April 2021 Update

April 2021 Update r1 ...

April @ SOVI

Photo by Jonny Gios from Unsplash

A message from our Co-Chairs

A key part of the SOVI mission is collaboration. We work to build connections with others in the CRD, and beyond, to learn and work together. The SOVI team is constantly drawing inspiration from the individuals and organizations in our network, who advance the global goals, social justice, and anti-racism efforts forward.

One area in which SOVI tries to foster collaboration is our Community of Practice. This month, Communications Coordinator Julie Tierney spoke with SOVI Co-Chair, Rachel Levee, about how the Community of Practice has developed over the past six months. Rachel has been part of the COP since its inception.

Why did SOVI create the Community of Practice?

After the 2020 murders of Black and Indigenous folks that really got people—especially white folks and those with privilege and power—more deeply and broadly aware of racial injustice, there were a lot of great one-off events led by incredible BIPOC folks. Something SOVI realized with others was that after events it felt like there wasn’t a space for participants to continue to do something with that energy and information. Particularly within our sector and network, which is international development and non-profit practitioners in the CRD.

We thought it would be amazing to build a community to talk about these issues, to discuss how they impact our workplaces and about what constructive action we could take to fight racial injustice. Also, to actually work in an anti-racist, decolonized, anti-oppressive way in both our internal and our public facing work. That work is purportedly seeking justice, but could we actually work in deeper social justice using critical self-reflection within a community? So, we said, “Let’s gauge if there’s any interest,” and there was!

How has the COP impacted you, or had an impact from your perspective?

It’s interesting, because one thing we’ve started to learn at SOVI is to think about impact and achievement in different ways than we felt conditioned to. So, we stopped looking at numbers of participants and at clear, quantifiable outcomes so much. Now, we’re focusing on deeper relationships and using our ability and position to work in relationships. It's a project that takes time, responsiveness, and intention. It’s not about feeling rushed for specific outcomes, but being in a responsive ebb and flow with the actual people we’re working with.

Personally, it's been amazing to be in a space where I can be vulnerable while also feeling brave, and to feel like I could be constructive too. So, while I haven’t put a finger on what exactly has been achieved, it feels like something is happening. There's an energy, connection and a feeling like we can actually do something really inspiring.

How has the COP transformed or shifted since it began?

The Community of Practice was purposefully built to connect like-minded folks through conversations about anti-racism, anti-oppression and decolonization in our sector. It started with a panel discussion led by Taleetha Tait, Hillary Ronald, Dr. Moussa Magassa, and Olaolu Adeleye, who worked with us to create a program where we had intentional, thoughtful conversations led by community leaders doing that work. They gave us tools in conversation and dialogue with our interested community members about what we could be doing. Then, we engaged everyone who was interested and folks who had been part of past events in discussion. That became the foundation for the Community of Practice.

It started with what felt like a meeting place created through interesting speakers and topics, and then it developed with folks saying, “we would like to actually connect and continue this conversation as peers.” Now that we don't have a central event or force bringing us together, we're working on what is truly is, and on being responsive to the community. It's an interesting space to navigate, where we want to be nimble with our community’s needs while also trying to keep things moving. That way it can be something that keeps folks connected without feeling like an obligation or place people don’t feel committed to. There are some growing pains and questions of what we really want to be. So, it's changed a lot, because it was designed to change.

In what ways would you like to see the COP grow or change in the future?

Since I've been acting as the Community of Practice coordinator, I have plenty of ideas about how it could go and what I would love for the community. But, what I'd most like is to figure out is what the community—both the individuals and the collective—would like to pursue, and how to support that. I want to figure out how to be responsive to the community's needs and to find stronger ways to deepen our interpersonal connection, organically. It’s challenging when we're trying to build relationships over monthly Zoom meetings. What I hope for is not one single, lofty ambition, but for the community to have access to someone who is supporting them in whatever iteration they'd like to move into.

Also, as an individual, I don’t have one vision for the community- because the community is made up of so many different people with different lived experiences. What we all bring to the table and do together feels much greater than one person’s ideas.

