Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Implications for International Development

Summary & Key Takeways

Wondering about DEI in International Development?

Check out Episode 3, Season 12 of the Podcast with innovator, development practitioner and DEI expert,  Angela Bruce-Raeburn. Her insights challenge the status quo and highlight the necessity of reimagining how development initiatives are conceived and implemented, with a strong emphasis on power dynamics, community leadership, and the urgent need for upskilling to navigate the field's complexities.

Critical Reflections:

  • Questioning Development Practices: Angela urges us to critically assess the traditional models of international development. She points out the often overlooked power imbalances and the need for a paradigm shift that truly centers and empowers local communities rather than imposing external solutions.
  • The Power of Local Leadership: Emphasizing the significance of dismantling the top-down approach, Angela advocates for a development model that genuinely values the insights, knowledge, and capacities of local communities. She argues for a shift in power dynamics, where local voices lead and shape their developmental journey.
  • Upskilling for Impactful Careers: For those aiming to contribute meaningfully to the field, Angela shares valuable lessons on upskilling. Understanding local contexts, mastering cross-cultural communication, and navigating the intricacies of power and privilege are crucial competencies. She stresses the importance of continuous learning and adaptation to remain relevant and effective in a rapidly changing landscape.
  • Navigating Challenges: Angela doesn't shy away from discussing the challenges facing the field of international development. From confronting institutional biases to overcoming resistance to change, she offers insights into the perseverance and resilience required to drive genuine progress.
  • Must-Explore Resources:  A few key resources Angela Shares

Why It's Time for Change:

Angela Bruce-Raeburn's critique serves as a wake-up call for the international development sector. It's a call to action for reevaluating our approaches, recognizing the inherent power structures, and committing to real change that places equity, inclusivity, and local agency at the heart of development work.

Her advice for professionals and aspiring changemakers is clear: upskill with a focus on understanding and dismantling power imbalances, engage deeply with local communities, and be prepared to challenge the norms. This is the path forward for those dedicated to forging impact careers that not only aspire to change the world but do so in a way that is respectful, equitable, and sustainable.

Bio: Angela Bruce-Raeburn is the founder of DiverseDEV, a consultancy designed to support international development organizations, NGOs and civil society groups working to improve the lives of marginalized people anywhere in the world. Ms. Bruce-Raeburn is committed to issues around public health and its impact on vulnerable populations having previously served as the Regional Advocacy Director, Africa and Asia at the Global Health Advocacy Incubator – which focused on strengthening advocates for prevention of non-communicable diseases impacting low and middle-income countries. Prior to that, Ms. Bruce-Raeburn worked as the Senior Policy Advisor for the Humanitarian Response in Haiti at Oxfam in the aftermath of the earthquake from 2010 to 2013. 

A French speaker, Angela holds three master’s Degrees, in Public Administration, Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution. In addition, Angela holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and French from Lincoln University, PA which was founded in 1854 as the nation's first degree-granting Historically Black College and University, or HBCU. 

Angela has written op-eds on development, race and privilege including Wait Until They See your Black Face and International Development has a Race Problem. Angela’s current work is consulting and advising on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Training, speaking to groups about equity and racial diversity and providing guidance to international organizations on developing a DEI ethos for their organization. The goal of this work is to share a perspective of how the lived experiences of racialized people intersect with an international development and a humanitarian system that is inequitable, unjust, and lacking in accountability.

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