by Vandita Morarka, One Future Collective, India
I was a participant at the Global Learning Exchange and the ensuing AGM held by CIVICUS in Montevideo, Uruguay, 16th December, 2018, onwards, representing One Future Collective.
As a participant I engaged in various discussions and actionable agenda items towards building the first step towards frameworks for inclusion and diversity. The representatives at the GLE in themselves were a stellar example of the beauty and massive knowledge exchange and learning that actual practise of diversity and inclusion can bring in.
The transformative part of the Global Learning Exchange for me was the vastness with which diversity and inclusion was understood. Conversations during the exchange and otherwise, with fellow participants, created a deeper understanding of these terms - translating them from meaning regulatory actions or mere governance structures to living and breathing cultural values and ethos. This renewed positive understanding of often bandied about terms helped me expand my personal boundaries of what these practices in action would look like.
Sharing some key insights here that it inspired for me:
- Diversity and inclusion has to be more than merely ensuring representation, we need to actively refocus energies on building active safe spaces that nurture those represented;
- Diversity has to be about celebration of different identities, it can’t just be about accommodating these differences;
- Definitions of these concepts and what accompanying actions would look like have to come from those that these policies aim to target and they can’t be western imports of ideas that are then uniformly imposed across cultures and groups - it is important to glocalise these concerns for accurate design of solutions;
- It is increasingly important to account for gender inequity as a key facet of exclusion and to develop proactive measures to address it and not just adhere to reactive measures or legal compliances.
The learning exchange inspired an expansion of our diversity and inclusion work, it led us to question our internal practices and also the curriculums that we were using while working with educational institutions and corporates. It has inspired us to streamline and formalise our diversity and inclusion work as it highlighted the immense need for specialised practitioners in this area for us and it has also inspired us to create mentoring programs uniquely designed to meet the needs of various marginalised communities, especially at the workplace.