To celebrate the launch of the new iteration of the joint JLI/SVRI Faith & Gender Based Violence (GBV) Hub this month, we sat down with Kirsten Laursen Muth from JLI, as well as Lizle Loots (Partnerships and Forums Officer) and Morma Moremi (Administration & Knowledge Manager) from SVRI to ask them more about the SVRI/JLI Faith & GBV Hub.
Q: This is the first time JLI is moving one of its Hubs beyond the JLI structure? What inspired JLI to take this step now?
Kirsten: JLI has been enormously successful at building a very vibrant network of members. But what remains to be done is to really engage with more secular actors. JLI is at an important point where it is incumbent on us to reach beyond our existing network and build greater collaboration with more secular and broad-based networks of people. There remains a strong secular bias against the role of faith, especially as concerns gender equality, so we have a real opportunity now to mainstream the issue of the faith and faith impact and influence in ending GBV in a wider conversation.
This new iteration of the GBV Hub will create platforms for our own members to engage with a wider range of research and perspectives, to have some direct interface with other positions, and to speak into that space. And, hopefully, to build some new research collaborations and connections.
Q: Will the SVRI/JLI Faith & GBV Hub be a continuation of the JLI GBV Hub or a turning point? What changes can current Hub members expect?
Lizle & Morma: It’s a bit of both. We will definitely continue to build on the great work of the JLI GBV Hub, which we have been a part of since 2014. But this is also a turning point. Situating the GBV Hub within SVRI will really mainstream Faith and GBV in the broader GBV sector. We want to make the Hub work more for researchers on faith and GBV.
There will also be some changes: we are building systems and structures for the Hub; developing a strategy for the Hub in consultation with faith leaders and practitioners to make sure the Hub advances the field; and we are launching a Leadership Council for the Faith and GBV Hub, to help provide guidance and strategic direction to the Hub. We’ll also be launching a new website in 2021!
Kirsten: We’ve intentionally not set an agenda for the Hub. We’ve all agreed that this Hub will be led by a Leadership Council, currently being identified, to guide the Hub and set the agenda. Some things will remain; the same: JLI will still support with knowledge management and promote the work of the Hub through the networks we’re active in. But the Hub will now enjoy different points of engagement with the wider research world, through SVRI. We will ask deeper research questions to advance the work of the Hub done to date and address some of the research gaps the Hub has identified. and will identity.
Q: How will this vision centre the faith and GBV agenda in mainstream discourse?
Lizle & Morma: Our approach is unique. We will include members of the Faith & GBV Hub into our broader SVRI membership. This will be an important step in bringing together thinkers from the two fields. SVRI has a large and diverse membership of over 7000 members working in research, policy, funding, activism and more.
We send out a weekly update to all our members with all news and resources related to the GBV field, and we always try to include faith resources too – through this, we can ensure faith and GBV discourses reach a broader audience.
We also host the SVRI Forum, our biennial conference, one of the leading conferences on violence against women (VAW) and violence against children (VAC) and other forms of violence driven by gender inequality, where we’ve been working to integrate conversations on faith in broader discussions on prevention, response, methodology ethics etc.
Q: The JLI/SVRI Faith & GBV Hub talks about wanting to advance local research capacity. How do you plan to make that happen?
Lizle & Morma: The SVRI sees itself as one of the leading institutions in the violence against women and children fields for strengthening the capacity of researchers based in LMIC. We do this in a number of ways e.g. our capacity strengthening workshops/training – in 2020 we did this through a series of workshops on research methods, developing a theory of change, ethics and safety, vicarious trauma, research uptake etc with our current grantees. We are looking to develop an online research programme to reach more researchers working in resource-poor and LMIC in 2021/2022.
The SVRI Forum is another way that we support researchers in LMIC. Our biennial Forum’s core business is sharing knowledge, learning and advancing research on VAW, VAC in LMIC. We actively fund raise for bursaries for researchers from LMICs to participate at the Forum each year and run a Young Professionals Programme where young researchers are mentored in presentation development and active engagement in international conferences. They also have the opportunity along with bursary participants to take part in our pre-conference capacity strengthening workshops.
Join the new JLI/SVRI Faith and GBV Hub, click here.
Watch the online launch of the JLI/SVRI Faith & GBV Hub here.