Do no harm – How to minimize risks in international project work
New 2022 project from the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation
Featuring presentations and discussions with activists and specialists, this one-year project brings together best-practice and first-practice examples of how to minimize risks in international project work. Find out more about our publications and events here:
Online conference organized by the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation: PROJECT 2022 "Do no harm – but do something Advance international LGBTI project work!" November 3&4, 2022.
>> Program >> Documentation (some talks in English)
In January 2022 the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation launched the project “Do no harm – How to minimize risks in international project work. Rainbow expertise from input, awareness and networking in international LGBTI human rights work.”
“Do no harm” is a call to look closely. Good intentions do not always result in helpful practices. Yet at the same time, the fear of mistakes or criticism should not prevent us from taking action. The Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation (HES) is therefore sharing the experience gained from many years of project work. In large and small events, we are calling for know-how in international LGBTI work ‒ or “rainbow expertise” as we also call it ‒ to be concentrated. Together with experts from the global South we are developing questions and identifying risks. We are raising awareness and networking in targeted ways within Germany to ensure that the country’s development cooperation organizations do not inadvertently contribute to stigmatization, persecution or discrimination. Our newsletter, which has regular bilingual content, offers reports and background information as well as event invitations to around 1,000 subscribers. It is time to collect and discuss best practices – or rather first practices – in order to improve our efforts in the future. For our motto is “Do no harm – but do something”.
Good intentions do not always lead to good results. “Do no harm” is a call to look closely. This is also why the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation’s 13-point paper for an LGBTI inclusion plan called for civil society in partner countries to play a central role in development cooperation projects and to be involved in all aspects of these projects.
We are pleased that the German government’s LGBTI Inclusion Strategy states: “The situation of individuals and groups in vulnerable settings – including LGBTI persons – must always be borne in mind in international human rights policy. […] Ensuring the safety and protection of vulnerable persons is an important maxim for the Federal Government, in keeping with the ‘do no harm’ principle.”
Help can also harm – but the fear thereof should not prevent us from taking action. Which is why the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation proposed “Do no harm – but do something” back in 2012 as the title for Germany’s LGBTI inclusion strategy. These two considerations are also emphasized in the 1999 book Do No Harm: How Aid Can Support Peace – or War by Mary B. Anderson, a US-American economist, development scholar and president of the Collaborative for Development Action.
On the one hand: “Experience shows that even when it is effective in doing what it is intended to do to save lives or promote development, aid too often also feeds into, reinforces, and prolongs conflicts”. Yet Anderson also notes: “It is a moral and logical fallacy to conclude that because aid can do harm, a decision not to give aim would do no harm. In reality, a decision to withhold aid from people in need would have unconscionable consequences”.
Do no harm — What does that mean for LGBTI projects?
The Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation held a practice-based workshop on this topic in Berlin-Neukölln on 10 May 2022, entitled “Do no harm – What does that mean for LGBTI projects?” To kick off the HES project “Do no harm – How to minimize risks for in international project work”, which was funded by the Federal Ministry of Justice, activists from the global South discussed risks with representatives from German development assistance organizations. Questions were raised such as whether international donors should support countries that criminalize LGBTI people, for example by funding anti-discrimination training for their police – or are the police, as representatives of such countries, the wrong place to get involved?
Work that makes sense and promotes change in some countries can cause harm in others. One thing repeatedly became clear at the workshop: visibility puts safety at risk. Care should be taken with real names and photographs. It is also important to ensure the long-term security of activists who receive funding, and to modify the usual donor publication requirements if necessary to address safety considerations. Individuals who are outed in the course of project work also need to protect themselves when their projects come to an end.
In general it is important to conduct risk assessments both before and during a project, which means evaluating the situation on site and in detail with local LGBTI organizations, and to give project partners the maximum leeway if security conditions change. German administrative bodies have a fair amount to learn here. The workshop marked a successful start to the project, because the guiding principle is: Do no harm, but do something!
The “Do no harm” project website with all texts and events.
The kick-off practice-based workshop was held at REFUGIO in Berlin-Neukölln in early May.
• Outright Guide for the inclusion of LGBTI people (Nov. 2021)
• Documentation of the project kick-off is here (in German)
• All project-related articles are in the blog under the tag “DNH-2022” (some posts in English)
Sarah Kohrt, Project Director, Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation
An event for the project: “Do no harm – How to minimize risks for LGBTI in international project work” from the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation (HES). All project texts are in the HES blog under “DNH-2022”.
Do no harm – How to minimize risks for LGBTI in international project work
Please find all contributions that have been published as part of the project “Do no harm” here (some posts in English). This background article in the HES blog (some posts in English) further explains the key motivation behind the project.
- The Masakhane project for lesbian bisexual, trans and queer LBQ groups is the largest LGBTI-inclusive project funded thus far by the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). FACTSHEET 04 | MASAKHANE and blog articles (in German).
- More flexibility in North-South project support – Projects for lesbian and indigenous women in Namibia.Blog article (in German).
