COFEM Knowledge Summit: Meet the Facilitators

1. Why does a feminist perspective matter in work to prevent and respond to VAWG?

November 25 at 1pm GMT: Heather Cole and Anusanthee Pillay

Anusanthee Pillay

Anu is a South African feminist activist on violence against women, who has been involved with transforming gender relations and gender inequality in the Southern Africa region for more than 30 years. For the past 10 years she has been working with gender transformation concerns in disaster and conflict-affected countries as an emergency responder in the United Nations response operations around the world. Anu has focused her work on understanding the gendered nature of conflict and disaster and has been influential in advancing the notion that social upheavals and crises shift gender relations, which can be harnessed for positive gain in transforming gender equality for women. She is currently reading for her PhD at the University of York,  UK.

Heather Cole

2. Staying accountable to women and girls.

November 27 at time 3pm GMT: Noelle Rancourt + Tina Musuya + Evelyn Letiyo

Noelle Rancourt

Noelle Rancourt is an independent consultant with a specialization in gender equality programming and the empowerment of women and girls.  She has over 12 years of experience working in development and humanitarian contexts in in the Middle East (Iraq – KRG), Africa (DRC, Sierra Leone, Malawi), as well as experience at a UN global knowledge hub in Norway. She has extensive applied research experience covering various sectors, and has led 12 separate studies (gender assessments, audits, baseline and evaluation-focused studies).  Her recent work has focused on capacity development of international and local organizations, including during the West African Ebola outbreak and among displaced populations in Northern Iraq, for GBV prevention and response services, including through feminist trauma-informed approaches in the provision of psychosocial support. Noelle holds an MPhil in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Oslo, and BA in Political Studies from Queen’s University in Canada. She is currently a Gender Equality Advisor for an international development and humanitarian organization.

Evelyn Letiyo

Evelyn Letiyo is a feminist activist and a VAW prevention and response practitioner who is passionate about creating a world of equality for women and men. She derives satisfaction from infusing feminist analyses into VAW programmes and has worked with many NGOs and UN agencies in Sub Saharan Africa, South-East Asia and the Pacifics to strengthen their approaches to VAW programming. Her current focus of work is around community organizing, feminist movement building and mentoring young women and girls in leadership. She believes that we will only see real change in women’s lives once we start calling out patriarchy and give people practical tools to challenge it at both personal and professional levels.

Tina Musuya

Tina Musuya is one of the most acclaimed violence against women and girls activists in Uganda. She is the Executive Director of Centre for Domestic Violence Prevention (CEDOVIP). Under her guidance, CEDOVIP won the 2010 UNAIDS Red Ribbon Award for innovative work in preventing violence against women and HIV. She also led the successful pilot of the SASA! program in Kampala, a ground breaking initiative that reduced physical intimate partner violence by 52% that showed that preventing violence against women (VAW) through social norm change is possible. Through CEDOVIP, she has inspired local government in more than 10 districts in Uganda to streamline VAW prevention through their community development department. She has 14 years of experience of working with communities, police, civil society, local government and policy makers to prevent VAW. She coordinated the development of the Uganda Police Force Domestic Violence handbook and the police GBV training manual. She also helped draft and successfully campaigned for passage of the Domestic Violence Act. Tina has continued to guide the process of enabling implementation of the Domestic Violence Act through strategic advocacy for resource allocation to the justice law and order sector and systems reform.

3. Feminist movement building

November 29 at 1pm GMT: Lina Abirafeh, Lizle Loots, Moufeeda Haidar

Lina Abirafeh

Dr. Lina Abirafeh is the Director of the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World at the Lebanese American University. Her background is in gender-based violence prevention and response in development and humanitarian contexts. She brings over 20 years’ experience in countries such as Afghanistan, Haiti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal, and others. Her 2015 TEDx talk summarizes her experience. Lina completed her doctoral work from the London School of Economics and published “Gender and International Aid in Afghanistan: The Politics and Effects of Intervention” based on her research. She speaks and publishes frequently on a range of gender issues. In 2018, Lina was listed as one of the Gender Equality Top 100: The Most Influential People in Global Policy – one of only two Arabs to make the list.

Lizle Loots

Lizle has over 12 years’ experience in the development sector working on VAWG. She has extensive experience in supporting research and capacity building activities internationally, supporting grassroots women’s organisation in regional exchange and learning, and most recently, grant-making for improved adolescent and youth SRHR services in partnership with Hivos, SIDA and Ford Foundation. Lizle has spent 10 years under the leadership and guidance of the Sexual Violence Research Initiative which sparked her interest in the value and impact of global health networks in addressing GBV and supporting women at the grassroots – a topic underpinning her current work.

