(Photo from http://www.fastcompany.com/)Today, I went to the Global Washington conference on Global development, here in Seattle. I got a lot out of the conference and am thankful to be in a region so interested in this sector.
If there was one word, for me to reflect on, after this day it would be RESILIENCE.
I knew the opening speaker Deogratias Niyizonkiza, from Tracy Kidder's book "strength in what remains". Deogratias's story of surviving the most horrific genocide in Burundi, getting to Harvard, and starting his own organization, Village Health Works is unique and inspiring. What I did not know, is the struggles that he faced throughout the process, how he moved forward building his first clinic despite having the proper authorizations to start, nor the necessary funding.RESILIENCE.
Sam Daley-Harris, from Result, and whose work I know when I worked at Grameen, challenged us to get out of our comfort zone. Activists and donors want more than a "one click and a check", which from Daley-Harris 's point of view is what you would expect from kindergarteners. He suggests that we reflect on our own stories of "why" ("I was born twice. The day I was born and the day I found out why"). This gives us the inspiration to move from hopelessness to hope, be more aspirational. Activist and donors want to be treated as capable adults. With the right mindset, a mindset of appreciation , and RESILIENCE (which he specifically spelled out as focus, structure and support) "that's when the magic happens".
Finally, I had a chance to catch up with friends and acquaintances and particularly Rick from Water for Humans, whom I hadn't seen for 3 or 4 years . It was really neat to hear how his organization has really taken off this year. When asked what made a difference, he believed that it was thanks to couple of key partnership and RESILIENCE.