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Shaping the Future of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in International Development

Published 05/05/2022 by Global Communities


Achieving equity in all facets of the international development sector, from why and how we do this work to who is involved in decision-making and implementation, requires critical self-examination as an organization.

Recognizing this, Global Communities began a more concerted effort to mainstream diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in our policies, procedures and practices by creating our first senior leadership role dedicated to this strategic priority.  

Deborah Harris recently started as Vice President, DEI & Chief People Officer, bringing more than 20 years of experience working to advance equity and inclusion, strategic human resources and coaching leaders in the government, nonprofit and consultancy industries.

“We promote equity and equality around the world, and we want to make sure that our structures, systems and engagement reflect that same commitment. … We must hold each other accountable as an industry. We must look to our partners and our donors to develop a growth mindset, and we have to lead by learning.”

Deborah Harris, Vice President, DEI & Chief People Officer

We had an opportunity to sit down with Harris following her first quarter in this new role at Global Communities. Watch the video below to learn what she considers to be preconditions for building a strong DE&I foundation, the importance of localization and decentralization in the NGO sector, and how to move forward in this vital conversation about dismantling structural inequities where we live and work.

This content is part of Future Forward, a thought leadership and storytelling series on how Global Communities is driving change to save lives, advance equity and secure strong futures. To learn more, visit