Conversations around decolonisation are not new; there is a rich tradition of local and national activists challenging neo-colonial attitudes around the superiority of international approaches, knowledge and expertise. And in recent years, many INGOs have shown a growing interest in shifting their ways of working. Until now, however, they have tended to either try to do this work internally or call upon consultants in their home countries in Europe or North America for support. Building on the findings of a 2021 consultation led by Peace Direct and an idea presented by Dylan Mathews, a team of RINGO Social Lab members developed a prototype for a new initiative that would ensure that local and national activists are leading the change.
Fast forward to 2024 and the launch of the Decolonising Advisory Community!
At the RINGO Community Gathering on 31st January, over 200 participants convened to witness the first reveal of the Decolonising Advisory Community, the innovation that emerged from the prototyping process and centres knowledge from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Hosted by the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) and led by Nancy Kankam Kusi, the Decolonising Advisory Community is much more than a digital platform, it is a catalyst for collaborative change:
- a community for decolonising advisors and consultants from the majority world to connect, share stories of impact and discuss best practice
- a hub for innovative resources designed to enhance your understanding, fuel your initiatives and drive real change in the world
- an opportunity for INGOs, institutional funders and bilaterals to engage with experts from the majority world for strategic support and guidance on how to decolonise your organisations, whatever stage you are at in your journey to shift the power
“It’s imperative that this support comes from the south. We have been the ones championing the need for decolonisation, the need for us to change and shift power. It’s imperative to decolonise the knowledge transfer and support that INGOs [and institutional funders and bilaterals] need to navigate through this situation.” Nancy Kankam Kusi, WACSI
Co-creating the change
Elena Gillis from Adeso joined us to share updates about their new social enterprise Kuja, which will launch in 2024. Closely aligned with the Decolonising Advisory Community, the Kuja offerings will work to shift power dynamics as well as mindsets in terms of INGO and donor roles within the aid and development community.
“We are centring our ways of working around values of decolonisation, being thoughtful about how we work with clients, what we expect of clients, how we work with our consulting team members and ensure that folks have ownership over the projects they are working on.” Elena Gillis, Adeso
During the event, we saw the community element of the Decolonising Advisory Community come to life, with lively engagement and energy from participants from all over the world. Questions emerged around funding and participation, which were reflected on during an informal conversation after the main session. The forum section of the platform is the perfect place to continue these and start other important discussions around the decolonisation process!
“The space is created for us, to be owned by us, to be used by us, to build ourselves, and also to help champion the decolonising purpose and shift the power agenda that we all have been striving towards.” Nancy Kankam Kusi, WACSI
Join the community
For this initiative to flourish and be effective, we need YOU.
Every activist and practitioner is encouraged to join the Decolonising Advisory Community – whether you are an advisor, from an INGO, or an interested party. Sign up here: https://dacplatform.net
If you are an advisor, we warmly welcome you to join this community. We will host onboarding conversations for anyone who is interested in being an advisor with the Decolonising Advisory Community – more info coming soon!
If you’re from an INGO, institutional or bilateral funder, we invite you to become part of a global north community. Whether you are unsure how to take the first steps on your decolonisation process, or would like to share insights from along the way, this platform provides a space for you to connect with peers on the same journey.