[Photo: ActionAid and partner NGOs after a meeting on building future strategy]
When organisations talk of change, and restructure, there is tension in the air – the unknown always leaves staff with a sense of nervousness about the future, these unknowns can be rightly placed as people jobs are put at risk – or the ones whom they care about.
This is what ActionAid Bangladesh (AAB) faces, but there is also something else going on, inclusiveness on strategy development and honesty about budget cuts. The leadership team has regularly reached out to managers and other staff members, to ask what they think and where we should go. There’s almost a sense of excitement that a new, our strategic priorities will be more focused, and a belief and acceptance that our leadership is trying to do what is best, under some tricky circumstances.
Too often you hear people jump forward and say they could do it better if… often not realising how difficult the task ahead is. It’s always sad to lose staff members who have contributed so much of themselves to the organisation. However, it has been inspirational to hear people being honest and saying they want the best structure to enable social change, to think about that could be or should be. To recognise and understand that whilst colleagues are worried for their jobs, many are willing to put themselves on the line – and ‘merge’ their jobs with others, to ensure the next strategy and re-structure will be one that all can believe in and trust to take the organisation into the future.
It’s sad to think of the impact that BREXIT has had on charities and the global economy, as a British person overseas, whilst I voted to stay, I didn’t know about the tensions building back in the UK and how excluded many felt from economic growth. Whilst here I didn’t foresee the sharp reduction of around 15% of funding, that this would cause due to the changes in the exchange rate. I understood the damage BREXIT could cause, now it’s here, its impact is worse and much further reaching than the channel tunnel! Worse than many predicted. I feel a very personal sense of guilt, that this has happened and that maybe I could have done more to stop it.
Our programmes have been reduced, the communities we work with and for, will be affected as we’re forced to leave some behind. AAB has been forced to reduce its staff and is under pressure to deliver targets, which may no longer be possible, with an uncertain future ahead morale is low. There is energy though and passion to do good, to achieve change, a certain resilience is always there in ActionAid staff- a sense of toughness and overcoming challenge, a chance to grow and learn from this process and move forward more effectively. Having fewer strategic priorities will enable a stronger focus on change to policy and successful advocacy that will have a lasting, far reaching impact. A strong glow of activism continues; to empower those most in need, to stand with them in solidarity at protests and with decision makers, to campaign for effective policy and programmatic changes!
To make the world just a little bit better for those who need it most.