I finished my Leadership in Actions (LiA) project at Chance for Childhood (CfC), an international charity that aims to ensure inclusive education and safe spaces for children in Africa. My objective was to develop the next steps for their Sustainability Strategy. After six weeks of work, I planned a Challenge Fund focused on climate justice, prioritising sustainability at the core of the organisational operation.
I had the opportunity to work closely with the global team at CfC. To analyse CfC’s areas of influence, I engaged with a variety of stakeholders. For one, I interviewed the managers in Rwanda, Kenya, and Uganda. I learned children’s education is disrupted because of the increasing flooding events, and how humanitarian aid can create environmental problems like menstrual waste. Built upon my research on sustainable practices in the charity sector, talking with the frontline workers helped me to identify the opportunities and challenges at CfC. As a result, I found CfC’s strengths in providing inclusive education and safe spaces, building institutional partnerships, and delivering place-based solutions. After analysing CfC’s comparative advantages and available resources, I narrowed down the sustainable goals to climate justice. This process allowed me to establish strategic priorities within the following timeframes: a short-term horizon of three years, a medium-term perspective of one year, and a more immediate focus spanning three to six months.
In the short-term goals, my recommendation is to initiate a Challenge Fund named Climate Justice Innovation Lab. Encouraging place-based solutions, a Challenge Fund with the theme of climate justice can play a crucial role in fulfilling CfC’s mission. CfC’s mission is to help every child be better prepared, more resilient, and have a louder voice. Planning the Challenge Fund is a rewarding experience. Meeting with officers in different departments equips me with a skillset of cross-departmental communication such as fundraising strategy, budget-making, and social media campaigns. By taking the leadership of the project, I gained insights into how an international charity collaborates and brings sustainability efforts to the marginalised regions.
As the UN pointed out, “no one is safe until everyone is safe.” Seeing the interdependence in the world, I realised leadership is not only including different stakeholders in the decision-making process, but also prioritising the vulnerable and their needs. The climate crisis is a child rights crisis, exposing children - who are already the most vulnerable group - to displacement, child marriages, and child labour. Particularly, girls with disabilities in the Global South are the most vulnerable group in this chain of oppression. It is critically important to see the intersectionality inside the climate emergency, putting various forms of inequality such as gender, disability, and race into consideration.
CfC provides me a dynamic environment to learn and grow. Although it is personally challenging, I am grateful for the unwavering support from everyone in the organisation. Working with a passionate team like CfC always encourages me to be creative and innovative. I realised an effective collaboration requires transparency and trust based on compassion and mutual respect. As I was researching and receiving new information every day, I learned to organise my workload by using Notion Workspace. There, I uploaded all the documents I had processed, set up deadlines and status, and categorised relevant content. Using Notion Workspace boosts my productivity by keeping me organised and my mentors up-to-date with my progress. In addition to productivity management tools, I use strategic thinking such as SWOT analysis, materiality assessment, and SMART objectives. These analysis tools are useful when considering risk mitigation, resource allocation, and comparative advantages which are all crucial to ensure the success of a long-term project related to environmental sustainability. Last but not least, adopting a humble mindset motivates me to keep learning from others and expanding my knowledge. For example, I enjoyed joining meetings whether it is relevant to my project. Reading books like Jason Hickel’s Less is More also transforms my understanding of sustainability.