Rath Mony, who worked with us on Silent Land film, arrested

Mr Rath Mony has been helping people in need for decades. He helped us tremendously in making films (like http://silentland.org/) and doing research into violence in Cambodia. He now trusted a team from Russia Today and helped them in making a documentary that should address abuse of young women - but proved to be a documentary that does not meet minimum standards of ethics, double check, sound research and correct contextualization.

Rath Rott Mony was arrested in Thailand at the request of the Cambodian government last Friday evening https://nyti.ms/2Gdkdkc).

He now seems the only one who pays the price for the conduct of the ones he only worked for, and that is far from fair.

Let's hope that the positive flexibilisation that PM Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen recently showed (https://bit.ly/2G7u7Ea) can also apply to him. He meant no harm and did what he does best: helping people and trying to avoid conflict.

A call from Human Rigths Watch Thailand: "Don’t Return Cambodian Dissident" seems strange. Is Mony a dissident? Is the approach of HRW actually helping the case, or making it worse? Mony simply helped people who wanted to show some of the worst excesses that poverty can lead to. The documentary makers were quite unprofessional. That is on them. Not on Mony, of whom we can also say that he is the type of citizen that Cambodia should welcome back and support.

Theatre in Köln

Culture 4 Change has been asked to participate in Ein transkulturelles Bühnen-Projekt in drei Modulen in Germany. C4C is in the process of developing a Theory of Change for this 3-year German project that aims to improve the living conditions in some neighbourhoods of Koln where tensions between different groups of people have led to increased feelings of insecurity and high levels of violence.

The project is based on two theories.

  • The Third Space Theory, a postcolonial sociolinguistic theory of identity and community realized through language or education, of Homi K. Bhabha.
  • The Polyvagal Theory; a neuroscientific theory developed by Stephen W. Porges that explains what happens in traumatic/stressful situations and which has many implications for the study of stress, emotion, and social behaviour on a collective level.

This project, that will start in January 2019, will make use of theatre with the objective to involve the population in finding creative solutions that should lead to more social cohesion within their neighbourhoods. One of the tasks of C4C will be to conduct action research throughout the implementation of the project. C4C also helps to find additional funding.

Football and social cohesion in war-affected Uganda

There is always the question of whether sport or major sporting events can foster common ideals or even bring peace. When one looks at the scandals in sport it seems unlikely…but at the same time, at the everyday level of people playing, sport just may offer ä neutral basis to foster the spirit of fair play, the sense of community and the elimination of prejudice.

In this article, Madeleine Issitt and Aloh Francis find out how successful football is in developing social harmony in Gulu, North Uganda, where people say that football is also an ‘escape’, a ‘community’ and a way to forget about ‘the bad things that have happened to people’ in the war.

About a decolonial approach to Global Health

As C4C we highly appreciate this blog on ‘a decolonial approach to Global Health’. Wrtitten by  and , published in the newsletter of 'Switching the Poles’ - edited by Kristof de Coster at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp.  


Mental Health in Complex Emergencies

The annual course on Mental Health in Complex Emergencies is this year in Kampala. C4C contributes knowledge on culture and change. The Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs at Fordham University makes the 14th edition of this course possible.

Seaside Reads to Change the World, by Kate Raworth

Here is a list of books that are relevant for change. Put together on the initiative of Kate Raworth with the help of Lucy Feibusch .“Last week at the seaside, while I was browsing in my favourite second-hand bookshop, the owner said to me "If I was going to create a shelf called 'Change the World', what books would you recommend to go on it?" I started reeling off the books that have most influenced me, soon realised that this could take quite a long time, then decided that it would be far more fun to ask Twitter.” Thank you Kate and Lucy!

There is a real threat in growing antimicrobial resistance combined with the risk of infectious diseases

In an editorial in the British Medical Journal, we share concern about the growing risk of infectious disease outbreaks. Culture is important in containing these outbreaks. New cases of Ebola reported last week in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after apparently successful control of an outbreak in May, revive memories of the Ebola epidemic in west Africa in 2014-16. An equally alarming outbreak of Nipah virus occurred in Kerala, India, earlier this year.  Read more about this here.

