I’m proud (and humbled) to have just launched IGNITE Your PIVOT with six East African community leaders fighting, on the ground, for climate justice.
What an opportunity to expand my America-centric view of the COVID crisis and gain a whole new perspective. That’s the real reward of being a change coach: I change too.
Turns out, beyond the pandemic, these East Africans are also dealing with drought and locust infestations in their pastoral communities! So how does one pivot through compounding crises?
According to one participant, Agnes Leina, Director of Il’Laramatak Community Concerns (https://www.facebook.com/IllaramatakCommunityConcerns/), who works with Maasai women and girls: “We’ve become a kind of Red Cross, responding to the immediate pandemic needs safety and sanitation. We’ve gotten derailed from our main climate change mission.”
Derailed, scattered, unfocused... these are common symptom of this COVID crisis.
Acknowledging the challenges and losses, as I wrote in my last blog post (https://www.seechangeconsulpreting.com/post/three-lessons-from-the-pandemic-pivot-front-lines-fall-ignite-cohort-forming), is Job #1 – a universal pivot rule – whether you are from Africa or North America.
Though before we could delve deeper, in our first Zoom session, MY Job #1, as IGNITE virtual facilitator, was to stabilize our online connection – Washington DC to the Northern range lands of Kenya and Uganda!
Given the poor bandwidth from the villages, participants kept dropping in and out, at the whim of their mobile hots pots. My facilitation skills were put to the test as we backtracked in the slides to welcome late arrivals, turning video on and off to increase bandwidth, muting and unmuting participants to manage background noise – smiling at the crow of roosters and remembering a mantra my own coach had instilled in me: Thy will – not MY will – be done.
#humility #patience #flexibility #openness will be my watchwords for the next six weeks together with this inspiring group as we navigate our pivots together – as I help these leaders discover the sweet spot between responding to the immediate crisis and staying on track to address the climate crisis that’s hit their communities and is not going away.
This tension between short-term and long-term, tactical and strategic, reactive and proactive – is something we all must be mindful of, especially in times of crisis.
Thanks to The Climate Justice Resilience Fund (https://www.cjrfund.org/), the foundation responsible for supporting the work of these social entrepreneurs, and for sponsoring my pivot work with them.
More lessons from East Africa to come…