Holistic Security: subversive well-being for trainers

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Session Description

Providing digital security support to Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) and communities at risk can, over time, cause trainers to suffer from high levels of stress, fatigue or potentially trauma. Furthermore, the psycho-social effects of the violence to which HRDs and communities at risk are subjected often poses challenges to our trainings and other interventions: how do we continue working when participants are visibly upset, emotional, distracted, angry, and so on, especially in the aftermath of an attack or long-term oppression? Drawing on our collective experience of building an inter-disciplinary "holistic" approach to security, in this session, we will take rudimentary steps for trainers to maintain their own security and well-being as well as better deal with challenges which, ordinarily, fall outside their "comfort zone". Digital security trainers, like many HRDs themselves, are often relatively "privileged" by comparison to the communities they seek to support, and often deny themselves the time and space necessary to process and recover from the challenges to our well-being and health which arise from working in the context of structural (or militaristic) violence, as well as the survivors thereof. While many trainers may prefer a simple list of "best pracitces" which can be leaned by rote and applied as such in a training room, such an approach would be of very limited use unless we open to our own subjective experiences or aspirations of well-being and security in the context of our work supporting HRDs and communities in resistance. In this first session, we will take aim at exactly this personal experience as a key to understanding and developing a flexible, resilient "holistic" approach to digital security training and support. We will aim to shift trainers' understandings of "security" from one with roots in militarism to an understanding founded on the maintenance of well-being in action and sustainable activism, informed by critical perspectives on gender and insteresctionality. We will make space for trainers to share their worries, fears and difficult experiences, as well as to identify, appreciate and solidify the tools and tactics which underpin their resilience, health, and happiness while carrying out effective work. We will then move on to consider trainers' work in support of HRDs and communities at risk in light of the psycho-social violence to which these communities are often subjected. We will identify they ways in which this poses a challenge digital security trainings and other digital security interventions, and key best practices for mitigating and transforming these challenges, founded on our own empowered strategies for maintaining our well-being. In other words: walking the talk as the key to a holistic approach to digital security training.

Holistic Security: subversive well-being for trainers
Presenter/s Sandra Ljubinkovic, Daniel Ó Cluanaigh, Moritz Tenthoff
Bio/s Sandra Ljubinkovic is an Integrated Security trainer with 20 years of experience in feminist and peace activism. As a counselor, facilitator and trainer she accompanies human rights defenders in developing sustainable approaches to activism, with an emphasis on self-care and well-being. She has been actively collaborating in the Holistic Security community since 2013. Daniel Ó Cluanaigh is a consultant and facilitator of security and protection strategies for human rights defenders. He leads Tactical Tech's "Holistic Security" project and co-authored a series of holistic security manuals for HRDs and trainers to be released in early 2016. He is a strategic committee member of Peace Brigades International Mexico and HIVOS Digital Integrity Fellow. Moritz Tenthoff is a trainer and facilitator on security and protection for human rights defenders. Primarily working in the Andes region, aside from trainings he has also produced holistic security learning materials for communities in resistance. He is currently an OTF Digital Integrity Fellow.
Language English (Spanish also possible)

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