The research project ‘Gender-Sensitive Programme Design and Planning in Conflict-Affected Situations’ was carried out by ACORD during 2000 and 2001. Its overall aim was to enhance gender-awareness in the design and management of development projects in contexts affected by conflict. The field research was carried out by five community-based programmes, all of which had been operating in an environment of armed and violent conflict for a number of years, and all of which had been employing a strong gender focus in their support to communities living in the shadow of this violence. These were located in Juba (Sudan), Gulu (Uganda), Luanda (Angola), Timbuktu (Mali) and the Lower Shabelle region (Somalia). The project, which soon became known as the 'gender and conflict research project', was a timely one in terms of the external policy environment. Increasingly, development agencies, conflict analysts, and advocacy campaigners were becoming interested in the subject of ‘gender and conflict’. Gender specialists were interested in knowing more about women's experiences in war, and about the impact of such crises on gender relations. Conflict analysts and humanitarian professionals had often been accused of ignoring the gender dimensions of their work and were anxious to rebuff charges of gender-insensitivity. However, there seemed to be little common ground between these two groups, and the project was designed in part to bridge this gap.