Category Archives: Anti-racism in Aid

We need to change how we design and choose service providers

After working across the donor, private and NGO sectors for over 15 years and being heavily involved in how procurement is designed, here’s what I’ve noticed:

  • Often communities are involved in very quick design processes (as procurement is running late) through rapid needs assessments and selective focus groups.
  • Evaluations of previous funding cycles play a critical role – evaluation teams are often made up of seasoned professionals – who may bring their own biases. Fresh ideas and diverse teams are often missing from the design process.
  • I’ve been privileged to coordinate procurement processes which involve the host government collaborating with the funders. Communities and users often have no say in which agency provides their services – they have little-no purchasing power. Perhaps I am wrong?
  • The procurement is competitive in some cases. Detailed Request for Proposals. Some agencies are funded without any procurement process at all. Often agencies feel like they are all competing for the same pot of money – so they end up providing the same kinds of services. Health agencies start providing wider services like education; education agencies start providing health services – so differentiation becomes difficult and specialisations diminish.  
  • This private sector approach tendering is mismatched with the nature of the work. The market has become narrow and focused – stifling creativity and innovation.
  • The power is with those agencies who write proposals well and can pass due diligence – so local/grass roots agencies often do not lead big projects.

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Unwinding bias – 10 questions for you

  1. Who is in the in group and who is in the out group?
  2. Who do you naturally talk to?
  3. Do you react differently to different types of people?
  4. What stories do you tell yourself about different types of people? 
  5. Do you have an understanding of different people’s backgrounds?
  6. Did your bias lead you to an (accidental) microaggression?
  7. Are people truly being treated with equal voices?
  8. Are people truly being treated with equal opportunities?
  9. Who makes the decisions in your team or project?
  10. Are you taking into account different ways people communicate, from different cultures?

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Check out these books on racism, anti-racism and raising children

We’ve been reading books exploring racism, anti-racism and raising children. We’d like to share a list of these books with you. It isn’t a comprehensive catalogue – please get in touch with us if you would like to recommend any books on these topics and we will add them to the list! Continue reading

La base de l’antiracisme, c’est l’adaptation

Soyons honnêtes. Le changement, personne n’aime ça.

Il devient plus en plus difficile de s’adapter aux changements au fur et à mesure qu’ils se présentent; surtout lorsqu’on affronte déjà quotidiennement une longue liste de problèmes à résoudre. Les politiques de bureau, le vacarme, les courriels, les appels Zoom… Continue reading

La base del antirracismo está en el cambio

Seamos sinceros. Los cambios son difíciles.

No es fácil concentrarse en los cambios, con tanto trabajo en marcha, tantos problemas que resolver en el día a día, las políticas de oficina, el ruido, los correos electrónicos, las llamadas por Zoom… Continue reading

Anti-racism is about the change you make

Let’s be honest. Change is hard!

It’s not easy to focus on change, with so much work going on – so many problems to solve just to keep the day-to-day going. So much office politics, noise, emails, Zoom calls… Continue reading

How (and why) to compensate people of colour for their emotional labour

There’s been a lot of conversations about anti-racism recently, between individuals, in organisations, in the media, on the street. We ourselves have talked to a lot of people – of all colours – as we love to connect and support. But we’ve noticed something that perhaps needs more light. Continue reading

The platform for anti-racism in aid is you

‘I know in an age of social media it can seem like you need a platform to do meaningful work. Not true in the least. Your home is your platform, your extended family is your platform, your office is your platform’. – Rachel Cargle*  

Rachel could have easily have been talking about racism in the aid sector. Continue reading