Synergy’s founding ideology – that multi-disciplinary approaches maximise positive impact and outcomes for all – is the thread that links all of our work. All Synergy programmes, trainings, and tools capitalise on the expertise and diverse perspectives that our multi-disciplinary team brings. Our approach ensures that the collective expertise from a team of lawyers, doctors, mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) specialists, investigators, human rights defenders, and subject matter experts is combined to provide the holistic responses necessary to ensuring that survivors of human rights violations are empowered and receive the highest quality of care. Synergy’s multi-disciplinary and holistic approach also builds the capacity of local partners through mentorship, training, and localized tools to forensically document torture and sexual violence cases and to develop confidential and survivor-centric case management systems for survivors and their families so that they can access specialist support services and reintegrate safely into their communities.
Synergy for Justice is committed to ensuring that every aspect of its programming and operations consider the power dynamics and norms related to gender. Throughout all stages of programming, we use gender analysis to identify gender roles, relations, and status differences and define opportunities to promote equity and inclusive legitimacy. These findings inform all stages of our programme design, implementation, and evaluation. Our gender-transformative approach seeks to go beyond change at the individual level and also transform the larger socio-cultural norms and political and legal structures in order to achieve equal access, control, participation, and protection.
Working with and training local partners and stakeholders ensures the complementarity of ongoing work without duplicating efforts. It also contributes to sustainability by developing a wellspring of knowledge and capacity among local stakeholders that will continue beyond the duration of a given programme. Synergy for Justice values equitable and collaborative relationships with our local partners and believes in the two-way exchange of information and learning. Synergy collaborates closely with local partners and stakeholders to assess needs on the ground and evaluate how Synergy can add value and tailor its training to effectively build the capacity of local actors to help them achieve their goals. Once goals and preliminary needs have been identified, Synergy works with local actors to incorporate their expertise and contextual understanding into capacity building programmes. Throughout this process, we proactively seek to ensure that a diverse set of voices from different backgrounds are included. All resulting programmes are fully customised, grounding global best practices and international standards in local realities to ensure that participants are able to apply learning effectively in their own environments.
Synergy for Justice understands that working in conflict and development settings requires programs and organizations to quickly change course to adjust to evolving realities and we deeply value nimble and responsive practices. Through close coordination and communication with local partners, we ensure that our support is tailored to meet and quickly respond to evolving needs. With our history rooted in responding to the urgent needs related to the Syrian civil war, we understand how important it is to be able to quickly adapt and respond to new and different realities. As a result, we are deeply attuned to the specific contexts in which we operate, and closely examine how our programming affects the environment in which we operate and how the environment affects our programming. At Synergy for Justice we are committed to conducting thorough conflict analyses for every project it implements to avoid causing harm and to maximize benefit and repair in all of the communities in which we work. Synergy for Justice also takes into consideration asymmetric power relations, cultural diversity, and the values and beliefs of the local populations.
Synergy for Justice recognizes that working in conflict areas with people who have experienced both trauma and tragedy can present unique challenges that must be addressed through a trauma-informed lens. Vulnerable people, many of whom remain at constant risk of violence, may face non-acceptance from family and community, and are often unable to self-identify and be themselves. Working with these populations necessitates an even higher level of care and consideration to bolster resilience and ensure that programmatic activities do no harm. Synergy is acutely attuned to the fact that seeking justice and accountability requires the survivor of human rights violations to revisit traumatic experiences, and ensures that the entire suite of support that a survivor receives is trauma-informed to avoid any possibility of retraumatization. Synergy also recognizes the impact that working with individuals who have experienced trauma can have on support staff and actively incorporates thoughtful interventions that allow colleagues to reflect on their own needs and implement self-care collectively and individually to bolster their resilience and ability to thrive in the face of extremely difficult and often upsetting circumstances. Synergy has supported the development of organisational welfare systems and networks to promote healthy working culture for its staff and local partners. Synergy integrates MHPSS consultants into its training programs as both substantive experts as well as pillars of a support system that encourages people to recognize secondary trauma as a potential risk for all people working in conflict zones and/or working on human rights issues. Secondary trauma workshops help staff and participants understand the impacts of secondary trauma and to develop strategies to mitigate its impacts upon themselves, their colleagues, and their families.
At the community level, Synergy applies Do No Harm principles through a trauma-informed lens by ensuring that its programming serves to connect rather than divide the people it serves and analyses how an intervention may be implemented in a way that supports local communities to address the underlying causes of conflict in order to improve the sustainability of interventions and minimise risks to projects, partners, and program participants. Synergy for Justice is committed to contributing to peace through fostering common interests among stakeholders, providing neutral spaces for interaction, building in positive communication outlets, and facilitating mechanisms for cooperation. Synergy for Justice models non-violent collaboration and implements programs that avoid harmful unintended consequences.