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International Development & African Diaspora

Diversity in International Development: Is the sector diverse enough?

Diversity in International Development: Is the sector diverse enough?

6 Aug 2020

Reframing the Narrative in International Develpment: Part 3. Diversity in International Development/Amrywiaeth mewn Datblygiad


In partnership with SSAP Youth and Hub Cymru Africa .

We are pleased to present the next webinar in our series of “Decolonising Development” -focusing on 'Diversity and Inclusion in International Development'.

Does the sector lack diversity?

International development organisations often speak about “respect for diversity and inclusion” as bedrocks for meaningful aid projects and interventions. Charities in the sector advise foreign governments, charities and communities in the global south to integrate inclusion strategies into policies and peace agreements. But how diverse is the sector in the global north? Does the sector follow its own preaching? How reflective of the wider population is the sector in its composition of staff, board members and headquarters (for some)?

Research shows that only 32% of charity CEOs are women and just 3% are from black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME). There is little data available on the representation of LGBTQ+ people and those with disabilities within development organizations. Without diversity in the workforce, programs themselves are unlikely to be inclusive.

There is no shortage of critiques about international development as a neo-colonial enterprise. Development has always been perceived to be one way, from the giver (global north) to the receiver (global south). Despite enthusiastic multiculturalism and deep understandings of diversity, the lack of diversity in the sector itself is alarming. The sector is still not taking a leading role in demonstrating practical and moral-driven organisational strategies to dismantle structural inequalities and to address its role in reinforcing them.

“There is much more to do to achieve our ambition of becoming the most inclusive employer across the Civil Service and to close the gender pay gap. There is overwhelming evidence that diversity is not just the right thing to do, it makes an organisation better at making good decisions, at innovating and at understanding the full range of perspectives of those it serves” - UK Department for International Development, ‘Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report 2017-18'

For some, the sector is elitist as individuals from lower socio-economic background, BAME communities and those with disabilities struggling to find employment or entry into the sector. Unpacking what diversity means and how it applies to international development is central to this workshop. Delving deeply into notions of privilege, white privilege, unconscious bias, and the lack of commitment to diversity and inclusion in the development sector, we will look at how this plays out in the operationalization of development interventions, and identify ways that iNGOs can cultivate an environment of inclusion and belonging within their organizational structures. Focusing on recruitment, project delivery, organisational culture and commitment to diversity and inclusion, the webinar will be informative as much as thought provoking and will provide tools and resources for development practitioners, minority communities and those interested in diversity and development issues.

Speakers to be announced soon.

Register here!

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