Sustainable peace and security depend on functioning institutions and relationships of trust and cooperation between people and the authorities that serve them. As local and international nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), Saferworld, ZOA and the Sudanese Development Initiative (SUDIA) work in contexts where protracted conflict has damaged or destroyed many institutions and undermined state-society relations. Building (or rebuilding) trust and cooperation takes time and requires skills and resources, and must be done in a way that ensures all relevant groups are included. There are risks – but also significant benefits – to such cooperation. In order to learn from and improve interventions, the three authoring NGOs organised a learning event to discuss and critically review their work with and alongside government and customary authorities. This brought together practitioners from Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi to share experiences of community-level security and peacebuilding work and to learn from each other’s diverse experiences. Organisations participating in the workshop and also sharing their experiences were CARE, Somali Women Development Centre, World Relief and Action Pour la Paix et la Concorde.