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Knowledge-exchange and public engagement activities comprise the project’s fundamental tool for building bridges – not only between secular and religious stakeholders, who still lack a common platform for mutual understanding and substantive collaboration, but also between different disciplines, theoretical paradigms and sectors in order to achieve a more multi-dimensional understanding of the problem of domestic violence in religious contexts.
The project team engages with different stakeholders in the three project countries in ways appropriate to each group, adapting to their language, understandings and needs, and helping each side to enlarge their horizons in ways that can promote cross-sectoral learning and collaboration.
Knowledge-exchange activities and outputs include the establishment of new multi-stakeholder communication platforms, the delivery of webinars with specialists sharing their work and experience, the organisation of international conferences that bring together researchers and practitioners from around the world, and other initiatives. Previous activities and outputs are listed below.
15 September 2021
Dr Romina Istratii provided a half-day training to four EMIRTA researchers, including the organisation’s Director and General Manager, ahead of starting new collaborative research on domestic violence in Amhara region, Ethiopia. EMIRTA are a newly-established research, training and development centre that seeks to promote robust research standards and approaches in the country, while showing sensitivity to religious and cultural parameters and fostering approaches that consider resourcefully local knowledge systems in addressing societal issues in evidence-based ways. EMIRTA was selected to support project dldl/ድልድልresearch with the male population in the countryside of North Shoa that will seek to understand better male perspectives on domestic violence, rationalisations around domestic violence and the influence and potential of religious beliefs and morality to deter abusive behaviour in conjugal relationships. This training was the first in a planned series covering research ethics, domestic violence safeguarding and safety standards, and data management laws and regulations.
25 August 2021
Fr Evangelos Thiani, a priest of the African Orthodox Church of Kenya recently visited Addis Ababa for a training conference. The occasion provided Dr Romina Istratii and Fr Thiani, who had previously collaborated on a special issue on Orthodox missions in Africa, to make connections with colleagues in the Ethiopian Orthodox Täwahәdo Church. Dr Istratii facilitated a meeting between Fr Thiani and Mr Girma Batu, an instructor and former academic vice dean of the Holy Trinity Theological College in Addis Ababa, during which the three discussed their churches’ respective approaches to diaconia and community engagement, responses to and teaching on contemporary issues – such as domestic violence and other sensitive issues – and the potential for sharing knowledge and experience through joint teaching programmes and co-production of research papers. The meeting raised the need for African Orthodox Churches to work together more closely, share experience and accessible information about their theological traditions (raising the need for translation) and build more mutual understanding.
17 June 2021
The fifth webinar organised by project dldl/ድልድል sought to explore past and current approaches of involving clergy in domestic violence interventions and to examine what is known about the effectiveness of clergy-centred interventions. The webinar responded to extensive evidence on the central role that clergy play in the mediation of family problems and in victim and perpetrator support and the differential effects of their mediation. It aimed to add to this scholarship by means of ethnographic and practical insights by specialised researchers and practitioners who work directly with clergy and theological traditions to address domestic violence in their respective communities.
The panel included speakers from Ethiopia and the UK working with diverse religious communities, including Christian Orthodox and Roman Catholic clergy, with the aim of achieving knowledge exchange across different contexts, to share lessons and to identify good practices and challenges from around the world.
21 May 2021
This impromptu webinar co-organised by project dldl/ድልድል and the Iyesus Moa Institute of Research, Training and Development (EMIRTA/ እምርታ) in Ethiopia aimed to explore in a collegiate manner the relevance and value of decolonisation movements and decolonial reflexivity in the context of Ethiopian scientific knowledge production, especially as relevant to societal development. It sought to draw attention to the neglect of indigenous knowledge in many of the disciplines engaged by project dldl/ድልድል, such as gender studies, public health and development studies, and to draw implications for how the project could achieve meaningful impact for real communities in Ethiopia by engaging substantively with their own systems of knowledge and understandings. The panelists included current members of EMIRTA with extensive experience in religious, public health, gender-related and other development research and work in the country.
13 May 2021
The third webinar organised by project dldl/ድልድል examined how Christian Orthodox religious training institutions address the topic of domestic violence and instruct on it and what methodologies they employ to equip their students and future clergies or theologians with theological knowledge and pastoral preparedness to respond to difficult questions and family situations, including domestic abuse.
The speakers included colleagues that project dldl/ድልድል closely collaborates with in Ethiopia and Eritrea as well as specialists from other parts of the world to capture the diversity in approaches and understandings currently and to achieve knowledge exchange that can improve the ways in which seminary students and future clergies are provided with training and preparation to address difficult topics and issues around marriage in their specific contexts. The second part of the webinar discussed how the specific homilies of St John Chrysostom on marriage and related topics can become resourceful for preparing clergy and theologians to teach about marriage and against any form of domestic violence.
25 February 2021
The second webinar organised by project dldl/ድልድል aimed to inform current humanitarian efforts to support forcefully displaced populations in Tigray, and more widely, to benefit practitioners working in other conflict and displacement contexts. The presentations called attention to the fact that humanitarian responses to SGBV must consider how political violence intersects with structural, normative and psychological parameters and seek to support affected groups in ways that can prevent further abuse in domestic and communal life post displacement.
The webinar included presentations by Dr Romina Istratii on a recent literature review conducted on the relationship between war violence and domestic violence to inform responses in Tigray in ways that consider the religio-cultural framework of Tigrayan society. The second presentation was given by Sandra Pertek, who drew from interviews with 23 Levantine and 15 Sub-Saharan forced migrant survivors of war and SGBV residing in Turkey and Tunisia to evidence how religious factors intersected with multiple inequalities and vulnerabilities shaping survivors’ experiences.
10 January 2021
The project team has set up a dedicated JISCMAIL list under the name DV-GENDER-FAITH (Promoting Integrated Approaches to Domestic Violence in Faith Communities).
The list is intended for domestic violence practitioners, researchers and religious stakeholders to share new research, training materials and experiences in order to build beneficial practices together and to promote better-integrated approaches to addressing domestic violence in religious communities. The list followed after the opening webinar of the project “Addressing domestic violence in religious communities: Taking stock of lessons and approaches in the era of decolonising knowledge.”
The list is open to everyone who would like to join and become part of the conversation. Subscribers will also be able to stay up to date with the project’s relevant outputs. The list can be accessed at the link below.
27 November 2020
The webinar brought together researchers and practitioners from around the world to examine current approaches to domestic violence in religious communities and to identify positive directions for the future. It examined past and current approaches with reflexivity to the limitation of western understandings of ‘religion’, and with the aim of contributing to a diversification of domestic violence understandings and approaches by promoting more Southern-Northern knowledge exchange.
The webinar was hosted by Dr Romina Istratii and included presentations by Professor Nancy Nason-Clark (RAVE Project), Ms Mandy Marshall (Anglican Communion Office), Ms Huda Jawad (Standing Together) and Mahmood Afifi (Religious Studies, Lancaster University).