Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) round-up: September 2020

Welcome to the second of our EDI Round-ups. Members of our internal EDI working group will take turns to share what we’ve been reading and thinking about over the last month or so.

Although the working group has been active for over a year, we feel as though we’re very early in our journey, so we’re hoping to share things that have made us think, or expert pieces that’ve helped us learn.

NCVO’s EDI journey so far

In July 2020, we published a series of blogs about our EDI journey so far. These blogs talked about the findings from a six-month process, led by an external consultant, Pari Dhillon. During this process, staff shared their experiences of EDI at the organisation as well as their aspirations for the future.

The process highlighted both incidents of inequity and injustice, as well as ongoing aspects of organisational culture. Aspects that have disproportionate negative impacts on some groups. This has had an immediate impact on some of the ways we work.

We’ve tried to internalise the findings and make what changes we can as individuals and small groups. Responding as an organisation will take longer and needs careful thinking, so watch this space.

As part of this work, some members of our EDI working group also shared their individual learning via Twitter –threads by Amira Tharani and Keeva Rooney sum up some of the major things we’ve learned.

Taking action to tackle inequality

In August, we read a provocative Third Sector article asking for a little less conversation and a little more action on racial equality. There’s understandable frustration in activist communities who get asked ‘what actions can we take?’. And then, when they set out actions, find people making excuses about why those actions are too difficult.

While there are some ways in which the conversation itself is the work, there are some clear actions that organisations can take to reduce inequalities. Here are some action-oriented pieces that we found both challenging and useful:

Power, privilege and volunteering

A couple of articles recently highlighted issues of power and privilege in volunteering and volunteer management:

Both blogs raised challenging questions about who really benefits from volunteering programmes and whether those that the programmes seek to serve might be harmed by practices that centre volunteers.

They also raise questions about the prejudices that volunteers and organisations might have about people they serve. Both call for a more community-based approach to volunteering. A must-read for all volunteer managers and volunteer-involving organisations.

Also in the news and on the blogs

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Amira Tharani Amira is a senior consultant at NCVO Charities Evaluation Services working across projects including delivering open and in-house training, supporting clients to build their evaluation capacity, conducting external evaluations, and supporting clients with strategy development.

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