Adapting and Leading Change Amid Crisis

By Denise Raquel Dunning, Founder + Executive Director | August 31, 2020

Since the global pandemic began, Rise Up Leaders around the world, including AfricaIndiaLatin America, and the United States, have stepped up to protect their communities from COVID-19 and its economic fallout. While responding to emergency needs, Rise Up Leaders are also preventing girls, youth, and women from being left behind when we emerge from this pandemic. Throughout this crisis, Rise Up has supported our Leaders with flexible funding, virtual convenings, intensive technical assistance, and newly created spaces to come together to support one another and share lessons across geographies.

We’ve also launched new cohorts of visionary Rise Up Leaders in Mexico and India. While we had planned to host our Accelerators in person this spring, we pivoted quickly to deliver our full methodology online. While participating in some of these virtual Accelerator sessions, I have been deeply moved by the tireless commitment of our new Leaders from India and Mexico to creating change, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. 

In a recent India Accelerator session, I learned about the powerful work of Rise Up Leaders who are advocating for women’s equal workforce participation, bridging the digital divide, guaranteeing young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health services, and ensuring that girls living under lockdown are safe, supported, and able to continue their studies. 

Rise Up Leaders in Delhi (left) and Mexico (right), along with staff, trainers, and guests, during recent virtual Accelerator sessions

Delivering Rise Up’s award-winning curriculum online presents both new challenges and opportunities, and we are learning as we go. We’ve been thrilled to see how our Accelerators can be adapted to online engagement, and how this virtual format creates greater opportunities for participation. Whereas it once would have been cost-prohibitive to fly in a guest speaker for a single session in Delhi, we can easily engage experts from around the world to participate in our virtual Accelerators.

We look forward to sharing more about these incredible leaders with you in the coming months as we support them to create meaningful impact. The courage and resilience of Rise Up Leaders gives me hope as we look ahead to the long road to recovery and continuing our work together to build a more just and equitable world.