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Frequently Asked Questions

Project dldl/ድልድል is a research and innovation project dedicated to the development and strengthening of religio-culturally sensitive, domestic violence alleviation systems in Ethiopia, Eritrea and the UK. The project seeks to promote a decolonial approach to addressing domestic violence in religious communities by engaging substantively with the religio-cultural belief systems of the victims/survivors and the perpetrators, and by understanding how these belief systems interface with gender, material and psychological parameters to facilitate or deter domestic violence. Working with Ethiopian and Eritrean collaborators, and rural and urban communities, the project seeks to generate new research and intervention approaches, and to apply this knowledge to inform strategies for integrating in domestic violence services and better-supporting affected ethnic minority and migrant populations in the UK. The project is funded by UKRI under a Future Leaders Fellowship (Grant Ref: MR/T043350/1) and is supported with additional funding from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation (Distinguished Scholars Award 2019).

dldl/ድልድል translates as ‘bridge’ in Tigrigna language – a language that is spoken in both Ethiopia and Eritrea. The word encapsulates the project’s objective of bridging different disciplines, sectors and stakeholders in order to achieve a more genuinely collaborative and integrated approach for addressing domestic violence in diverse religio-cultural contexts. It also reflects the project’s aims of encouraging cross-cultural learning through South–North knowledge exchange, and of reversing the historical dominance of Northern societies in setting theoretical paradigms and in dictating approaches internationally within domestic violence and gender-based violence research and practice.

The logo was designed by Mr Daniel Desta at DDN Advertising in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Mr Desta and Dr Istratii worked together to create a logo that would successfully convey the vision of the project and communicate the urgency for working across sectors in good faith in order to address domestic violence effectively.

The white arch symbolises the bridge that the project aims to act as across stakeholder groups, theoretical disciplines and sectors, while the colour red, being the colour of blood, conveys the pain and damage resulting from violence at home. The black leaves on the branches represent tears.

From the bridge grow sturdy branches, symbolising hope and upward movement. The branches intersect one another, representing the collaborations and connections created through this project to achieve more integrated domestic violence support-systems in diverse religious communities.

The project was created and is being led by UKRI Future Leaders Fellow Dr Romina Istratii and is hosted at the School of History, Religions and Philosophies at SOAS University of London. Dr Istratii, as principal investigator (PI), is responsible for directing the research, sensitisation and knowledge-exchange activities, as well as for fostering productive and trust-based relationships with partners, collaborators and stakeholder communities. The PI is supported in the management of this ambitious project by a part-time project manager, Ms Estela Papagianni.

The project has evolved from Dr Istratii’s previous long-term PhD research in Tigray region, Ethiopia, and reflects many years’ consultations and discussions with friends and colleagues in Aksum, Mekelle and Addis Ababa. It builds upon old and new partnerships with academic and non-governmental organisations, including Aksum University (Aksum, Ethiopia), the St Frumentius Abba Selama Kessate Berhan Theological College (Mekelle, Ethiopia), the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development and Inter-Church Aid Commission (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), Diversity Resource International (Brighton, UK) and its sister-branch Waniney (Asmara, Eritrea), the University of Bristol (Bristol, UK) and the University of Sheffield (Sheffield, UK).

The project team also includes numerous independent specialists and technical partners who support the project in different capacities, as well as a dedicated Advisory Board, all of whom are listed on the ‘About Us’ page.

The website aims to facilitate the impact strategy of the project by creating a dissemination and knowledge-exchange platform in order to bring together the different stakeholder groups of this project, and to promote cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary learning and the fostering of new collaborations. The website publishes regular outputs from research, engagement and awareness-raising and knowledge-exchange activities. It also includes a dedicated resources page, which publishes resources aimed at specific stakeholders, namely, clergy, theologians and seminarians, and practitioners and researchers in the area of domestic violence. While many of these resources are country specific, others have wider relevance and can inform international approaches to the study and alleviation of domestic violence within religious communities. The project seeks to publish all resources in Amharic, Tigrigna and English, although resources are published first in the language that is most accessible to the communities and stakeholders those resources aim primarily to serve.

You may support the objectives of the project by sharing the resources available on the website with clergy, seminarians, counsellors, social workers, researchers, and practitioners and other stakeholders who work in addressing domestic violence and are interested in understanding how they might engage with religio-cultural parameters in their work.

If you are involved in such work yourself, you may consider submitting a blog essay to the project’s dedicated blog, which aims to facilitate the sharing of new knowledge and experience around the project’s thematic areas. For details, please see the Blog Guidelines. The blog accepts submissions in all languages and in diverse formats, including audio and visual.

You may also like to become involved in the project’s discussion group DV-Gender-Faith on JISCMAIL, which is intended for domestic violence practitioners, researchers and religious stakeholders to share new research, training materials and experiences, in order to build good practices together and to promote better-integrated approaches to addressing domestic violence within religious communities.

For general enquiries about the project or if you seek to explore new partnerships, please contact the project’s dedicated email address: soasflf@soas.ac.uk. If you would like to speak directly to the principal investigator, Dr Romina Istratii, please write to ri5@soas.ac.uk. To reach any other team member listed on the website, please write to the project’s dedicated email and state which member you would like to contact. In out-of-work-hours or if you are facing slow Internet connection, you may use the one-click submissible contact form on the ‘Contact’ page of the website.