By Madeline Vaughan, Senior Programmes Manager
Around the room, heads were down as pens frantically scribbled on post-it notes. The air was full of energy and promise as everyone quietly wrote down their ideas for where Adara should be in the next three, six and nine years. Represented around the room were Adarians from across the globe: from the US, Australia, Nepal, Uganda, and even Northern Ireland. NICU nurses, corporate advisory directors, accountants, anthropologists, development specialists, fundraisers and communications experts all united in vision and purpose.
As my eyes scanned the room, I couldn’t help but feel proud to be part of this. I have had the great fortune to work at Adara for the past five years, starting in our Communications and Partnerships team, and now working alongside our programmes team. As we reach our 20th anniversary, it is incredible to think of how far we have come, even in the short time I have been part of the Adara story.
As the flurry of post-its hit the wall, it was beautiful to realise just how united we were in our vision for the future. In the days that followed we brought together the ideas and passions of our teams and our board to build our three-year strategy. Our teams from project site had brought with them the dreams of the communities we work alongside, at every point ensuring that their voices and their vision was at the heart of all our plans.
We emerged with nine goals and an underlying strategic plan that will drive Adara from 2018-2020. It is a plan that balances our rich history with the now and the future, harnessing the unique aspects of our organisation.
Our Global Health team recently returned from Uganda with a new nickname for the Adara team – the Mushrooms. While in Kampala talking about Adara’s plans to scale our work across the country, the amazing Sister Christine walked out of a high level meeting, and laughed about the Adara team and our down to earth approach. She said that the mushroom was the perfect symbol of the work we are doing. We are like mushrooms, we are growing out of the dirt. While many organisations take a top down approach to development, our size, our history and our development philosophy means that we are bottom up. And it stuck… we are now proud Adara Mushrooms.
So, we are embracing our image as the Mushrooms as we take this strategy forward. We will always be driven by the communities we work alongside, and will be led by their expectations, ideas, and passions. And we are so excited for what the next three years will bring.