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Cordaid access to justice

Justice and peace

In fragile and conflict-affected settings, the state is often unable to fulfil its primary obligation: to protect the population and maintain the rule of law. Security and justice providers like police and courts are unresponsive and citizens bear the burden, with women, youth and the poorest disproportionally affected.

Shrinking space for civil society

Local voices in civil society are the foundation upon which our security and justice initiatives are built. Unfortunately, in recent years, the space for civil society to advocate and lobby for fundamental rights has shrunk significantly.

In several countries, the right to congregate was prohibited by authorities, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Such measures reduced citizens’ freedom of speech, undermining attempts to hold authorities accountable.

In Mali, the democratically elected government was overthrown by the military, which subsequently limited the ability of civil society actors to operate freely.

From the perspective of security and justice, one of the most challenging moments was the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban. The collapse of the Afghan government has had severe consequences for the position of women and has curtailed opportunities for civil society to advocate for inclusion.

Despite these challenges, we continued our work, supporting local civil society actors with tools to develop effective advocacy agendas and bring their voices to international fora like the UN.

Better security, justice and governance outcomes

We strengthen the capacities of people, communities and civil society to effectively advocate and act to achieve better security, justice and governance outcomes.

We do this through joint research and analysis of the needs and priorities of justice seekers and capacity strengthening for better advocacy and influencing strategies.

We connect local advocacy initiatives with regional and international lobby and advocacy, ensuring that the voice of communities is heard and amplified by international stakeholders.

System strengthening: the sustainable way forward

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Increasing responsiveness and accountability

We reinforce the responsiveness and accountability of security and justice providers in volatile and fragile settings.

We do this by introducing results-based financing for security, justice, and governance. This has proven successful in promoting effective, accountable and inclusive institutions, leading to better security and justice outcomes for local communities.

We work with the formal security and justice sector, as well as with civil society and communities. We also support local NGOs to provide legal aid and mediate conflicts.


Through various programmes, we enhance inclusive peacebuilding and security processes which are responsive to the needs of citizens and their communities. Our work promotes the role and leadership of women and youth in conflict prevention, peacebuilding, and enhancing local security.

All our actions are anchored in the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 2250. Civil society’s engagement in peacebuilding and state-building is a critical contribution to both conflict and crisis prevention. 

Resolving conflict and promoting social cohesion 

Women and youth are an integral part of inclusive, peaceful societies. However, their contribution to peacebuilding and security processes is often neglected.

In Iraq, for instance, we have involved young people in advocacy to prevent and eliminate gender-based violence.

In Burundi, DRC and Uganda, more than 400 young people participated in the Youth Borderlands Forum in 2021.

This project was developed by Cordaid and the United Network of Young Peacebuilders, UNOY. Local partner organisations received training in research and advocacy and strengthened their cross-border collaboration to work towards more inclusive peacebuilding in the region.




  • Health care

    Ensuring access to quality health care for all
  • Humanitarian assistance

    Assisting people in some of the largest crises in the world
  • Food systems

    Strengthening agri-food systems and creating job opportunities
  • Education

    Providing better access to quality education