August 19th – A Call To Action

Author: Karen James, Chief Executive Officer

Since you last heard from us everything has changed, but you already know this.

We hope everyone in your family, organisation and community are well and safe. For anyone suffering loss, we extend our sincerest condolences. I have struggled to write during COVID-19 as the impact is so very close to my heart having lost my father and almost my sister to the disease – both living in the US.

Needless to say, it is a very difficult time for our world. We are now all living with VUCA – a catchy acronym standing for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. First coined by the US Army War College after the Cold War and more recently adopted by organisations and consultants. VUCA 2.0, created by Bill George a senior fellow at Harvard Business School, shares a complimentary leadership response – standing for vision, understanding, courage and adaptability.[1]

At Business for Development we understand the first four and have been practising VUCA 2.0 as we know we cannot respond to COVID-19 without measuring the risks and applying appropriate leadership responses. With our vision front of mind (to sustainably empower one smallholder farmer at a time) and with steadfast resolve we kept supplies flowing – from seeds to services – our priority has been to serve smallholders. It is not only our resolve making the difference – executing community development programs depends on our partnerships. The resolve and leadership from our partners have been unwavering. Despite their business pressures, they have continued to support their commitments, and for this we cannot thank them enough.

Understanding the impact in the countries we work is critical and our teams on the ground in Kenya and PNG have been focusing on ensuring the voice of smallholders are heard. Our commitment is to continue to grow in-country capability, and to that end we welcome Isidor Tisok to the team in PNG. Please read on to hear more about Isidor and his work on the Community Piggery Enterprise (link)

Our commitment to technology (ag-tech and digital) enablement for smallholders has been reconfirmed during our February 2020 Strategy Board meeting, and to that end we are expanding our digital program in both Kenya and PNG.

There are increasing voices in the market saying, “Build Back Better” to which we agree – having the courage to create both economic value and social outcomes remains a priority for value chains. It remains an imperative for us and for those we work with. We hope more organisations use this time to build social outcomes into their business.

COVID-19 is not over until it’s not over for everyone. It’s not over for communities. It’s not over for businesses. It’s not over for you, and for me. Which brings me to my CALL TO ACTION.

The #EndCOVIDForAllcampaign, calls on the Australian Government to support neighbouring countries in the fight against this virus. If you too believe more should be done, to support countries like PNG in the fight again COVID-19, then please sign the petition We hope you enjoy our Newsletter and look forward to hearing from you.

[1] George, B., VUCA 2.0: A Strategy for Steady Leadership in an Unsteady World, Forbes Magazine, published 17 February 2017, accessed 3 September 2019

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