Reflecting on 2022 and Looking Ahead
As we are stepping with you into 2023, Humanity United continues its work to cultivate conditions for enduring peace and freedom, acutely conscious of the uncertain future of our world but moving forward with intention, hope, and joy.
Like other organizations in our field we are deeply concerned about major global problems including a rise in authoritarianism, an increase in the number of people in modern slavery, the growth of disinformation, continued effects of the global pandemic, disrupted supply chains, and the Ukraine war and other conflicts.
At the same time we’re excited to see progress in a number of our focus areas:
- We saw localization and de-colonization agendas take further root over the last year, with major development agencies making pledges to strengthen local actors and communities.
- In late October, Shramik Shanjal (a worker-led network) and the Global Migrant Worker Network invited a South Sudanese network of young peacebuilders to Nepal to meet and share lessons. The three networks came together to discuss the shared root causes of violent conflict and migration, the rising risks of labor recruiters coming to South Sudan, and shared learning on how to humanize “the other.”
- Increased impact is being felt through the use of Withhold Release Orders under the authorization of the Tariff Act, especially in our work on Seafood supply chains. WROs have resulted in the seizure of products, prosecution and conviction of vessel owners, and an increase in inspections.
- While the political climate in the U.S. continued to be polarized, our sister organization Humanity United Action and its partners contributed to some notable bipartisan legislation such as the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act and the End Human Trafficking in Government Contracts Act. The Tariff Act Advisory Group coalition fought back efforts to reduce supply chain transparency.
Two particular examples stood out in 2022: our work on the Nepal-Qatar migration corridor and our work to build lasting peace in Colombia.
Our work over the past decade has focused on addressing labor exploitation in Qatar, specifically for the migration corridor from Nepal. Leading up to the 2022 World Cup, HU and partners helped shift the narrative from a mega sporting event to one tainted by corruption, forced labor, racism, and the death of several thousand migrant workers, primarily from South Asia. We saw an unusual diversity of stakeholders – journalists, lawmakers across countries, football associations, players, sponsors, and fans – highlight the discrimination faced in the construction of the stadiums, hotels, and other infrastructure for the World Cup.
Our work in Colombia contributed to the historic Truth Commission report in 2022. It is impossible to overstate the power of this moment for Colombian society, which never had a full reckoning with a conflict that remained largely hidden and unspoken about in elite circles, despite the ongoing and gruesome violence. Those most impacted by the violence have embraced this creative and transformative process of transitional justice. What was most striking to us, as we gathered 15 of our grantees in Colombia together the week after the Truth Commission report launch, was the extent to which everyone dedicated themselves to “building a culture of peace,” no matter where in society they worked.
HU Grants & Infrastructure
Internally we made strides as an organization in 2022, strengthening our capacity to truly accompany our partners in creating the change want to see in the world. We began implementing our new organizational strategy and it will continue to be a key focus for HU in 2023. It includes increasing the agency of staff through thoughtfully devolved and clarified decision-making. We built grantmaking capacity among our staff, streamlined grantmaking processes, and gathered systematic feedback from our partners through the Grantee Perception Report.
We also continued the organization’s journey of learning and growth by deepening our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice (DEIJ) commitments, furthering our exploration on racial justice and equity, and strengthening our learning approach.
As we look to 2023, we are exploring how to ensure 2022’s hard-won reforms are maintained and strengthened.
In our Forced Labor Human Trafficking work, this means keeping the pressure on companies and governments and ensuring that labor system reforms continue to hold. In our Peacebuilding work, we are focused on deepening and connecting trans-local networks and building the capacity of social movements. In our Journalism program, we expect increased collaboration between partners who report on specific communities and larger institutional grantees, further amplifying the voices of marginalized communities at home at abroad.
Internally, we will deepen our commitment to trust-based philanthropy, further devolve decision-making, and implement the next phase of our DEIJ action plan. We will also communicate the results of the Grantee Perception Report and create and implement recommendations based on the feedback.
We remain deeply grateful to all of our grantees and partners who are striving every day to make this world more just and hopeful. As Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
On behalf of our entire Humanity United team, I wish you and your loved ones a happy and prosperous new year. With much appreciation,