#MeToo at the World Health Assembly: Discussing sexual abuse and exploitation in international cooperation

By  and  on June 1, 2018

ITM health policy unit, co-founder Culture4Change
Intern and Researcher, Health Policy Unit, ITM, Belgium; Masters (MPH) student, University of Vienna, Austria

Last Saturday (26 May), the very last (side-)event of the World Health Assembly in Geneva was about one of the most embarrassing challenges in international health work: “#AidToo: Sexual exploitation in international cooperation”.

#AidToo is a sub-section of the #MeToo movement which definitely needs no introduction, as the ripples it has caused continue to be felt all around the world. The growing activism and campaign to end sexual abuse has been well received, and the issue has been much debated across both virtual and the more traditional media platforms. Yet one question remains, why is this type of abuse structurally embedded in society and why it is so hard to tackle? This is of course a much more difficult and less popular subject matter. The truth is that the ‘root causes’ of sexual abuse and exploitation go a lot deeper than the glossy Hollywood magazines which were so useful to amplifying the voices of  #MeToo campaigners, would have you believe. In fact, Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, in calling for actionsaid “Sexual violence knows no race, class, or gender, but the response to it does.

As previously alluded to, the session in Geneva tried to address the issue of sexual abuse and exploitation specifically within the “aid industry”. Since the story about sex-parties in Haiti broke, there has been an avalanche of similar stories throughout the “aid world,” with NGOs, UN bodies and peacekeepers all being implicated. The resulting public outrage has ensured that the issue is now firmly on the agenda, and these days, almost all aid industry CEOs speak of regaining trust.

The session was held under Chatham House rules which proved to be useful because after an initially slow start, people started opening up. At first there was a tendency to meekly accept blame and defend one’s agency efforts at making improvements, however, this soon gave way to people sharing sometimes bitter testimonies about how things at the very top in important agencies are not changing and how more senior staff manage to dodge their responsibilities. In the hands of the excellent facilitator we soon agreed on tasks that should be taken on by the ‘Aid Industry: there is a need to revaluate their response to allegations of abuse by their staff; to operationalise a common culture of integrity throughout what is in fact a very heterogenous sector; and to create survivor-centred response mechanisms.

Thus far, people seemed fairly comfortable sharing their opinions and experiences, yet at some  point we seemed to have got stuck at debating only how to end the abuse – whereas preventing it was not in sight. It was when the last presenter firmly brought the root causes back to centre that things became more complex. The discussion gradually veered from strictly ‘gender’ towards racial, class, and ethnic aspects of the issue. In other words, intersectionalityentered, and immediately illuminated the elephant in the room: power.

We were quickly chased out of our comfort zone, where we all shared disgust for the ‘bad behaviour of some males’, and had to face questions about the asymmetry of power. Talking about the abuse of power proved a lot more difficult than agreeing about the horror of abusing women. We proved Tarana Burke right: the response to sexual violence includes race, class and gender…and the distribution of power.

There was some discussion on ways of moving forward that require a complete paradigm shift in the power balance and the current way of working of the aid industry. For instance, shouldn’t the people who need help be put in charge, also of the funds available? And why shouldn’t they be held accountable – not by ‘our’ standards per se, but a set of standards which respects the people who we are talking about more?

It is not helpful when (opinion) leaders of the aid industry throw their arms in the air and declare helplessly that it is all very difficult, because anyway in those weird countries, men treat their women like commodities… #TheyToo! The behaviour of individual men does not give outsiders the right to make overall judgments that are – even worse – painful illustrations of the very power imbalance that leads to abuse.

To at least prevent this, it may be more helpful for the aid industry to strengthen the effort to understand how local values are also trampled by warfare and extremism, and how each culture has systems in place which protect against abuse and violence. Holding people accountable according to those culture-specific systems, makes perhaps more sense than only using the abstract ‘rights-based’ approach – that sometimes seems a cover for a lack of interest for the local truth. That may the beginning of some deep introspection into how the industry may unwittingly perpetuate the conditions that allow such abuse to take place, as well as a reflection about how to promote wider societal and structural transformations in behaviour, attitudes and institutional priorities to produce lasting change.

We did not find the final solution of course, but the debate was instructive and positive. And we noted that there may be truth in a quote once used, ironically, by a man who lost his position in the #MeToo slipstream. Kevin Spacey, playing president Frank Underwood in ‘House of Cards’: “A great man once said, everything is about sex. Except sex. Sex is about power.”

