Ethiopian Orthodox Clergy Assessment of Workshop Series on Domestic Violence Delivered in Ethiopia, 2021

Istratii, Romina (2022). Ethiopian Orthodox Clergy Assessment of Workshop Series on Domestic Violence Delivered in Ethiopia, 2021. [Data Collection]. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Service. 10.5255/UKDA-SN-855584

Project dldl/ድልድል responds to problematic understandings and alleviation approaches to domestic violence in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). In recent decades, these have tended to prioritise Anglo-American epistemology and experience, and have oftentimes neglected or simplistically portrayed the influence of religious belief and spirituality in domestic violence experience. With this project, I aspire to consolidate a decolonial approach that prioritises local worldviews, integrates religio-cultural parameters more substantively in the ecological model of violence and leverages on theology and religious actors resourcefully as appropriate to each context. The project is informed by my decade-long experience in international development practice and unique specialisation in gender, religious & theology studies. It responds to previous gender-sensitive research with religious communities in sub-Saharan Africa and more recent investigations of intimate partner violence (IPV) among the Ethiopian Orthodox in Northern Ethiopia. These have consistently shown the importance of religious idiom in public and private life and the intersection with gendered norms, but especially tensions between theology and folklore understandings, with 'religion' being juxtaposed to 'culture' in intricate ways to preserve or discontinue pernicious behaviour. At the theoretical level, the proposed project aims to build the evidence base around the intersection of religious beliefs, human psychology and intimate partner behaviour, which is a highly under-theorised field dominated by industrialised societies' experience. I am especially interested in exploring how religious idiom may be used to provide psychosocial support to members of religious communities perpetrating or facing abuse. This increased understanding is important for the development of more integrated, religio-culturally sensitive domestic violence services in traditional religious societies, such as Ethiopia and Eritrea, but also in societies with diverse migrant populations, such as the UK. As a pilot, the project will engage the prevalent Amharic- and Tigrigna-speaking Orthodox populations in Aksum, Northern Ethiopia, in Asmara, Eritrea and the surrounding countryside, and three cities in the UK (London, Manchester, Birmingham). In Northern Ethiopia, the project aims to build the preparedness of Orthodox clergy to respond to domestic violence and to sensitise the community of believers by improving literacy in Orthodox theology to reverse folklore understandings of gender and marriage that contribute to IPV. In Eritrea, the project seeks to contextualise domestic violence in religio-cultural worldviews, while building capacity among religious and secular stakeholders to respond better. An overarching objective is to cultivate more nuanced understanding among the various stakeholders in order to reverse simplistic representations that currently hinder integrated, collaborative and multi-sectoral approaches. The study seeks to employ knowledge and experience emanating from the Ethiopian and Eritrean communities to inform debates and approaches in the UK domestic violence sector, which is increasingly called to cater to diverse communities. The project will combine an ethnographic look into the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox population and research with other migrant communities with a country-wide investigation into the UK domestic violence sector. The aim is to establish the degree to which domestic violence providers, migrant community organisations and religious stakeholders from diverse religious communities currently recognise the importance of and engage with religio-cultural parameters to respond to victims and perpetrators. Knowledge exchange and public engagement activities comprise the project's fundamental tool for building bridges among secular and religious stakeholders, who still lack a common platform for mutual understanding and substantive collaboration.

Data description (abstract)

The current dataset includes assessment questionnaire responses by clergy participating in a workshop series on domestic violence that was designed by Project dldl/ድልድል and co-delivered with the support of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development and Inter-Church Aid Commission (EOC DICAC) in Amhara region, Ethiopia. The questionnaires were collected as part of the programme's evaluation approach, which comprised of a pre-workshop interest form that asked participants background information and a post-workshop assessment that asked them to assess different aspects of the workshops. A total of 155 assessment questionnaires were collected from clergy participants across 7 workshops. The participants were asked to respond to 7 assessment questions at the end of each workshop. Their responses were transcribed from the paper-based questionnaires in Amharic and were subsequently translated to English with the help of professional and native-speaking translators.

Data creators:
Creator Name Affiliation ORCID (as URL)
Istratii Romina University of London
Name Affiliation ORCID (as URL)
Desta Liya Addis Ababa University
Adhanom Fresenbet G.Y Agora University
Abebe Yeshihareg Addis Ababa University
Sponsors: UKRI, Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation
Grant reference: UKRI (Re: MR/T043350/1)
Topic classification: Society and culture
Project title: Bridging religious studies, gender & development and public health to address domestic violence: A novel approach for Ethiopia, Eritrea and the UK
Grant holders: Dr Romina Istratii
Project dates:
1 November 202031 October 2024
Date published: 07 Apr 2022 11:46
Last modified: 08 Apr 2022 16:56

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