On Wednesday, January 6th, we announced to the world that we are one. ICCO and Cordaid, two pillars of the Dutch international development sector, faith-based, with a combined history of fighting poverty and inequality for more than a century, have joined forces to move forward as one future fit organisation.
This blog is written by Izabella Toth, Manager External Relations and Business Development at Cordaid.
Not that we had planned it for this reason, but sharing the news of our unification on the 6th is quite symbolic. The Christian world celebrates January 6th as ‘epiphany’ and the day the Three Kings visited the infant Jesus. According to scholars, they originated from Europe, Asia, and Africa. Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar brought valuable gifts for the commemoration.
What were these gifts? And do they relate to our mission and vision in international development? They do.
The gifts of the ‘magi’ were gold, incense, and myrrh. All are valuable natural resources, often originating from Asia and Africa. They had to be transported over long distances to the more developed world. Saillant detail is that according to sources, the ‘magi’ as shepherds, were on the opposite end of the social-economic scale. You start to get my meaning.
Facing challenges by crossing divides
Cordaid, a Catholic faith-based, and ICCO, a protestant faith-based organisation, recognised the challenges the modern world is facing and the need to cross divides of any nature and to forge alliances for the greater good for all. The common good. There is only one way the world can face the ongoing Corona pandemic, including the socio-economic crisis it carries on its back, the climate crisis, fragility, as well as many other issues: by facing them together.
Unification brings new energy, drive, and passion. It accommodates the dreams and actions of colleagues – old and new – worldwide to go beyond our personal limits and to work with our partners worldwide. The gifts are numerous and I, as part of an old Cordaid crew, am grateful to find them in the new joint Coridad and ICCO formula. Together we will counter economic injustice, and lack of equitable economic opportunities more effectively. So that gold, incense, and myrrh aren’t the products of an industry based on greed, wealth accumulation, and ecological destruction, and the receiving end pays the price of its worth.
Only yesterday, armed civilians supporting Trump stormed Capitol Hill in Washington DC. Whilst we are working towards a free and just world for all, the land of the free is getting scarier and unwelcoming by the day. It makes me so sad and so angry. I so wish our children keep believing in the inner good of people and preserve the courage to face each other with openness and genuine sincerity when troubles arise.
Willingness to collaborate more important than gold
And here lies another role for us, as part of civil society. Civil society organisations – like ours and far more – must keep up the spirit and support a culture of mutual respect, trust, and solidarity. This is a precondition for a collective better tomorrow. In fact, it’s just common sense.
I don’t need the gold, the incense, and the myrrh. Let’s substitute the gifts of the ‘magi’ with the mutual gifts of trust, respect, support, accountability, and the willingness to collaborate. Let’s seek the gold of global solidarity. With old and new colleagues, old and new partners. Across countries and continents. Especially when the going gets tough.
Together, we are.