Being the change - Organisational and personal resilience in Human Rights work

20 June 2022

Watch this recorded presentation by Embode’s Executive Director, Aarti Kapoor which looks at the important work in maintaining organisational and personal resilience while engaged in social protection human rights work.

Asia Region Anti-Trafficking (ARAT) is a collaborative conference founded in partnership between Chab Dai Coalition in Cambodia, Be Slavery Free in Australia, and The Freedom Story in Thailand. 

The ARAT Conference in 2020 was held in July with the objective of enabling learning through peer interaction. The online conference was attended by stakeholders from all sectors involved in anti-human trafficking work. 

Aarti Kapoor (Embode Executive Director) gave a presentation on the importance of how organisations and leaders can better take care of themselves, and each other, while doing the work of anti-trafficking and social protection. This is a subject that most human rights professionals are deeply impacted by, though is not openly considered enough as a sector.  

What is the presentation about?

This presentation focuses on why personal and organisational resilience is essential in human rights and social protection work. In her talk, Aarti proposes that organisations working to protect people from abuse and violence can often be vulnerable to experiencing similar hazards within, on and across their own teams and systems. This pattern is inadvertently, though commonly, repeated across the social protection sectors across the world resulting in tragic consequences. In her presentation, Aarti  gives examples of how we may experience this trauma in our own organisations, why and how it happens and the significant impact and implications of organisational trauma in our work. 

Aarti goes on to share approaches and practices for personal, team and organisational resilience that can help strengthen conscious, protective and enabling processes in doing our work. 

Why should you watch this presentation?

The presentation includes aspects of personal professional care, as well as important advice on how leaders can better work in teams and across departments keeping resilience in mind. For example, simple team habits such as regular debriefing, reflective sessions and maintaining good boundaries provide safe containers for focus and resources, while preventing time and energy drainage. Too often resilience is seen as something we work on at a personal professional level, whilst systemic and organisational resilience is not sufficiently understood.

This is why Aarti goes further in using concepts such as systems-psychoanalytical theory and parallel processes, to explain how to become resilient and conscious in our system-based roles (and not just as individuals). Whilst human rights and social protection work can embolden our passion and drive to help people in need and transform society, it is equally important to work at internal organisational resilience and transformation. Being the change we want to see is what ‘Embode’ means. In this way, a crisis can become an opportunity for transformation. 

Speaking from Aarti’s own research and experience, the presentation talks about the urgent need for social protection and human rights  organisations to invest in  systems change both internally and externally.

To access the insightful and invaluable presentation in full click here.