Christian Aid has announced the appointment of a new race and diversity lead, who will take forward the international development agency’s strategic vision to become a truly anti-racist organisation.
Dr Kamna Patel – currently Associate Professor of Development Studies and Faculty Vice Dean for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at University College London – will take up the new role at Christian Aid in July.
Establishing the Race & Diversity Lead role is one of the commitments the charity has made to address the experience of racial injustice in the working environment beginning with its Britain-based staff.
Following the results of a report that Christian Aid’s Board and Executive team commissioned in early 2020, the charity outlined a series of interventions to ensure it tackles the signs of structural and systemic racism in its life and work, recognising that this remains as major an issue within the sector as it is in our society as a whole. The interventions included recruiting a Race and Diversity Lead into the organisation’s leadership team and devising and implementing a three-year race and diversity plan of action.
Dr Patel is a development and equity professional and accomplished change leader who is dedicated to addressing questions of global inequity through a race and racialisation lens; and will join Christian Aid on a two-year contract.
Dr Patel’s track record spans 20 years working as a practitioner and academic which is coupled with leadership on innovative practice to change institutions in the race and diversity space. Dr Patel also has a wealth of development experience having consulted on small and large-scale projects in the UK, Rwanda, Jamaica, Guyana, Kyrgyzstan, South Africa and India amongst others.
Dr Kamna Patel said: “I’m very excited to join Christian Aid and to bring a different element to thinking about race and racism to the organisation, drawing on my own academic research and other studies of structural racism. Through this I hope to enhance the depth and reach of the Race and Diversity plan to enable us to realise its full potential.”
Mervyn McCullagh, Christian Aid’s Director of Strategy and Global Change, said: “We recognise how far there is for us to go on this journey and it is a journey we all need to go on together. This key role will lead and help us deliver the commitments we’ve made in our Race and Diversity plan, in line with our vision and Global Strategy Standing Together. We are delighted that Dr Patel will be joining us as a key driver to take us from where we are to where we hope we will be in years to come. Kamna has the skills we need to lead on delivering a progressive work plan which is owned across the organisation, honours the voices of our people and helps us realise our ambition of becoming a truly anti-racist organisation.”
Notes to editors:
The 2020 report was carried out by Xtend (UK) Ltd and involved interviews with Christian Aid staff in Great Britain.