• Moni

ASA Seminar 2022

The ASA programm provided a seminar week for us interns in Sandkrug, Oldenburg. This way, we got to know other projects in ASA and learn together through different acitivities. Here we collected some experiences within our team.

What was your favorite activity and which format did you like best?

I enjoyed the participants’ “space to change” where we were granted the space to stage our own short format. I was part of a group discussing “NGO's dependency on (institutionalized) donors”. Since GlobalMatch is in this exact role, I was able to get to know multiple perspectives about the downside of the dependencies which are created by the power of the resource allocation. Furthermore, I was stunned by the power and role of political actors regarding this issue. (Flo)

My favorite format was the self-organized workshops by tutors and participants, as well. We worked together on giving space to topics that are important to the people in the seminar. We gave each other the opportunity to learn from each other's prior knowledge. The exchange offered very often new perspectives on any given topic. The option to have a platform for our personal ideas and interests motivated me the most that week. Furthermore, we got to know each other intensely and made contact with other people sharing our interests to explore them together. I participated in the one organized by my colleague Caesar about Critical Whiteness and Voluntourism. The discussion in the space helped me to reflect on my own experience in GlobalMatch further. Additionally, my colleague OP and I create a platform for the topic of gender-based and domestic violence against any gender. We started very interesting discussions developing a new perception about that particular topic by hearing perspectives from Germany and Uganda. (Moni)

The most interesting thing was to get a break after a long period of learning, in the short workshop on how to kill stress and "make people happy". It captivated my attention to really find out how someone can make himself happy and chilling out with new friends at any time was also very interesting in one way or another. The networking nights moreover with the bonfire 🔥 in the middle of the forest is such an amazing memory. It's also imperative to note that it was as well nice for me to put in my insights in the breakout session moderated by Tabea: Foreign Aid (Development Aid) with its dependencies. Furthermore, I put my efforts into seeking to strike a balance between the Global North-South remuneration and ASA tutor recruitment structure which seems to be unbalanced, though no specific answer was obtained. It was so interesting for us as a group to discuss and create awareness of such structures that exist not only in the world but also in the ASA program. (Op)

Most important/strongest personal learning?

In one exercise we were put in a character. The characters are described besides certain socio-economic aspects, sexuality, or origin, while also leaving space for interpretation. The exercise put me in the role of an unemployed person living in a big Italian city. All participants stood in line, looking straight forward (turning was not allowed). The moderator then gave a statement, and each person had to individually decide whether it applies to her/his character or not. If applicable, you must step one step forward. I’ll just give some of the statements as an example: “You don’t fear kissing the person you love in public”; “You worry about your future and the consequences of climate change”; “You can politically participate in the country you live in”.

What I found stunning about this game was that even though I considered my character being from a lower social class, and therefore feel disadvantaged, there were so many people ending up in this “game” in a worse position. This once again reminded me of the lucky situation I was born in. Moreover, I should envision this learning experience more often and not take my position for granted. (Flo)

What did you miss out on?

Unfortunately, I was not able to make it to Caesar’s “white saviorism” workshop! This would have been a great opportunity to get some critical input about this crucial topic. Also, it would’ve encouraged me to question my personal role in society. (Flo)

How did the seminar help you with your internship?

My first impression is that the seminar will help me to put context around my internship and how we are connected to the ASA program. In my opinion, we need to reflect very critically on which relation the importance of personal growth and learning stands to the impact of our projects. I enjoyed hearing about all the other projects and it helped me to understand that our challenges were not unique. The talks with other participants, especially during the tutorials, helped to find some strategies on how we can overcome some problems. Besides that, we were given a great opportunity to connect to projects with a similar topic. For example, we could compare possible grant applications and support each other by sharing information. I could see how GlobalMatch would profit from more co-operations with other NGOs. Not reinventing the wheel is also one of my personal learnings. There is a big community to support and joining efforts will get us further! (Moni)

In which topics (workshops) did you learn something new?

One optional seminar was dedicated to degrowth. I chose this particular one because I had little knowledge about economics but I am very interested in anti-capitalist theories. The Degrowth seminar connected economics and colonialism. It was exciting to hear different perspectives from different contexts, especially with having some people located in Global North and some in the Global South. One exercise left us with the task to compare well-being and the GDP (gross domestic product) which raised the question from the first ASA seminar. What is development? Different perspectives were brought up on the question if Degrowth is a concept exclusively for the Global North. I’m looking forward to continuing this discussion in our workshop with the K20 Projekthaus - Living Utopia and EPIZ Göttingen (Entwicklungspolitisches Informationszentrum). (Moni)

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