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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.
13 January 2022
On Thursday, Dr Romina Istratii presented to the JLI Religions, Humanitarianism, and Development Research Reading Group the work of project dldl/ድልድል under the title ‘Working with religious communities to address domestic violence in peace and war-time: Insights from project dldl/ድልድል in Ethiopia.’ Dr Istratii was joined by Mr Henok Hailu Ayele, who supports the project as trainer in workshops that seek to build the preparedness of Ethiopian Orthodox clergy to respond to domestic violence. The presentation discussed how project dldl/ድልድል works to build integrated approaches to domestic violence that bridge religious and psychological parameters together, and discussed how it has made an effort in the last year to adapt this approach to conflict-affected contexts so as to inform the humanitarian response in Tigray. The presentation raised very positive responses by academics and practitioners working in areas of faith, domestic violence and humanitarian responses. Members suggested the need for scaling our the project’s work and maximising its impact by applying its model to the wider non-governmental faith and domestic violence sector.
16 December 2021
In 2021, the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) called for participants with ongoing research projects to join a series of three online workshops exploring research methods, uncertainty and Covid-19. The Centre sought to run a short series of three workshops to explore in-depth how researchers engage with the uncertainty of Covid-19, manage methodological contingencies, adapt and innovate over time, probing the temporal, spatial and relational dimensions of researching in pandemic/pandemic legacy conditions. The Principal Investigator, Dr Romina Istratii, and part-time project manager, Ms Haben Hill, submitted an expression of interest that presented the project’s challenges with uncertainty (pandemic and war-related) and were invited to participate in the first workshop, which was held in December 2021. The workshop involved researchers from different parts of the UK, some based internationally, and comprised of numerous discussion and brainstorming sessions to explore questions around research and uncertainty. The project team shared its experiences and insights, informing the direction of the conversations. It is anticipated that the workshops will result in a special issue targeted at the wider research community with the potential to inform current and future approaches to managing uncertainty and adapting to change in funded research projects.
28 October 2021
The sixth webinar delivered by project dldl/ድልድል explored how domestic violence interventions can be assessed cross-culturally, with a special focus on interventions designed to be sensitive to religious traditions, faith and spirituality. The webinar asked: Are current methods adequate to capture the complex mechanisms by which faith-based domestic violence interventions impact on victims/survivors and perpetrators, congregations or communities? How should evaluation mechanisms be designed when programmes aim to be religio-culturally sensitive and what should be the standards for measuring effectiveness, if there should be a common standard in the first place?
The panel combined researchers and practitioners from different disciplines and sectors experienced in the design, implementation and/or evaluation of domestic violence research and interventions working with diverse communities and in diverse cultural contexts. The speakers reflected on and responded to the questions guiding the webinar to achieve knowledge exchange and to farther cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary learning.
23-24 September 2021
Following a competitive application process, project dldl/ድልድል has selected six female and male researchers to co-produce and conduct field research on domestic violence in Eritrea engaging diverse religio-cultural contexts and communities. The recruitment was followed by a visit of the project’s Eritrea Coordinator, Ms Mebrak Ghebreweldi, to Eritrea to meet with the research team, obtain further approvals and support for the project and establish the Eritrean Advisory Board to guide the direction of the project in the country for maximum and relevant impact. The trip was combined with a two-day training on research ethics and safeguarding in domestic violence, data management, intellectual property and publishing delivered virtually by Dr Romina Istratii, Lead of the project, from Addis Ababa Ethiopia where she is based. The training was successfully completed despite electivity cuts and Internet connection challenges faced by both sides during the two days. During the training, Dr Istratii and the researchers discussed the research objectives and approach in Eritrea and explored how to proceed with the research in a culture-sensitive and inclusive manner, prioritising the safety of potential victims of domestic violence throughout the process.
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.
29 April 2021
Insights from the Outside is a series of deep conversations with thought leaders, provocateurs and leading practitioners on a diverse range of subjects related to knowledge work and organizational learning that seeks to provide GIZ staff with new directions in their work and to inform organisational strategic vision. The series is hosted by the Knowledge and Learning Alliance, a network that seeks to bring together GIZ staff involved in knowledge management, organisational learning, digitalisation and related subjects. Dr Istratii was invited to give the Insight from Outside Talk on 29 April 2021 in recognition of her being “a key voice to listen to and learn from when seeking to build knowledge systems that include a diversity of views and take power asymmetries into account.” Dr Istratii discussed the questions “Whose knowledge counts in international development? Whose expertise gets heard and acted upon? And how a knowledge and learning approach seriously grapple with issues of power, voice and equality?”, which were posed by the organiser. In her presentation Dr Istratii applied insights from working on decolonising international development theory and practice to the wider international development sector, acknowledging existing hierarchies, restrictions faced due to donor conditions and organisational cultures.
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).