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RISE women in leadership: International Women’s Day 2021

8 March 2021

Within the international and community development sector, there is a tendency to focus on gender and social inclusion within the communities we are working with, and less so within our project, implementation and research teams. So, this International Women’s Day, we call on some of the incredible women working on RISE in Indonesia, Fiji and Australia to share their reflections on the important question:

‘Why is it important to have diverse research and implementation teams for community-based participatory design work?’

Fitriyanty A Awaluddin, RISE Indonesia Coordinator

‘The needs of every community are different. There are vulnerable and marginalized groups - women, children, whose needs are different. Assessment and prioritization of needs are important to determine the right approach and intervention. Involving researchers and implementing teams in the field from various disciplines and backgrounds provides the right solutions, because there is room for each of them to provide creative and critical input and translate this into action. It's been a great collaboration, combining research and implementation for community-based participatory design’.

Dr Litea Meo-Sewabu, RISE Water for Women Fiji qualitative research team lead, University of the South Pacific

‘It is important to have diverse research and implementation teams for community-based participatory design work because the population is not homogenous. Rather, people are diverse in their way of thinking, their views of the world, their beliefs and most importantly their power structures. Based on these realities, having a diverse community-based participatory design work team allows for these ideas and ways of thinking to be discussed and realized. It also allows participants to strategize a best way forward that is self-determined, sustainable and truly empowering’.

Associate Professor Becky Batagol, RISE Water for Women Project Co-lead, Monash University

‘You can't do diversity without being diversity. We bring our (sometimes messy) life experience to our work. As RISE’s Water for Women project co-leader, I like to work with teams who come from different walks of life. I value the views of my team and cherish constructive disagreement. When we see things differently, we challenge each other to make our work even better. In RISE’s Water for Women work, we have team members from five countries, both women and men, who come from eight distinct disciplinary backgrounds. I'm always looking for ways we can be more diverse. To my mind, this is just what intersectional feminist research should be’.