We Care: Institutionalising Accessible Staff Wellness and Resilience Policies, Tools and Practices for the GBV Field
The SVRI is undertaking a project, funded by USAID, to advance staff-care, wellness, and resilience within our organization and across our network by developing an accessible, high quality, evidence-based online course module; and building evidence and momentum through a knowledge exchange series.
SVRI has long recognized the importance of building a caring field and addressing vicarious trauma. Well-being and self-care are integrated into our events, partnerships, and organizational culture (see “Previous Work” below for links). Given the interest in our previous work, we have seen that field needs more support to integrate self and collective care into core work. We will further strengthen and advance the work on wellness, resilience, and care, both internally and globally through:
- Developing a free online course module focused on self- and collective-care, wellness, and resilience including a focus on institutionalizing policies and practices that support staff wellbeing and resilience. The course will be piloted in early 2022 and launched in July 2022. To inform the development of the online course, we conducted a brief evidence scoping review.
- Hosting a Knowledge Exchange series focused on self, staff, and collective care, wellness, and resilience including live events and knowledge products. We want to amplify the existing knowledge, promising practices and lessons learned from the field through documenting case studies from research and practitioner teams.
c. Online care session: Trauma-informed meditation session
Trauma-informed meditation session for SVRI members
In this session, meditation practitioner Paula Ramirez guided participants through an hour of gentle, trauma-informed meditation exercises. Paula believes in the pivotal importance of promoting self-care and has spent her career exploring how resilience and healing can be inspired through the body. She has been co-directing RESPIRA, an organisation promoting mindfulness in Colombia since 2013. She has worked closely with survivors of torture, gender-based violence and landmines in Colombia, South Sudan and Bangladesh. She is a mindfulness-based stress reduction-teacher from the UCSD Center for Mindfulness and a trauma-sensitive yoga facilitator from the Trauma Center. Paula is currently working as a consultant for the Gender Based Violence Area of Responsibility supporting self-care for first responders in countries such as Iraq, Yemen, Venezuela and Nigeria among others.
Paula has recorded a further two 5-6 minute trauma-informed meditation exercises for those of you who are seeking to establish your own meditation practice. Watch the recordings here: Meditation practice 1 and practice 2.
d. Online live event: Decolonising wellness and self-care
Decolonising Wellness and Self-Care
This lively webinar explored the importance of moving away from individualistic, Western notions of care and wellbeing and discussed decolonising wellness and self-care. Our guests were Sharanya Sekaram, Dr Carol Labor and Vani Viswanathan.
Read the word cloud - What does “decolonising wellness and self-care” mean to you?
- Institutionalise staff care policies and practices within SVRI. Our move to an independent NGO provides an opportunity to review and strengthen our own policies and practices related to staff wellness and resilience. We will share what we learn and how we strengthen care and wellness within our organisation as the project progresses.
We are well established in promoting wellbeing and resilience in the VAW field through addressing vicarious trauma (through a workshop, briefing paper, information leaflet, publication, guidelines, and multiple Forum presentations), hosting various wellbeing services and activities within our biennial SVRI Forum event, co-creating various knowledge products (e.g., latest one on body-focused mental health), creating a hub of information on our website, and integrating self and team-care sessions into our workshops and meetings.