Hibiscus Initiative launched a new report on Cultural Mediation.
Cultural mediation is a concept that ensures women’s voices can be heard. The idea of cultural mediation is to create a space where women can use their own words and languages to express what they are going through.
The women supported by Hibiscus are faced with day-to-day barriers, one of which is often undermined: language. We have identified that interpretation alone does not suffice to reach comprehensive, full and clear understanding.
One of the main purposes of cultural mediation is to ensure integration in the host society; this is crucial as it acts as a bridge between institutions and migrants. We can overcome these cultural barriers and obstacles by introducing cultural mediation to fill in the gap of understanding between institutions and migrant women.
We have seen how cultural mediation is applied across Europe within different services such as: healthcare, education, public services, rehabilitation centres, and at immigration office to facilitate better understanding with migrant communities.
From July 2020 to January 2021, a Hibiscus Project Worker applied cultural mediation techniques to their casework with sixteen Albanian women in the community to help them navigate through the systems they were in contact with and to support them in their recovery journey.
Hibiscus found during the course of this research that interpretation is not enough and that with cultural mediation we can increase understanding and help women navigate the systems they find themselves in, improve communication between survivors and their support structures, and that a survivor-centered approach can achieve better outcomes for these women.
The following steps are important when working with female trafficking survivors through cultural mediation:
Create a safe space > Listen to women’s needs > Apply a non-judgemental lens > Build trust.
Recommendations following Hibiscus’ Cultural Mediation report:
- Improve understanding and communication between survivors of GBV and statutory and non-statutory bodies by adopting cultural mediation as a primary approach to working with this community;
- Ensure those working with GBV survivors are also trained in and apply trauma-informed and survivor-centred approaches;
- Improve knowledge and good practice in working with survivors of GBV within service providers;
This project is funded by The Bell Foundation. The Bell Foundation is a charity that aims to overcome exclusion through language education by working with partners on innovation, research, training, and practical interventions.