What is Belonging, Dignity and Justice (BDJ)?
At Internews, we believe everyone should be able to work in an environment in which they feel safe, can be themselves and are treated with respect. Belonging, Dignity and Justice (BDJ) describes the work we do internally to ensure this is the case. This framework is intended to surpass traditional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion by embedding these universal values into our work and conversations. We believe the principles of BDJ are mission-critical to all that we do and are deeply committed to this transformative process.
When you feel safe as you are.
When your inherent voice and nature is respected and honored.
To make right and whole; to repair harm.
These principles are fundamental to us at Internews and here is how they are applied in our work:
- Belonging: Internews staff, partners, and the communities we serve all over the world should be treated as kindred members of our global, multicultural community. To do this, we will place understanding, rapport-building, and connection first to ensure that our people feel in communion with each other.
- Dignity: Internews works in partnership with the communities we serve, the people best placed to know what works. To do this, we will respect and honor their lived experience and perspectives and elevate their voices.
- Justice: The media and information sector can be distorted by elite gatekeepers, captured media, disinformation and misinformation, or by political conflicts and natural disasters. We wish to repair it. To do this, we will work to reform the sector to be more inclusive and representative of the communities it serves.
Our Belonging, Dignity and Justice Practice
At Internews, we are deeply committed to creating positive change within our organization and the communities we serve. Through our work in Belonging, Dignity, and Justice (BDJ), we have made significant investments of our time, financial resources, and efforts to foster a more equitable workplace and better serve our global communities.
Internally, we have prioritized transparency, clear structures, and accountability. We have made improvements in our pay, promotions, and compensation practices, ensuring fairness, clarity, and equity across the board. Additionally, we use language and hold ourselves to a set of standards and processes that promote inclusivity. By implementing these changes, we strive to create a workplace environment where everyone feels valued and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives. This also includes investing in our people and their continuous development. This commitment is reflected in our staff tenure and development programs like our leadership development program for all managers and a range of live, virtual, and asynchronous learning opportunities for staff at all levels. We strive to create an environment that supports the growth and well-being of our diverse organization.
Additionally, we have established employee resource groups, which we call Affinity Groups, to provide a space where staff can connect with like-minded individuals from around the world. Moreover, we actively promote professional and personal development within these Affinity groups, inviting both external experts and internal thought leaders as guest speakers. These sessions cover a wide range of topics, from media development to professional growth, further enriching the experiences of our staff and amplifying their voices within the organization and beyond. We also invest in resources and support systems to create an inclusive and empowering environment for all, including our staff and communities of marginalized backgrounds, and staff who are caregivers, LGBTQIA+, identify as women, and beyond.
Externally, co-design is at the heart of our approach. We work closely with our partners and communities globally, recognizing that their knowledge and experiences are invaluable. By involving them in the decision-making process, we ensure that our programs and initiatives are aligned with their best interests and effectively address their needs. We also understand the importance of continuous learning and improvement (it is one of our values!) One of the ways in which we facilitate this is actively participating in cross-NGO groups to share and implement best practices. Through these collaborations, we stay informed about the latest strategies and approaches, ensuring our efforts are relevant and impactful.
We are dedicated to the continuous integration of Belonging, Dignity, and Justice into every facet of Internews. This is not a one-time initiative or a checkbox to mark. We view BDJ as an integral part of our organizational DNA. We continuously work to ensure that our practices are flexible and responsive to the needs of our staff, partners, and the communities we serve. We drive real change, collaborate to implement meaningful transformations, and are unwavering in our commitment to invest our time, financial resources, and efforts into creating an environment where everyone feels safe, valued, and respected. This is the Internews way, and we will persistently strive to strengthen our practices, learn from our experiences, and foster meaningful change within our organization and the communities we serve. Our journey towards a more equitable and inclusive world is ongoing, and we are resolute in our pursuit of Belonging, Dignity, and Justice for all. We are grateful for the support of Decolonize Design who originated the BDJ concept and who have supported Internews in this work.
In 2015, Internews developed a set of core values as a reflection of who we are, how we work together, and what we aspire to as a community. We believe these core values are compatible with and integral to our commitment to Belonging, Dignity and Justice at Internews.
- Listen and Learn Continuously: We are curious and responsive, driven by a spirit of creativity and innovation.
- Build Community: We value open communication and dialogue. We treat each other kindly, collaborate, and support each other.
- Act with Integrity and Persistence: We build trust, hold ourselves to a high standard, and don’t give up.
- Commit to Making a Difference: We are passionate about improving lives and creating positive change in the world.
- Bring Optimism and Excitement: We approach our work with enthusiasm and love what we do.