Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Goals Come into Focus
In 2020, the United States, the world and the international development community continued a vital conversation with fresh urgency, addressing the continued impact of systemic racism, discrimination and colonialism on the daily lives of Black and Brown colleagues, partners and peers.
As leaders of Global Communities and PCI, a Global Communities Partner, David Weiss and Carrie Hessler-Radelet issued a statement following the death of George Floyd in the summer of 2020. Their letter committed to "honoring the dignity and common humanity of all people," and to taking the necessary steps to become "the anti-racist organization we aspire to be."
In order to center the commitment to antiracism in the organization's future, Global Communities and PCI worked together in 2020 to focus Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) efforts around three primary objectives:
- Ensuring that principles and concepts were integrated into a new strategic plan;
- Working with senior leadership to define what it means for Global Communities to be an anti-racist organization within the global context in which we work;
- Setting concrete DE&I goals for the organization and beginning a long-term effort to put these into practice, with accountability and metrics built into operational plans.
A few highlights of actions taken to help realize our 2020 objectives include:
Photo by Global Communities Kenya
Supported new Employee Resource Groups
In the summer of 2020, Black employees came together to start what has now become the Black Employee Resource Group (BERG). The group functions to:
- Advise and shape the executive team's thinking on activities, resources and investments;
- Contribute to the thinking required to define what it means for Global Communities to be an anti-racist organization;
- Contribute to the DE&I strategic planning processes.
Integrated DE&I into our strategic planning process
Global Communities' leadership identified DE&I as a critical area for strategic thinking and visioning. Questions emerging from their discussions included:
- How do we ground our work in dignity, diversity, equity and inclusion?
- How do we lead our sector in modeling what it means to be an anti-racist organization?
- How do we become an organization that matches the diversity of our nation and world in our leadership profile, practices and culture?
The outcome of these discussions through the strategic planning process led to the creation of one of the four strategic priorities: To advance equity and inclusion. The organization will focus its efforts over the next three years to building and expanding its foundation in this critical area.
Photo by Global Communities Honduras
Developed a shared understanding of DE&I and anti-racist concepts, as well as a shared lexicon
In 2020, a cross-section of the organization serving on the strategic planning team held a facilitated workshop that provided foundational knowledge and awareness on DE&I topics. The objective was to help the organization define diversity, equity, inclusion and antiracism, identify how inequities in society manifest inside the organization, and explore how to use an equity lens in decision-making.
Expanded DE&I working group
The internal DE&I Council was a natural group to engage, and a working group was formed to:
- Offer input to the strategic planning team and the executive team on DE&I goals for the strategic planning period 2021-2024 and for what it means to become an anti-racist organization;
- Provide recommendations on how to institutionalize DE&I principles and practices within the organization.
The commitment to become an anti-racist organization is a long-term process, one that will require continued engagement, effort, focus and commitment. As Global Communities moves into the future, DE&I sits at the very heart of our organization's values, mission and vision for building a more just, prosperous and equitable global community.
Global Communities' 2022-2024 Strategic Plan sets a specific objective to "advance equity and inclusion," committing to design and implement gender and DE&I policies, processes and programs to enable a 'lead as we learn' approach, and to advance leadership and career growth for staff around the world and implement cutting-edge management systems that support decentralization.
Story by Jackie Frank
Lead photo by Global Communities Ghana