My second week on PULSE ended with a very ‘proud Mum moment’; seeing my children happy and confident performing in their school production of ‘Annie’. Six months of singing and dancing practise in the living room have now sadly come to an end. It is my daughter’s last term before Upper School, and I can’t help but think childhood passes by so quickly. As I clicked away taking post-show photos, it struck me that the roles they were each playing – an orphan and a servant – represented children historically deprived and exploited in our society. How times have changed for many, I’m very glad to say. My favourite song in the musical Annie, is ‘Tomorrow’. It represents hope, optimism and possibility. In our privileged bubble, we mustn’t forget that there are still millions of children today who are having a happy childhood stolen from them – we shouldn’t tolerate this and that’s where I want to help make a difference for their tomorrow.
Back to my time on PULSE … last week I attended a 3-day face-to-face with the Global Campaign, Advocacy and Communications team at SCI. it was a very timely immersion on ways of working, getting to know the team and hearing about the plans for the next 3-year strategy period, including the Centenary commitments.
Some memorable moments from the three days …
Ways of working – It has been hot, hot, hot in London every day lately. On Day 1 the team decided to take the first session in Russell Square gardens to escape the heat of the building. This created a relaxed and informal atmosphere for the team reflection on recent successes and upcoming priorities. There’s a lot to be said for stepping outside the boundaries of four walls! The Centenary campaign has a big, big ambition to End the War on Children. But it will also be about instilling a more collaborative, integrated way of working across all of STC’s members and country offices. It is about tomorrow; enabling the organisation to be an even more powerful force for change, more effective in the way it leverages global resources and able to reinforce what it really wants to stand for.
Team building – On the afternoon of Day 2, we got into teams for a fun treasure hunt around Bloomsbury. I confess our team got a tad competitive, as we chased hot on the heels of another team. But great teamwork bought us home the victors! What was the secret to our success? I’d say we all fell neatly into roles that played to our strengths and we had a good laugh along the way. We were (from L to R);
- Katrina ‘Head of Global Positioning’ … utilised technology and external resources to keep us on track
- Kathryn ‘Captain Navigator’ … knows left from right and says go, go, go
- Kirsten ‘President of External Competition’ … always an eye on the team in front and finding ways to divert them
- Sarah ‘Chief Clue Solver’ … remarkable attention to detail and full of expertise.
Future Strategy – Day 3 started with Patrick, head of the group, giving a very insightful and inspiring opening about how the world is changing, and how organisations like Save the Children need to adapt to the new reality of tomorrow. The world is changing for children – their voice is the untapped power. Did you know that the median age in Uganda is just 14 years, versus 46 years in Europe? I was astonished by this fact. Over the next 15 years, how will youth begin to realise this opportunity? At the same time the world is changing for NGOs; international development is no longer driven only by the ‘powerful and privileged’ western world, this world is sadly becoming more inward looking and there is the ongoing challenge of maintaining and building trust across the sector. All of these factors mean new ways must be found to access and embed sustainable solutions for the most deprived.
I learnt such a lot and now have a much better understanding of the complexities of making change happen on the world stage.
Finishing on a personal note; one of my favourite quotes from the week, shared by Elena as we talked about what we are passionate about over a well-deserved drink, was; ‘Be who you really are today, don’t leave it until tomorrow’. Those are wise words, and ones I’m trying to encompass whilst on PULSE!
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not SCI or GSK.