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#Ourheroes – The Story of Marianna Christou


“My name is Marianna Christou. I am a social worker with a long experience working in the protection of vulnerable migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in all stages, from reception in camps to their social integration. I have also experience in the protection and support of GBV and human trafficking survivors. Having worked in the field for several years, I believe I have a lot of experience to share and at the same time wish to promote good practices for first line professionals to apply in their everyday work and not just remain in the theoretical level of interventions.”

What is the most important outcome you have gained through the “Capacity Building project”?

Previously my professional experience was based on International Organizations and local NGOs; while in this position, I was given a chance to understand the public sector’s mentality, which will help me shape better my advocacy and make it more well-targeted in the future.

Are there any challenges during the implementation of the trainings? If yes, what are they? How do you respond to them?

There have been several cases of trainees who would not welcome a human rights-centred approach, believing that it was not “objective” enough, “professional”, or “neutral”. The team dynamics helped solve such issues when they arose: the trainer would leave space for an open discussion within the team, promoting a critical way of thinking. Thus, it would be the other participants who would suggest a response to related concerns raised.

What is the added value of the trainings?

The trainings offer a way out from the daily routine, so field professionals are willing to participate and share their experiences in terms of intersectional trainings, as this process is relieving and serves, among others, as a way to mitigate work stress. Also, sharing and listening to other professionals’ views and experiences in the field was an excellent chance for them to reflect on their work, build networks and enhance their interventions later on.

Do you believe that “Capacity Building project” differs from other projects? If yes, why?

This project’s added value is the openness to the creativity of the trainers in combination with the flexibility to adjust its activities through an ongoing needs assessment, responding to the actual needs of first-line professionals in the most effective way.

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