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1.3.4 Inclusive virtual public engagement for a just Covid-19 recovery process - Workshop
Tuesday, 17/May/2022:
3:30pm - 5:00pm

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1.3.4 Inclusive virtual public engagement for a just Covid-19 recovery process - Workshop

Lee-Anne Lavell1, Judyannet Muchiri2

1Atlantic Council for International Cooperation, Canada; 2Inter Council Network, Canada

What does inclusivity look like in virtual spaces? The use of digital technologies during the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the form of public engagement activities, creating space for groups who typically would not have access to particular forms of participation. The challenge for CSOs has been to make this participation meaningful and transformative for marginalized groups. The uneven availability of technological infrastructure determines who gets to participate and how they participate. Increasingly, organizations are proactively interrogating their practices; a positive step towards decolonizing the sector. However, this reflexivity exercise needs to be done in a way that does not propagate harmful practices.

The Inter Council Network is in the second phase of a research project which explores feminist, anti-racist and decolonial approaches to public engagement. Following the principles in Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy and the UN’s Agenda 2030, this research explores CSO best practices for feminist, anti-racist, and decolonial public engagement in a pandemic and post-pandemic context.

We will highlight good practices identified in this research project by using practical applications found with 3 public engagement initiatives of the ICN host council, the ,Atlantic Council for International Cooperation (ACIC). We invite practitioners, academics, and individuals to participate in a World Café to discuss the future of development work in the context of the pandemic.

We will explore how public engagement can support the role of development in breaking away from the interconnected global crises of Covid-19 and social oppression caused by patriarchal, neo-colonial and racist structures. Our three case studies will show examples of: 1) anti-racist and feminist approaches in development; 2) decolonization efforts in the Atlantic Canadian development context; and 3) youth engagement as a tool for social change. Drawing on ACIC’s work in these areas, participants will engage in small group discussions and larger group facilitated conversation.

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