By Madeline Vaughan
I was sitting in one of my last meetings of the year and like many of my meetings in 2020, it was happening via Zoom. In front of me were the smiling faces of Adara’s Global Leadership Team: development specialists, anthropologists, NICU experts, partnerships gurus, finance professionals, entrepreneurs, and legal whizzes. We were laughing, we were cheering, we were using silly virtual backgrounds (our ultimate source of joy in 2020) and we were reflecting. Despite a hugely difficult year, we were choosing to end it full of determination.
And it’s that same determination that we carry with us into 2021. In 2020, we showed how nimble we can be and how quickly we can change course when the situation changes. Together with our wonderful supporters we touched many lives – more than we ever have before. Now there is still much more work that needs to be done.
As we embark on our 2021 journey, we are building a giant path – a journey for Adara – with three important and connected smaller paths joining and making up the whole. These paths are the frames through which we see our 2021 strategy: respond, rebuild and reimagine.
In October 2020, our teams across the globe came together virtually to plan our 2021 strategy. They used these frames to guide their thinking. We now emerge with a plan that was created from the ground up, is owned by our entire team and will see us continue to respond to COVID-19, re-start some of the work we put on hold due to the pandemic and reimagine our work to ensure we are doing the best work we possibly can.
I am delighted to share our 2021 strategy with you.
The COVID-19 crisis is far from over, so our emergency relief work will persist. We will continue to address the impact of COVID directly, including through the provision of PPE, training, protocols and other resources. In addition, we will be faced with a myriad of secondary impacts of the virus, including increased rates of maternal mortality, neonatal mortality, teen pregnancy, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV. Sadly, we also anticipate increased incidences of child trafficking and child marriages due to school closures in Nepal. In our 2021 plan, hand in hand with our supporters, we will face these devastating impacts head on through nutrition and community outreach programmes; ensuring continuity in essential maternal, newborn and child health services; establishing an Adara Community Centre for at-risk youth in Uganda; and implementing detailed child protection plans that include anti-trafficking watch-dog committees in Adara target schools in Nepal.
Alongside the primary and secondary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries, including Nepal and Uganda are experiencing a period of political instability and unrest. This will make responding to the challenges COVID presents even more fractured and difficult. We are committed to working alongside our teams on the ground to ensure our COVID-19 response is sensitive to this turmoil, and that they feel supported through these difficult times.
When COVID-19 exploded into the world in 2020, we had no choice but to put some of our plans on hold. As the world works to rebuild, we will re-start some of the work we put on hold. This includes our plans to scale AdaraNewborn, our newborn model of care, to select facilities across Uganda. In 2021, we will lay the foundations for this work, building on our plans to save many more newborn lives.
COVID-19 has shown us that we must reimagine the way we live and work. In 2021, we will assess every part of our work to ensure we are a truly brilliant organisation. We have learnt much through the upheaval of 2020 that we can embed in our work going forward. We will ensure Adara is an astonishing, impactful and joyous organisation, even though we continue to face turmoil and uncertainty.
As Adara’s CEO, I have the great pleasure of meeting with Adara’s teams and partners around the world over Skype and Zoom every week. All meetings inevitably involve laughter and words gratitude, before the same sense of determination kicks in.
2021 will be Adara’s most important year ever.
So let’s get to work.