Loriann Robinson (Twitter, LinkedIn) is the founder and director of The Advocacy Team, “a service for people and organisations working for a just world”. They provide public affairs advice, policy advocacy, policy analysis and more, often in the international arena. She is also co-founder of The Equity Index, a UK social enterprise advocating for greater equity across the international development sector.
Loriann speaks to how having impact gets her out of bed in the morning, and how she wants to see a shift in global development where power doesn’t sit in the global north, but it’s dispersed to the people in the global south who know their communities best.
She also enjoys the variety of consulting, and the way the Advocacy Team can be a vehicle for other organisations (with aligned values) to create the futures that they envisage. I was struck by her approach of having a core income, with important side-projects (like The Equity Index) which don’t have to scrabble for funding.
CarbonBrief explainer on Loss and Damage.
The Equity Index – “a UK social enterprise advocating for greater equity across the international development sector. We will measure and track the multiple dimensions of equity in the internal and external workings of UK development organisations to influence meaningful change in their policies, practices, and partnerships.”
“ODA” = Overseas Development Assistance
#ShiftThePower on Twitter – here
0:45 – Q1 What are you doing now? And how did you get there?
10:25 – BONUS QUESTION: Hw does one influence British politics?
13:13 – Q2. What is the future you are trying to create, and why?
15:36 — BONUS QUESTION: As a vehicle for others to create the future they want, do you have written down the values you want your clients to align with?
17:26: BONUS QUESTION: Given your desire to shift power and resources to the Global South, what are the most important topic areas in international development right now?
20:48 – Q3. What are your priorities for the next few years, and why?
24:16 – Q4. If someone was inspired to follow those priorities, what should they do next?
28:16 – Q5. If your younger self was starting their career now, what advice would you give them?
30:27 – Q6. Who would you nominate to answer these questions, because you admire their approach?
30:39 – Q7. Is there anything else important you feel you have to say?
-“How can we create an international or global development sector that is more equitable, that is cognizant of its colonial past and is looking at how we run and do development. And so that work is is increasingly less focused on global development, because it’s applicable to lots of other areas too.”
-“But the real beauty of consulting, which I didn’t expect, and nobody tells you is the way every client and every project that you undertake, enables you to learn something that you can apply to others, you see so many different approaches that we have different ways of working, so many different ways of just looking at an issue. And that means that our each project we take take on benefits from what we learned in the previous projects. And that’s really powerful.”
-“I’ve always wanted to have a career that was focused on impact and change. And that’s the thread if you like that runs through my career. I’ve never been, you know, money is not sufficiently motivating for me to be able to, to work in a way that was just about, you know, reforming the company’s IT system. But wouldn’t that wouldn’t. That wouldn’t make me want to jump out of bed at 5am. But thinking about the donor landscape for nutrition does make me want to come out of bed if I’m thinking about, you know, if we need to raise an additional 300 million for nutrition, where do we target our resourcing and advocacy and what’s the best approach that that those are the kinds of questions that that I find? Really just interesting and inspiring. And then like I said, at the top, it’s that combination of those two, I get to learn, both from the work that I do for the clients, but I also get to learn how do you build a business? How do you grow a culture?”
-“I think the number one tool that I use to influence [UK politics] is the advocacy letter.”
-“We [The Advocacy Team] are a vehicle and a tool that is helping other organisations to create the futures that they envisage. And of course, everybody that we worked with were that are creating futures that are in line with our own values.”
-“I’d like to see that a shift in global development where power and resources and access doesn’t sit in the global north and in big international organisations, but then it’s dispersed and that it’s led by the people in the global south who, who know their communities best who know their contexts best who have, who have everything they need to kind of drive development. But just very often, the money and the resources are controlled in the north. And so shifting, shifting those resources, shifting that power, for me is really one of the top priorities within development that I would personally like to see.”
-“So what I want to say there is to keep that thinking [on equity and redistributing power] that you learned, or that you have acquired, and keep chatting, bring those ideas into the workplace and find others that you can connect with, and that you can talk to, and just really think about how you can change the way that your individual project the way your individual company, the way your individual organisation is working, and is approaching these these things.”
-Question: if your younger self was starting their career now, what advice would you give them? Answer: “I would say it’s going to be okay. There’ll be twists and turns and but you know, in short, that is that it will be okay. But I think if I look back, I really focus on learning, learn learning a skill.”