15.11.2023 - 7.12.2023, Online

Shifting power – Reducing power imbalances in humanitarian action


15.11.2023 and 27.11.2023 and 7.12.2023



The consequences of colonialism continue to affect countries around the world to this day. This also has consequences for humanitarian action. As a key stakeholder in the humanitarian system, NGOs operate in an environment characterised by power imbalances and dependencies. A critical reflection on the systems, structures and roles organisations play in this environment, is an important starting point to overcome colonial continuities. The seminar will unpack the terminologies of decolonising aid and explore practical examples on how shifting the power can work in reality.



In this exchange seminar we would like to give participants from German and local/national NGOs an opportunity to explore key concepts related to the decolonisation of aid, to discuss power imbalances in their partnerships and to jointly explore methods to overcome them.


Pre-reading material

We kindly invite participants to read the following article before the seminar:

Ten efforts to decolonise aid: Changing practices around funding, leadership, narrative and identity



Target group

The seminar is targeted at staff/managers/team leads of German and local/national humanitarian NGOs that are in close contact with their partner organisations. We kindly ask German NGO colleagues to forward this invitation to their local and national partners.



The seminar will be facilitated by Friederike Bubenzer and Carolin Gomulia. Both facilitators have German origins but have lived in South Africa for an extensive period of time. Friederike and Carolin work as facilitators in the field of peacebuilding, humanitarian work, decolonisation and anti-racism.



The seminar consists of three half-day sessions. The sessions will be in English.

Session 1: Wednesday, 15 November 2023
Session 2: Monday, 27 November 2023
Session 3: Thursday, 7 December 2023

1:00 – 5:00 pm CET

We will be assigning homework tasks between each session. Each task will consist of either an experiential learning exercise or a simple engagement with a few people in your organisation. Completing these tasks is not compulsory but our experience shows that they greatly amplify participants learning experience. We estimate that each task will take a maximum of 60 minutes.



The seminar is free of charge.


Your registration is binding. Participants will receive feedback on their admission to the course two to three weeks after their registration.

Please contact Karoline Krähling for further questions.




This seminar is part of a joint project of the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV) of Ruhr-University Bochum and VENRO. It is financially supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.