The time is now for us to work collectively at resolving stress, burnout, discrimination and abuse within the aid and development sector. We cannot do this without addressing both the structural causes as well as the policy-oriented and self-care solutions to these problems. The good news is I can help you with all of these elements!
I offer a range of services which can be combined and tailored according to your particular needs, and which draw on over 15 years of experience in the sector, and over 5 years of working on staff wellbeing and self-care practices. I am available to travel anywhere to provide support.
Workshops and Advisory Services
As part of a support package, I can offer workshops and trainings, as well as advisory services and follow-up with staff and managers. Please contact me if you would like to discuss further.
I believe that supporting staff in the aid and development sector starts with creating a space where they feel safe to speak about their experiences, and where people truly take the time to listen. There is much that needs healing in our sector, and a starting point is to welcome in the many different voices who have been hurt. This requires sensitive approaches that rebuild trust and a sense of connection - with self and with each other - and which recognise all parts of our personalities, including our edges and shadow side.
I offer tailor-made workshops and trainings that support a process of dialogue, deep listening and strengthening communication as gateways to transforming the culture and working practices of NGOs and aid agencies. I use tools and techniques that draw on tried and tested methods and ideas - including Arnold Mindell’s Process Work, Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects, and Otto Scharmer’s Theory U. These approaches all have a focus on inner work - personal awareness and transformation - and how this connects with our environment, workplace and community. My workshops will support your organisation to become more caring and compassionate, so it truly practises what it preaches on equality, participation and inclusion. This work will not only have an impact on how staff and managers support each other, but on how they interact with the communities they serve.
Breath and Body Work for Change-Makers
I would love to offer breath and body workshops for your team or organisation, so please get in touch!
So much of our anger, grief and sorrows are held in the body. In western societies, we are so focused on our intellects and what is emerging from our brains that we forget this vital fact, leading to chronic pain and physical illness. In the aid sector, and in broader social change environments such as activist groups and social movements, there is so much attention paid to the people we are supporting that we fail to support our own bodies. It is a sad fact, that in spite of this work being focused on humanity, much of our humanity is actually lost through ill-placed anger, compassion fatigue and physical and emotional exhaustion. Whilst anger and rage may be what ignites us and inspires action, the candle can only burn for so long. We have to find ways of reigniting our inner fire in order to continue staying inspired, determined and clear on the most meaningful action to take in the face of the world’s problems.
My approach to body work has a social conscience. I am committed to offering yoga, meditation and wellbeing practices designed to raise our consciousness as well as to relax and heal us. I use techniques that not only support individual self-care and healing, but also re-energise and motivate so that people feel clearer on what is important and how to take action from a place of compassion, strength and vitality.
I also recognise difference and diversity - that Eastern traditions that have made their way to Western societies, such as yoga, are not for everyone, and that many people have their own traditions, practised over hundreds of years, that provide them with much needed healing and relaxation. I nevertheless can see that many change-makers often lose sight of how to look after themselves and need the tools to help them to relax and regain a sense of purpose.
Research, Writing and Media Engagement
I am available for commissions for writing and broadcast, and to conduct research with your organisation on staff wellbeing issues. Please contact me if you are interested!
I have a proven track record in delivering timely pieces of research and writing on aid sector wellbeing. I use qualitative research methodologies that get to the heart of aid workers’ lived experiences, everyday lives and struggles, and how these intersect with aid policies, systems and organisational culture. I believe that research is a vital tool to understanding these realities, and for providing a space for people to tell their own stories, so that organisations may gain a deeper understanding of their staff and how to support them.
You can read more about my research on my blog.
In addition to writing research pieces, I have also engaged extensively with the media on some of the more pressing issues of our time related to staff wellbeing - particularly with regard to reports of sexual abuse and harassment, and a macho and bullying organisational culture. My media engagement has discussed the underlying systemic problems, and proposed solutions that move beyond tick-box policies and encourage individual and collective action. You can read, watch or listen to examples of my writing and speaking on staff wellbeing here:
- Open Democracy: Let’s not make stress in the aid sector only a white person’s problem
- The Conversation: Life on humanitarian compounds is removed from reality - this can fuel the misconduct of aid workers
- One Step Forward Podcast: Rethinking Stress and Wellbeing in the Aid Sector
- France 24: The Oxfam scandal - How to keep predators away from the most vulnerable
- Voice of America: Oxfam probing new sexual misconduct claims as scandal engulfs aid sector
Work With Me
Please contact me if you are interested!