At eye level? Decolonial and empowering approaches in the cooperation with “partners” in African countries

Qualification series for activists in development policy organizations, initiatives, migrant self-organizations and for all those who work for global justice.

The project work with African “partners” is built on a very unequal basis. Funds and specifications come from Germany and often people from Germany are deployed in the partner countries, although they lack knowledge about the local structures. But racism and other power relations are also (unconsciously) reproduced in direct cooperation on site or in teams here in Germany. Dealing with this reproduction is a comprehensive process. It starts with self-reflection on the white side or self-empowerment against these conditions on the black/of color side. We think that in the long term, the structures in which the projects take place must change. Nevertheless, decolonial “partnership work” is a first possible building block for this long-term change. An important building block for this is also the strengthening of people with experience of racism within German organizations and in migrant self-organizations.

Therefore, we offer a qualification series on power- and racism-critical confrontation as well as empowering approaches in the so-called partnership work with African countries. Four webinars teach necessary skills for racism- and power-sensitive or empowered collaboration.

The goal is to jointly develop ideas for alternative ways of acting and racism- and power-sensitive or empowered practices in “partnership work.”

The qualification series consists of 4 consecutive webinars of 4h learning content each. Participation in all modules is a prerequisite. Participation also includes a willingness to raise awareness and self-reflection on a personal level, as well as reflection on one’s own project work. We will support this process with impulses, input, know-how and practical tools.

1. webinar: basics of equal cooperation
Monday, June 26, 2023, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (incl. 30 min break)

  • The group gets to know each other and their expectations.
  • We will use the group as a learning space where people of diverse positioning(white, black, people of color) meet and collaboratively and mindfully test a culture of discussing racism and power relations. For this, we temporarily divide the group along experiences of racism to allow for more protected learning spaces.
  • We will clarify the approach of the series by highlighting colonial continuities and resistance to them. You will receive materials for self-learning until the next module.

2nd webinar: Self-reflection and empowering approaches.
Tuesday, July 11, 2023, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (incl. 30 min break)

  • Reflection on our own project work always begins with ourselves. Therefore, in this module we take time to become aware of our respective social location and imprint.
  • We reflect on our attitude and motivation. Again, we divide the group here to allow for more protected learning spaces
  • Specific examples and job sites are then shared so that they can be worked on in the following module.

3rd webinar: Developing options for action: How can we work together as equals?
Monday, September 11, 2023, 10 am – 2:30 pm (incl. 30 min break)

  • Building on the building sites brought in, we will work out fields of action of a power-critical / empowered project planning.
  • Each* participant takes on a construction site from his/her project. Supported by the speakers and the group, everyone will develop their own standards for decolonial or empowered cooperation step by step.

Between 3. and 4th module you will work on one of your construction sites concretely in practice, directly applying the methods of decolonial project planning. If necessary, the speakers are available for individual counseling, e.g. if obstacles arise.

4th Webinar: Daring to innovate for future-oriented decolonial “partnership work”.
Monday, October 23, 2023, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (incl. 30 min break)
Your innovative ideas for decolonial “partnership work” will be presented. You can use the group as a reflection space to talk about pitfalls and obstacles. The goal is for you to solidify the methods and approaches in your work.

Target group
are actors from development NGOs, groups and initiatives as well as activists working for global justice. BIPoC or activists from migrant self-organizations as well as people from the diaspora are explicitly invited.

Cross-cutting theme Strengthening
In our work, it is important for us to give space to those who are affected by social exclusion. The qualification series therefore provides those affected by racism with skills for dealing with obstacles within their own organization or group. Ideally, and whenever we see the need, we divide the group for this purpose to allow for more protected learning spaces. Let us know your needs for participation.

The workshop will be held in German spoken language. The speakers speak English.

Speaker: Lawrence N. Y. Oduro-Sarpong (he/him)
Coordination and speaker: Kristina Kontzi (she/they) both glokal e.V.

The project is funded by the PFQ program for the promotion of development policy qualification measures with funds from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).