We are in a time where unity, partnership and collaboration is more important than ever

Sashenka Worsman

19 Oct, 2017

Oaktree’s CEO, Sashenka Worsman, sets out why the ACFID conference is an important catalyst for cooperation and gives her picks of day one at conference.

We are in a time where unity, partnership and collaboration is more important than ever – particularly for the international development sector. Right now, we face a shortage of resources and nationalist rhetoric that is overshadowing the need for equality. Getting through to the public – let alone power brokers – seems like an uphill battle.

In times like this, events such as the ACFID conference (1-2 November) are critical in bringing us together to create a shared vision that act as a catalyst for cooperation and partnership. We can’t afford to work in silos with competing agendas or double-up on our efforts. We can’t afford to continue doing things ‘because that’s how it’s always been done’. We can’t afford to not question and challenge the way we work. We simply don’t have the luxury of falling behind because the work we do is far too important.

Being a new CEO, I am particularly excited to meet and greet fellow ACFID members and explore opportunities for partnership. I know I have a lot to learn from everyone attending, and I look forward to sharing my own insights too. So often, the most significant outcomes come from a few conversations that happen away from the stage.

It excites me that the keynote speech by Lily Thapa (11.30am – Main Hall) and the plenary panel (1.40pm – Main Hall) will be focusing on engaging civil society and social movement building. On countless occasions, I have seen the power of what is possible when a group of passionate and driven individuals come together, united by a common cause. Looking at the issues we are currently facing and the world we are likely to inherit, young people are particularly motivated to challenge the norm and are not afraid to do things differently.

I am looking forward to attending the ‘Engaging Values to Motivate Change’ session in the afternoon with Common Cause (3.15pm, Session 1 – Zelman Room). Time and time again I have been reminded that no matter how many facts and figures I throw at someone, the one thing we all have in common is our humanity. If we are able to tap into our values – those things that are core to our identity – and connect them to the challenges around us, suddenly it is relatable. After all, you don’t need to be an expert to care.

The lightning talks (Closing Keynote – Main Hall) bring a focus to something Oaktree has been more and more conscious of – creating enabling environments for change. Be it bringing diversity and inclusion to the forefront or methods of working which breakdown fear of failure or questioning the role of technology, we are acutely aware of the changing nature of our sector and the way we work.

Young people today have more access to information than ever before, they are more connected than ever before and more educated than ever before. We already know that there are things in our world that need to change and we already know that if we don’t act now, we could be in a far worse predicament. This is an unavoidable reality, a reality that quite frankly, can be overwhelming. This is why social movements and collaboration are so important. While as an individual one might feel insignificant, the sum of our efforts are mighty. We as the international development sector have a responsibility to provide civil society and young people a platform and tools to contribute.

With all of this, and more, in mind, I feel incredibly excited to hit the ground running at the ACFID conference.

Visit ACFID's conference program to plan your day.

Sashenka Worsman – Chief Executive Officer, Oaktree

Follow Sashenka on twitter @SashenkaWorsman at ACFID’s conference using #ACFID2017.  

  • Sashenka Worsman
    Sashenka Worsman

    Sashenka Worsman – Chief Executive Officer, Oaktree


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