In recent weeks, a spotlight has been shown on racial injustice, although the problem has persisted for centuries. Demonstrations following the tragic murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and countless other Black lives in the United States and abroad have spread throughout the world, highlighting the systemic racism deeply embedded in our societies and the need for change within our institutions.
These are times to listen, learn, reflect, and act. ANDE’s vision is sustainable prosperity for all peoples and communities; we believe in the power of entrepreneurship to address social challenges, reduce inequality, and improve lives. Yet access to capital, networks, and skills required to grow a business often remains out of reach for historically marginalized groups—which are now even more disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Issues of representation are present throughout the entrepreneurship ecosystem; people working in international development disproportionately come from privileged backgrounds, while those that identify as people of color, women, LGBTQ+, and people with disabilities are often underrepresented, especially in leadership roles.
The current conversation on racism and inequality represents an opportunity for ANDE, our members, and the broader international development community to address these injustices in our work. We have always aimed to do good in the emerging markets in which we work, but we must also do good—and do better—within.
As we reflect on issues of diversity and inclusion in our organization and our work, we are making the following commitments:
- Establishing an internal task force open to all global staff to discuss, prioritize, and coordinate diversity initiatives;
- Reconsidering recruitment strategies and selection criteria for our staff, executive committee, and steering committee positions to ensure more diverse representation, as well as providing additional related training opportunities to our staff;
- Reviewing our membership structure and programming to determine the extent to which they perpetuate privilege, and working to ensure equitable access to resources in the SGB sector;
- Leveraging ANDE’s platform to ask tough questions about the power dynamics in our field and the effect they have on our collective work, including supporting ANDE members and stakeholders in their own diversity and anti-racism work.
We welcome and will expect the ANDE community to hold us and each other accountable in confronting our biases and following through on our commitments, as we work towards a more inclusive sector.