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

Qualification series for those active in development organizations and initiatives as well as for everyone who is committed to global justice. We particularly invite BIPoC, activists from migrant self-organizations and people from the diaspora.

“The training is exactly what we need in the North-South context” (participant of the 2023-qualification).

Project work with African “partners” is built on a very unequal basis, and not just because of colonial history. Funds and guidelines come from Germany and people from Germany are often deployed in the partner countries, even though they lack knowledge of the local structures. But racism and other power relationships are also (unconsciously) reproduced in direct collaboration on site or in teams here in Germany. Dealing with this reproduction is a comprehensive process. It starts with self-empowerment against these conditions on the black/of color side or self-reflection on the white side.

The voices of migrant-diasporic actors are indispensable for the critical discourses on the decolonization of partnership work. We therefore want to create a space in which the current interpretation of the decolonization of partnership work is put to the test. Migrant-diasporic actors have a special role in partnership work with African countries, among other things due to their biographical connections. We want to fulfill this role in our offer by temporarily working in safer spaces.

In the long term, the general structures (finances, travel, evaluation, etc.) in which the projects take place must change (we described this in detail in our brochure The Fairy Tale of Eye Level). Nevertheless, individual engagement with the topic of decolonial “partnership work” is a first possible building block for these structural changes. What is important here is the strengthening of migrant self-organizations and people with experience of racism within German organizations.

That’s why we offer a qualification series on critical debates about power and racism, as well as empowering approaches in “partnership work” with African countries. In four webinars, the necessary skills for racism and power-sensitive or empowered collaboration will be taught.

The aim is to jointly develop ideas for alternative options for action and racism and power-sensitive or empowered practices in “partnership work”.

The target group is actors from development policy institutions, NGOs, groups and initiatives as well as activists who are committed to global justice.

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

1. Webinar: Getting to know each other, self-reflection and empowering approaches
Monday, March 4, 2024, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (including 30 min break)
With the help of power-critical questions about your work practice, we will use the group as a learning space in which people from different positions (white, black, people of color) meet and a culture of discussing racism and power relations in partnership work can be tested together and mindfully. To do this, we temporarily divide the group according to racism experience in order to enable more protected learning spaces.

2. Webinar: Basics of equal cooperation
Monday, March 18, 2024, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (including 30 min break)
Together we will develop the fundamentals for a perspective that is sensitive to racism and power. In preparation for the next module, we will collect concrete problems and questions from your work practice.

3. Webinar: Developing options for action: How can we work together as equals?
Thursday, April 11, 2024, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (including 30 min break)
Supported by the group and the speakers and with the help of the previously developed perspective, we develop step by step ideas for a decolonial or empowered collaboration for your practice. You take a specific construction site from your project and develop initial solution ideas by the 4th webinar.

4th Webinar: Daring to innovate for future-oriented decolonial “partnership work”
Thursday, May 16, 2024, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (including 30 min break)
You present your innovative ideas for decolonial “partnership work” and use the group as a reflection space to talk about pitfalls and obstacles. The aim is for you to consolidate the methods and approaches in your work.

Cross-sectional topic of strengthening
In our work, it is important to us to give space to those who are affected by social exclusion. The qualification series therefore provides those affected by racism with the skills to deal with hurdles within their own organization or group. Ideally, and whenever we see the need, we split the group up to allow for more protected learning spaces. Let us know your needs for participation.

The workshop will take place in spoken German. You can also write to us in English.

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

The project is funded in the PFQ program to promote development policy qualification measures with funds from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Bread for the World.