C4C is partner in the course Mental Health in Complex Emergencies

C4C is partner in the course Mental Health in Complex Emergencies

September 16 to 26, 2018

Kampala, Uganda

The Mental Health in Complex Emergencies Course is an intensive multidisciplinary ten-day training course for mental health workers and humanitarian program staff who wish to gain insight and competency in establishing mental health or psychosocial programs in (post) conflict areas or in areas affected by complex disasters including refugee settings.

In the first week, the course will provide practical orientation and training to equip participants to establish and organize programs in mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) and strengthen adjunct applicable skills for use in complex humanitarian emergencies and relief operations, such as needs assessments, monitoring and evaluation, understanding the humanitarian context, security, and self-care. In the second week, students may choose from a number of three-day workshops in which particular topics relevant to humanitarian emergencies will be explored in depth, facilitated by specialists.

The course is organized by the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA of Fordham University in New York. Course Directors are

Larry Hollingworth, CBE - Humanitarian Programs Director, Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation (CIHC), Visiting Professor, Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA), Fordham University

Lynne Jones, OBE, FRCPsych. Ph.D. - Visiting Scientist, FXB Center for Health & Human Rights, Harvard University School of Public Health

Willem van de Put - Co-founder, Mental Health in Complex Emergencies Course
Founder and Director, Culture for Change (C4C) Research Fellow, Fordham University
Scientific Expert at the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp

Peter Ventevogel, MD, PhD. - Senior Mental Health Officer, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees


View the MHCE Syllabus

#Aid too in Geneva

Interesting session today in Geneva as one of the side-events of the World Health Assembly: #AidToo: Sexual exploitation in international cooperation. Could not help but notice that most attention went to how to address abuse, whereas the prevention of abuse and addressing the root causes of abuse was less discussed. It seems that one way of preventing abuse of unequal power is to shift responsibility (and power) to the refugee population, rather than have them being ‘managed’ by expatriate NGO staff. But much more interesting would be to rethink what we mean by accountability. In terms of legitimizing the work done and the presence of those that take away job opportunities form local people, accountability should go to the people at stake in the very first place, rather than donors and constituencies. In terms of holding ourselves accountable for our ideas about gender, abuse and ‘the others’, we could respect local values and local ways of preventing and addressing violence. Simply stating that we find the behaviour of, for example, South Sudanese or Afghan man unacceptable won’t do it.

C4C is looking for the evidence

21 May 2018: At the request of the Joint Learning Initiative, a Washington based international collaboration on evidence for faith groups’ role and contributions to local community health and wellbeing and ending poverty, C4C is conducting a literature review. We are looking into the specific roles, caveats, most effective strategies and demonstrated impact of Faith-Based organizations in social and behavior change. The role of Faith-Based organizations in health and development is often underestimated, and needs to understood to be more effective and relevant in creating positive change.

World Bank Award for Culture4Change Innovation in Preventing Gender-Based Violence in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, April 19, 2018—The World Bank Group and the Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI) recently awarded $99,900 to Monash University, RACHA, and Culture4Change for research in Cambodia that aims to reduce incidents of gender-based violence (GBV). Click here for a poster of the project).

The Award, part of the 2018 Development Marketplace for Innovation to Address Gender-Based Violence*, will support the Cambodia-based organization Reproductive and Child Health Alliance, working together with Monash University in Australia and C4C in the Netherlands, to explore cultural forces that underpin and shape GBV, and test how interventions by Buddhist monks and female devotees could contribute to prevention.

Specifically, the award will help them test how women, men, girls and boys use their local cultural references to understand GBV that they may have experienced or witnessed. Through collaboration with a Buddhist network, they will examine initiatives developed by monks to help prevent GBV and mitigate its effects. They will also document why perpetrators and survivors sought help from monks and female devotees, and how it changed attitudes towards women and girls.

“Cambodia has made advances against gender-based violence, but understanding cultural attitudes is an important part of making sure that responses to GBV succeed,” said Miguel Eduardo Sanchez Martin, World Bank Acting Country Manager for Cambodia. “We congratulate the winners on this innovative approach and look forward to learning more about the ways that monks and devotees can prevent and mitigate the effects of GBV.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. According to UN Women, in Cambodia, at least one in five women is a victim of GBV and more than half of all children experience some form of physical violence by an intimate partner, parent or adult relative, or community member. These figures seem comparable with other countries, but do not express how the nature of violence in Cambodia is debilitating and accepted as a part of life.