- “Even with the Best Intentions in the World, We Can Sometimes Get It Wrong”. Avoiding harm in LGBTI projects: NGO expertise from donor countries. Blog article.
- “But you’re normal – why don’t you pull these people out of their holes?” Author and activist Trifonia Melibea Obono talks about the situation of LGBTIQ+ people in Equatorial Guinea. Blog article (in German).
- Do no harm? A feminist and decolonial approach on harmful power relations. Web talk with Stephanie Leitch, ILGA World, Trinidad & Tobago. Blog article.
- Good Practice in North-South project support – feminist, flexible, sustainable? Web talk with Liz Frank, Women’s Leadership Centre Namibia. Blog article (in German).
- Artivism ‒ On the convincing power of artistic productions for activism in Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea and Columbia.Blog article (in German) (Invitation in English)
- “Forge connections”: Entering decolonial project practice: Talk with Masakhane project supporters from LSVD and filia.Blog article (in German).
- Do something – Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation and Yogyakarta Alliance urge key steps toward implementing the LGBTI Inclusion Strategy. Blog article.
- “Multiplying voices”: Doing no (more) harm to our LGBTIQ+ community in Central America:Lessons learned. Blog article (English or Spanish).
- “It is high time to critically examine one’s own actions.” Video address from the Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Justice, Benjamin Strasser, MP. Blog article.
- Opening of Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation online conference: Do no harm – but do something: Advance international LGBTI project work! Blog article (in German).
- Do no harm - harm reduction in development cooperation with LGBTIQ organizations. What can LGBTIQ-inclusive peace and conflict work with postcolonial perspectives look like? Blog article (in German).
- Doing nothing for fear of doing wrong is always wrong: The struggle of the LGBTQI+ community in Ghana against one of the most queer-hostile bills in the world. Blog article (in German).
- Sparking change through words: Trifonia Melibea Obono in portrait. Novelist and activist Trifonia Melibea Obono gives a voice to lesbian and bisexual women in Equatorial Guinea. Blog article (in German).
- “We did it and we did it together” - UN Human Rights Council extends mandate of UN expert on SOGI. LSVD lobbied for the mandate extension as a member organization of ILGA World. Blog article (in German).
- Artivism - How to foster LGBTI acceptance through art? LGBTIQ activism in Tunisia: A conversation with Karam Aouini of the Tunis-based organization Mawjoudin about the powerful tool of artivism. Blog article.
- How do good and sustainable projects with and for LGBTI people succeed in Latin America? Experience from ten years of exemplary project work in Nicaragua. What hope is there now for LGBTI work under an authoritarian regime? Blog article (in German).
- Implementing the LGBTI inclusion concept now: Implementation mandate for the new federal government. What follows the adoption of the LGBTI inclusion concept? Demands and ideas of the Hirschfeld-Eddy Foundation. Blog article (in German).
- On the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia: Webtalk of the GIZ Working Group on Gender/HIV/Wellbeing and the Hirschfeld-Eddy Foundation, blog article.
- “Help us amplify our voices through partnerships and direct cooperation”: how can Germany and the EU support LGBTI in Ghana? – Interview with the Director of IDNOWA Davis Mac-Iyalla.
- Do no harm – What does it mean for LGBTI projects? Please find here the documentation of the kickoff event (in German) – a half-day practice-based workshop held at REFUGIO in Berlin in May 2022.
- Successful projects by and for LGBTIQ+ in Latin America: what good practices do activists identify in development cooperation? Blog article by Ingrid Wenzl (in German).
- Humanitarian aid for LGBTIQ refugees: Humanitarian aid must not neglect the needs of LGBTI people - good examples from UNHCR, ORAM and regional networks. Blog article by Dr. Rita Schäfer (in German).
- Web talk 15 Dec 19h: Good practice in North-South project support – feminist, flexible, sustainable? Web talk with Liz Frank, Women’s Leadership Centre Namibia (in German).
- Web talk 15 Dec, 16h: Do no harm? A feminist and decolonial approach on harmful power relations, with Stephanie Leitch, ILGA World, Trindad & Tobago
- Web talk 13 Dec 14 h: LGBTIQ human rights in international project work: Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation talk with expert forum on international partnerships (in German).
- Online talk June 21, 2022: "Queering Development: Toward LGBTIQ+ Inclusion and Feminist Frameworks in G7 Development Cooperation”
- How to support LGBTIQ activism in Ghana?
- Do no harm und best practice – LGBTI projects in Latin America (in German and Spanish).
- Online talk with the GIZ Working Group on “Gender/HIV/Wellbeing” on 17 May 2022 from 10:00 till 11:30 am
The GIZ South Africa, Lesotho and Eswatini Gender HIV/AIDS & Employee Wellbeing Working Group invites you to an MS TEAMS event to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. The 17th of May is the day back in 1990, when the World Health Organisation (WHO) declassified “homosexuality” as a mental disorder.
This year’s theme is “Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Rights”. Many forms of advocacy remind us that many “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and all other people with diverse sexual orientations and identities” across the world experience high levels of violence, hate and discrimination due to their sexual orientation.
Please find a summary of the online talk here.
