The first two years of the project culminated in the Project dldl/ድልድል Annual Conference on 11-12 November 2022, which was delivered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with the option for UK speakers and audiences to join online The Annual Conference was co-organised with project partner EMIRTA Research, Training and Development Institute, who also collaborated with Dr Romina Istratii in conducting innovative research on domestic violence with the male population in the country.

The conference in Addis Ababa focused on the nexus ‘Domestic Violence – Gender – Faith’ and had three overall aims. The first aim was to promote a better integration of theological and religious perspectives in gender-sensitive work on domestic violence and abuse While religious discourse is oftentimes appropriated, misused and can underpin the system that maintains the continuation of domestic violence and unhelpful help-seeking attitudes, it can also function as a coping mechanism, a healing tool and a mediation institution in religious contexts The conference sought to explore this dual effect in a way that did not reduce ‘religion’ to either religious leaders or institutions, but approached religious worldviews holistically as an indivisible part of human identities and lived experiences.

The second aim was to facilitate a bridging of different theoretical frameworks and approaches to achieve a more integrated lens through which to appraise the issue of domestic violence and abuse and to identify appropriate responses by means of wor- king collaboratively Project dldl/ድልድል understands that there is not a single aetiology or solution to domestic violence and abuse and that it is important to work with others to solve such an extensive and persisting societal problem For example, a feminist understanding cannot ignore religious beliefs and the role of clergy since the former will often influence how people process traumatic events in their lives, how they explain abusiveness or how they mediate conflict. Conversely, a faith-informed approach cannot neglect a gender-sensitive understanding that acknowledges more profound societal or gender-related inequalities or the important contributions of women’s movements in responding to the problem The project also recognises the need to integrate psychological parameters and the work of psychological counsellors for understanding the causes and effects of intimate partner abusiveness and how best to respond to victims, survivors and perpetrators.

The third aim of the conference was to contribute to a diversification of knowledge production in the area of domestic violence and abuse that can overcome the dominance of a single epistemological framework and achieve genuine knowledge sharing, but especially learning from the wider ‘Global South’ to the wider ‘Global North’ This aim informed also the decision to hold the conference in Ethiopia, recognising in this way the many barriers that keep African researchers from participating in European and North American conferences In the long-term, Project dldl/ድልድል envisions the knowledge achieved in Ethiopia to inform also domestic violence responses in the UK, a society that is increasingly multi-cultural and multi-religious and finds itself challenged to integrate this diversity in the provision of domestic violence services.

Informed by these aims, the organisers worked hard to bring together specialists from Ethiopia and the UK, as the main project countries, as well as other countries in East Africa, Asia and other parts of the world to promote genuine knowledge sharing and to lay the grounds for new collaborations The conference activities combined presentations, panel discussions, workshops and group activities creatively to explore the intersection of domestic violence and abuse, gender inequalities and religious beliefs and teachings from different theoretical and practical angles. A roundtable on the second day of the conference brought together feminist, religious and research organisations in the country and international specialists to explore a better integration pathway for religious, feminist and state resources to build effective referral systems and respond to domestic violence in Ethiopia The conference programme also included a film screening that showcased effectively how spiritual, cultural and secular responses to mental health can combine to inform both attitudes and responses to mental health issues in a village community in Ghana.

The current Conference Proceedings complements the Conference Report that was published after the conference While the Conference Report presented an overview of and the key take-aways from the panel presentations and the roundtable discussion to inform current practices and suggest policy directions, the Conference Proceedings presents the full papers of presenters who agreed to submit a full publication, thus offering a space for readers and relevant stakeholders to engage more closely with the contents of the presentations in their extended and written form
The current Conference Proceedings includes 9 papers Presentations whose authors did not submit a full paper for publication in the Conference Proceedings include only the abstract and authors’ bios The papers included in the Conference Proceedings were not peer-reviewed as part of the editorial process (to enable authors to publish their work in peer-reviewed journals in the future), but all papers accepted at the con- ference were selected by a highly experienced working group comprising academic members from both project dldl/ድልድል and EMIRTA The current version of the Confe- rence Proceedings was approved by the conference organisers, and individual authors approved the final versions of their published papers.

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