Studies show that gender-based violence can cost economies up to 3.7 percent of GDP due to lost productivity, in addition to the direct harm caused to women and men,” said Caren Grown, Senior Director, Gender, World Bank Group. “The World Bank Group is proud to support the Development Marketplace winners, whose projects seek to find sustainable and scalable approaches to preventing GBV for us today and for future generations.”

Launched in 2015 in memory of Hannah Graham, daughter of a longtime World Bank Group employee, the Development Marketplace is an annual competition for researchers towards finding innovative solutions that can help individuals, communities, and nations stamp out GBV.

This year’s winners, chosen from more than 250 submissions from research institutions, NGOs, and aid and other organizations around the world, come from Armenia, Cambodia, Colombia, Honduras, Jordan, Kenya, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Rwanda, and South Africa.

Winning teams received up to US$100,000 each and were chosen based on overall merit, research or project design and methods, significance, team expertise, and ethical considerations.

The SVRI Grant, a global innovation award started in 2014, previously awarded more than US$1 million to nine projects in seven countries. With more than 5,500 members, SVRI is one of the largest global research networks focused on violence against women. SVRI supports research by disseminating and sharing knowledge and nurturing collaboration and networking, and improves policy and practice by supporting and funding research and capacity development. It hosts an international forum every two years to advance and expand research on sexual and intimate partner violence..

*The official title is the “Sexual Violence Research Initiative and the World Bank Group’s 2018 Development Marketplace for Innovation in the prevention and response of gender-based violence (In memory of Hannah Graham)”


Maurice Eisenbruch - maurice.eisenbruch@monash.edu 

Theary Chan ctheary@racha.org.kh  www.racha.org.kh

Willem van de Put  willemvandeput@culture4change.com www.culture4change.com

Karl Marx and Jeffrey Sachs in Antwerp

This morning I was in Antwerp University, and listened to Jeffrey Sachs, who gave a masterclass upon receiving the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa  for general merit. Yesterday evening I was in the Antwerp theatre Arenberg, and listened to Karl Marx, who was brought to life 200 years after he was born by actor Johan Heldenberghand writer Stefaan Van Brabandt in a wonderful monologue (here is a beautiful review– in Dutch).

Both men spoke passionately for about one and a half hour. Heldenberg was good – he became Marx.  I saw more and more similarities! Their inspiration is real, their passionate involvement in inequality, the energy to change things for the better, their anger about the situation in the world and the disappointment about how real change still does not happen -  even while we know things are getting out of hand. Another similarity to accept was that Marx and Sachs share having great ideas, that turned sour when they were tried out. This was Marx and not Marxism. Seven people attended his funeral in London in 1883. Millions died because of horrible interpretations of ‘Marxism’. Sachs has been portrayed as a man of almost pathological drive and egotism, which both led to successes and to a refusal to listen or learn from criticism. Markx and Sachs both seem devoid of doubt, refusing to take no for an answer, dismissive of anyone who disagrees with them. Granted, it was Sachs speaking, and not the millennium villages. His ideas caused less harm. Sachs is very much alive, so let’s not speculate about his funeral. It seems likely that there will be more than seven people, but it is too early to say whether people will pay USD 5,- to visit his grave 135 years after his death, as people now do to see Marx’ grave.

So perhaps it is not always only about the outcome, and perhaps sometimes the intention may count too. I was impressed by the call for action from both. To get up and do something about obscene inequity, to not accept how multinationals get away with criminal behavior, to get up and fix ‘Europe’ because it’s the only place where things can come from now that the US has lost it. Marx finished his monologue quoting St Augustinus, who said “Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.” He wishes us a lot of this kind of anger. And so did Sachs, without quoting saints. He urged us to keep working at new knowledge for the future, and have the courage to not only think about how things can change, but also make that change happen.


Willem van de Put, 28-03-2018

Islamic clerics have agreed to work with the Afghan government to persuade militant groups in the country that vaccination programmes should be allowed

Polio is not eradicated yet in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Hard-line Islamist militants and clerics in the three countries have been opposing polio vaccination campaigns, as myths have become ingrained that they are part of a conspiracy to sterilise Muslim children or a cover for western spies. The vaccination programme was badly discredited, after a fake campaign was used as cover in the US efforts to find Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

Cultural issues are also obstructing the vaccination campaign, says Gul Maki, a health worker in Kunar. “Cultural difficulties remain a crucial hurdle against female [health] workers.”

