Before SIMON GALLOW joined UN Women, he worked with a global consultancy firm called EY, and was part of a 'BeyondMe' team that partnered with Arukah Network to bring skills from his world into ours. Two years on, we caught up with him to reflect on the importance of partnerships in the changing world of 'charity'.
Why did your team from EY choose to partner with Arukah Network? The age of 'doing charity' to communities is quite rightly, coming to an end. We must focus on bottom-up, participatory, inclusive community action to create true, long term change. Arukah Network's philosophy and values go to the heart of this principle, never presuming they know best, and giving others with more local knowledge, experience and understanding, the tools to thrive as individuals and communities. Do you have a favourite memory of our BeyondMe partnership? Meeting Ted, Elizabeth and Jake for the first time was my greatest memory. Realising, despite our hugely different professional backgrounds, that we had so much in common in terms of mission and purpose, was hugely exciting and inspiring. It also helped that we enjoyed each other's mediocre jokes as well! What were the main things you felt you and your team contributed to Arukah Network?
Arukah Network's unique and important ideas around doing development differently have always been there. Our main contribution was to challenge this thinking, structure it, and help the team communicate it effectively. Sometimes 'empowerment' of communities can be a tough concept to understand and measure - the value of 'networks' is not always clear. We were able to support Arukah to more clearly define their offering, and have the confidence to say that there really was a space for this in the market. How did the partnership impact you? It gave me a real life insight into the challenges of young non-profit organisations who have a huge vision and desire, and want to achieve so much, yet with constraints on time and of course, resources. We all want to change the world, but sometimes you have to break down your contribution into baby steps, and make incremental change, to make a real sustainable difference. You've since moved from EY to UN Women UK - why?
My time at EY was a really happy one, in which I developed some important skills and networks, which will be the bedrock of the rest of my career. The time has now come for me to use these experiences towards issues closer to my heart, including gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. There is still such a long way to go to eliminate discrimination in the UK and across the world, and men, and all genders, need to be working with women to create meaningful change. This is the motivation behind my move, and it is a challenge I am committed to fighting. If you'd like to join our movement, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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