Org Spotlight: PRADET

November 7th, 2014


PRADET (Psychosocial Recovery & Development in East Timor) is an NGO that provides assistance to people who are undergoing issues with trauma and other social problems. The mission of PRADET is to provide psychosocial support to men, women, children and families who suffer from trauma, violence, and mental illness.

The organization also focuses on delivering psycho-social service to the community via counselors positioned locally that have had experience in trauma related to health. The information administered is centralized on enabling the community to be better educated on illness and abuse, while also rehabilitating those in the community who have suffered from trauma induced health issues.  Along with counselling, PRADET is also dedicated to creating an atmosphere that enables people to feel encouraged to reach their potential. PRADET works with its various working partners to create community development programs as well as policy development at both local and national levels. PRADET is the singular organization in East Timor that focuses on delivery training as well as education on the topics of abuse in the larger context of the community.

PRADET views the process of overcoming mental health issues as a “journey of healing and transformation”.   The overall goal that PRADET seeks to accomplish is to empower any person who suffers from a trauma related mental health problem to have the ability to have livelihood and fulfillment in their lives, while also improving the community life of East Timor. The value that PRADET utilizes in its mission is hope.  In its mission, PRADET utilizes hope as an instrument that has the ability to be the facilitator of the rehabilitation process and ultimately change the community.

The process of recovering from trauma and other mental health issues offers individuals the opportunity to participate in the community, while also enhancing community life. By strengthening relationships with their partners, PRADET strives to generate increased initiatives and programs that will be able to alleviate trauma, improve treatment, and enable services that will assist the community of East Timor.

Org Spotlight: Humanas Colombia

November 3rd, 2014

humanas colombia

Humanas Colombia

Humanas Colombia is an organization that focuses on human rights and justice for women. The organization’s mission is “the promotion and protection of human rights of women, international humanitarian law and gender justice in Colombia and Latin America.  A group of women within social sciences professions strive to promote and implement initiatives that increase knowledge of women’s situations and the obstacles they must overcome in regards to gender inequalities.

Humanas looks at gender justice and how women are affected by and contribute to issues surrounding peace and security. They question the patriarchal order by searching out biases that violate gender equality. Gender based violence comes out of unequal power relations between the sexes. Gender justice attempts to combat the naturalization of violence against women and gives women access to justice for the crimes committed against them.
Humanas’ mission is inspired by the following values:

  • The universal and indivisible human rights as the basis for addressing multiple discriminations affecting women.
  • Democracy building guide egalitarian relationships in ways of thinking, feeling and acting.
  • Diversity, recognition of multiple social realities
  • Cooperation promotes working in partnership with groups of similar interests.
  • Solidarity promotes the defense of the rights of women in all contexts.
  • Transparency characterizes the management of resources, information and accountability.
  • Resilience, as an individual and collective capacity, can face problems, solve them and emerge stronger.

Humanas has developed research, training, and monitoring to advance their goal of justice for women. One specific initiative they have developed, Peace with Women, is dedicated to spreading and recognizing efforts by women to build peace in the midst of war. This project creates a space for women to come together to rebuild the social fabric, strengthen local democracy and peace processes, overcome poverty, undertake processes of truth, justice and reparation and to oppose war and the militarization of their lives. They give women a voice by creating an avenue for them to tell their stories.

The organization’s fundamental premise is for peace building in the country to involve not only the negotiation of the armed conflict, but the construction of new gender pacts that enable social inclusion of women and the full exercise of their rights.

DC event: Society for International Development honors Ambassador Melanne Verveer

October 31st, 2014

unnamedWhen: Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Where: Washington Hilton Hotel, 1919 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC


Cocktail Reception: 5:30 – 6:30 PM
Dinner Program: 6:50 – 9:00 PM

On Wednesday evening, December 17, 2014, the Washington, DC Chapter of the Society for International Development (SID-Washington) will hold its annual Gala Dinner. This year, Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, will receive the SID-Washington Award for Leadership in Development for her considerable achievements in international development.