- Online talk on 21 April 2022: Do no harm and best practice – LGBTI projects in Latin America.
Successful projects by and for LGBTIQ+ people in Latin America
Do no harm – Activists describe good development cooperation strategies. See the invitation.
Especially high degrees of care and consistency are needed when working with LGBTIQ+ projects in many parts of the global South in order not to endanger project partners. Two cooperation partners of the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation from Nicaragua and Colombia describe what targeted project work can look like.
Please find more information about the online talk here (in German).
Do no harm kick-off event — What does that mean for LGBTI projects?
The Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation (HES) invited participants to a practice-based workshop on this topic on 10 May 2022 in Berlin-Neukölln. The Federal Ministry of Justice (BMJ) is funding the HES project “Do no harm – How to minimize risks in international project work”, and the workshop with a discussion between activists from the global South and representatives of German development cooperation. Questions were raised such as: Should international donors engage with countries that criminalize LGBTI people by doing anti-discrimination training with their police forces – or is it the wrong approach to work with state representatives like the police?
Projects that help the movement in some countries can lead to harm in others. Workshop participants repeatedly emphasized that visibility is a security risk. Real names and photos should be treated with care. It is also important to ensure the long-term security of activists who receive funding, and to modify the usual donor publication requirements if necessary to address safety considerations. Individuals who are “out” need to be able to protect themselves when their projects come to an end.
In general it is important to conduct risk assessments both before and during a project, which means evaluating the situation on site and in detail with local LGBTI organizations, and to give project partners the maximum leeway if security conditions change. German administrative bodies have a fair amount to learn here. The workshop was a successful kick-off for the project, under the guiding principle of: Do no harm, but do something!
Do no harm project website with all texts and events.
The workshop was held on 10 May 2022 at REFUGIO in Berlin-Neukölln.
For more information on the kick-off event see the following links (in German):
- Outright Guide for the to inclusion of LGBTI people (Nov. 2021)
- Click here for documentation of the project kick-off in May 2022.
- All project articles are in the HES blog under "DNH-2022“.
Meet IDNOWA from Ghana
13.06.2022: Meet delegates from the Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa (IDNOWA)
The Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation cordially invites you to a networking event with activists from the Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa (IDNOWA).
When: Monday, 13 June, 2–3:30 PM CEST
Where: Lesben- und Schwulenverband Berlin-Brandenburg (LSVD), Kleiststraße 35, 10787 Berlin
Registration: Due to limited seating, we kindly ask you to register via e‑mail with your name before Saturday, 10 June with Sarah Kohrt, project manager Hirschfeld-Eddy-Foundation: sarah.kohrtthou-shalt-not-spamhirschfeld-eddy-stiftung.de
This event will take place in English.
Guests: Davis Mac-Iyalla: IDNOWA, founder and executive director, member of the Anglican Church and two more activists
Moderators: Sarah Kohrt, Klaus Jetz, Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation
“Our goal is to create an international solidarity movement in the face of a controversial bill currently being debated in the Ghanaian parliament in Accra”, says Davis Mac-Iyalla, executive director of the Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa IDNOWA. Davis, a member of the Anglican Church, has testified against the bill at a hearing of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. He calls for international support.
Please find more information here.
LGBTIQ activism and artivism in Tunisia
Meet Karam Aouini from our partner organization Mawjoudin from Tunis.
When: Friday, 8 July, 4–5:30 pm CEST
Where: Lesben- und Schwulenverband (LSVD), Almstadtstr. 7, 10119 Berlin
Guest: Karam Aouini, Mawjoudin, Tunis
Moderators: Sarah Kohrt, Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation
“Artivism is a compelling way to combat hostile attitudes toward our community, and a beautiful alternative and powerful means of raising awareness for greater acceptance of LGBTIQ people”, says Karam Aouini, organizer of the first Queer Film Festival in Tunis and member of the Mawjoudin LGBTIQ organization in Tunis. Details of the event are here and in the HES blog under DNH-2022.
Karam Aouini from Mawjoudin — a partner organization of the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation in Tunisia ‒ talks at an event in Berlin about his activism and his “artivism” which revolves around art. A summary of the talk is available here (in German).
LGBTI in Equatorial Guinea, author and activist Trifonia Melibea Obono in Cologne
Journalist and LGBTI activist Trifonia Melibea Obono is one of the best-known authors in Equatorial Guinea. She writes in Spanish and has made multiple book and speaking tours in the USA and Europe. Obono has led the organization “Somos Parte del Mundo” (“We’re part of the world”) since 2016. Here is the event invitation and blog article (in German) by author and activist Trifonia Melibea Obono.
Would you like invitations to events? More information? Opportunities to get involved?
Everyone interested is warmly invited to contact us.
Project from the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation: “Do no harm — How to minimize risks for LGBTI in international project work” running from January until December 2022.
See background articles in the HES blog.
Sarah Kohrt, Project Manager
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A report on the project: “Do no harm – How to minimize risks for LGBTI in international project work” from the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation (HES). All project texts are in the HES blog under "DNH-2022″.