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Feminist Humanitarian Action:

From Affirmation to Transformation

On behalf of Médecins Du Monde, the German Red Cross, the Berlin Chamber of Physicians and Médecins Sans Frontières, we invite you to this year’s Humanitarian Congress Berlin: ‘Feminist Humanitarian Action: From Affirmation to Transformation’.

This year’s congress will be held from October 11 – 13, 2022.
Participation will be free of charge and a Zoom link will be available soon for each conference day.

DRAFT PROGRAMME

Tuesday, October 11

12:40 – 12:50 (CEST)
Online Event

Opening

Welcome remarks by the Humanitarian Congress Berlin team

12:50 – 13:20 (CEST)
Online Event

A Keynote Speech by Aarathi Krishnan

A Zoom link will be provided for access to the panel

Description & Speaker

“By choosing to center humanitarian action on feminist principles, we intentionally choose to center our work on equity and justice – and not one of patriarchal charity that has long shackled our approaches. We choose a life where we can support all to thrive, not merely to be passive beneficiaries of aid.”

Aarathi Krishnan

An expert on feminist and decolonized futures and institutional transformation

13:30 – 14:30 (CEST)
Online Event

Multi-Crisis: Humanitarian challenges and feminist solutions – Panel

A Zoom link will be provided for access to the panel

Description & Speaker

Humanitarian challenges and crises are increasing, developing new dynamics and becoming more complex – and, as a result, humanitarian needs are also rising. Women and girls are most vulnerable to these compounding challenges and multi-crises, as they are hit hardest by the growing impacts. For example, women and girls are 14 times more likely to die than men during a disaster, due to a range of factors.

The effects of these challenges and crises on the safety, mental health and psychosocial well-being of women and girls deserve far greater recognition in the humanitarian system. Understanding the scale and compounding effects of multi-crises on women and girls is essential for having an effective and holistic approach in place. There is also a need to acknowledge the potential of women and girls in promoting resilience and preventing distress.

This panel discussion will consider different perspectives on feminist approaches for the humanitarian system, outline the existing gaps and analyse a joint way forward. The high-level speakers will engage in a dynamic conversation about which mechanisms a feminist approach could offer, in terms of developing solutions or even helping to prevent further humanitarian crises, and what this means for the humanitarian principles.

Host:

Aarathi Krishnan | Expert on feminist and decolonized futures and institutional transformation

Speaker:

Ms. Susanne Fries-Gaier | Humanitarian Director at Germanys’ Federal Foreign Office

Ms. Bolormaa Nordov |Secretary General, Mongolia Red Cross

Ms. Christine Mutuku | Community Speaker Kenya

Dr. Lina Abi Rafeh | Women’s rights expert and gender equality advocate

15:00 – 16:00 (CEST)
Online Event

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) – Panel

A Zoom link will be provided for access to the panel

Description & Speaker

The Panel discussion on the prioritization of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) in conflict and other crises will be focused on two main topics:

How do we prioritize SRH services? To analyse and critique the extent to which patriarchal structures within our own organizations shape the way we deliver SRH services.

What SRH services and delivery modes do we prioritize? To analyse the relevance of the Minimum Initial Package (MISP) from a feminist approach.

Concerning the first question, panel members are invited to reflect inter alia upon:

To what extent do patriarchal and colonial dynamics shape decision-making processes within the organizations where we work and on examples of how these manifests? What actions are we concretely taking, to identify and address formal and informal power relations that reinforce patriarchal power within our own humanitarian action and among our own teams?

Furthermore, Panel members will discuss the second topic and try to find answers about:

To what extent should engagement with communities, is possible, realistic and desirable in emergencies, in view of a number of competing priorities when it comes to the delivery of SRH in emergencies? Is a holistic approach that considers social determinants of gender inequality, and that aims to empower women and girls be in fact translated into practice in emergencies? Can crises offer new opportunities to shift norms and social, legal and regulatory frameworks with regards to SRH?

Host:

Federica Villa | Gender based violence in humanitarian settings Advisor for Medecins du Monde (MdM)

Speaker:

Diana Manilla Arroyo | Gender and Health Expert at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

Dr. Amina Aminu Dorayi | Nigeria Country Director at Pathfinder International

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16:30 – 17:30 (CEST)
Online Event

Focus Afghanistan – Panel

A Zoom link will be provided for access to the panel

Description & Speaker

Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal mortality rate in the world alongside with one of highest birth rates. With the changing political situation and the assestion of power through the Taliban the situation for woman and girls have drastically declined.