Ambassador Verveer’s contributions to the field are many, including her service as the first US Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues. She was also a major driver of incorporating gender equality and women’s empowerment into US development policy during the first term of the Obama administration at the State Department, and helped to redefine how we view development – empowering marginalized populations such as women, the LGBT community, people with disabilities, and ethnic/religious minorities.

Alyse Nelson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vital Voices Global Partnership, will participate as a tribute speaker. Other speakers are to be determined. We anticipate a broad based attendance, representing a diverse constituency of non-governmental organizations, development consulting firms, government agencies, multilateral institutions,universities, and individuals actively engaged in the field of international development. We hope you can join us!

If your organization is interested in sponsoring the Annual Dinner, please click here. For more information about this event, please email or call (202) 331- 1317.

DC Event: Panel Discussion

October 27th, 2014

time_to_actA Time To Act – Combating Sexual Violence in Syria and Iraq

A Panel Discussion and Lunchtime Roundtables 


As part of the American Red Cross mandate, the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) team hosts events to educate the American public about IHL and related issues. As part of this year’s event series, the American Red Cross, the AU WCL War Crimes Research Office, the GW Elliott School Global Gender Program and Physicians for Human Rights are organizing an event  to explore and discuss the increased use of sexual violence by state and non-state actors.

The purpose of this event is to shed light on pressing issues regarding International Humanitarian Law, complex emergencies, and sexual violence, with a particular focus on the atrocities committed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Our goal is not only to bring these issues to the forefront of the public debate but also discuss potential solutions to address them.

The panel discussion will be streamed live at: to encourage dialogue from all over the country and world. Online participants can send in questions or comments ahead of time and during the event.  


10:00 am -12:00 pm: Moderated Panel Discussion

Speakers In Order of Appearance:

Dr. Aisling Swaine - Associate Professor of Practice of International Affairs, George Washington University, Elliott School of International Affairs

Sucharita S.K. Varanasi, JD MediCapt Project Manager & Senior Program Officer, Physicians for Human Rights

Ambassador Rapp (invited) – Ambassador-at-Large, Office of Global Criminal Justice, U.S. Department of State

Sunjeev Bery- Advocacy Director, Middle East North Africa, Amnesty International USA


Susana SáCouto- Director, War Crimes Research Office, American University Washington College of Law

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm: Lunch & Facilitated Roundtable Discussions

There will be facilitated lunchtime discussions to discuss and come up with suggestions to address specific problems within the overall topic.  Current topics and confirmed moderators include:

1) What would a campaign that engages grassroots and diaspora to combat human rights abuses look like? (Discussion led by Sunjeev Bery, Amnesty International)

 2) What role can mobile technology play in documenting sexual violence in conflict? (Discussion led by Sucharita S.K. Varanasi, Physicians for Human Rights)

 3) Do the protections in the Geneva Convention adequately address sexual violence in conflict? (Discussion led by Christie Edwards, American Red Cross)

 4) How can the US and the global community give greater protection to refugees fleeing the threat of sexual violence in Iraq and Syria? (Discussion led by Joan Timoney, Women’s Refugee Commission)

5) How can we combat stigma to prosecute and treat GSBV? (Discussion led by Emily Hooker, Vital Voices)

 6) How can we use technology to prevent the radicalization of young men as a consequence of military intervention in Syria and Iraq? (Discussion led by Katie Striffolino, Physicians for Human Rights)

7) How can we engage young men in the campaign to end sexual violence? (Discussion led by Omar Robles, Women’s Refugee Commission)


