Safe Cities
General Guidance
Related Tools

Be Clear on Key Concepts and Definitions

Last edited: October 30, 2010

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It is helpful to be explicit about what women’s safety means for the city or community in which a safe cities for women programme is taking place. If partners disagree on what women’s safety means, or have different interpretations of it, they may not be able to come up with effective actions (Community Coordination for Women’s Safety Project, 2005, page 38). For example, one partner may believe that women’s safety in public spaces is disconnected from poverty, while another partner may believe that poverty is a key factor in women’s insecurity. These conflicting ideas could make it impossible for objectives to be set regarding the focus of safe cities for women programming. To avoid this kind of conflict, find partners who already share the same general ideas about safe cities for women. This could mean contacting a politician who has mentioned women’s urban safety in their election platform, or a community organization that works specifically on women’s rights. Alternatively, provide partners with materials or training on safe cities so that everyone is on the same page.

Example: Insumos para una caja de herramientas : Programa ciudades sin violencia hacia las mujeres, ciudades seguras para todos y todas (Resources for a toolkit : Programme for cities without violence against women, safe cities for all), 2010.

This toolkit was produced by the UNIFEM Regional Programme "Cities Without Violence against Women, Safe Cities For All”. It provides readers with excellent information on and examples from experience implementing a safe cities programme in Bogota, Colombia. Information is provided on a variety of topics, including clear articulation of key concepts and definitions. See page 14 for an example of a well-formulated conceptual statement about the programme. Available in Spanish.  


Tips for Finding Common Ground in Building Partnerships to End Violence against Women: A Practical Guide for Rural and Isolated Communities (Community Coordination for Women’s Safety Project, Canada, 2005): pages 41 – 46. This guide provides eleven tips that programme partners can use to determine what key concepts are most important for their safe cities for women work. It can also be used to determine if each partner can accept the others’ views.  Each tip includes an easy-to-understand explanation and examples of communities around British Columbia, Canada. Available in English.

On Finding “Common Ground” in Building Partnerships to End Violence against Women: A Practical Guide for Rural and Isolated Communities
(Community Coordination for Women's Safety Project, 2005). British Columbia Association of Specialized Victim Assistance and Counselling Programs: pages 112 - 114. This tool offers safe cities for women partners several tips on determining what their common ideas are regarding violence against women. It also provides instructions for an exercise in which partners work together to find out what beliefs they hold in common and why. Available in English

The Partnership Code of Conduct in Inviting Partners to Partner: Creating a Partnership Learning Model and Code of Conduct (Leavitt, J., 2002). Huairou Commission: page 5. This tool is is a framework that different safe cities for women programme partners can review and agree upon in order to ensure that everyone involved understands the abilities and beliefs of everyone else. This tool gives specific consideration to the needs of grassroots women’s groups. Available in English.

Collaboration Math for More Effective Coalitions (Prevention Commission: The Violence against Women Prevention Partnership, 2008). California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. This short annotated slide presentation describes the tool called "Collaboration Math". Collaboration math is a simple strategy safe cities for women programme partners can use to decide upon the different goals, information, approaches and resources that they would like to promote. By combining the list of factors put forth by all programme partners, agreements can be reached (i.e. a common goal can be reached for the programme based on an "average" of each partner's individual goal). An example is given based on the Oklahoma Violence Prevention Planning Committee. Available in English; 9:19 minutes.