A good example of what ‘Culture for Change’ is all about, Islamic clerics have agreed to work with the Afghan government to persuade militant groups in the country that vaccination programmes should be allowed in remote areas. Cleric Mawlawi Mohammad Ajmal, from Kunar, told the Guardian: “Islam won’t deny the treatment and prevention of sickness and disease, if our aim is to have a normal and healthy society then we need to allow and support health field workers and polio vaccinators to reach every child under five in each and every household, village and district.”

Polio vaccinators vermoord in Pakistan

In Pakistan zijn twee hulpverleners omgekomen bij een aanval op een medisch team dat vaccineerde tegen Polio. Mieke van de Weij praat met Willem van de Put, oprichter van Culture for Change.


Women’s day in Rwanda; progress and challenges

9. mrt, 2018

Bibiane van Mierlo, March 9th 2018

Rwanda has made great progress in promoting gender equality, largely driven by strong Government committment. Gender equality is enshrined in the constitution and Rwanda was the first country in the world to have more than 50% female members of Parliament.

Rwanda is a special case. After the massacre of up to 800,000 people in 100 days during the civil war of 1994, men were in short supply. Women, who had suddenly become 70 per cent of the population, had to step in and do the work of men while bringing up their children single-handed. This generation grew up only knowing a world in which women are dominant, by force of circumstance. But the government response was also far-seeing, giving women formal rights in the constitution to land, to education as well as the right to equal pay. The key to women’s progress in Rwanda has been this awareness that it’s not just about money: at least 30 per cent of all decision-making jobs in the public sphere must be held by women (What Rwanda can teach us about gender equality Spectator 2018)

But it’s not all positive. According to this same article in the Spectator, the Rwandan correspondent Maggie Mutesi, a popular Rwandan journalist, spoke to a young female student who complained that girls are still expected to marry as soon as they have finished school. For a woman to get a loan from the bank, it’s much easier if a man goes with her. Ask a man why he beat his wife and he will reply, ‘Because she went out without my permission.’

During the recent years there has been a strong emphasis on fighting gender based violence (GBV). Women have the same rights to inherit land as men. Girls are equally as likely to attend school as boys and there is a Girls Education Policy and Implementation Plan in place.
But in daily practice perceptions of gender roles, persistent stereo types and traditional patriarchal attitudes continue to prevail…as I could witness myself on Women’s Day 2018.

On the evening of this internationally celebrated day, I received a well intentioned WhatsApp from a dear colleague. In an eloquent poem, dedicated to all women of the world, key roles were listed in an attempt to make the world understand how precious women are. All roles described were related to her tasks as a housewife, mother of children and caretaker. She even got applause for becoming so much fatter as the result of her many pregnancies and she was mostly praised for the fact that she sacrificed all her time, body and energy for improving the well-being of her husband.
I first thought this was a joke but when sharing the WhatsApp with my team (a group of well-educated scriptwriters that live in Kigali and develop modern radio soaps towards peacebuilding & reconciliation) all male staff members were impressed by the beauty of the poem and the wisdom of the poet. This was their culture, they explained me. The positive point of this story was the fact that the female scriptwriters totally disagreed with their male colleagues and benefitted from the occasion to raise their voices; we continued the discussion for more than an hour. So far so good ; at least this Women’s Day contributed to some awareness raising among my own staff.

But what does this mean for the majority of women, especially for those that do not live in Kigali but in the poor rural areas of Rwanda and who don’t have the opportunity to express themselves like my dear female colleagues? In Rwanda, the gap between men and women employed in non-farm work for example is widening and the target of 50% of women in paid non-agricultural employment by 2015 has not been met. Rates of domestic violence are still very high and there continues to be a high level of tolerance for domestic violence by both men and women; more than half of the women experience a form of gender-based violence committed by a partner (“Everyday partner violence in Rwanda Annemiek Richters, Emmanuel Sarabwe)
Much remains to be done, also in Rwanda to close the gap between best intentions formulated at national level, beautifully wrapped up in policies and the raw daily practice at household and community level.

