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Last year, we released our anti-racism statement outlining Tearfund’s commitment to being an actively anti-racist organisation. In that statement, we shared some of the plans we had to ensure that Tearfund is a place where everyone feels that they belong and that our work around the world is inclusive, making sure we reach those in greatest need. 

We made ten key commitments, and below we provide an update on each one. We want to share the progress we have made so far, and our plans for the future, to ensure that we continue to uphold anti-racist practices in our work. 

Diverse recruitment and accountability structures 


We said

We commit to doing more to recruit more diversely into senior leadership roles, as well as creating accountability structures to ensure we achieve this.

What we did

  • Established a Diversity and Inclusion Committee, chaired by the Chair of Tearfund’s Board, who hold our leadership to account. 
  • Set recruitment targets to ensure that our workforce in the UK is more ethnically diverse, which will be supported by our use of positive action (a range of measures allowed under the Equality Act 2010, which can be lawfully taken in relation to protected or under-represented groups when recruiting). 
  • Implemented a recruitment process that led to increased diversity in candidates, and successfully appointed an individual from India as our new International Director.
  • Published a diversity and inclusion statement on our website.

We will

  • Implement the use of positive action across all UK-based job adverts, starting from November 2021.
  • Report quarterly on our progress against diversity recruitment targets, starting from March 2022.
  • Finalise the composition of our race and ethnicity working group, who will be supporting the implementation of our anti-racism action plan.
  • Consider how we can set recruitment targets for our teams around the world to ensure that staff across the organisation are ethnically and culturally diverse.
  • Train all hiring managers in the UK and support them in applying positive action during recruitment processes.
  • Ensure the Diversity and Inclusion Board Committee provides oversight and accountability for commitments to diverse and inclusive recruitment practices.

Recognising and addressing how colonialism contributes to inequality


We said

There is a legacy of colonialism that has contributed to inequality in many of the countries in which we work. This has tainted the experiences of people who live, or have their roots in, these places. We have not been as diligent as we should have been in recognising this, or in understanding what it means for those who work for us, the people we serve and the way in which we do our work.

What we did

  • Invited senior leaders from our country teams around the world to attend and contribute their ideas to meetings of the UK-based Executive Team in order to introduce ethnically and culturally diverse ideas.
  • Continued to discuss the impact of colonialism on our policies and practices through our internal discussion spaces – including a book club, learning seminars and workshops, and Diversity and Inclusion drop-in sessions.
  • Recognised the need to understand how power is shared across our organisation, exploring the dynamics between leadership in the UK and leaders in other parts of the world (resulting in moving some of our management and operational work out of the UK). 
  • Reviewed the language we use to describe the work we do and made changes to how we communicate, both internally and externally.
  • Recruited a Gender and Inclusion Specialist who will help us to review our programming in order to ensure we are serving the most marginalised communities (for example, those considered to be of lower castes in Asia).
  • Developed a checklist to be used by all of our communications teams to ensure that the words and images we use are dignifying and honouring.


We will

  • Continue to consider how we can strategically and practically address the impact of colonialism on the communities we serve.
  • Embed changes in language into our written and verbal communication – both internal and externally.
  • Communicate openly about the language we use and offer all staff opportunities for learning.
  • More intentionally examine the links between climate change, race and colonialism, and prepare a discussion paper for the Theology Committee.

 Creating an inclusive workplace


We said

Even though we believe that every human being is made in the image of God, we have failed to live this out by creating a workplace where all can feel included.

What we did

  • Reviewed policies and procedures, including performance management and probation, and drafted an improved Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy that will be reviewed by the Executive Team and then Tearfund’s Board.
  • Focused on our internal ‘communicate bravely’ characteristic to encourage open conversations about race and ethnicity across the organisation.
  • Continued to deliver our Diversity and Inclusion Implementation Plan with a renewed focus on race and ethnicity in our theology, communications, recruitment, advocacy, programming, and staff and leadership development. 
  • Reviewed our talent management strategy to ensure that we develop talent from ethnically diverse communities across the organisation.
  • Started the process of simplifying our internal complaints procedures to encourage staff to report incidents of discrimination in the workplace to help us to identify areas for education and growth.
  • Continued to facilitate discussion sessions for all staff globally to help normalise conversations about race and ethnicity and to provide educational spaces for learning and growth.


We will

  • Re-emphasise our zero-tolerance approach to discrimination and ensure staff, partners and volunteers know how to make complaints.
  • Continue to have open and honest conversations about race and ethnicity across the organisation. 
  • Develop a diversity and inclusion strategy that will help us measure our progress in creating a more racially and ethnically diverse workforce. 

Understanding how our theology has failed to call out racial injustice 


We said

We are committed to learning from the mistakes of the past, and will look at how our approaches and theology have contributed to racial injustice.

What we did

  • Rolled out workshops to all of our staff globally, to share and embed our theological framework for inclusion.
  • Ensured we had a range of ethnically diverse theological voices at The Justice Conference, which was hosted by Tearfund. 
  • Finalised a paper on our theology of race and ethnicity. This links to our existing understanding of poverty and sits within our wider theological framework on inclusion.
  • Invited a Black theologian to explore race, ethnicity and poverty at a session with all staff globally.
  • Appointed an individual from India as a Trustee to chair the Board's Theology Committee.
  • Appointed an individual from Kenya as a theologian on Tearfund’s Theology Committee.
  • Hosted a Global Diversity and Inclusion Theological Forum in November 2021, which helped to further the understanding of decolonised theology. 

