Updated Sep 18, 2018

Gastelum Siria

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Strengthening community responses against organized crime

Stage 3: Proof of Concept

We started documenting community responses to crime in 2016, with the aim of creating a global network of resilient communities, as part of SDG 11. Last year, we launched the Resilience Dialogues in Sinaloa, identifying key resilience actors. We hosted an event which included a workshop, a women’s forum, and an arts festival. We are developing more initiatives in Sinaloa and the Mexico-US border. With funding, we want to expand to three areas: Central America, The Philippines, and South Africa.

Focus Areas:

Peace and Resilience

Peace and ResilienceSEE LESS

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In areas where criminal governance is entrenched, policy makers tend to overlook the community responses that deal with criminality at a local level. Where organised crime has thrived, criminals are often seen as providers. Top-down solutions rarely succeed, because communities see criminality as a way to survive. SDG 16 is to create peaceful societies where justice serves all, but families and children that have been affected by organised crime are not served by distant institutions.



Our vision is the creation of a global network connecting resilient actors of communities world wide. Community resilience can be identified as a community’s ability to respond to adversity, whilst retaining its functional capacities. We wanted to highlight the inspirational and impactful work undertaken by communities in arduous circumstances, and develop resilience-based initiatives in order to protect and empower citizens who have taken and continue to take a stand against organised crime. In the context of organised crime, the community resilience approach demands understanding how organised crime can become a part of a community’s culture, impacting people’s lives in more ways than might be immediately obvious. Through research driven workshops, dialogues, and participant feedback, the GI hopes to identify the vulnerabilities of communities, and highlight the factors that make communities resilient. Our ultimate vision is the establishment of a strong network, developed in conjunction with key resilience actors in Mexico, Central America, the Philippines and South Africa. We want to produce a sustainable model that will strengthen community resilience against organized crime and violence.

Competitive Advantage

We meet the solutions where they already are: in the work that communities are carrying out for themselves. Traditionally, policies are drafted at a remove from the reality of the circumstances faced by those affected by crime, and as a result, an increasing number of vulnerable communities have been over militarized, which has led to human rights abuses. Instead, we look at organised crime from a multi-angled perspective, prioritising development, gender, and resilience. Our goal is not to focus on the eradication of crime in a particular area, but rather to incubate and develop existing local initiatives that mitigate the consequence of crime and violence and/or function as a prevention mechanism. Unlike other global programmes addressing transnational organized crime, the #GIresilience project puts the local resilience actors at the forefront of the solutions, so that instead of becoming another statistic, the communities are acknowledged as the first responders to crime.

Planned Goals and Milestones

After successfully running a pilot project in Sinaloa, Mexico, the Resilience project is now also being implemented in communities along the Mexico-US border, and we are looking to establish networks in South Africa, the Philippines, and Guatemala. We have recruited three people for our South Africa project, including a gang mediator, and are currently recruiting someone to launch our project in Guatemala. In South Africa and Philippines, experts from the GI are already beginning work, with our South African partners developing three baseline papers, researching gang dynamics in three South African cities: Cape Town, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay, that will be published in 2019. This year we also recruited a local coordinator in Sinaloa, Mexico, where we have an established a resilience network of more than 50 organizations and individuals, and the second edition of the Resilience Dialogues will take place at the end of October 2018.


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