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3.2.3 Learning from COVID-19: Understanding the Adaptive Strategies of Canadian Small and Medium Organisations (SMOs) - Workshop
Thursday, 19/May/2022:
1:00pm - 2:30pm

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3.2.3 Learning from COVID-19: Understanding the Adaptive Strategies of Canadian Small and Medium Organisations (SMOs) - Workshop

Andrea Paras1, John-Michael Davis2, Asa Coleman2, Isabelle Hachette3, Kelly James4

1University of Guelph; 2Worcester Polytechnic Institute; 3World Accord; 4Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST)

This Action for Change Workshop aims to provide an opportunity for development scholars and practitioners to share their experiences and lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Small and Medium Organisations (SMOs) have faced numerous challenges in relation to financial loss, their relationships with local partners, and their ability to implement programs. At the same time, SMOs have exhibited flexibility, innovation, and resilience as they have adapted to the changing context. The pandemic has offered an opportunity to transform the practices of Canadian SMOs and their partners overseas. It may have accelerated the localization and decolonisation process by transforming the way Canadian organizations collaborate and their relationships with their partners. As a result of economic challenges, SMOs have developed new financial models. The workshop will provide an opportunity for learning and engagement between scholars and practitioners as they explore the benefits, limitations, and obstacles to various adaptive strategies.

This workshop builds on findings from an ongoing SSHRC-funded research partnership that is investigating the impact of the pandemic on SMOs in Canada’s foreign aid sector. The research team includes a community-engaged collaboration between scholars and development practitioners, with the participation of the National Program Director of the Spur Change Program as a member of the research team.

During the workshop, members of the research team will present their findings from a recent national survey and semi-structured interviews of Canadian SMO representatives. SMO representatives who participated in the research will share some of their experiences during the pandemic, including challenges and adaptive strategies. There will be an opportunity for audience members to participate in small-group discussions with the research team members and SMO representatives. Interactive activities will provide audience members an opportunity to respond to the research findings and share their organisations' own experiences during the pandemic.

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