Mary Ann catches up with Gemma Houldey. We hear Gemma's nuanced perspective on the idea of the "perfect humanitarian," the need for new ways of working that value vulnerability, and the insights gained by applying the lens of diversity and difference (particularly as they relate to race and gender).
Dr. Gemma Houldey shares with Mary Ann her views on well-being in the aid sector, particularly the nuances that arise as a result of gender, race and professional status. She previews some of the concepts explored in her forthcoming book, including perfectionism, vulnerability and daring to have difficult conversations. During this period of COVID-19 and stark reminders of racial injustice, we have an opportunity to pause, slow down, and be with the parts of ourselves we don’t like. This conversation touches upon some of the key challenges identified in our mapping report, particularly the importance of supportive organisational culture.
Gemma, an advisor and facilitator for aid sector professionals and change-makers, has over 15 years of experience with human rights and humanitarian programmes, particularly in the Middle East and East Africa, and 5 years of research and learning focused on staff care in the aid sector. Whether working on advocacy campaigns in Palestine, or with peace-building groups in northern Uganda - she has seen how unhealthy working practices and lack of self-care affect our ability to respond effectively to the communities we serve as humanitarians and human rights defenders. Her PhD, completed at the University of Sussex, investigated how the intersections of gender, race and nationality and organisational policies and systems contribute to stress among aid workers in Kenya.
Learn more about Gemma Houldey's work at https://gemmahouldey.com/
What is Embodying Change: Cultivating Caring and Compassionate Organisations?
A podcast for people who’ve dedicated their careers to helping others – but eventually realise they need help, too. Conversations about promoting care and compassion in humanitarian and development settings and sharing what we are learning about promoting and supporting aid worker well-being and organisational culture.