And that’s where Culture for Change steps in. Our methodology is based on getting a better understanding of this gap between international programming to address GBV and local concepts used to understand the issue. Campaigns against GBV are often built on an internationally validated ‘rights based approach’, where ‘local culture’ tends to be seen as part of the problem. C4C advocates for another view, in which culture, rather than being seen as a deficit that fuels violence against women, should be harnessed as a dividend in national National Action Plans on Violence against Women. The design and application of “mindmaps” and the establsihmnet of net work at household level helps people to navigate through local customs and beliefs to rights-based solutions and opens new ways of communication to understand GBV and what can be done to stop it.

Governance and the role of the state in fragile settings: broadening the health systems (governance) frame

Trying to improve delivery of aid in crisis situations we wrote this blog about applying the Health in All Policies maxim, and adapt the philosophy behind the idea for use in fragile settings. We believe the humanitarian and development actors should ensure that health is given systematic consideration before any policy and intervention is made and/or implemented.

We must advocate a bottom up, joint sense-making approach from the get go, with all the stakeholders who are involved in state building, so that health will be central to all the decisions that are being made.

And we must recognise the fact that ‘good enough’ governance in every domain would have more of an impact on health outcomes than ‘excellent’ governance in just the health sector; and this is particularly relevant in fragile contexts.

And perhaps most crucial of all, the global health community must learn to walk the tightrope between being bold and vocal about challenging bad governance. We must be pragmatic about the actor that has the capacity to deliver, as well as the concrete results that can be obtained in fragile contexts and emergency situations with partners present on the ground when action needs to be taken.

The parallax view of the humanitarian world

 Willem van de Put, ITM health policy unit, co-founder Culture4Change

 Decent people are outraged about the behavior of aid workers in Haiti some seven years ago. Of course, this is triggered by a deeper sentiment – the unease we all have about the state of affairs in the world. In a western world beleaguered by identity crises, climate change, refugees and new values, a scandal in the humanitarian world helps to show off our capacity for selective morality. It works in two directions: never mind the abuse in the worlds of businessmen and UN peacekeepers, we are outraged because our idealized aid workers are having sex parties not paid for by private or ordinary tax money, but by our donations, our charity!

Is this reaction itself another chapter in the series on ‘poverty porn’ that started almost four decades ago? True, not much has changed in the parallax world of international emergency aid. It is parallax because it has not changed its outlook on a world that changes all the time. The same type of advertisements keep being used, not only Oxfam but also Save the Children joins the ranks of NGOs with apologizing chiefs, while the modus operandi of sending ‘expatriate specialists’ to do what local people apparently are not deemed capable of, keeps throwing up colonial connotations of the white man’s burden.

Whether or not the critique is an example of selective morality, the fact is that the humanitarian world needs to change fast if it wants to remain part of the solution, and not cause more problems. The humanitarian system is broken for many reasons, and repairs are suggested. Prof Spiegel recommends among other things, integrating the people whose lives are affected, in aid delivery and the rebuilding national health systems, (by addressing the humanitarian–development nexus), as well as redesigning leadership and coordination mechanisms. He also advises making interventions efficient, effective, and sustainable. We tried to find evidence for effective interventions, but found it difficult to achieve our goal, and one of the reasons was that we could hardly find the local voice in the extensive literature review we did on coordination and health systems strengthening in fragile settings.

Local voices are the ones who should in the end legitimize the efforts being made by NGOs and all other stakeholders in the relief sector, but they seem to be among those who are ‘expulsed’, as Saskia Sassen formulates it. “Imagine, if you will, those people that reside at the edge of a system (not necessarily a geographical edge). Exclusion would be the prevention of people outside of that system entering it. Expulsion, however, is the act of those already within the system being ejected from it, and finding themselves on the other side of the line.” That is what is going on in these settings of inequality: refugees are not seen as equals, and are denied the right to be in charge. People are expulsed – even from their own agency. Sexual abuse is a symptom: we know that sexual abuse is about power more than it is about sex.

Bottom line in this unsavory Oxfam story: NGOs need to stop being on the ‘expulsing’ side of the line. Serving refugees whose identity, dignity and agency is respected should be done by handing over control to them. It is no longer acceptable to put expatriates in positions where they cannot be expected to deal with the obscene inequality in power. Include migrants and refugees in the design, implementation, management and accounting of relief work. Excuses of capability and corruption do not fly anymore – and have probably never done. The ‘humanitarian world’ needs to wake up from its parallel reality, its slumber of neutral, impartial and independent “splendid isolation” – wake up and adapt to the realities of different value systems, political realities, growing remittance flows and real people. 

