News and Events
Keep up-to-date on Empowered Aid news, upcoming events and webinars.
Empowered Aid’s Online Course to Mitigate SEA Risks in Aid Distributions is now live in Arabic, English, French, Spanish, and Ukrainian!
Past News and Events
In March 2023, two Empowered Aid Research Scientists, Amal Hassan and Mathilde Belli, presented on Empowered Aid and the importance of language capacity in humanitarian work when trying to equalize power dynamics for people living through displacement and other emergency contexts. This was done in collaboration with Clear Global and Translators without Borders, and a speaker from their team also gave a great presentation on the way word choice needs to be considered when working across languages and cultures, and how this can impact programming and perception of services and power dynamics.
“Whose voices matter? Using participatory, feminist and anthropological approaches to centre power and positionality in research on gender-based violence in emergencies”
GWI Research Scientist Alina Potts, Empowered Aid Lebanon lead Loujine Fattal and Empowered Aid Uganda former lead Harriet Kolli recently co-authored a paper featured in Global Public Health’s issue on “(Re)imagining Research, Activism, and Rights at the Intersections of Sexuality, Health, and Social Justice.” It examines how applying participatory, feminist, and anthropological methods in gender-based violence (GBV) research can hold accountable to both acknowledging and addressing these power disparities, using examples from Empowered Aid. The full paper can be read here.
In July 2021, the Global Women's Institute (GWI) hosted a virtual launch of the Empowered Aid Toolkit for Planning and Monitoring Safer Aid Distributions. This toolkit is based on six pilots conducted in Lebanon and Uganda by GWI and partners CARE and URDA in Lebanon, and IRC and World Vision in Uganda. You can watch the full recording, with team members from GWI and partners in both countries who review the contents of the toolkit, share case studies of using it, and host a Q&A with practitioners and researchers on how to further adapt and apply it. The team provided written answers to the questions during the Q&A portion of the webinar, which can be accessed here.
The Toolkit for Planning and Monitoring Safer Aid Distributions can be found under the “Manuals and Toolkits” tab, and a shared drive of additional resources and templates to support toolkit users is available to anyone.
GWI: Alina Potts (PI), Research Scientist, Elizabeth Hedge, Empowered Aid Research Associate, & Amelia Reese Masterson, Empowered Aid Research Consultant
Lebanon partners: Loujine Fattal, Empowered Aid Research Manager & Tala Chammas, Empowered Aid Project Officer, CARE Lebanon
Uganda partners: Hope Harriet, Empowered Aid Research Manager, & Fatuma Nafish, Empowered Aid Project Officer, IRC; Godfrey Twesigye, MEAL Coordinator, Brian Matsiko, MEAL Officer, & Fred Nyero, Gender and Protection Officer, General Food Assistance, World Vision
On October 12, 2021, The Empowered Aid team held a virtual launch of the new online course to mitigate risks of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) in aid distributions, which you can watch the live recording of here. The course aims to help learners gain a better understanding of SEA risks and shares recommendations and tools to mitigate them, drawn from Empowered Aid’s participatory action research with refugee women and girls in Uganda and Lebanon over the last three years. Interactive case studies, quizzes, and video interviews share Empowered Aid’s findings, recommendations, and participatory processes for listening to women and girls, and increasing their safety by putting their words into action. In the webinar, our multi-country team who co-designed the course shared “sneak peeks,” demonstrated course features, and hosted a Q&A. If you are interested in enrolling in the course, visit the Course webpage.
GWI: Alina Potts (PI), Research Scientist, Elizabeth Hedge,
Uganda: Hope Harriet, Empowered Aid Research Manager, Brian Matsiko, MEAL Officer, & Fred Nyero, Gender and Protection Officer, General Food Assistance, World Vision
Lebanon: Loujine Fattal, Empowered Aid Research Manager & Tala Chammas, Empowered Aid Project Officer, CARE Lebanon
Empowered Aid's Primary Investigator Alina Potts, alongside Empowered Aid Lebanon Research Officer Tala Chammas, recently participated in a webinar organized by the UK Government's Safeguarding Resource & Support Hub (RSH). Through this webinar, participants were able to understand and consider what needs to be in place specifically when making research, programs, and monitoring and evaluation safe for both participants and researchers. Alina and Tala share their own experiences on the ground in both Uganda and Lebanon and explore in what ways Empowered Aid utilizes various participatory methodologies in relation to training and risk management, especially given the sensitivity of sexual exploitation, abuse, and sexual harassment (SEAH) in the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar recording can be accessed here, as well as follow along the Q&A and presentation slides here.
