In the very beginning of this year different actors of development cooperation came together for a virtual workshop to learn about the Do-No-Harm-approach and complementary concepts from postcolonial theory and critical whiteness studies and participated in exercises on different aspects connected to this topic. The group of participants consisted mainly of staff from German NGOs, public institutions, think tanks and institutes involved in implementing development cooperation on the ground. In addition, students took part in the workshop, for whose first work experience the topic will be relevant in perspective.
Between 29 and 31 January we implemented a revised edition of our workshop “Do-No-Harm in Conflict Settings”. The leading question was: “How can we make sure that we as actors of development cooperation contribute to peace instead of conflict?”.
The workshop also focused on exchanging practical experience about working in conflict-settings and reflecting on the participants own positions within global power structures and their own role as actors of development cooperation. More particularly, we created a space to talk about the challenges and problems participants are facing regarding the fear of doing harm in vulnerable development contexts and the reproduction of racism in the field.
In order to approach the leading question, participants among others joined sessions on postcolonial studies, critical whiteness, conflict transformation and of course the do-no-harm-concept.
The participants shew high interest in the inputs and exercises and were very active throughout the discussions in which they expressed the urgent need of a critical reflection of one’s own role in the development field.
A follow-up-workshop with a focus on conflict transformation and conflict analysis tools will most likely take place in April or May this year.
The aim of the workshop was to better prepare NGO actors from Germany for their work in conflict-sensitive contexts, so that they better contribute to peace in local conflicts and less to aggravation of conflicts. Therefore, the participants learned about conflict analysis tools, the main principles of the do-no-harm-approach and reflected on their role as actors of development cooperation against the background of postcolonial and critical whiteness studies’ approaches.
Actors from NGOs in Germany who are active in development cooperation, work with local actors or implement exchange programs with the so-called “Global South”. Furthermore, the workshop addressed those who work in public institutions or think tanks that work on topics around development cooperation as well as students in related fields.