A letter which is especially to people raced as white -like me - about the capacities I think we need to think about building in ourselves, to enable us to play a part in building anti-racist practice in our sector.

A few years ago I wrote this piece about the role of privileged white people in International Development and challenged us to think about all the ways in which we contribute to perpetuating injustice. …

Photo by Evan Dennis on Unsplash

What’s going on in the ‘international development’ sector when charities are found to have toxic cultures? And organisations which claim to be working to end poverty get embroiled in scandals about sexual abuse? Beyond the obvious need to address specific individuals and instances of abuse, what, as leaders, can we do to limit toxic cultures in our organisations more widely?

In a 2010 article entitled Mission Mirroring: Understanding Conflict in Non-profit Organisations, David Allyn looks at the phenomenon of ‘non-profits’ replicating the problems they set out to address in world. He posits that this happens because staff often have ‘..an…

What would it look like if we brought our whole selves to our work in international development? To the pursuit of global justice?

This is a question I’ve been asking a lot in the past few years. As a former INGO leader who has been exploring ways to bring more of myself to my work I’ve been looking for ways to support others working in international development to do the same. …

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

This article was inspired by an Insta post made a few weeks ago by the awesome Leyla Hussein. Do check out her work at www.leylahussein.com.

There was a time in my life when I travelled a lot. I had a regional job in East Africa working on mental health and development issues and spent most of my time travelling between Dar es Salaam, Mtwara, Kampala and Nairobi, with the odd trip back to the UK or to Bangalore or Colombo.

I pretty much always had my suitcase packed. I learnt so much but I ended up feeling I wasn’t quite…

Photo by Aleksandr Kozlovskii on Unsplash

I see some of what is happening, in particular online, around ‘self-care’ as a commodification and the development of a kind of ‘self-care’ industry that sells us stuff so that we can meet a need that the ‘do-it-all’ culture around us is creating.

To me this is a capitalistic notion of self-care in which we buy something to fill a gap. In this model looking after ourselves is yet another thing we can only do if we have money. We may well have markedly more time if we are able to afford things like childcare and other forms of help…

Image by Ian Schneider @goian via Unsplash

The recent story about Oxfam’s handling of abuse that happened in Chad and Haiti feels like the #MeToo moment for the charity sector which we knew would come.

We knew it would come because we know these kinds of abuse are everywhere.

We (as a sector) are neither uniquely flawed nor, uniquely infallible.

It’s right and proper that there is scrutiny of what charities get up to and how they spend money. It’s right too that appropriate action is taken. …

Do you ever think you don’t have time to get help? It’s easier to do it yourself? You’re only one that can do it?

The past few weeks in the community space I founded for women who want to make a difference without depleting themselves we’ve been talking about the people we need around us and why they are a crucial part of making sure we don’t wind up exhausted.

In the process of reflecting all the times I’ve decided that it’s easier to do it myself and what it’s cost me. All the times I’ve stayed stuck in the…

It’s no particular secret that I’ve had to cure myself from a tendency to give away too much. Yep I’m the kind of person who finds herself feeling guilty about walking by someone asking for money in the street. I’ve also been known to borrow money commercially to give to other people, which sounds bonkers to me now that I dare to actually write it down!

The great gift I have received from my over giving was some knowledge of what happens when you are in a real mess around money, how debilitating it can be in other areas of…

My personal experience of ‘burning out’ some years ago as the Director of a small international charity started me asking questions about working to make a difference in the world and the ways in which we often find that this work is depleting and exhausting us.

The more I have asked questions about this, the more I have begun to realise that these problems are really widespread in the charity, not-for-profit, international development and activist sectors and spaces.

For those in this place right now here’s a list of some common signs that your busyness is turning to burnout:

  • Struggling…

Mary Ann Clements

Initiator of healingsolidarity.org where you will find resources on anti-racism & wellbeing in INGOs. Also building cultures of care @maryannmhina.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store