Recently, IYF's DEI Council released Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at IYF: 2021 Progress Report. According to Patricia Davila, DEI Council Chair, "Establishing metrics against which to measure our progress, including where we fall short, was an important step forward for the council in 2021. After all," she explains, "DEI should be measured with the same rigor as any other program. And, it should be transparent and shared because that's how organizations hold themselves accountable for their choices and actions."
Davila emphasizes the passion and hard work of council members as key to the group's success. "I'm proud of the group," she says. "It's well-organized with lots of critical ideas and insights and recommendations to share. It has the potential to drive real change at IYF."
Below, Davila discusses how IYF can build on the work of the DEI Council and what the organization needs to do to make meaningful DEI progress in 2022.
I joined the DEI council so I could bring a new perspective to IYF as a South Asian American and be an active participant in change. The council presented a safe space for us to discuss ideas, learn about people’s backgrounds, and implement change- all while collaborating with fellow IYF’ers from all over the world. I’m glad that at IYF conversations about race and equality are encouraged.
—Manpreet Dhanjal, Global Finance Coordinator, DEI Council Member
Patricia Davila, Program Manager, Curriculum Development & Training
"To build on the successes in 2022, first, we should ask ourselves, how do we keep all staff motivated and engaged with DEI as opposed to burdened by it?
"If we want to make good on our commitments to DEI and show that we are serious, we need to invest. For example, right now, DEI Council positions are all-volunteer (meaning members do it on top of their official, job-description workloads). Going forward, a monetary investment should be made to ensure adequate resources and available bandwidth. Not doing so could result in staff burnout. Until then, DEI needs to be added to staff job descriptions and incorporated in annual performance objectives.
"Our internship pilot was also a big success last year. It was paid, which is very important. We had three fantastic interns, one of whom has stayed on longer than the internship period."
The council helps IYF maintain a DEI perspective in everything we do. One of the biggest challenges we face is finding global DEI solutions since the contexts and needs of each region are very different. I enjoy being part of the council because it is composed of IYF staff from all over the world and from all types of contexts, which helps us to have a broader perspective about the DEI issues young people all around the world are facing.
—Ana Sigala, Program Coordinator, DEI Council Member
"That said, there's a big question mark around the sustainability of the internship program. Going forward, we need to ask questions like, who’s going to manage the internship, how will we continue to secure funding, and how many times a year do we want to offer it? We must consider staff time and bandwidth, too—and all of this goes back to purposeful investment. Figuring out how to make our internship program sustainable should be a priority. After all, it’s an example of what it means to equip and inspire young people to transform their lives.
"During 2021, IYF conducted two DEI-related trainings for U.S.-based staff. In 2022, we should build on this by focusing not just on what trainings we offer, but how often we offer them. The trainings we bring to IYF for DEI shouldn’t be one and done. If we have a training that we feel would be important for all staff to take, it should be offered at different intervals throughout the year. We should consider when we might need to redo a training or bring one back so new hires can benefit. And of course, we need to consider how we do this as economically as possible.
"Lastly, in 2022 we must ensure that ALL IYF staff are informing our DEI priorities. For example, doing a better job of engaging country office directors, as well as members from working groups like the Young Professionals, is important."
Want to learn more? Check out Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at IYF: 2021 Progress Report.