16. feb, 2018

C4C te gast bij Nieuwsweekend 17 februari

Naar aanleiding van de berichten over sexueel misbruik door hulpverleners van Oxfam mag Willem van de Put wat gedachten delen over een alternatieve manier van werken, die de machtsverschillen die aan de basis van elk misbruik liggen verandert - en niet bevestigt. Radio 1, 09:00, zaterdag 17 februari - luiister via deze link: https://buff.ly/2o7KftP

6. feb, 2018

C4C awarded World Bank funding

C4C is working with Monash University (Prof Maurice Eisenbruch) in addressing gender based violence in Cambodia. Last year we submitted a proposal for further research to improve interventions. We now recieved a response: "The SVRI World Bank Group Development Marketplace for Innovation on Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response received over 250 proposals from all regions of the world. A rigorous selection process involving several rounds of reviews conducted by world-renowned experts in the field of gender-based violence (GBV) has narrowed the proposals to a small group of 11 winners. The SVRI will fund 5 and the World Bank Group will fund 6 of the proposals. The World Bank is funding your award." We are proud and happy: 100K USD to continue the work.

For a recent publication on our work see http://rdcu.be/G87y

12. jan, 2018

“The mind speaks where the body can’t”

C4C is working in Cambodia to understand how beliefs influence behavior - including mass faintings. The phenomenon is not understood by medics, but seems to relate to known forms of subconscious “ritualised rebellion”. C4C works with Australian researcher Prof Maurice Eisenbruch, a Khmer-speaking psychiatrist/anthropologist who visited dozens of Cambodia garment factories that were the sites of mass faintings between 2009 and 2016.

In a roundabout way, Eisenbruch said, fainting garment workers have been able to temporarily shut down factories or force directors to improve conditions.

“Mass fainting seems to be an outcry of protest by disempowered workers whose misery is made more acute by their factory work,” Eisenbruch wrote.

And in the same way that faintings have sometimes led to better working conditions or higher wages, mass faintings in schools have also resulted in cancelled classes or relaxed student rules.

5. jan, 2018

Waithood - young people between adolescence and adulthood - is the status of young women and men in China, the Middle East, Africa.

The majority of African youths are today grappling with a lack of jobs and deficient education. After they leave school with few skills, they are unable to obtain work and become independent, i.e. to build, buy or rent a house for themselves, support their relatives, get married, establish families and gain social recognition as adults. The idea of ‘waithood’ stems from Honwana’s lecture on the subject and maybe it is best you start with viewing the video.https://youththink.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/neoliberalism-african-youth-and-the-notion-of-waithood/

23. dec, 2017

Luistertip van Guido Spring

Op dit bed werden onschuldige Cambodjanen eind jaren '70 gemarteld tijdens het Rode Khmer-regime onder dictator Pol Pot. Maar Cambodja worstelt nog altijd met de gevolgen van de genocide die in die jaren bijna een kwart van de bevolking het leven kostte. Want over het verleden wordt nauwelijks gepraat en de trauma's zijn niet bespreekbaar. In 2008 maakte ik met als gesprekspartners o.a. Willem Van De Put en Bowinneth Phem de radiodocu 'Cambodja's verzwegen verleden' en dat is vandaag de vrijdagse Spring luistertip. De laatste van dit jaar.....


7. okt, 2017

C4C with Radio la Benevolencija in Rwanda: documentaries

The Great Lakes region in Africa has known transborder conflict since 1959, and as a result hundreds of thousands peolple have been killed and more have fled across the borders of Burundi, Rwanda and DR Congo. Working on reconciliation requires an understanding of the historic events that led to so much violence and fear. Radio la Benevolencia made four documentaries about the cross-border relationships. They have been aired on television and are now public.

C4C is building forward upon these efforts. In her role as Head of Mission of RLB Rwanda, Bibiane van Mierlo, co-founder of C4C, is using these valuable materials of RLB to get a better understanding of how this long history of negative dynamics has affected the mental health of people and communities in Rwanda. And these insights help C4C to get a clear orientation of how to move forward and how to revitalize communities that some 23 years after the genocide are still living in and with the past . Sharing history and knowledge is step one. Mobilizing people while inviting them to become active citizens within an ever-changing context is the next step and a important component of healing and transformation.