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GameChangers 360 Capabilities

GameChangers 360 helps our clients and partners deepen and expand their understanding of the human domain and its relationship to violent conflict and extremism by highlighting the role of under-recognized populations and issues. We do this by employing multiple approaches to our research, analysis, planning, assessments, and program design, e.g.:

  • Gendered approach: taking into account behaviors, tasks, and responsibilities that a society considers appropriate for men, women, boys and girls as well as the rights and opportunities afforded to them.
  • Identity-focused approach: considering an individual’s or group’s sense of self that can be influenced by a range of factors including: ethnicity, tribe/clan, politics, religion, social and economic status, age, etc.
  • Social structure approach: examining local practices, customs, and systems to determine how they prevent and/or contribute to instability, extremism, and conflict.

Analyzing conflict, extremism, and instability through the perspectives of gender, identity, and social structures not only enhances situational awareness, but also helps to determine viable courses of action to prevent/counter them by revealing:

  • power dynamics
  • local needs and priorities
  • the impact of male-female relations and gender roles
  • groups’ and individuals’ access to resources and opportunities

We have experience working with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), the United Nations (UN), Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DIILS), and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), among others.


Research & Analysis
Training and education
Project, exercise, and workshop design

Areas of expertise

Gender/UNSCR 1325 Women, Peace                         Civil Society
and Security                                                                         Informal justice
Youth                                                                                       Refugees & IDPs
Governance                                                                          Countering Violent Extremism
Civil-military operations                                                 Stabilization
Peace building                                                                    Human rights


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November Newsletter-Sanity vs. Insanity: Peace or Barbarism?
Peacemakers: Clockwise, from top left, Asha Amin, campaigner for women, Somalia; Monica McWilliams, Northern Ireland women’s coalition; Ana Guadalupe Martínez, former liberation leader, El Salvador; Luz Méndez, women’s campaigner, Guatemala; Starlin Abdi Arush, aid worker, Somalia; Martha Karua, rights activist, Kenya. Photo credit: The Guardian
There are a lot of crazies out there fomenting violence. Atrocities committed by maniacal groups like IS, Boko Haram, al Shabaab and others cut from the same crazy quilt seem to be sucking up all of the “media” oxygen. It’s time to take a break from the endless reports about men who: 1) fancy little black numbers in the form of masks, 2) measure their worth by the size of their weapons, and 3) fulfill their strategic aims by oppressing women: enslaving “non-believers” and encouraging “believers” to churn out future extremists weaned on violence and subjugation.
Yes, the outrages need to tracked, but GC360 believes it’s time — for a change — to take a look at the sane people, aka the peace builders.  They’re out there doing good work, but rarely capture the headlines. Read this month’s newsletter to learn about women who walk the talk of peace from grassroots efforts to national-level peace processes. (And feel free to share this information with policy makers … 🙂

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Tribal Governance and Stability in Yemen

This report not only assists in understanding some of the reasons for Yemen’s current state of conflict, but more importantly, shares valuable insights about Yemeni tribes as a social force over time. When it comes to discussing the tribes and their role in providing security and justice — key pillars of effective governance –, Nadwa al-Dawsari speaks with authority having spent eight years working directly with Yemeni tribes and tribal leaders. She points out, “Yemenis have relied on indigenous tribal traditions to regulate conflict and establish justice for centuries, if not millennia. … [They] provide social order outside the formal system.” And tribes continue to do this primarily in response to weak and ineffective state security and rule of law institutions. Learn from an expert about how tribes and tribal leaders influence, assist, and sometimes stymie the state security sector and why understanding this presents an opportunity to design “an approach to state-building that can facilitate the political transition process in a way that responds to Yemen’s unique and strongly tribal society.” Read full article.

