of civilians and community safety—whether armed or unarmed—added together do not come close to meeting present needs. The world needs effective, affordable, and replicable approaches for protecting civilians and supporting community self-protection: Unarmed Civilian Protection/Accompaniment (UCP/A) is such an approach. By bringing together a global community of practitioners, partners, researchers, and allies, we can make UCP/A more widely available and accessible for the benefit of all those whose reality continues to be dominated by violent conflict.

refugee (clipart)
forcibly displaced people worldwide
world/thermometer (clipart)
(3.3 - 3.6B) people live in contexts that are highly vulnerable to climate change‎
(IPCC ar6 report 2)
fists conflict (clipart)
of the past 14 years showed a deterioration in peacefulness
(2022 Global Peace Index)
Growing the Field

Connecting the Community of Practice

People have been employing unarmed civilian protection methods as common practice to protect themselves and others throughout history. In recent years, these methods have been brought together in an organized, applied approach known as Unarmed Civilian Protection or Accompaniment. There are at least 60 known groups practising UCP/A—‎and a vast range of community-level initiatives continue to emerge around the world.‎


UCP/A organizations have demonstrated that well-trained civilians working closely with communities can prevent and interrupt violence in a wide variety of situations. However, UCP/A has only relatively recently gained recognition as a valuable method for protecting civilians and contributing to sustainable peace. Now, the UCP/A Community of Practice needs sufficient policy support, recognition, and funding to scale up and provide an effective, practical, and sustainable response to the widening need for civilian protection.

Good Practices Gatherings

In order to collect and document UCP/A Good Practices, NP convenes practitioners, field partners, project participants, policymakers, and researchers to discuss and validate UCP/A good practices that can be scaled up and replicated to improve upon existing practice and share with others interested in practicing UCP/A. From 6 Regional Workshops, an International Virtual Gathering, and an International Face-to-Face Gathering, hundreds of practitioners, partners, and researchers from 160 organizations across 45 countries have collectively identified our shared good practices.

Key Learnings

Reflections from the Unarmed Civilian Protection/Accompaniment (UCP/A) Virtual Gathering in November 2021 and the six regional UCP/A Good Practices Workshops that preceded it:
English | Spanish | French | Arabic

"Good Practices in Unarmed Civilian Protection" (Paige McLain, Chris Grathwol, and Will Goltra; Nonviolent Peaceforce and the University of Minnesota Human Rights Lab), February 2021:

UCP/A International Gathering (2023)

Participants from all over the world contributed to an inspiring experience designed to support the work of delivering unarmed civilian protection/accompaniment (UCP/A) and expand the UCP/A Community of practice.​ From 8-12 October, 84 attendeespractitioners, community and NGO partners, researchers and academicsgathered in the Geneva area. Together, 37 organizations were represented by attendees from 31 countries and 6 continents.

For more information​

International Virtual Gathering (2021)

The virtual international gathering was held November 12-14 and 19-21 of 2021

Regional Workshops (2017 - 2021)

The research underpinning the Good Practices Workshops consists of case studies conducted in four areas of the world where UCP is practised: South Sudan, Colombia, the Philippines (Mindanao) and Israel/Palestine. The researchers reviewed the work of more than twenty local and international organizations and identified and described 77 UCP good practices. Their findings were published in Wielding Nonviolence in the Midst of Violence (purchase the book here, see the summary pdf here).

From 2017 - 2021, six facilitated consultation groups convened on a regional basis and made up of UCP practitioners, field partners, beneficiaries, and academics for three-day sessions to review their work, analyze findings from Wielding Nonviolence in the Midst of Violence and validate good practices and emerging themes as well as identify dilemmas or challenges raised but not answered by the cases. 

Summary of all Good Practices Workshops: EnglishFrenchSpanishArabic 

Reports from each Good Practices Workshop by region:

Countries with UCP/A Activity*
Included in Selkirk College Database 2022

Click on image to enlarge.
View source definitions, descriptions, and lists via Selkirk College here.
*does not include the full unknown breadth and depth of UCP/A community initiatives.

Get Connected

Shanti Sena

The North American UCP/A network offers quarterly video conferences in English and a Listserv to support communication between meetings. To join contact Adele Lennig.

[email protected]

Sign Up

Global ListServ

A Global Listserv for UCP/A organizations from around the world. To join contact Jan Passion.

[email protected]

Sign Up
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Join a Working Group

Expand and enhance the Community of Practice through working groups: formalization/growth, improve communications between the network, and enable easier resource exchanges. To join contact Sol Santos.

[email protected]

Email Sol

Engage in Discussion

Join the conversation and access resources at ConnexUs

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UCP Research Database

Visit this user-friendly way of finding the latest research on unarmed civilian protection, community self-protection and related topics.

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