Key Themes From The Summit:
There is so much that has come before and there is still so much more to be done.
Some key themes that arose from the event are listed below. They are not comprehensive.
- The Hostile Environment shows no sign of weakening and that those responsible for the systemic abuse of those in need and individuals who seek to support them, will not end And is apparent both the UK and abroad and it Is growing stronger and more wide reaching , creeping into the classroom, the doctors surgery, turning citizens into immirgration officials We need to fortify ourselves and build resilience, ensuring that we nurture a culture of wellbeing and support for ourselves and one another in order to navigate it.
- Solidarity – We are not isolated. There is a thousands-strong network of responders across Europe who share our aims and objectives and who will not be intimidated into silence and who know that the struggle for the rights and protections of displaced people is a struggle for the whole of humanity – for our collective liberation against oppression and the growing lack of political will, humanity and the widespread deterioration of solidarity.
- Learning from our Allies – We will continue to observe and bear witness to what is happening and will strive to centre our work around those with lived experience. Their voices provide the most powerful rebuke to criminalisation, victimisation, the practice of Othering and the frequent abuses of power and privilege both by representatives of the States and NGO’s, but also those of us who maintain that we are here to ‘help’. Their message was that it is essential that we prioritise and hear them rather than ‘represent’ them and it is essential that we prioritise their perspectives and urgently consider the way that we operate, use our power privilege and the way that we represent and victimise those with lived experience.
- The power of Positive Action to bring about transformation – When we unify with common purpose, we are a force to be reckoned with, so we must take this collective energy and use it well. Not only that, but to build capacity . There is a pressing need to build on the positive connections, the existing wisdom , experience and collective knowledge and to use to fortify our volunteers and colleagues on the ground and to support those who will come after us in this work, Creating resources and legacy with the benefit of our knowledge and experience. Building collective capacity, minimising duplication, prioritising a culture of care and developing resilient and regenerative ways of working.
- Culture of Care – There is a pressing need to prioritise the support and wellbeing of volunteers and grassroots operatives in the field, regardless of our scant budgets. Resilience can be achieved if people and projects are adequately resourced to operate in a compassion-centred manner. Beginning not only with compassion for the people who are personally affected by forced displacement, but also compassion for those individuals who are supporting them and doing the most challenging work.
- Striving for Long-term sustainability. This can be achieved by developing regenerative practices and ensuring that we notice when we, or others we work with, are being harmed and take action to address this: If we do not, we are liable to inadvertently hurt others. This means not expecting our volunteers and project coordinators to ‘pour from an empty cup,’ but instead ensure that they have what they need.
- Building resilience and capacity through access to wellbeing and support, best practice training, support networks before and after funds – to create safe working environments and take breaks when they need to, taking good care of themselves in order that they can better care for others. We should NOT be in a situation where humanitarian volunteers are facing burnout and destitution because they are not properly supported. This is an area of support and funding greatly neglected in this sector and the discussions at the summit testifies to the fact that for some people this lack of support has already done real harm.
- The need for radical compassion is real- We must strengthen our resolve and build our capacity in order to push back against all of the worsening conditions , but we must do this by building our own resilience, capacity and working from a sustainable and compassion focussed perspective as anger will only carry you so far and this is a marathon not a sprint.