DC Event: Careers in Gender and Development

October 27th, 2014



RSVP here

DC Event Recap

October 27th, 2014

A Conversation with Susan Markham

by Camry Haskins

Susan Markham was light-hearted and relaxed when she came to speak at a Delta Phi Epsilon event on the George Washington University campus on Monday night. An alumnus from GW, Ms. Markham received her master’s degree in women’s studies and public policy. She candidly spoke to the crowd of 40 about her journey, from naïve graduate student researching women running for office, to her blind dive into campaign fundraising, and,finally to her current position as Senior Coordinator for Equality and Women’s Empowerment at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Ms. Markham commanded the room with her quick wit and wealth of knowledge. The force of her presence was also relatable to the crowd of mainly undergraduate females, many of whom are probably still working out which direction their paths will takes them. Ms. Markham quickly announced how little of her own career she had planned out; what she thought would be a quick experiment into election campaigning, turned into a love that kept her coming back for many years. “Campaigns are like the chicken pox”, she said. “They are in your system. You are a carrier”. She also shared her personal journey of discovering what the terms “real adult”, “real job”, and “real mom” meant to her. As a self-proclaimed feminist, she confused some attendees when she spoke of actively trying to fit into traditional feminine roles, but her experience shows how overwhelming social norms are in shaping our subconscious thoughts and beliefs. There are times when Ms. Markham still struggles to balance home and work life, but that hasn’t stopped her from following her passion.

As her career advanced, she found herself first refocusing on domestic women’s issues, and later on gender in an international framework. Now with USAID, Ms. Markham uses her position to ensure that the agency looks at every issue through a gendered lens. From brainstorming ways to increase gender inclusivity within the organization itself, to advocating for looking at Ebola and other epidemics through a gendered lens, Ms. Markham won’t yield on important topics. Along with an increased focus on women, she also strives to look at gender inclusively. Whether it is stressing the importance of involving both men and women in projects that increase women’s access in areas they have been traditionally kept out of (e.g. agriculture, education, health) or pointing out that it is not just increasing the capability of women and girls that is important but also the gaps between men and boys (e.g. locations where the older men in the community are the ones determining when the boys reach manhood), she is always pursuing increased awareness and diligence toward equality and progress. With these goals ahead of her, she does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

When Ms. Markham opened up for questions, hands shot up. Her enraptured audience was eager to learn more; each question posed could have generated another long discussion. Walking out of the event that night, I felt confident that Ms. Markham would do everything in her power to advance her goal of “empowering women so they can be part of making the decisions”. USAID can only benefit from their decision to hire Susan Markham.

Org Spotlight: Women Rehabilitation Development International Foundation

October 22nd, 2014



Women Rehabilitation Development International Foundation (WRDIF) is an organization based in Sudan that focuses on providing services to women throughout Africa. Three specific target countries of WRDIF are South Sudan, Uganda, and Kenya. WRDIF was formed in 2011 by the organization’s Executive President, Karak Mayik Denyok Miankol.

Karak, a South Sudanese born woman, was displaced to Khartoum in during the Civil war in 1993. While there she began volunteering and developing different projects to empower women. It was while there that she worked with Diar for Rehabilitation and Development Association (DRDA), a program that helped Sudanese children and women who had been displaced by the war. DRDA was also the organization that the WRDIF evolved from.

At WRDIF their mission is “to ensure that women’s rights, gender equality, and environmental social and economic justice are at the heart of policies, programs and practices at all levels”. WRDIF works to fuflill this mission through implementation of five distinct programs:

  1. Sisterhood Programme
  2. Income Generation Programme
  3. Adult Literacy
  4. Child Protection
  5. Humanitarian Assistance

A common thread throughout all five programs is the incorporation of one of the organization’s foremost goals, which is to provide a safe and enriching environment for the women it reaches. This is accomplished through actions to improve their self-confidence, cultural awareness, and overall wellness.

WRDIF strives to maintain sustainability by implementing evaluation measures to track observable outcomes. They both provide one-on-one consultations with the women currently within their programs, as well as track progress of graduates at 12 and 24 month intervals. Quarterly reports, economic surveys, and beneficiary feedback are other methods WRDIF utilizes to evaluate their success.

