Lenses to Diversity & Inclusion NEWSLETTER

Hello Reader,

Welcome to our First edition of Lenses to Diversity & Inclusion Newsletter.

In June, Global Learning for Sustainability (GLS) with support from CIVICUS SOLIDARITY FUND set out to work yet with 10 CSOs to support them in building their capacity towards Diversity & Inclusion focusing on their Human Resources Policies. The project Lenses To Diversity & Inclusion seeks to promote healthy CSOs by assisting them to lead by example in fostering inclusive cultures with welcoming work environments where employees can thrive and succeed as they offer service to citizens and communities they represent.

To facilitate the process we hired a consultant to support GLS team in assessing HR policies of participating Organizations to enable them identify D & I challenges, opportunities and learnings. This process has has triggered creation of action plans to address gaps, challenges and better learn from best practices different participating Organizations who underwent Diversity & Inclusion Training which was both physically and virtually held.

We will be profiling different Executive Directors and their teams to share their learnings, experiences and what they are doing different as result of participating in the Diversity & Inclusion project. We also hope to create a Diversity & Inclusion network in Uganda and beyond to create a safe space where Civil Society Leaders can have a voice to share their challenges and successes in building and influencing a more diverse world.

Today we profile one of the participating Organisations CAROL ATUHIRWE CANCER FOUNDATION (CACF) whose story begins with a one cancer patient Miss Caroline Atuhirwe who battled both throat and lung cancer for a period of seven years but unfortunately succumbed to the disease. Her trademark Smile moved people’s hearts both nationally and internationally and reminded them that despite hardships and pain it’s not the end of the world.

Miss Oliver Balyama is passionate about giving a helping hand to the underprivileged individuals as well as those living under stressful situations. She actualized her passion as a volunteer Care taker for the Late Miss Caroline Atuhirwe. She is a co-founder and the Executive Director of CACF.

CACF is intended to contribute to making citizens aware of the cancer problem through Cancer Awareness, encouraging citizens to undergo routine cancer check-ups and cancer screening, Education and Training, Cancer Research, Advocacy and Patient Support among others. CACF aims to be a Centre in the Global fight against Cancer. Holding Hands Together Against Cancer!

Miss Oliver, a co-founder and Executive Director CACF presenting their Action Plan during the D&I training.

Starting the Foundation was a Team so to say Inclusive Effort with one main Motivation “Carol’s Dream”. The late Miss Carol had an idea and wish to give back to the people who showed her so much support and love once she was cured. Unfortunately the healing was not possible but as a family and friends we hoped to fulfill her dream and uphold her legacy. CACF was therefore started grounded on the experience of Miss Caroline Atuhirwe and undertaken as an initiative in her memory and the memory of all those gone before and after her as a result of cancer.

Diversity refers to the existence of variations of different characteristics in a group of people. Inclusion refers to action or state of including or being included within a group or structure, basically being made part of something. Diversity and Inclusion is meant to include everyone in society with Equal opportunities.

Our cause as CACF is an all Inclusive and Diverse one for it’s a Global Fight against Cancer. We strive and intend to address all types of cancer affecting people regardless of race, gender and tribe among others. We reach out to all individuals without discrimination to join in the fight against cancer. Working together is Key; we believe that everyone has something to contribute in this fight hence holding hands together against cancer.

First of all, I am grateful for having been given the opportunity as CACF to be part of the Program facilitated by GLS. It was a very informative and engaging two day sessions.

I learnt quite a number of lessons but to mention a few;

• I gained a deeper understanding of the Diversity and Inclusion Concept to include the Proper use of gender pronouns and Catering to various religious and minority groups among others.

• I learnt that Swot analysis as a tool can be manipulated to fit various policies in this case diversity and inclusion.

• I managed to appreciate and review various Human Resource Tools and concepts and their applicability in relation to diversity and Inclusion. Such included; Human Resource Components, Human Resource Implementation Tools say Policy Analysis Tool, Action Plan among others.

Lastly I learnt that no man is an Island, in life and with work we need partnerships to thrive and achieve our goals, I was able to partner with my fellow participants from other Organizations as well as GLS and work together towards the successful completion of the two day Training. We were able to attend all sessions, share ideas, make presentations and finally submit all required assignments after training.

