04.12.2023, Bonn

VENRO Forum 2023


Shifting Power: New Paths for NGOs in Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid

In a world where debates about the effects of colonialism and imperialism are becoming ever more intense, we would like to discuss new perspectives with VENRO member organisations and their partners. This debate is of particular importance for the sector of international development cooperation and humanitarian aid, where the asymmetry of power between the Global North and South, shaped by colonialism, is still clearly visible today. Development cooperation, itself a legacy of colonialism, is steeped in colonial legacies and has long been fundamentally questioned, especially from within the so-called Global South.

German NGOs have to continue to tackle colonial structures in many different areas of their work. In recent years, many NGOs have set out to question their work, their structures and their attitudes and to reform the basic understanding of their work away from an aid and charity mission to a justice mission. A recent VENRO NGO report deals with approaches for the practical implementation of a postcolonial development cooperation.

The VENRO Forum will tackle the question: How can we decolonize the practices and structures within international development cooperation and humanitarian aid? Our discussions will revolve around the following key themes:


  • Redefining Development: We will explore contemporary interpretations of "development" beyond traditional paradigms.
  • Global Perspectives: Hear insights on decolonization from both the Global North and South, fostering a comprehensive dialogue.
  • Empowering Change: Engage in conversations about strategies to diminish power imbalances and promote localization.
  • Power in Education: We're also taking a closer look at how educational initiatives can play a part in shifting power dynamics and decolonizing mindsets.


After introductory impulse talks on shifting power in partnership project work and power-sensitive change at the organisational level, workshop sessions will offer the opportunity to reflect on some important questions and aspects of the topic for the fields of development cooperation, humanitarian aid and global education. And of course there will be enough time for discussion and exchange.

A detailed programme for the event will be available here soon.


Target group:

The event is aimed exclusively at staff of VENRO member organisations and their partner organisations.



Gustav Stresemann Institute

Langer Grabenweg 68

53175 Bonn, Germany


Digital (Zoom)



The VENRO Forum will be a hybrid event. We're inviting both VENRO-member organizations and their partners in the global south. For participants from Germany we offer an in person participation, while partners from other countries can join us digitally. 


Preceding partner workshop

In two preceding online workshops with Chilande Kuloba-Warria (Warande Advisory Centre), employees from partner organisations have the opportunity to discuss the topic in a protected space. Many people already took part and shared their good ideas. The results of the workshops will be shared and discussed with all participants digitally and on site at the VENRO Forum in order to develop new perspectives together. 



Participation at this event is free of charge. Travel and accommodation costs must be organised and paid for by participants themselves. The event is limited in number of participants. Your registration is binding.


Awareness at the VENRO Forum

Are you reaching your limits? Don't feel good?

Have you experienced discrimination or assault?

Was there a conflict?


Reach out to our Awareness- Team. It can be recognized by the awareness name badges.


You can contact the team during the entire event:

  • at the awareness booth in the conference room at the Gustav Stresemann Institute
  • or digitally on Zoom in the extra awareness room.


After the event, you can report incidents to us by email: antira-gruppe(at)venro.org

Together, we want to ensure a considerate coexistence in which every person can feel comfortable and safe. Pay attention to yourself and

others. Know your limits and those of others. We do not tolerate any form of racism, sexism or any other form of discrimination or transgression of boundaries at this event.



The registration period for the VENRO Forum is closed.


Please contact Almut Huss for further questions (a.huss(at)venro.org).