SEEP 2020: Emphasizing Inclusivity in Uncertain Times

November 6, 2020

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A woman types on a laptop

The 2020 SEEP Annual Conference looked a little different this year. With the global pandemic rapidly evolving, SEEP stayed committed to creating a safe and meaningful experience for their community of global thinkers and doers by switching to an online forum from October 26-30th. 

The conference utilized a unique combination of online forums, learning spaces, and interactions to create a conference space that was engaging, informative, and timely. 

Through four technical streams, the SEEP Conference engaged hundreds of practitioners across the globe with a theme of “Disruptive Collaboration: navigating a radically uncertain world.”  Within this theme, an echo of the importance of inclusivity during these uncertain times was heard throughout the conference. 

Three sessions in particular highlighted this theme of inclusivity: 

In “Empowering Young Filmmakers to Amplify the Voices of the Marginalised,” Justin Spray, Pity Daina Custodio Estajo and David Kezio Musoke from VSO discussed the importance of their approaches in telling diverse stories and how they can identify and support the most vulnerable.  Prior to the pandemic, VSO was focused on deploying young filmmakers to capture innovative stories. COVID-19 presented new challenges to that, in which they responded with new approaches, like remote training, local story gathering in Tanzania, Rwanda, and Tanzania, community building, and more. The session discussed how through these new approached, more diverse and inclusive stories were told. 

In “Inclusivity in the time of COVID-19: Promising approaches in practice,” Elizabeth Salazar of NCBA CLUSA and Florence Kiburuthy of Action Network for the Disabled explored how COVID-19 has impacted women, youth, persons with disabilities, and other marginalized communities and what approaches and programing has been successful. Attendees learned from one another by discussing these various approaches and how to apply them. Discussions circled around how these approaches need to vary based on need, the stigmas within marginalized communities, and how efforts need to be constant in order to make a difference.  

Lead by MEDA’s Clara Yoon and Jennifer King, attendees of the “Designing for Resilience: Inclusive Solutions to Agri-Food Market Disruption,” session worked in groups to answer the question, “How might we support commercial farmers, especially women and youth, to build resilience to support chain disruptions?" Considering disruptions of COVID-19 and climate change, groups of attendees created inclusive solutions for different “personas” that represented various individuals and scenarios. 

Within these three sessions, along with many other collaborative, engaging learning spaces the 2020 SEEP Conference presented to its attendees, the conference stressed the imperative need for inclusive development in challenging times.