CACF has diverse and Inclusive aspects such as; a board of directors inclusive of both male and female genders with the Chairperson of the board being Female and Vice Chairperson being Male. The board of directors are from various professional backgrounds too. The staff members are also of both male and female genders with the female taking up major leadership roles as well. The Team of volunteers is ever evolving to include all those interested and passionate about the cause of the foundation. There are equal employment opportunities to all.

CACF does have a Human Resource Policy with many aspects addressing Diversity and Inclusion however, with the help of the HR expert during training facilitated by Global Learning for Sustainability, we were able to identify the gaps in the policy and come up with an action plan to address them. All in all, Diversity and Inclusion is implemented at CACF but we can do more as an organization to be more diverse and Inclusive and I believe we are moving in the right direction.

First of all simply filling out the climate survey forms helped the team members to be part of the evaluation process of the foundation and thereby know that their opinions and values are appreciated.

From the given responses from my team, I realized a collective need for capacity building and Training. The need to include specific training about Diversity and Inclusion to the employees.

The team was able to identify CACF’s Weaknesses, Strengths, Threats and Opportunities. These were helpful when drafting the SWOT analysis and manipulating it to fit diversity and Inclusion.

Before the training CACF faced a challenge of Gaps in the Human Resource Policy which required the foundation to identify and fill those gaps in order to be more diverse and inclusive. This was partly addressed during and at the end of the training with coming up with an action plan.

Another challenge faced by CACF team was the misuse of gender pronouns but this was clarified in the first session with Miss Harriet.

The challenge CACF is facing right now is the limited and unavailability of resources. All of us have a role to play to implement Diversity and Inclusion. As an organization, to become more diverse and inclusive requires resources, these can be board members, time and finance among others. These are all needed to implement and supplement D&I say for instance as CACF we implement an equal employment opportunity policy but the people who lost their sight might still not be able to be employed by CACF due to unavailability of finance resources to purchase the equipment required for such individuals to have a good working environment. In other words as an organization we have identified Gaps in the human resource policy and set up an action plan to implement so as to become more diverse and inclusive but a challenge is still faced in terms of resources required to implement and supplement Diversity and Inclusion.

Capacity building and working with other organizations has been pivotal in helping to start working on the issues identified in a way that some issues are either similar to those being experienced by the other organization or one that has been experienced by the organization before and it was solved.

In a situation where we are both experiencing the same issue, we are able to work together and find a solution to the given issue much faster than if we were to work separately. This enables easy commencement to work on the issues at hand.

In another situation where the other organization has already faced a similar issue, they can offer guidance on how to proceed and solve the issue at hand. They can also advice on the challenges faced and how they were solved on their end. Either way Capacity building has helped us become more familiar with the work of other organizations and this opens up chance and opportunity for future collaborations and partnerships which in turn contribute to solving the identified issues.

Individually as organizations we are good, but together we become great.

Performance and Reward Management; CACF lacks a proper system for selecting the best performer on a project and simply rewarding the project head. The foundation therefore intends to allocate more funds to Reward management, draft a system to track performance of individuals during a project and allocating personnel to Draft and implement performance tracking system. To do this CACF requires financial resources and Expertise to draft the performance tracking system. The foundation intends to accomplish this in one month that is by end of November 2020.

Recruitment Policy; in regards to recruitment, People of different age, religion, and race find it hard to associate with each other hence reducing work efficiency. CACF intends to arrange work field trips to help workers get to know and associate with each other and also set up laws or rules against any form of discrimination in the company. For this to work however, it requires finances for facilitation of work trips and time to get the resources. The foundation did not specify the time required to accomplish the task.

D & I is a business strategy which adds value to our organizations and society. Action Plans are needed to implement Diversity and Inclusion and all of us play a role in this implementation.

The onus is on us who can extend a ray of hope to those in hopeless situations to see to it that they can live to fight another day. The fight against Cancer should not be done alone but together. Working Together is Key. Holding hands together against Cancer!

"It is vital to understand how your employees think about diversity and inclusion. To know where you are, and where you want to go, it is important to ask deeper questions about what diversity means to your employees. As an HR officer, what would diversity at your workplace or local context mean? Is it Gender, disability, culture, tribe and religion among others

In an international office, a variety of nationalities and languages spoken in an office might be perceived as diversity, while a multi-cultural country like the U.S. it may be viewed more in terms of race, gender and gender-identity."