The program becomes cyclical, for at the completion many women who have benefited choose to give back, either monetarily or through in-kind services. WRDIF is also able to highlight their success stories as motivational tools for the next group of incoming participants.

Call for student papers: Human Development Conference at Notre Dame University

October 20th, 2014

University of Notre Dame

The 7th Annual Human Development Conference
February 27-28, 2015
University of Notre Dame
The Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity and the Center for Social Concerns at Notre Dame and SIT Study Abroad announce the 7th annual conference on human development.

The conference is an opportunity to explore past trends in development, evaluate current best practices, and discuss the future of development after the conclusion of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. This year’s theme emphasizes the role of human dignity in development and how it may influence theory and practice in the future.

We are happy to announce our keynote speaker for this year, Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and senior UN advisor.

We invite undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines to apply to share their research experiences from a broad spectrum of topics, including:

For those interested in presenting a paper, please submit your abstract no later than Friday, November 14, 2014. 

For abstract submission please click here.

Invitations for participation will be extended by early December. Students who accept invitations to present at the conference will be responsible for securing funding for travel and other related expenses.

We hope you will join us!

DC Event Recap

October 20th, 2014

HerStory Screening is a Success

On Wednesday, October 15, GGP hosted Sally Nuamah, PhD candidate at Northwestern University and GW alumnus, to present her documentary, HerStory: Educate a Woman, Educate a Nation. Sally became inspired after her first trip to Ghana, as an undergrad at GW. The film is a response to her connection with the Ghanaian girls.

One individual highlighted in the documentary is Queen, the headmistress of a public school; the first female head of the school in 60 years. She turned the school around, putting girls on the front line of leadership. 

Many of the challenges the girls face are making it through high school and getting into one of 3 of the best university’s of Ghana: University of Ghana, Legon; Cape Coast University; Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Cost of education for 1 girl is about USD$500 a year (tuition, boarding, and books). 

One individual at the event described the documentary as “super interesting, and very touching too”.

The forty minute documentary was followed by a question and answer session with the director. Many guests stayed later to continue conversations with Ms. Nuamah.

Org Spotlight: U-TOUCH

October 20th, 2014


UTouch sign 1 (1)



New U-TOUCH Women’s Empowermen​t (WE) program inUganda

U-TOUCH stands for Universal Technology Outreach Community Hubs. The organization aims to help people create opportunity for themselves and their communities with marketable skills for the workforce, beyond completing school. U-TOUCH stemmed from the idea that “Brilliance is equally distributed….Opportunity is not.” With this in mind, U-TOUCH hired its first woman trainer at the Technology Innovation Hub (TIH) and completed its first program targeted at women’s empowerment.

utouch2Gloria, a Kenyan national currently studying at the University of California in Riverside, taught the women’s workshop pilot this summer and told the following:

“U-TOUCH did something in Gulu that had never been done before. It provided a safe space for women to share their issues and struggles and ultimately a space that welcomed self-expression, growth and understanding. As a class we tackled issues of self-esteem, building a positive body image, ways to over-come gender based violence and learned leaderships skills as well as how to start and manage a small business. Through the three week training, twenty women embarked on a journey that inspired them to push past their circumstances and insecurities and dared them to be fearless. At the end of the training twenty women received their certificates of completion with confidence, pride, knowledge and a fearless attitude ready to take on the world.”utouch1

The need for a program like WE became apparent from the first day U-TOUCH opened its doors. Executive Director, Deb Plotkin recalls her surprise when 75 men and only one woman came to the first day of class. She recalls, “I told the men that if they wanted to come back tomorrow, they had better bring a woman. And I said to the woman, come back tomorrow with all of your friends.” And from that point on, U-TOUCH classes have been gender balanced.

Now, men and women of the communities are engaged in constructive conversations about the roles and rights of women.