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Understanding the value of diversity – report from our workshop on intersectionality

One of the guiding values of zusa is the consistent aim to implement diversity and inclusion principles in our work. At zusa, we believe that our struggles and efforts are interconnected – as well as are our backgrounds, expertise and worldviews. We nurture the value of diversity not only by making our programmes and events open to as many people from different backgrounds as possible but also by reminding ourselves why such efforts are needed. One of the Circles within our team is dedicated to the topic of Safe(r) Spaces. Last year, this Circle has organized a workshop series about diversity-oriented organisational development that aimed to help creating safer spaces in our team, our programmes and events, and to open more possibilities for a more pluralistic engagement.

The two-day workshop was designed and facilitated by Rafia Shahnaz Harzer. The first part of the workshop was focused on the theory of intersectionality – together with Rafia we dived deeper into the understanding of different kinds of structurally exclusion mechanisms like racism, sexism, queer-phobia, classism and ableism. By individually reflecting and collectively discussing the questions related to power dynamics, we aimed to find common ground on an understanding of different aspects of marginalized realities.

During the second part of the workshop, we focused more on a practical level of the Intersectionality theory and looked into the questions such as: ​​what are our common values as an organization that is aware and willing to learn? What can be the criteria of project design that would have an intersectional aspect? Rafia presented our team with the Intersectional Implementation Spiral, which, we believe, will be a handy tool that can be used designing new programmes of zusa.

zusa holds the “we” at the heart of the organisation’s values. These values we listed all work together as they are deeply interconnected: non-hierarchy and collaboration require intersectionality, which is the understanding that social identities (race, gender, socio-economic background…) overlap and contribute to discrimination; we first need to take responsibility to implement diversity and inclusion principles in our work and remain open to learning. It is a continuous process – a process of diversity-oriented organizational development. With this two-day workshop, we took an honest step towards gaining a core understanding of visible and invisible exclusion mechanisms that exist in our society and compulsively affect our behaviors towards each other.


  • Eglė

    Eglė is the project manager for Tandem Amwaj and the overall communications manager at zusa.