For women and girls in Afghanistan, this has a massive impact and plays a central role in the development of their future. In the humanitarian context and with regard to the cooperation with local professionals, this means that, for example, female medical staff could be lost in the medium to long term and the quality of medical services for women and girls could decline.

The question that humanitarian organizations must ask themselves is how they can address these challenges together with the Afghan population. At the same time, in order to gain the necessary access to all areas of the country, humanitarian organizations must cooperate with Taliban leaders. How can we deal with this dichotomy?

The panel is designed to present feminist perspectives from Afghanistan in order to discuss ways in which support from the humanitarian sector can be provided in exchange with humanitarian actors. Specifically, it aims to:

  1. Show what consequences anti-feminist movements can have for the future development of girls and women, especially with regard to future medical personnel. 
  2. Demonstrate the role of humanitarian principles in the context of cooperation with humanitarian actors and pro-feminist organizations in Afghanistan.
  3. Highlight what humanitarian actors can improve/change to support feminist movements in Afghanistan.

Host:

Irwin Loy | Policy Editor at The New Humanitarian

Speaker:

Zuhra Wardak | Director of Compliance, Ethics and Gender and the co-leader of the Gender in Humanitarian Working Group at IRC in Afghanistan

Mariam Safi | Founding and executive Director of the Organization for Policy Research & Development Studies Organization for Policy Research and Development Studies (DROPS)

Sofia Ramyar | Youth activist leader in Afghanistan

Asila Wardak | Human rights and Women’s right Activist from Afghanistan and one of the founders of Afghan Women’s network

18:00 – 21:00 (CEST)
In Person

Evening Opening Event (IN PERSON)

Closed event

Wednesday, October 12

13:00 – 14:00 (CEST)
Online Event

Focus LGBTQI+ – Panel

A Zoom link will be provided for access to the panel

Description & Speaker

LGBTQI+ persons are criminalized in many contexts where humanitarian work is done and face many oppositions. Stigmatization and discrimination due to a cultural/religious knowledge gap of affected patients often plays a role in practice and in the projects and prevents these group of people from receiving adequate medical treatment.  

What can the humanitarian system learn from feminist approaches to derive concrete actions for practice, so that anti-discriminatory measures are implemented beyond mere rhetoric and to bridge the gap between inaction and real transformation?

Host:

Casey O’Connor | Project Lead of MSF’s LGBTQI+ Inclusion for Health Projects

Speaker:

Lana Woolf | Co-founder and International Programs Director of Edge Effect

Megan Daigle | Senior Research Fellow in the Humanitarian Policy Group

Ribal Maatouk | LGBTQI+ Consultant and Humanitarian Project Manager

14:30 – 15:30 (CEST)
Online Event

Focus Access to Vaccination – Panel

A Zoom link will be provided for access to the panel

Description & Speaker

Breast cancer is the most common cancer worldwide and the number of cases is increasing. But high drug prices mean many people don’t have access to adequate treatment and selects who has access to medication and who not. Structural inequalities such as economic conditions therefore play a major role in the chances of surviving the disease especially in the global south. Because of this reason feminist movements are organizing transnationally actions for equitable access to breast cancer treatment. Concrete topics on this Panel are the effects of intellectual property rights on equitable access to breast cancer treatment and and recent developments in countries of the global south. And even more broadly, we’re going to discuss in what extend feminist approaches provide new perspectives for the access to medicines movement.

Host:

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16:00 – 17:00 (CEST)
Online Event

Focus Care – Panel

A Zoom link will be provided for access to the panel

Description & Speaker

Care work is highly gendered, undervalued and often invisible, e.g., 76% of the professionals in the healthcare sector are women. The pandemic revealed once more how essential care work is, nevertheless, the unjust structures did not change. Feminists have been addressing this issue for decades. Care is at the center of humanitarian work, but at the same time, debates and discourses often miss the (mental) needs and necessities of people in (humanitarian) care professions.  What critiques and proposals do feminist approaches provide? Could a care-oriented society be a solution?

Host:

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Thursday, October 13

12:30 – 13:30 (CEST)
Online Event

Localisation and Mutual Aid – Panel

A Zoom link will be provided for access to the panel

Description & Speaker

From Charity to Tranformative Justice.