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Village Stability Operations and the Afghan Local Police

Moyar begins by stating that “for nearly all of the recorded history of what is today Afghanistan, the village militia was a central feature of village autonomy… [holding] primary responsibility for the community’s security in most villages…” Despite this fact, it took the US Government almost a decade to acknowledge the important role of tribes and other non-state actors in terms of providing security in Afghanistan. Moyar’s report examines two Department of Defense (DoD) programs — Village Stability Operations (VSO) and the Afghan Local Police (ALP) – that were created in 2010 in response to this apparent “epiphany” on the part of DoD. As counterinsurgency programs, VSO and ALP were designed to improve village-level security and by doing so, directly weaken insurgent groups. While counterinsurgency was the “flavor of the month” in Afghanistan for several years, this report gets beyond labels. And it reveals a basic truth: improving security requires a detailed understanding of all political relationships and political personalities, both formal/state as well as ethnicities, tribes, families and the informal power structures they create. Read full article.

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Tribal Security System (Arabakai) in Southeast Afghanistan

Interested in understanding just what in the heck tribal security and justice looks like? Then read Mohammed Tariq’s study of Arbakai, a form of community policing that has existed for centuries in Afghanistan. Considering the dearth of literature addressing the role of tribes in providing local security (to include justice ), this report is a find. And it’s not just a well-written desktop study. Tariq provides original research findings using data collected during interviews, focus group discussions and his own experience working with the Arbakai between 2001 and 2006, after the fall of the Taliban regime. He also answers the critical question: how can the state security sector engage with the Arbakai? All of this makes for a thorough examination, helping us to wrap our heads around the structure, operations, strengths, and weaknesses of a tribal security system and its relationship to the state. Read full article.

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October Newsletter: Security Sector Reform and Tribes
Photo credit:

This month GC360 takes a look at security sector reform (SSR) and the role of non-state actors — specifically tribes — in this process.  Consolidating peace after conflict requires the restoration of security and justice. Efforts in this regard focus on creating police, military, and legal institutions that not only provide security, but also restore public confidence in the state’s ability to govern.

Too often, the pursuit of this goal results in SSR activities that seek to replicate western security sectors rather than designing initiatives that take into account realities on the ground. In Iraq and Afghanistan, for instance, SSR efforts focused almost entirely on rebuilding state security institutions, failing to acknowledge the significant, historical role of tribes and other non-state actors in providing justice and physical security. This approach to SSR generated new tensions between state and non-state actors and, in many cases, increased instability.

Hey Toto, it’s clear that we’re not in Kansas anymore when it comes to helping failed and fragile states establish effective security sectors. Whether we like it or not, in many countries, tribes and tribal politics directly impact security sector reform. Understanding this helps to create functional security sectors. Ignoring it guarantees perennial instability. GC360’s recommended readings this month lead to understanding.

Read the October Newsletter | Click Here to Subscribe

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SecurityWomen is an organization that advocates for the inclusion of women in security sector institutions, such as military and police forces. It does so by highlighting items such as news, academic papers, and other publications on the topic of Women Peace and Security. It also tracks developments in gender equality within security institutions.


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United Network of Young Peacebuilders

The United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY) aims to increase the role of young people in peacebuilding worldwide. It primarily works in two areas: international advocacy for youth participation in peacebuilding, and capacity building for youth peacebuilding organizations through training, partnerships and publications. It is a network of over 60 youth peace organizations from over 45 countries worldwide, with a Netherlands-based International Steering Group and board.


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Brenda Oppermann

Brenda OppermannInternational Stability Operations and Development Advisor – Serving as an advisor, researcher and senior program manager for various organizations including: USAID, UN, US Institute of Peace, US Army, OSCE, NATO and assorted NGOs. Expertise in traditional justice, gender/women’s issues, civil society, governance, counterinsurgency and stabilization at strategic/policy, operational/program and tactical/implementation levels. Extensive experience working in fragile states and areas of conflict and post-conflict in Africa, Central Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Excellent analytical, evaluation and communication skills. Aptitude for integrating cross-cutting issues into policy and programming. Significant experience with the interagency process, civil-military relations and bi-lateral and international collaboration.

 Click to view Brenda‘s bio.


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