Community of Practice
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.
(IPCC ar6 report 2)
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.
*Felicity Ellen Gray, "A different kind of weapon’? Nonviolent action and the protection of civilians in violent conflict" (unpublished manuscript, March 2023), print.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Reports from each Good Practices Workshop by region:
- Manila: December 7-9, 2017 | Full report | Short report
- Beirut: June 18-20, 2018 | Full report | Short report
- Nairobi: November 12-14, 2018 | Full report | Short report
- Paynesville: October 21-23, 2019 | Full report | Short report
- Bogotá: January 13-15, 2020 | Full report (English) | Full report (Spanish) | Short report (English) | Short report (Spanish)
- Virtual Europe: February 19-21, 2021 | Full report | Short report
International Virtual Gathering (2021)
The virtual international gathering was held November 12-14 and 19-21 of 2021
UCP/A International Gathering (2023)
Practitioners, partners, researchers and allies will be gathering in the Geneva area 8 - 12 October to strengthen the UCP/A Community of Practice, share resources, explore commonly held challenges, improve our monitoring, evaluation and learning and advocate for greater policy and funding opportunities. Click here for details.
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.