GRÓ GEST Online Alumni Seminar 2023

19 December 2023
GRÓ GEST Online Alumni Seminar 2023

The GRÓ GEST online alumni seminar 2023 took place on 15 December. The alumni seminar is a platform for the GEST community to continue learning from each other, connecting alumni across cohorts and geographical regions. These connections are important and must be nurtured and strengthened to better enable alumni in supporting each other in working towards social justice, which is especially challenging during difficult times as the world is currently witnessing. Many of the GEST alumni are facing violence, pain, and insecurity in their everyday lives, due to war and international political decision making.

All the GEST alumni, now 218 individuals residing in over 35 countries worldwide, were invited to attend the seminar. Their diverse locations presented the challenging task of finding a time that fitted most of the time zones represented, requiring some of the fellows to wake up very early to attend and others to spend their Friday night participating in an online seminar. This year’s themes were related to decolonisation and financing of gender specific projects and programmes, during times of climate change. A call for proposals was sent out to the GEST alumni and interested candidates submitted a proposal of a topic within their expertise. Based on the alumni’s submission, eight individuals were selected to present at the online seminar. The presenters were asked to focus on a specific case, lessons learned, or positive solutions, allowing other participants to learn from their experiences.

The seminar was structured in a roundtable format in two sessions, moderated by two members of the GEST community; Giti Chandra, a research specialist at the GEST programme, and Stella Tereka, GEST alumna of 2016 and a current PhD candidate at the GEST programme. The first session addressed Decolonisation of Funding for Sustainable Development Goal #5 on Gender Equality, looking at funding for research and projects, with a focus on gender equality and how the power dynamics between the donor and the implementing partner affects both the sustainability of projects and programmes and the community’s needs. Four alumni contributed to this session: Imungu Kalevera (2021), Owusuwaa Owusu-Brempong (2022), Tatiana Telles (2021), and Willy Nkumbi (2016).

In the second session Stella Tereka moderated presentations on Climate Finance: Ensuring Gender Sensitive Financing in Climate Change Measures. The theme focused on looking at how climate finance is targeted, how much of it is gender sensitive, or contributes to measures that are gender inclusive, ensuring that those who are most affected benefit from the funded projects. Four alumni contributed to this session: Aarti Lila Ram (2022), Chinenye Anekwe (2018), Rosalia Pedro (2011), and Shamim Nampijja (2020).

Each session was concluded with discussions, open to all the seminar‘s participants, who represented alumni from nearly all the cohorts of GEST, along with GEST staff and a few lecturers in the programme.