Alongside colleagues in the humanitarian aid sector, GWI Research Scientist Alina Potts discussed the implications of continuous and widespread sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) from within the humanitarian aid sector. Utilizing her decade-long experience as a GBV practitioner and key findings from Empowered Aid, Alina asserts the importance in developing and implementing feminist-centered policy change in order to give women and girls a sustained voice and power in the aid system. Key topics discussed include lack of accountability in the aid sector, a dearth of female representation in positions of power, and the need to shift to a transformative, feminist approach. You can watch the video here.
On the second day of the Grand Bargain Cash Workstream meetings, GWI Research Scientist Alina Potts joined practitioners, funders and researchers from CARE, BPRM, the Women’s Refugee Commission and Oxfam for a conversation on how aid actors can further reduce GBV risks in cash and voucher assistance for women and girls. You can watch the video here, and read more about Empowered Aid’s cash findings in Lebanon here.
Moderated by GW’s Alina Potts, Global Women’s Institute, & Ramin Asgary, Humanitarian Health Program, with a student-led Q&A
The Global Women’s Institute and GWU Humanitarian Health Program at the Milken Institute School of Public Health hosted the United Nation’s first Victim’s Rights Advocate Jane Connors in a conversation on preventing sexual exploitation and abuse in the humanitarian sector and centering victim’s rights in its approach. The Question & Answer portion was hosted by students from the George Washington University, engaging Ms. Connors on challenges, solutions, and next steps for her role and office. You can watch the recording here and for more information on the speakers, click here.
GWI Research Scientist Alina Potts served as a witness in the UK Parliament International Development Committee’s first oral evidence session on sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector. Alina delivered oral evidence to the committee members from her experience as an aid worker across emergency responses from DR Congo to Syria to Bangladesh, and shared the voices of Syrian and South Sudanese women and girls engaged in Empowered Aid's action research in Uganda and Lebanon. Key aspects of the conversation centered on the importance of contextual safeguarding to prevent SEA before it happens, and addressing the unequal power dynamics and lack of participation across the sector which underpin this type of abuse. The video and audio recordings are available here and the transcript is available here.
In honor of World Refugee Day 2020, the Global Women's Institute (GWI) hosted a webinar launch sharing Empowered Aid's Phase I findings and recommendations on reducing risks of sexual exploitation and abuse when accessing humanitarian aid in Lebanon and Uganda. You can watch the full recording with the Empowered Aid team, including the presentation and Q&A discussion.
GWI: Alina Potts (PI), Research Scientist & Elizabeth Hedge, Empowered Aid Research Associate
CARE International in Lebanon: Loujine Fattal, Empowered Aid Research Manager & Farah Hallak, Empowered Aid Project Officer
IRC Uganda: Harriet Kolli, Empowered Aid Research Manager & Fatuma Nafish, Empowered Aid Project Officer
Please note: The audio of our Uganda project officer, Fatuma Nafish, is a bit difficult to hear; it is captioned however you can also watch Fatuma speak here. You will have the option to turn on closed captions.
The Empowered Aid team’s presentation at the 2019 Sexual Violence Research Initiative Forum held in Cape town, South Africa.
Since its magnitude first came to light in 2002, the aid community’s focus on addressing sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) has primarily rested on establishing reporting mechanisms and only recently shifted toward proactive measures to mitigate risk and prevent such abuses from occurring. In this episode, Alina Potts of the Global Women's Institute, Harriet Kolli of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) Uganda, and Loujine Fattal of CARE Lebanon, discuss Empowered Aid: Transforming gender and power dynamics in the delivery of humanitarian aid on an episode of Women's Protection and Empowerment podcast.