“Without Community there is no liberation” - Audre Lorde
Often Faith and Community organisations are not recognised for the amazing work they do, these communities make a significant difference and keep contributing to enhance safety and improve lives of people in our society. Covid showed us the importance of community care, need of solidarity, practical support as well as need for moral support.
We hope our Connecting Communities Conference will widen the understanding of how organisations are working together and building links with various marginalised communities (communities that have never been connected) showing us how they are working towards connecting them amid the impending struggles. Our speakers will share light on how they are reconnecting with groups that have been disconnected by the pandemic. The transformational activism of communities is of course a constant fight to make a difference against a fractured system fraught with gender violence, racism, and ableism.
Connecting Communities Conference is a chance for us all to listen and learn. This Conference will highlight why we need to work with communities, how Faith and VAWG Communities are working directly on the challenging issues of tackling VAWG, using collaborative practices and building resilience while supporting and empowering the local marginalised communities especially women from Black and minoritised communities.
Speakers TBC. BSL interpreters will be available.
In conjunction with our Connecting Communities Conference on Monday the 19th of September, we warmly welcome you to join us for our in person Faith and VAWG Coalition Connecting Communities Networking event.
Covid has had a huge impact on us all, communities were disconnected leading to trauma and isolation. During this critical time, communities played a vital role in building bridges, supporting people and building resilience. At the Faith and VAWG Coalition we value the importance of communities and the need for exchanging ideas, having informal conversations, listening, learning and networking. We know that there is much learning and many benefits when people network and come together. It creates opportunities for everyone to collaborate and share what they do, a chance to do things collectively and move towards bringing skills and resources to help us eradicate violence against women and girls.
This event is open to all communities and people interested in social activism, faith, race, and gender issues and in particular those dedicated to Faith-based, Black and Minoritised communities. We hope this networking event will be a chance for us to meet and hear from a range of other grassroot communities working in areas of Faith and VAWG, breaking patriarchal narratives and supporting marginalised communities .
We hope this event will pave a way for building stronger relationships and create a sense of solidarity and synchronicity the Coalition is passionate to keep striving for.
“Without Community there is no liberation” - Audre Lorde
Efforts to decolonise research and practice in the VAWG sector have been growing in recent years. Critical and decolonial discussions have emerged around the concept of VAWG (and cognate terms) in recognitions of different understandings of violence across communities, how VAWG should be addressed in respect to diverse cultural and religious contexts, whether VAWG providers are sensitive and can engage with the religio-cultural backgrounds of their clients and how personal identities might influence the provision of services in a sector that does not eschew western and colonial cultural influences and is increasingly becoming transboundary and called to cater to multi-cultural clients. Funding restrictions, hierarchies and ideological limitations in the donor sector have also been problematised as part of an effort to address the more systematic, normative and ideological barriers for moving towards a more diverse, inclusive and community-grounded approach in the international VAWG sector.
In this webinar, we would like to enrich on-going decolonisation efforts in the sector by integrating practical perspectives from the ground to understand better how efforts to diversify and sensitise the sector to religious and cultural differences have translated to in practical terms, what obstacles such efforts have encountered, and what would need to be done more so that grassroots organisations can be more effective in their work in the UK and internationally.
Some of the questions driving this webinar are:
- What does decolonisation really mean to the VAWG sector?
- How do we make the VAWG sector more diverse and sensitive to difference and more inclusive in its practices?
- What are the practical obstacles to such efforts in view of political, ideological and funding regulatory systems?
- What are the implications of decolonisation of the ‘by & for’ UK-based organisations as well as grassroots organisations in the Global South?
The webinar will combine a series of presentations by practitioners from different disciplines and sectors who are experienced in responding to VAWG in multi-cultural and in migrant contexts, as well as practitioners in the wider Global South. The aim is to reflect on and respond to the questions guiding the webinar to achieve knowledge exchange and to farther cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary learning. The presentations will be followed by a discussion with the audience, who will be welcome to share their own experiences and response to the webinar questions and presentations.
Dr Romina Istratii, UKRI Future Leaders Fellow at SOAS University of London (UK) and Principal Investigator of Project dldl/ድልድል (Ethiopia, Eritrea, UK)
Ms Mebrak Ghebreweldi, Co-Director of Diversity Resource International (UK) and Founder of Waniney (Eritrea)
Ms Naana Otoo-Oyortey (MBE), Executive Director at FORWARD (UK)
Dr Sehin Teferra, Founder of Setaweet Movement and Director of Setaweet (Ethiopia)
Building Bridges - Online Conference - Monday 29th November 10:30am - 12pm (GMT)
We understand due to the use and abuse of faith, spirituality and religion women can have a very difficult and complex relationship with faith or religion. From the various voices and narratives of many victim survivors, we also know that faith can be a source of empowerment and hope. Faith has helped them to root out feelings of shame and guilt. At the Faith and VAWG Coalition, we bring together organisations and activists working at the intersections of faith, race, ethnicity and violence against women and girls. Grassroots communities and faith groups have the power and potential to make a real difference in the lives of survivors and hold perpetrators to account.
This event seeks to break narratives given repeatedly to us to serve patriarchs and patriarchy where faith is weaponised and manipulated, we want faith to be used as a liberating wave in narratives and interpretations of theology and amplify the voices of women and girls with our vision and goal to create safe spaces and platforms where women and women led VAWG organisations especially from Black and Minoritised communities share ideas and narratives to ensure women live with dignity and they reclaim their agency within religious and faiths they identify with.
The launch event will share experiences of diverse VAWG and faith communities and how they are building bridges and its positive impact on survivors.
With thanks to:
Naima Khan - Inclusive Mosque Initiative
Aasifa Usmani - Standing Together / Faith and VAWG Coalition
Bekah Legg - Restored
Lee Wax - Jewish Women's Aid
Mary Otuko - FORWARD
Sukhvinder Kaur - Sikh Women's Aid