When thinking of the community of practice, is there a word or phrase that comes along for you, as a member?

I am cautious on being reductive, but, “listening, thinking, and hope” comes to mind.


SOVI is seeking to expand our team!

We’re looking for an experienced community organizer to become our new volunteer Programming and Partnerships Co-Chair. The ideal candidate has a background working or volunteering in the international development sector and/or nonprofit organizations.

You will be an integral member to the small team, providing strategic guidance on our existing programming, along with developing and supporting new programming. You’ll also help maintain existing SOVI partnerships, while creating new community relationships.


SOVI is also hiring a Summer Community Programmer to design and deliver events to engage our community of international development and nonprofit practitioners and aspiring practitioners in the CRD.

Ideally, you will have experience working or volunteering in the international development and nonprofit sectors, as understanding the nuances of this field will be key. We’re looking for someone skilled in event organization and community outreach, who enjoys both independent and collaborative work!

This position is supported by WorkBC, so applicants must be eligible under the criteria specified at the link below.


For further details and application information for both positions, visit: https://bit.ly/2QvNZWQ

Feel free to share these positions with folks you think might be interested!


On April 24th, India recorded 349,691 new COVID-19 cases- the highest total daily cases in the world. India’s healthcare sector is under immense strain, with oxygen shortages and a lack of capacity in hospitals across the country. This had led to increased dialogue on global vaccine inequality, and vaccine apartheid. Research shows “48 percent of all vaccine doses administered so far have gone to just 16 percent of the world’s population in what the World Bank considers high-income countries.” Medical professionals and healthcare advocates in Canada and worldwide are calling on wealthier countries to act for better global COVID-19 response equity. Find info on Mutual Aid fundraisers for India, here.

This year, National Volunteer Week was April 18th to 24th. This year's theme, The Value of One, The Power of Many was meant to reflect the kindness of individual volunteers and the impact of teamwork. Throughout the pandemic, the world has benefitted from the collective efforts of volunteers locally, nationally, and internationally. At SOVI, we are thankful for the volunteers on our team who push forth our mission of education, networking, and engagement. They inspire our work, and lead our team. A big shoutout to Ruth, Rachel, and Chelsea!


  • SOVI Book Club | May 20th | SOVI BCCIC
    • Gather virtually to discuss The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole, and join our community of conversation and learning on pertinent social justice issues.
    • Register here: https://bit.ly/3dVfrGY
  • Rebalancing: Act Local, Think Global I May 4th I Future of Good
    • What responsibility do corporations have to local communities? What are the social issues that intersect with the localization agenda — like gender equity, racial justice, disability rights, and others? And how can every social impact organization in the country be informed and empowered to build stronger local communities around them? Join to answer these big questions.
    • Find details and register at https://futureofgood.co/digital-conversations/
  • BC Let's Talk Housing: Victoria – 865 Catherine Street I May 3-5 I BC Housing and the City of Victoria
    • BC Housing and the City of Victoria are moving forward with a plan develop approximately 45 new homes for people at risk of homelessness at 865 Catherine Street in Victoria. To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to learn more, ask questions and provide feedback about this proposal we will be hosting three Neighbourhood Dialogue Sessions.
    • For details and sign-up, visit: https://letstalkhousingbc.ca/victoria-865-catherine
  • Vancouver Island Youth Climate Forum I May 8th I VICC-CLP
  • The Transgender Archives at the University of Victoria I May 16th I Friends of the British Columbia Archives

    Indigenous Economics: Reclaiming the Sacred I June 10th to 12th I Indigenous Climate Action
    • ICA invites Indigenous scholars, Elders, youth, leadership, land defenders, community members and Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) allies to join a virtual gathering. Dive into discussions, workshops, panels and presentations led by Indigenous leaders, practitioners and scholars to redefine ecological economics from an Indigenous perspective.

    • Register for the event online here: https://www.indigenousclimateaction.com/indigenous-economics-conference


"There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about."

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SOVI is based on the stolen lands of the Lək̓ʷəŋən Peoples (known by the colonial name of Victoria, BC). To contact us directly, please write us at r34.

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