In order to try and overcome the immense global challenges, complex crisis contexts and growing humanitarian needs, humanitarian actors need to rethink and reshape the way they collaborate and communicate – with communities and civil society but also other Organisations and Institutions on different levels. How can systems of collaboration be critically reviewed and improved from a feminist point of view, taking into consideration patriarchal systems, power imbalances and postcolonial structures? This also means looking at Localisation, Decolonialization and analysis of local needs from a feminist approach. How can synergies be mutual beneficial, more solidaric and sustainable, being a driver for transformation? What can humanitarian actors learn from more holistic approaches? How can they tackle structural causes of humanitarian needs and current crisis? What can we learn from other concepts such as Mutual Aid?

Host:

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Speaker:

Misun Woo | Regional Coordinator Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development

Gabriele Köhler | Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF) Board Member, Independent development economist, advisor and publicist

Isadora Quay | Global Gender in Emergencies Coordinator at CARE International

14:00 – 15:00 (CEST)
Online Event

Feminist Pathways to a Climate Just Future – Panel

A Zoom link will be provided for access to the panel

Description & Speaker

The climate crisis is an intersectional issue, and it hits the most vulnerable the hardest. It is closely linked to race, class and gender inequalities, but unfortunately a profound structural analysis linking all these aspects is still lacking in humanitarian action. For example, access to sexual and reproductive health is difficult in areas affected by climate-related disasters, women are the first to reduce their food intake in times of food insecurity and the death toll of women and girls due to extreme weather events is much higher.

In this panel discussion, we would like to debate what changes and steps are necessary from feminist perspectives to achieve climate justice in humanitarian contexts. We want to look at best practices and gender transformative projects based on climate justice that already exist in humanitarian contexts. Moreover, we want to discuss aspects and demands that are particularly relevant for Cop27 regarding humanitarian contexts.

Host:

Carol Devine | Humanitarian Advisor (Médecins Sans Frontières) and climate, environment and health project co-lead

Speaker:

Dr Heather McMullen | Global Public Health Scientist at Queen Mary University of London

Maria Reyes | Full-time climate and human rights activist at Fridays for Future Mexico

Dr. Asha Mohammed | Secretary General of the Kenyan Red Cross

15:30 – 16:30 (CEST)
Online Event

Focus Nutrition – Panel

A Zoom link will be provided for access to the panel

Description & Speaker

According to the WFP, as many as 828 million people suffer from hunger in 2022, the number of those facing acute food insecurity has soared – from 135 million to 345 million – since 2019. A total of 50 million people in 45 countries are teetering on the edge of famine. This situation has been caused by a combination of several factors (conflict, climate shocks, Covid-19… with the Ukraine conflict as tipping point), and didn’t come unexpected. 

There are many indications, that looming famine and food insecurity for an increasing number of people is long from being over soon. It could become worse in 2023 when food becomes unaffordable for even more people.  But is it a global food shortage, or more a “price or market crisis, including pricing of food, access and distribution. The future perfect storm is looming, with climate change effects deteriorating more quickly, food could become unavailable at a higher rate. 

Women are harder hit by above mentioned shocks than men, and more likely to suffer from poverty and food insecurity. To bring in a feminist perspective, all of these factors have structural causes and responsible actors, acting in a patriarchal and neoliberal model of the current capitalistic market. How can a feminist perspective help humanitarian actors besides fighting the effects also meaningfully contribute to tackle these structural causes within their scope of work, without becoming activist movements?

Host:

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Speaker:

Farida Akhter | Founding executive director of UBINIG, Dhaka, a policy and research organization in Bangladesh

Marc Cohen | Senior Researcher for Aid Effectiveness at Oxfam America

16:30 – 16:40 (CEST)
Online Event

Closing & Goodbye

Closing words from the Humanitarian Congress Berlin team

17:00 – 19:00 (CEST)
In Person

Networking Event & Career Opportunities (IN PERSON)

Are you interested in humanitarian aid, development cooperation and medical organizations and wondering what career opportunities are available in this field and what the daily work of employees in different fields looks like?

Then the networking event at the Humanitarian Congress Berlin is just the right thing for you! Here you have the chance to get an insight into the work and professional careers of employees of Doctors Without Borders, Doctors of the World, the German Red Cross, the Berlin Medical Association and Oxfam. You will also have the opportunity to discuss your own questions with the experts and network with other participants. 

There are only limited places – so register quickly!

Feel free to import the #HCBerlin into your personal calendar.
We look forward to seeing you soon at the events and panels:

Categories: Uncategorized