4. Why does GBV programming focus on women and girls?

December 1 at 11am GMT: Jeanne Ward, Ezgi Emre, Divya Chandran

Jeanne Ward

Jeanne Ward is an internationally recognized expert on gender-based violence (GBV). She provides technical leadership, training, assessment and evaluation support to UN agencies, INGOs, NGOs/CBOs and government partners in developing and improving GBV-related research, policies, systems, and programs. She also supports agencies and systems to improve protections from sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA). Currently based in Kenya, she has consulted to several dozen countries spanning all regions of the world, with a particular emphasis on areas affected by conflict and disasters.

She is the author of numerous publications on GBV, and has developed globally disseminated tools and guidelines for humanitarian and development settings. Most recently she led the revisions to the 2005 global guidelines on GBV for humanitarian settings (2015); drafted a comprehensive web tool for UN Women on designing, implementing and monitoring Violence Against Women and Girls’ (VAWG) programming in humanitarian settings (2012); and wrote the first-ever comprehensive guidelines on coordinating GBV in humanitarian settings (2010). She also developed the first training tools for PSEA for focal points and managers. She has taught at Smith College, Columbia University, and University College Dublin.

Ezgi Emre

Ezgi Emre works on protection and sexual and reproductive health, with a specific focus on community-based protection and GBV in refugee settings as well as cross-border operations for Northwest Syria. She brings more than 10 years of experience of working with feminist organisations and women’s rights organisations in Turkey, specifically on GBV prevention and women’s political participation. She holds a BA in Political Science from Galatasaray University, Istanbul and a Master’s degree in Euro-Mediterranean Relations from Rovira i Virgili University in Tarragona, Catalonia.

Divya Chandran

Divya Chandran is a feminist researcher and independent consultant specialising in the areas of  protection against sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA), violence against women and girls, migrant workers’ rights, humanitarian financing, refugee protection and gender mainstreaming. Divya holds a BSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and dual Masters’ degrees in public administration, with a specialisation in gender and public policy, from Columbia University and the National University of Singapore. Prior to graduate school, she worked as a Knowledge Broker at the UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence (GCPSE) in Singapore. In 2016, she co-authored a book on cost of living, wages and purchasing power indices for expatriates and ordinary citizens in major cities. She currently works as COFEM’s Coordinator and is passionate about building a strong intersectional feminist foundation for COFEM’s advocacy and research activities.

5. Connecting GBV, sexual harassment and everyday sexism.

December 5 at 10pm GMT: Inbal Sansani + Sophie Read-Hamilton

Inbal Sansani

Inbal Sansani is a women’s personal power coach, facilitator and expert on gender-based violence (GBV) in humanitarian contexts. She creates safe spaces for women to access their power within and make conscious, empowered choices in their lives. Inbal provides practical and technical leadership, training, coaching and mentoring support for UN, international and national non-governmental agencies and staff to develop and improve GBV programming. A former lawyer, she loves to edit all types of documents, including, most recently, COFEM’s Feminist Pocketbook.

Inbal is based in Oakland, California, USA. She is currently authoring a new set of global Minimum Standards for GBV Prevention and Response in Emergencies for GBV practitioners (forthcoming, 2019).

Inbal has been working on issues related to violence, injustice and discrimination for over two decades. Prior to working internationally, Inbal explored academia and was both a commercial litigator and pro-bono attorney supporting survivors of intimate partner violence. She holds a Master of Philosophy in Racial and Ethnic Studies (Sociology Department) from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland and a Juris Doctor from the Washington College of Law, American University, Washington, D.C., USA. She is a committed practitioner of yoga, meditation, ritual – and a lifelong student of healing and human development, with a focus on trauma.

Sophie Read-Hamilton

Sophie Read-Hamilton has been working on issues related to violence, injustice and discrimination for over two decades, with a particular focus on violence against women and girls in humanitarian contexts. She has worked in Australia, Africa, the Middle East and the Pacific for government, NGOs and UN agencies. This work has included direct service delivery to women, young people and children affected by violence, designing and managing VAW prevention and response programmes, developing technical guidance and programming materials, capacity building, and strategy and policy development. Prior to working internationally, Sophie was a social worker in the government and non-government sectors in Australia in a range of service delivery and policy roles pertaining to women and children, including homelessness and violence, welfare and protection, and criminal justice.

Sophie is a committed feminist, who is passionate about helping to build a more just and peaceful world in which women share equal economic, social and political power with men and live lives free of violence. Sophie has an academic background in development and in social work.

6. Feminist approaches to building knowledge and evidence on GBV.

December 10 at 3pm GMT: Alina Potts + Ilaria Michelis

Ilaria Michelis

Ilaria Michelis is a humanitarian professional with ten years of experience in the area of women’s protection and empowerment, violence against women and girls (VAWG) women’s rights and reproductive health. Ilaria has worked extensively, both with the UN and INGOs, in East and Central Africa and the Middle East region, where she has designed, implemented and monitored the delivery of programmes to respond to and prevent violence against displaced women and girls.

