Last week our Working for a Better World (W4BW) – Sustaining Civic Response (W4BW) Project came to an end. We are wrapping it up in a very uncertain time – a time of war, escalating conflicts, forced displacements, increasingly perilous refuge-seeking journeys and the deepening impacts of climate change. In response, both communities and solidarity networks, as well as those in CSOs, NGOs and INGOs, continue to try to respond to the immediacy of crises, as well as to impact more systemic, policy-based change. This work – of witness, and advocacy – however, can take its toll, and increasingly responders that we’re in contact with attest to experiences of depletion and sometimes overwhelm.
In response to this, we at Comhlámh, as W4BW project’s co-ordinating organisation in a consortium of partners in Greece (Action Aid Hellas), Spain (Ulex) and Italy (CESIE) have spent the past two years researching and developing resources focused on sustaining response, and deepening resilience.
We’ve focused on traumatic witness and secondary trauma, burn-out and rust-out, moral injury and grief-processing, with exploration, too, of post-traumatic growth, meaningful work and the creation of our own eco-systems of collective care.
Through in-depth focus groups across the four countries with participants who work with refugee, asylum-seeking, migrant and undocumented communities as well as online surveys, one on one conversations, narrative-based processes and trialling of integrative, trauma-informed psycho-educational material, we’ve produced three resources, as part of the Erasmus+ funded project, W4BW- Sustaining Civic Responses.
A National Report from each country (led by AAH)
A self-directed and peer resourcing ‘A Psychosocial Learning Resource for Refugee and Migrant Solidarity Responders’ (led by Comhlámh),
A Psychosocial Resistance Training Manual (led by Ulex), and also,
Rooting Resilience: Sustaining Civil Response Panel Discussion recording.
We hope that these resources may be useful to you – and help to open conversations about the need to systemically mitigate against the ‘burn-out work culture’ that many of the focus group participants spoke about. We also would suggest that you read through some of the narrative quotes contained within Rooting Resilience – our psycho-educational Learning Resource – many of them from Search and Rescue personnel in the Central Mediterranean – which are both poignant and powerful, in their honesty, vulnerability and courage.
LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER for our workshop for code signatories!
Wednesday, 11th May (9:30am to 1:00pm online).
As we collectively respond to the human impacts of wars, forced migration, accelerated climate change and global inequalities, how to sustain ourselves and each other is increasingly important to explore? In sectors in which both staff and volunteers often navigate aspects of burn-out/rust-out or feelings of overwhelm, rooting ourselves in more sustainable practice, with a clearer sense of both our limits of capacity as well as embodied resilience, helps us to navigate our own journeys.
Caoimhe Butterly, an educator, humanitarian responder and therapist, will facilitate this psycho-educational, participatory workshop to deepen understanding around our embodied stress responses, primary and secondary trauma, Moral Injury, meaning-making, joy and ways in which we can stay centred, stabilised, calm and well within our work, solidarity and collective care.
The workshop will also be of use to those working to support newly arriving refugee communities, and to better understand – and remain attuned with – the trauma (and courage) that many have experienced.
This workshop is part of Comhlámh’s wider work relating to Psychosocial Resources as part of the ‘Working for a Better World – Sustaining Civil Engagement’ project.
The training is open to the staff and board members of the Code signatories. Caoimhe also provides follow-up sessions for participating organisations and individuals, which can be booked after the meeting. If you are interested in this innovative workshop with Caoimhe, please register below.
In Comhlámh, we hope to realise future work – trainings and other processes – around these resources, in collaboration with other organisations and networks. Please, stay tuned for updates and do share any feedback around which parts of the resources resonated/felt more useful.