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The Project

Women experience multiple and intersecting forms of inequality, vulnerability and marginalization throughout their life course, and they are often disproportionate victims of the consequences of conflicts.

Reconstruction and development policies are currently based on the assumption that there is a homogeneous level of moral capability among recipients, without a clear understanding of the interplay between structural gender inequalities, the normalisation of rights-abuse and sustainable development. Therefore, there is a clear gap in understanding how women’s awareness of their rights impacts their agency and how this can be integrated into the design of developmental measures. The risk in conflict-affected countries is that a lack of assessment of women’s awareness about their dignity can invalidate the impacts of gender-sensitive international development efforts, promoting passive welfarism rather than development.

The research focuses on the conflict-affect region of Mindanao in the Philippines. The project will provide pre-conditional information on what is effective for women’s economic and social upgrading at the interface of gender relations, armed conflict and abused rights. The development of MCAT, an innovative Moral Capability Assessment Tool, we will give developmental actors - including businesses - the possibility to contribute to reducing inequality between persons of different gender. The tool will be digitally available and will be used to digitally train local operators on how to use our engagement methodologies. The project also will take in consideration how businesses play a central role in the achievement of sustainable peace and gender equality, in line with their assignment of direct responsibilities for human rights as established in the UNGPs.

Through impactful and ambitious research, we will blend together digital technologies, social sciences and mental health studies in order to understand what works in the advancement of women’s development in fragile contexts.

Structural barriers, discriminatory practices and the feminization of poverty remain persistent forms of gender inequality in Mindanao. The effectiveness of resilience measures for women’s empowerment and the enjoyment of their human rights and agency still remain on the margins of the discussion, impacting negatively the achievement of sustainable development for all. The theoretical and conceptual approaches of the study are applicable to all conflict-affected societies on the DAC list.


  • To promote knowledge mobilization on how conflict and the normalisation of rights-abuse impact gender equality and women's dignity using the Mindanao case  
  • To employ digital creative and participatory methodologies as a means of co-developing new knowledge and solidarities, by giving voice and agency to women  
  • To investigate the relationship between moral capability and vulnerability to extreme forms of exploitation, including modern slavery 

Photos by Bobby Timonera,

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