Note: Just as we will continue to consider how we can strategically address the impact of colonialism on the communities we serve, we will also consider how our theology has been impacted by colonisation and how it may have skewed our theological perceptions.

Decolonising our theology will look like ensuring that there are diverse theological voices that expand and enrich our understanding of God and subsequently God’s mission to transform the world according to what is revealed to us in the Scriptures. Part of this includes recognising that the systems that perpetuate inequality in society can influence what racism looks like within the church. 

We will

Continue to ensure we include an ethnically diverse range of global theological voices and expertise to input into our theology.

Intentionally recruit more diversity to our Board and Executive Team


We said

We are actively seeking ways to recruit more diversity to our Board of Trustee Directors and Executive Team.

What we did

  • Intentionally commissioned a recruitment agency to help us identify a strongly diverse shortlist of candidates when recruiting for the role of International Director.
  • Appointed two new Trustee Directors to our Board of Trustee Directors (one Rwandan and one Indian, both living and working in those countries).
  • Established The Well Advisory Committee, bringing voices from Black Majority churches into our leadership space.

We will 

  • Finalise recruitment of a leader from the Black Majority Church to be appointed as a trustee on the Board of Trustee Directors. 
  • Continue to develop our Talent Management Strategy (how we identify and develop talent across the organisation) to showcase talent from communities of colour and indigenous groups.
  • Ensure that as vacancies on the Executive Team arise we actively seek to recruit from a strongly diverse shortlist.

Introduce reverse mentoring at executive level


We said

We will use reverse mentoring at the executive level as a way to build genuine awareness of barriers faced, initially by those from Black backgrounds.

What we did

  • Started an in-depth programme of work with the Executive Team to examine issues related to race and ethnicity.
  • Started reverse mentoring with our CEO.

We will

  • Allocate Black mentors to the Executive Team. They will meet at least once a quarter. 
  • Expand the reverse mentoring programme across other senior leadership roles. 

Understanding and addressing bias in the workplace


We said

We will have an unconscious bias training session in autumn 2020, which will be compulsory for all staff to complete on an annual basis.

What we did

We were unable to make this course available by our target date. Once this is launched, it will complement other learning and initiatives to raise awareness of power, privilege and inclusion.

We will

  • Develop an online learning module on unconscious bias, to be launched no later than spring 2022. This will be mandatory for all staff in the UK, and all staff at leadership levels globally.
  • Evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the training module after the first round of mandatory completions.
  • Strongly encourage staff for whom the module is not mandatory to complete it as part of their own learning and development.

External reporting on race and ethnicity 


We said

We are examining our internal processes to develop ways to determine how we can become more transparent about race and ethnicity in our external reporting, including in our Annual Report.

What we did

  • Included information about some of our work on race and ethnicity in our 2020/21 Annual Report.
  • Started the process of collecting data, initially for our workforce in the UK, that will allow us to publish an ethnicity pay gap report.


We will

Formalise our external reporting on race and ethnicity and share the progress of our anti-racism action plan in our Annual Report. 

Improving recruitment processes 


We said

We are improving our recruitment processes to provide a more accurate and detailed picture of our diversity.

What we did 

  • Started advertising job vacancies on a website that helps us reach candidates from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. 
  • Developed an internal network of Black staff who have helped to share job opportunities with others outside Tearfund.
  • Continued to collect data to help us identify the diversity characteristics of our workforce and our current gaps in diversity.
  • Developed a positive action statement.
  • Our Global Recruitment Manager has undertaken development sessions on diverse recruitment with our hiring managers.
  • Encouraged hiring managers to advertise roles globally if there is no specific requirement for jobs to be done from the UK.


We will

Continue to encourage global recruitment for roles that are not required to be based in the UK.

Reporting progress on our anti-racism work

We said

We will pay more attention to reporting on what we are doing to embed anti-racist practices into the work that we do.

What we did 

Provided this update to our staff across the world and shared it with our supporters, partners and staff.

We will

Continue to provide updates on our progress at least once a year. 

Collaboration with Black Majority Churches

We recently launched The Well, which seeks to gather together Black Majority Churches to bring an end to extreme poverty.

The Well is a new initiative created in partnership with Tearfund, by and for Black Majority Churches. We believe that powerful things can happen when we come together as one in the body of Christ. 

Our vision for The Well is to align, engage and collaborate with Black Majority Churches and communities throughout the UK in a unified, hope-filled response to issues of global poverty, injustice and inequality.

This is an exciting opportunity for us at Tearfund to learn, grow and change. 

What’s next?

The progress of the anti-racism action plan will continue to be monitored by our CEO, Nigel Harris, and our Director of People and Talent, Karen Brown, and by the Board through its Diversity and Inclusion Committee

What can you do?

You can visit our diversity and inclusion hub to find out more and access our anti-racism resources. 
 

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