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Webinar 15: Trauma-Informed Conflict Transformation

Webinar Date and Time: December 20, 2017 at 1:00 EST. Click here to view the webinar recording.

Webinar Description: Trauma, and the effects of trauma, have been largely overlooked when addressing long-term conflict. There is increasing evidence that trauma-informed approaches result in greater social, economic and political stability.

Angi Yoder-Maina and Belkys López from the Green String Network (GSN) provided an overview of GSN’s Trauma-Informed Conflict Transformation Approach, as well as lessons learned, challenges and impacts of their youth, community and security sector programs in Somalia and Kenya. They also shared tools for monitoring and evaluating these programs.

Speaker Bios:

Angi Yoder-Maina is the CEO of a new local Kenyan NGO called Green String Network (GSN) based in Nairobi, Kenya. GSN brings together professionals and experts in the field of conflict transformation, governance, trauma-informed healing practices and development of sustainable economic programs. The network encompasses likeminded actors who work on peace transformation, social healing and economic stability. GSN is keen on collaborations where local partners own and drive initiatives and benefit from our technical expertise. Our programs are creating opportunities for people currently in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia at the most local level to learn about the effects of trauma, begin to heal and come together as a community to plan community-wide activities and structures to support further healing, and reconciliation.

In practice this involves developing context specific materials which are designed to teach community participants about the effects of trauma and provide a safe environment for them to share about how violence impacts their own lives. The context in the countries GSN is working in is one in which a cycle of violence has become the norm. This cycle sees people reduced to seeing themselves as victims, and unable to break free, or forced to become aggressors to survive. It is in such a context grassroots social reconciliation processes have the most to offer in breaking the cycles of violence and victimhood.

Angi is currently enrolled as a doctoral student at the Applied Conflict Transformation Studies Doctoral at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Her dissertation is: “Trauma Informed Conflict Transformation Theory: A Grounded Study on Social Healing, Resilience and Recovery.”

Belkys López heads GSN’s Research and Learning division and is a co-founder of the organization. Her research has focused on conflict and trauma. She has investigated and published reports on trauma and its influence on conflict, justice and reconciliation and is now researching how trauma relates to violent extremism. Since joining GSN she has developed methods and instruments for the Monitoring and Evaluation of trauma healing projects being conducted in Somalia and Kenya. Before coming to GSN she worked in Sudan and South Sudan for over 10 years. She was a technical advisor for the government of South Sudan on the critical North-South border issues. As a practitioner, she worked extensively on conflict prevention and management, addressing the impact of trauma on economic instability and ethnic conflict. She has also headed development and emergency response programs. She worked previously at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania and has also carried out research in South Africa and Cuba. Before embarking on her present trajectory. She lived and worked in Japan for 5 years, teaching English and Spanish. She earned a Master’s degree from the University of Warwick in International Political Economy and a BA in Political Science and Africana Studies from Bryn Mawr College.

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