Over the years, Well Grounded practitioners have noticed that some CSOs replicate the same power dynamics and social norms that they are trying to address through their work. For example, discrimination towards women and indigenous people is common in all of the contexts where Well Grounded works; and this is also reflected in how power relations manifest within and between civil society groups.
In June 2017, Well Grounded decided to organise a consultation with women, indigenous people, and others from civil society organisations in the Congo Basin, to reflect on theoretical concepts related to diversity and inclusion (including gender); to share experiences of discrimination within personal and professional contexts; and to reflect on what could be done to surface and address these issues within civil society in the region.
Based on the outcomes of the consultation, Well Grounded decided to provide a wider spectrum of client CSOs with an introduction to the key concepts around diversity and inclusion, and to support them in identifying specific actions that they want to take within their own organisations and/or in their work with communities to tackles these issues.
Well Grounded therefore designed and launched a pilot programme on Diversity and Inclusion in November 2017, which targets individuals representing six client CSOs from Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Republic of Congo.
The objective of the pilot programme, and of our work on these issues more generally, is to strengthen the capacities of CSOs working on forest governance and community rights to understand and address issues of diversity and inclusion (including gender) in their own organisations and in their work with forest communities and on forest governance.
The pilot programme consists of individual preparatory work; a 3-day regional training; as well as coaching and mentoring of participants to support them in replicating the training within their own organisations. The final outcome will be for each organisation to have a strategy on how to surface and address issues of diversity and inclusion within their own organisations and/or as part of their work.