A globe standing on a desk with a white table cloth in a classroom.

Responding to Racism.

ADD International Statement in response to the International Development Committee Report on Racism in the Aid Sector.

At ADD International we welcome the House of Commons International Development Committee’s Racism in the aid sector report.

Whilst many of the key recommendations in the report are for FCDO specifically, the vast majority of them impact INGOs like ours as well.

The report confirms what we have known for some time and indeed what many people of colour in the aid and development sector have been continuing to experience – namely that the aid sector operates based on racial hierarchies rooted in the UK’s colonial legacy.

Our commitment at ADD International through the Transformation process we are currently moving through has explicitly been to move more resources and decision-making to the disabled people whose liberation we exist to support. To enable this, we are redesigning the way we work, thinking more deliberately about how and by whom decisions are made, seeking to share information more transparently, identifying concrete ways to value indigenous knowledge and experiences, putting in place a participatory grant making model and developing mechanisms for ensuring that our decision-making is led and informed by disabled people in future.

We acknowledge that we have for too long over valued expertise from outside those communities and perpetuated the narrative that their ‘capacity’ needs to be built and that sharing adequate resources with them is ‘high risk’.

Meanwhile we know that the root causes of the lack of resources in many of the places where we work can be traced back to processes of wealth extraction during colonisation that have starved these communities of the wealth that is rightfully theirs. And so our work in this sector should, we believe, predominantly be work of reparation, seeking to bring justice by redressing those imbalances that are still in place today. We believe that recognition and acknowledgement are the first steps in rooting out racism and a commitment to redressing these imbalances. This needs to be followed up with clear actions and accountability. At ADD this is what action currently looks like for us: 

ADD International accepts wholeheartedly that it is time for change. We are not there yet and many of these things are a work in progress but ADD International is committed both to these actions and to sharing our commitment, learning and experience with others in the sector. We are ready to work with FCDO, and other funders and partners to ensure that we tackle the racism that perpetuates in our sector and is so clearly described in the report.