Dr. Kristin Ali Eglinton from Footage Foundation, which conducts research around gender-based violence in conflict zones, calls on feminist foreign policy conference to ensure compassion is built into interventions addressing refugees and migration.

NEW YORK, NY, July 02, 2024 /24-7PressRelease/ — Footage Foundation, a non-profit organization that conducts participatory feminist research interventions to address gender-based violence in conflict zones, has been invited to join the third Ministerial Conference on Feminist Foreign Policies in Mexico City. The conference explores feminist foreign policy as a pathway to social justice.

Footage co-founder and Executive Director, Dr. Kristen Ali Eglinton joins a range of leaders from global governments, international bodies and civil society organizations at the conference which has been themed “Solutions for a Better Tomorrow.” The conference seeks to address many thorny issues that need new thinking and brave and ambitious leadership. Issues under discussion include climate chaos, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and peace and security, as well as migration.

“In a year marked by widespread violent crises, anti-gender movements, and global elections, Footage has been invited to join leaders to find solutions dedicated to gender equality, non-discrimination, and ending gender violence,” says Dr. Eglinton.

In the context of the refugee crisis, girls and women comprise more than half of the refugee population and face increased vulnerability during times of crisis and displacement.

“For over 15 years and through our 10 U.S. State Department Public Diplomacy programs, we have learned that traditional frameworks of diplomacy and policy-making often fall short in addressing the nuanced challenges faced by women and girls in all their diversity, as well as LGBTQIA+ and marginalized communities, particularly in crisis settings. Our initiatives have consistently bridged participatory research with practical outcomes, fostering inclusive decision-making and advocating for compassionate policies,” says Dr. Eglinton.

In 2023 Footage published an important report titled Compassion, Connection and Forced Displacement. It forms part of a body of work, Explorations of Compassion: The Lived Experiences of Young Women Refugees and Their Communities. The report explores compassion-based participatory multi-component interventions with refugee women.

It weaves together narratives and refugee voices–personal accounts that vividly illustrate how lived experiences cannot be separated from the sociocultural, political, and physical landscapes within which forcibly displaced individuals live and navigate. It argues that policies and specific events not only shape the macro-level context in which participants’ narratives unfold, but also have long-term effects on their individual experiences and opportunities to cultivate connection.

The report calls for approaches that involve addressing the specific needs of forcibly displaced women and girls, and recognise the power of compassion and connection in the provision of services to refugees and migrants. It recommends interventions that provide non-medicalized mental health support communicating compassion to refugees, recognising the potential that these services hold for the wellbeing of refugees.

“Connection and compassion are not simply “add-ons” to programming or interventions with women and girls, but central to advancing the lives and survival of women and girls, as well as to realizing many targets within the SDGs and aligning with the principles of feminist foreign policy and women, peace and security agendas. If we are to find a way forward to creating a better future for all, we must take compassionate action and use a distinctive dialogue diplomacy approach to bridge the gaps between policymakers and affected communities,” says Dr. Eglinton.

About Footage

Our vision is a world where every person feels seen, heard, and worthy. We are a feminist organization raising voices to elevate lives through creative research, wellbeing interventions, and advocacy—all advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda and influencing Feminist Foreign Policy. Footage has received ten Public Diplomacy awards from the U.S. Department of State to design and implement programs focusing on gender-based violence. A nonprofit organization founded by five women PhD colleagues at Cambridge University, Footage uses narrative and expressive approaches empowering women, gender-diverse people and marginalized groups around the world to connect as agents of social change. Our programs provide connection — a community for those on the frontlines of gender inequality where their ideas matter and their voices count. We have a particular focus on forced displacement and gender-based violence and believe compassion and connection are as important to sustainable development as food and water.

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