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15 May 2019

I still can’t really believe that it is IT! Global Team Week is happening!

We have been dreaming of it for the last 3 years (that is since the last one).

We have been organising it for the last 10 months (at least).

And here we are – the MRG family is reunited under pretty much the same roof!

In numbers GTW is:

  • 5 very full days of discussions, exchanges of expertise, training, strategizing around minority and indigenous rights.
  • 3 venues to do all the above– all offered in kind by our generous sponsors.
  • 37 staff members coming from 10 countries joining their colleagues and our 16 amazing volunteers in London.
  • 7 members of our Board attending the International Council organised at the beginning of the week.
  • 1 birthday celebration…It’s not often that the organisation one works for turns 50!

I did start with the numbers but the truth is: GTW is much more than that. It is about the vibe, the passion and the will to carry on promoting the human rights of minorities and indigenous communities worldwide that all those present are sharing.

This event is truly about this: about sharing what we have learnt in our own area of work with colleagues, about learning new tools and skills to better do our job, about reflecting on the threats minorities and indigenous communities are facing  and the windows of opportunities that are opening up in today’s world so we can better respond to the needs of our beneficiaries.

Over its 50 years of existence, there is no doubt that MRG has greatly contributed to securing some key long-lasting changes for the communities we strive to defend.

Yet, we, together with our local partners on the ground and the local communities they represent, know that we still have work ahead of us: Freedom of Religion and Belief is under attack in many parts of the world as the recent events in Sri Lanka on Easter Day showed. Gaps in development between our beneficiaries and the rest of societies are still unacceptable. Just look at the example of women from indigenous communities. They are on average 3 times less likely to receive antenatal care, almost half as likely to receive skilled attendance at birth and they face much higher adolescent birth rates than the national average.

More needs to be done.

Coming together as we are doing this week greatly reminds us of all this but more importantly it makes us work jointly to seek and propose solutions that will change the future of minorities and indigenous communities worldwide.

Cecile Clerc is Head of Development and Partnerships and Minority Rights Group International (MRG). To learn more about MRG’s history, visit our timeline and see our 50th anniversary website here

Photo: MRG colleagues meeting in the head office in London to strategize on how to continue safeguarding the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples around the world.