Rethinking Our approaches to Aid and Development Work: Exploring Power Dynamics and Empowerment


Social work is highly influenced by the existing and available structures of funding, social and political contexts, possible partnerships, and power dynamics. Further, the broader regional context is shaped by the intertwining forces of colonial history and economical dependance. From a practical perspective, these circumstances impact the relational dynamics between stakeholders of social work: beneficiaries, local authorities, NGOs, UN agencies, and funders. These dynamics form power structures, affecting project development, approaches, and results. This training explores social work practice in light of these contextual and relational dynamics, taking a step back to redirect our actions where necessary and to the extent possible. By exploring various tools and sharing experiences, it aims at better understanding power dynamics that emerge and form in the field and at exploring new approaches for interventions. The objective is to enable the implementation of fair and equitable projects for all.

Course description:

The course will take place during 2 days and will include the following:

Reflection on the objectives of social and aid work, while situating it in the broader history of civil society in Lebanon.

Exploring topics of stereotypes, privilege, and power dynamics. By reflecting on individual histories and backgrounds and by conducting interactive exercises, personal work, and small group discussions, the participants will be able to reflect on their approaches as actors of social change.

Analysis of two case studies of concrete projects and practices implemented in Lebanon and Palestine: the analysis will result in a set of recommendations that each participant can use later in his/her work.

Exploring tools for understanding our roles and interventions with a more equitable and grounded perspective.

Number of sessions:


Dates of sessions:

15 and 16 February, from 9:30 to 5 pm.



Course Pre-requisites:

This training is open to people working in or with NGOs in Lebanon, as employees, volunteers or freelancers, as well as for those who are willing to.

Instructor name:

Angela Saade, Hélène Servel and Marie-Noëlle Abi-Yaghi
Instructor Bio:

Angela Saade:
is a co-founder of Jibal, and also of the French NGO Tabadol, both working on how to build an intercultural and diverse societies with equity and social justice at the centre. She has developed several projects, including trainings for youth, teachers and journalists on topics related to stereotypes, power dynamics and migration. Throughout the 10 years of work on these topics, she has developed a hands-on experience that enabled her to build strong knowledge and approaches for training and reflecting. Angela also worked as a technical advisor for the youth program of the Lebanese NGO Mouvement Social. She holds a master degree in applied anthropology and in engineering. She has experienced exile on a personal level, when she left with her family during the Lebanese war, and when she migrated to France for her studies. This has put her in a first hand position to analyse subject of migration and power dynamics in relation to it.

Hélène Servel:
works on the topics related to social justice and power dynamics, as a trainer, researcher and journalist. Her work experience was in France, Lebanon and Palestine where she has developed several projects, from which youth exchanges on agriculture in Palestine and a research on sociology of foreign press and journalists in Cisjordania. She currently leads radio workshops in Arles (Southern France) with schools and community centers in order to create radio shows with children and adults. She is also involved as a trainer in an international workshop on Media and Migration, and is part of the collective Tabadol ( in France. Hélène holds a Master degree in political sociology from the Political Science Institute of Aix en Provence (France). She speaks french, german, english and levantine arabic.

Marie-Noëlle Abi-Yaghi:
is a founding member and the head of research at Lebanon Support. She is also an associate researcher at the Institut Français du Proche- Orient (IFPO), and a member of the Lebanese Sociological Association. A former researcher at the Centre for Lebanese Studies, Saint Anthony’s College at the University of Oxford, she has also collaborated with several local and international organisations. She specialises in the sociology of contentious politics in contemporary Lebanon, with a focus on socialisation processes and collective behaviour, transformation of commitment and logics of disengagement, as well as gendered dynamics within social movements. She also focuses on (re)production processes and forms of social control, order, and discipline.
Marie-Noëlle holds a PhD in Political Science from the Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, France. Recent publications.


Contact Email:

[email protected]

How to contact:

please add the name of the course you’re interested to inquire about in the subject line. Note that registration is done via the form.

Participation Fees:

Standard Fee: 160 $

Reduced** Fee: 110 $

Solidarity* Fee: 230 $

*This fee enables to fund the reduced fee difference and allow concerned persons to have access to the course.
** For salaries under 1000$/month and having to pay house rental. If you do not fall under this categorie and still believe you should have the reduced fee, please contact us. The reduced rate is applicable for limited number of participants.