Most recently, Ilaria was the Women’s Protection and Empowerment Technical Advisor at the International Rescue Committee for Yemen, Burundi, the DRC, Cote d’Ivoire and Italy. In that role, she collaborated with various academic institutions on research topics ranging from the safety and empowerment of adolescent girls and the prevention of VAWG through male engagement to mobile service for gender based violence (GBV) service provision and family violence. She is currently on a sabbatical to pursue a research master at the University of Cambridge, where she will investigate the theoretical and practical use of the concept of intersectionality in the humanitarian discourse on GBV and VAWG.

Alina Potts

Alina Potts has over a decade’s experience responding to gender-based violence in emergencies (GBViE) and efforts to better prevent it. She recently joined the Global Women’s Institute at George Washington University, where she is undertaking participatory action research with women and girls in Lebanon, Uganda and Bangladesh to mitigate the risk of sexual exploitation and abuse in the way aid is distributed; and developing curricula to train gender professionals on GBV and humanitarian settings. Previously, Alina worked at UNICEF to coordinate multi-country research to better prevent violence, including a focus on the intersections between violence against women and children in emergencies. She led GBV programming in a number of emergency responses—including Cox’s Bazar, Lebanon, Syria, DR Congo, Dadaab and Darfur–as part of the International Rescue Committee’s Emergency Response and Women’s Protection & Empowerment teams. Her experience in forced migration extends to refugee resettlement in the US; asylum advocacy in Europe; and addressing grave violations in conflict settings.

Alina holds a BA in Anthropology and International Development from Boston University and a MPH in Forced Migration and Health from Columbia University. She teaches graduate classes on GBV in Complex Emergencies at Columbia University and at George Washington University, and has published with UNICEF, IOM, ODI/HPN, Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, and in academic journals.

Anny Tengamendite Modi

Anny T. Modi is a Congolese activist whose areas of intervention are the promotion of rights of women and girls survivors of gender-based violence as well as the rights of those living with HIV/AIDS in the DRC and the SADC Region. As a former team leader of civil society working Group on Gender and Children’s Rights in Katanga province, she has received a “Certificate of Merit” as recognition for her leadership in promoting and advocating the rights of women and girls, by UNFPA and the Provincial Government of Katanga (May 2014).

She the chair the Board of Directors of the ” Young Women’s Dynamics for the Promotion, Protection and advocacy of Young Women’s Rights” (DYJEF), a network of young women’s NGOs whose main objectives are adolescents and young women’s mentoring, economic empowerment, leadership development and effective participation in decision-making processes from the community to national level in the DRC.

She is Executive Director and co-founder of AFIA MAMA, which means “women’s health”, an organization whose primary objective is to improve the well-being of women and girls, eradication of stigma and discrimination of women and girls living HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence survivors including child marriage and rape survivors.

She managed the capacity building component of the DFID-funded program “La Pépinière” which aimed at testing various theories and generating knowledge on what works for adolescent girls and young women’s economic empowerment in the DRC. In this capacity, she supported the establishment of a Girls-Led Research Unit.

Anny is also a member of the African women leaders’ network (AWLN) Young Women Leaders Caucus and she is currently coordinating the Congolese young women’s leaders movement, a network of over 387 organisations countrywide with the support of UNWOMEN office in the DRC to support young women’s integration in decision making positions, peacebuilding processes, development and humanitarian interventions at all levels. She is fluent in English, French, Swahili and Lingala.

Dr. Namuggala Victoria Flavia

Dr Namuggala is a Lecturer at the School of Women and Gender Studies, Makerere University Kampala, where she has worked since 2006. She teaches various courses centering gender in migration, health, sexuality, education and employment among others. She is a member of the Makerere University School of Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee (MAKSSREC) and the Team Leader – Uganda for an IFAD funded study titled “Challenges and opportunities for rural youth employment in sub Saharan Africa-Mixed methods study”.

Dr Namuggala identifies as a “scholar activist” who believes in theorizing from lived experience. She complements her academic career with working with communities for social justice. She has worked as a gender specialist, member and volunteer with civil society organizations that work for gender equality by improving the lives of especially vulnerable women and children. Her involvement in community outreach programs has greatly influenced her research interests in which she strives for social change by prioritizing the voices and views of the most marginalized members in society and using their lived experiences to advocate for social transformation.

Dr Namuggala holds a Doctorate in Women and Gender Studies from Arizona State University (USA). She conducts interdisciplinary research drawing on feminism and gender, indigenous, critical cultural studies, conflict and peace, violence and childhood studies. She has conducted research in various aspects including child labor, youth (un)employment, sexual and gender based violence, forced displacement situations, humanitarianism and post conflict reconstruction. She has published a book, journals articles, books chapters, and policy reviews.