Over the past few years we have seen increased public calls for greater racial equity and justice, which culminated in 2020 with global Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd. At the same time in 2020, the emergence of COVID-19 highlighted that access to digital technology is increasingly an equity and inclusion issue and this chasm between the digital ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ around the world is only growing.
At the Digital Impact Alliance, we work every day to close that distance through our partnership with low and lower-middle income countries and support to the larger digital development ecosystem to make their efforts more efficient and effective. In everything we do, our core values inspire us to act with an inclusive spirit, structure a diverse team, and enact equitable policies across our workplace.
We recognize that we have fallen short in some of these dimensions, both as a workplace and as a key player in the ecosystem. We are committing to change and know that our core mandate will be strengthened by an approach that more intentionally centers equity and inclusion across all our areas of work.
Over the past several months, we have partnered with The Better Org to investigate and unpack where our organizational culture needs strengthening. The results of this discovery process were sobering and deeply felt by all of us. Our CEO, Kate Wilson, shares her own reflections on these findings.
Through this process the DIAL team have been candid about their experiences and where they feel we have fallen short on our culture and practice, our policies and processes, and leadership action on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The team has shared concerns about the inequitable power dynamics that exist in the international development sector that our current ways of working at DIAL are helping to perpetuate. The team has expressed a desire for us collectively to do better and be better. And as leadership we have heard and internalized this feedback.
We are acting now by developing a comprehensive action plan through which we will build upon some of the core design principles of how we already work as well as introduce new ways of working that lend themselves well to reinforcing diversity, equity, and inclusion in our workplace. We commit ourselves to co-creation of a culture that is more closely connected to our mission at DIAL, that reflects the global nature of our work, and a culture where our globally distributed staff feel their authentic selves can be consistently seen, heard, and respected, with meaningful and courageous conversations being the norm in our organization. Through this team-wide commitment, we see a bright future for ourselves and those we serve through our digital transformation strategies.
In the coming six months, we will publish our action plan, including next steps that have been workshopped and discussed with the entire DIAL team. Following through with this action plan, and regular measurement of our progress, will require leadership commitment, as well as the dedication of our team to commit to work towards a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable culture.
We know many organizations, including and perhaps especially in the technology and international development fields, are pausing to reflect on how to overhaul their cultures to fit the future. Do you have ideas about how we approach this at DIAL? We would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.