Organizational development with torture rehabilitation programs

An applied perspective


  • Kristi Rendahl Assistant Professor & Director, Nonprofit Leadership Program, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Organizational Development Consultant, The Center for Victims of Torture
  • Pamela Kriege Santoso Project Manager, Partners in Trauma Healing (PATH) Project, The Center for Victims of Torture



Organizational Development, Torture Rehabilitation, Capacity Building


Torture rehabilitation has emerged as a field over the past several decades and much of the literature has focused on clinical interventions, related evaluation, and documentation of torture. Less discussed are organizational development initiatives that seek to strengthen organizational effectiveness in order to improve mental health outcomes for torture survivors. Based on applied experience in organizational development with torture rehabilitation programs in post-conflict contexts, the authors explore key organizational development needs in the field of torture rehabilitation, areas of future consideration for international agency donors, and additional future considerations for torture rehabilitation programs themselves. A case is made fo organizational development efforts that prioritize time for strategic thinking that includes participation from stakeholders across the organization’s functions; staff care policies that prevent secondary trauma and promote wellbeing and retention; clarity surrounding organizational structure and roles; financial management systems that position the organization for growth and fund diversification strategies beyond the project-based international agency funding model. The work requires longterm commitment in terms of technical and subgrant assistance, including an ongoing process of assessing and adjusting approaches. The case examples included are representative of certain key challenges that may be addressed to some degree within the parameters of a similar project. While the work of torture rehabilitation is urgent by nature, the authors emphasize the need for practical approaches for the important (but not urgent) work of organizational development.


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How to Cite

Rendahl, K., & Kriege Santoso, P. (2020). Organizational development with torture rehabilitation programs: An applied perspective. Torture Journal, 29(3), 59–72.