The project

This project establishes a partnership to explore narrative storytelling as a culturally-relevant approach to responding to trauma from gender-based violence (GBV) against women in high prevalence settings. It brings together academics, poets, civil society organisations, and feminist activists working on GBV in the UK and across the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.

The partnership includes experts from the medical science (psychiatry, psychology) and humanities (humanitarian ethics, women’s studies, and literature studies). Our aim is to develop a therapeutic approach to GBV-related trauma among women in these settings. 



Photos credit: Nocem Cocello

The network

Dr Ayesha Ahmad, PhD 

Lecturer at St George’s University in London and cultural Philosopher working on trauma and GBV. She was Co-I on the pilot study for narrative storytelling in Afghanistan that led to this proposal. Dr Ahmad work focuses on critical perspectives on biomedical frameworks of trauma, and global mental health trauma interventions. 

Dr Jenevieve Mannell, PhD, AFBPsS 

Lecturer in the Institute for Global Health (UCL) and a leading community health psychologist specialising in GBV, with expertise in developing innovative methods for GBV prevention and response. She has been leading research projects on gender and health since 2009, and is currently PI on two studies related to this proposal: (1) the GAP Project, and (2) a methodological study investigating innovative qualitative methods for RCTs of complex interventions in India and Bangladesh . 

Ms Lida Ahmad 

Ms Ahmad holds a Master Degree in Peace, Conflict and Development Studies from Spain and is currently a Lecturer in Gender Studies at the University of Afghanistan in Kabul. In the late 1990s during the Taliban regime, she initiated underground literacy classes for women. Today her research areas include GBV and sexual violence during war and post-conflict. Ms Ahmad brings several years of experience interviewing women who have experienced sexual and domestic violence in Afghanistan 

Dr Lobna Salem 

Assistant professor of Comparative Literature and chair of the department of English at the Faculty of Letters, Arts, and Humanities, University of Manouba (Tunisia). Her research is focused on literature as a vehicle to work through collective trauma. She produced a number of articles on Northern African and African literature, in addition to a book on Palestinian poet and writer Mourid Barghouti. She is currently researching prison literature in the Tunisian post-Revolution context.

Dr Peter Hughes ​

Clinical Psychiatrist based at St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust. He is the UK Lead for WHO mhGap (Mental Health Gap) and a humanitarian psychiatry expert with experience delivering WHO training in mental health to healthcare professions in Syria, Iraq Kurdistan, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkey. 

Ms Nicole Minckas

Holds a Masters Degree in Global Health and is currently a Research Assistant in Gender and Global Health at University College London. She has years of experience in the design, coordination and fieldwork or research studies, with a particular focus on quantitative methodologies. 

Dr Sharli Anne Paphitis 

Senior Lecturer and Philosopher in Community Engagement at Rhodes University in South Africa. Her research applies the philosophy of personal autonomy to interventions with marginalised groups. 

Dr Shazana Andrabi 

Head of the Department of International Relations at the Islamic University of Science and Technology in Kashmir. Her research focuses on honour-based violence with a specialisation in GBV during conflict. 

Prof Yesim Isil Ulman 

Prof Ulman is a world-leading bioethicist. Previous Lead for Bioethics at UNESCO, she is currently Head of the Department of History of Medicine and Ethics at Acibadem University. Her research focuses on applied bioethics in the service of vulnerable groups 

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