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Faith sensitive psychosocial programming: What does it mean in practice?

November 17 @ 09:00 - 17:00

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Workshop on new guidelines for faith sensitive psychosocial programming

Faith-sensitive Psychosocial Support: what does it mean in practice?

Copenhagen, 17 November 2017

The vast majority of those affected by humanitarian crises have some sort of faith or religious identity: they do not leave it behind when the emergency strikes, when they flee as refugees, or when they seek to rebuild their lives. Previously, the humanitarian community and norms have been relatively silent on how to respond to this, understandably noting humanitarian norms of impartiality, non-proselytization and so on. Recently, however, the fact of faith identity and the question of how to take it seriously in humanitarian response has been recognised.

Psychosocial Support is the first point for engaging with this question: what does one say to the woman who has been sexually assaulted and whose sense of self-worth is closely tied-up with her faith ? What provision or funding can you make available for people to find psychosocial well-being through expression of their faith, or does that contravene humanitarian norms? How can you involve religious communities or actors in providing support – which ones are acceptable? Is it possible to have a top 10 ‘rules of thumb’ for stressed humanitarians trying to make sense of the whole religious spectrum and to do something with it which doesn’t end up in a minefield? The cross-sectoral nature of MHPSS also provides an entrée for consideration of these questions more widely across the field of humanitarian response.

Faith-sensitive Psychosocial Support: what does it mean in practice?

Through an intentionally non-partisan approach, the Lutheran World Foundation (LWF) and Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) are leading an initiative to create guidelines for faith sensitive psychosocial programming in humanitarian emergencies for inclusion in the Sphere Guidelines and other normative guides. Active participants and advisors to the project include UNHCR, IFRC, World Vision, Church of Sweden, HIAS, among others. The project has been welcomed by the IASC reference group on MHPSS.

The work is about ‘faith-sensitive’ humanitarian response; it does not aim to promote a ‘faith-based’ approach but to exercise a critique of the phenomenon, addressing the reality of people’s faith identity, and of faith communities in the humanitarian context; this includes examining both the benefits and the risks in relation to faith practices and beliefs. The intention is that the work be owned by and relevant to all humanitarian actors, not just faith-based ones.

Workshop objectives

  • Understanding of how to take faith seriously in MHPSS and in humanitarian response whilst respecting humanitarian principles
  • Understanding of the role of faith communities in response and when it is or is not appropriate
  • Strengthening of the draft guidelines
  • Strengthening of IFRC’s work in faith-sensitive response

Workshop Content

  • Training on key elements of what faith-sensitivity means in practice
  • Introduction to the draft guidelines
  • Dialogue to gain insights from participants’ experiences
  • Drawing on experience to refine the guidelines and make them really useful
  • How to embed the concepts and practices in IFRC work in practical ways

Background

The vast majority of those affected by humanitarian crises have some sort of faith or religious identity: they do not leave it behind when the emergency strikes, when they flee as refugees, or when they seek to rebuild their lives. Previously, the humanitarian community and norms have been relatively silent on how to respond to this, understandably noting humanitarian norms of impartiality, non-proselytization and so on. Recently, however, the fact of faith identity and the question of how to take it seriously in humanitarian response has been recognised.

Psychosocial Support is the first point for engaging with this question: what does one say to the woman who has been sexually assaulted and whose sense of self-worth is closely tied-up with her faith ? What provision or funding can you make available for people to find psychosocial well-being through expression of their faith, or does that contravene humanitarian norms? How can you involve religious communities or actors in providing support – which ones are acceptable? Is it possible to have a top 10 ‘rules of thumb’ for stressed humanitarians trying to make sense of the whole religious spectrum and to do something with it which doesn’t end up in a minefield? The cross-sectoral nature of MHPSS also provides an entrée for consideration of these questions more widely across the field of humanitarian response.

Facilitator:

Michael French has 30 years’ experience in the humanitarian, development and human rights sector. Within LWF he is currently responsible for Latin America and the Caribbean, Interfaith collaboration on humanitarian response, and Human Rights-based approaches. He has worked with faith-based actors (LWF, Anglican Church, etc.) and others (e.g. Save the Children) in various roles including water engineering, pastoral/psychosocial support, advocacy, programme and senior management at global, country and local level. He is currently (among other things) managing the ‘faith-sensitive psychosocial response’ project and is keen to see it providing practical tools for busy humanitarians trying to make sense of the complicated world of religious identity and faith communities. He is based at the LWF head office in Geneva.

Dates, deadlines and other important information:

The workshop takes place in Copenhagen on 17 November 2017 from 9 am to 5 pm.

The workshop is in English.

For questions, please contact eaaka@rodekors.dk

Deadline for signing up is 1 October 2017 provided there are available spaces.

Send an email to eaaka@rodekors.dk  to sign up with the following information: Name, organization, position and a short paragraph on what you wish to get out from the workshop.

Target group and required qualifications

Participants may come from a variety of backgrounds in the broad area of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support, Red Cross Red Crescent, NGO or INGO.

The organizers are not able to provide financial support to travel, accomodation or other expenses related to the workshop. The workshop is free of charge and lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Check here to see if you require a visa to Denmark: https://www.nyidanmark.dk/en-us/coming_to_dk/visa/need_visa/who_needs_visa.htm

Please note that we will not be able to assist with visa applications.

 

Details

Date:
November 17
Time:
09:00 - 17:00
Event Category:

Organizer

PS Centre
Email:
eaaka@rodekors.dk
Website:
pscentre.org

Venue

Danish Red Cross
Blegdamsvej 27
Copenhagen, 2100 Denmark
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Website:
www.pscentre.org