International development worldwide has rightly come under criticism for its failure to reflect the communities it serves and partners with and in particular a failure to make explicit commitments to address racial and ethnic diversity in the wake of the #BlackLivesMatter protests.
Internews recognizes that we are no exception. We can and should do better: words are not enough and we are committed to moving beyond symbolism to substance. Racism and anti-Blackness, like many systems of oppression, are structural and systemic. As an organisation that helps people worldwide get access to information so they can achieve their full potential, we know we have the collective power to create a world healed of these societal wounds and we are going to fight like hell to achieve it. That is why in June we committed to taking immediate action to ensuring our own organization was one in which everyone genuinely has the opportunity to thrive.
One of those commitments was to engage external expertise to build our diversity, equity and inclusion practices. We’re therefore delighted to announce a major new partnership with consultancy firm Decolonize Design, starting immediately. Decolonize is a US-based consultancy that helps workplaces globally foster true belonging. Rather than building a program around the traditional concepts of “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion”, Decolonize Design emphasizes Belonging, Dignity and Justice, concepts which resonate strongly with Internews’ mission and our aspirations as an organization.
Our partnership with Decolonize Design will last at least a year and envisages deep and systematic engagement at all levels of the organization. Through this partnership we are committed to understanding how we can continue to transform our organizational climate and culture to one that genuinely upholds belonging, dignity, and justice for our team, our partners and the world. Within our organization, we will closely examine our own history and foundation starting with learning sessions involving all staff, and an audit of our formal and informal policies, procedures, rituals, and norms.
“Our aim is to be a leader in the media development and information sector on questioning the status quo and centering the marginalized,” said Internews President and CEO Jeanne Bourgault. “Decolonize Design brings a human-centred approach, using community engagement principles that resonate with our work worldwide and we’re excited to be launching this partnership.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Internews. Decolonize Design selectively partners with organizations to ensure workplaces and communities are spaces that foster true belonging so all can participate and prosper, ” said Decolonize Design founder Aida Davis.
If you would like to speak to Internews or Decolonize about this work, please contact Alex Cole at [email protected].