ICYMI: Getting Out of the Way: Practicing Decolonized Thinking

"How do we ensure that global philanthropy is not causing more harm?" said Kendra Nicolai, Director of Operations at Shadhika, for Community Centric Fundraising. "As a white woman in the US, working for gender justice in India, the key was discovering how my own power and privilege were getting in the way of our path to decolonization."

"A year into my role at Shadhika, we hired a new Executive Director, My Lo Cook, who redefined the vision of Shadhika’s work, centering around a feminist and decolonizing core."

"As our team spent time reflecting on the foundation of our work and how to move the needle for gender justice in India, we had tough conversations with our partners, staff, and board about the power we hold as a funder and how we can deconstruct this." 

“'Decolonizing development' is a phrase that has been buzzing around the development sector. Notably, for Shadhika, it meant shifting the power from donors’ hands to the communities we work in. It meant working with local organizations more than just as a funder, but as a partner, learning from one another, building trust, bringing more voices to the table, and leaving decisions about funding and programmatic priorities in the hands of the experts in the field."

"We know we must trust grassroots wisdom — which includes acknowledging and adjusting those harmful practices — and that this journey towards decolonizing our work is a continuous learning commitment we must undertake. I am thankful for My’s leadership and for bringing a decolonizing framework which helped me see where I needed to adjust and step out of the way to allow the work at Shadhika to grow and have the impact we intend."

Read the full piece here.