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The Great Adaptation Series Launches (Updated)

The Great Adaptation Series

We’re launching the #GreatAdaptation, a series of fireside discussions with social impact leaders, NGOs, institutions, and humanitarian organisations on some of the most pressing issues facing the sector and how we can build resilience for the future.

COVID-19 has already showcased the huge adaptive potential of the human race, and it’s also surfaced inequities that have existed for a long time and require even greater adaptation to tackle and overcome once and for all. Some have already coined this phase of humanity’s existence as the Great Lockdown, but we believe there’s potential for a different narrative. 

From the Spanish Influenza, to the Great Depression, to two World Wars, humanity is no stranger to great adversity. And today, we face a new one. With the world in a lockdown, and the definition of “normal” being rewritten almost daily, we are experiencing a unique moment in history that has both created generational tragedy, but also presents a generation-defining opportunity. A post-crisis world depends on how we approach the challenges at present, and whether we are able to adapt to our new environment, rather than wait for a previous world to reemerge. 

The social impact community is a major stakeholder in what a fairer future will look like. A post-crisis world depends on how we adapt today, so that we might shape tomorrow. 

Here’s a rundown of the next #GreatAdaptation fireside discussions…

New narratives | international organisations and NGOs beyond the pandemic

5pm, Thursday 21 May 2020

The global humanitarian community has been on the frontline in the preparation and response to COVID 19 in places that are often out of mind and out of sight for many in the UK. With vital fundraising mechanisms drying up, the need for support and resources increasing by the hour, and more countries having an increased inward social outlook, the support of the general public and institutional funders is needed more than ever. Shape History is hosting a fireside discussion with leading voices to understand how we build a new narrative to re-engage the UK population with international development and overseas aid. This discussion will look at the pressing issues together with new-thinking and potential solutions that could be adopted to ensure a healthier humanitarian ecosystem beyond the pandemic. 

Confirmed speakers:

Vishnee Sauntoo, Head of Communications at Age International

Vishnee Sauntoo leads on brand and communications for Age International. She is responsible for all channels and with her team, gathers content from our programmes and humanitarian responses around the world. She has worked in marketing and communications for the third sector for the past 18 years, previously at Save the Children, the Humanitarian Leadership Academy and the British Heart Foundation.

Andrew Griffiths, Head of Advocacy at Sightsavers and Chair of Bond SDG Group

Andrew Griffiths is Head of Advocacy at Sightsavers. His work involves leading on Sightsavers’ international advocacy priorities and supporting the development of effective advocacy in all Sightsavers Country Offices; and he leads a team of Global Advocacy Advisers. Andrew also co-chairs the Bond SDG Group, working to influence the UK government’s implementation of the SDGs, and sits on the board of the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment.


Martha McKenzie, UNICEFMartha Mackenzie is leading UNICEF’s work to empower their country offices as agents of change. She is also driving their global COVID-19 advocacy strategy. Prior to joining UNICEF, Martha was Head of Government Relations at Save the Children where she chaired the cross-sector group to maintain and build political support for UK Aid. Martha worked with 26 organizations to secure the UK’s aid commitments during an election and a leadership election.

Here’s our round up, including the full recording of the discussion

Fixing furlough & the route to universal basic income

Estimates show that more than a million new starters have been excluded from the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, hitting low-income workers and the hospitality sector the hardest. What are the main take-aways to ensure loopholes are eradicated in the future? What continued support will businesses need after reopening commences? Could lessons from the furlough scheme offer a route to universal basic income in the UK?

Confirmed speakers:

Zoë Badder is a co-founder of New Starter Justice, a campaign for all those in the United Kingdom who changed jobs after the 28th February 2020, who now have no work or income due to the coronavirus, to be eligible for the CJRS. Read Zoë’s contribution to our blog, on the inside of the campaign here.


Richard Clifford is Policy Manager at UKHospitality. UKHospitality is the leading hospitality trade association in the UK and represents the interests of the UK’s hospitality sector.



Cleo Goodman is co-founder of the Basic Income Conversation and Director of Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland. She is based in Edinburgh and works closely with the grassroots basic income movement and Scottish Government funded basic income experiment feasibility study. Her background is in third sector communications, social impact measurement and business development. Cleo believes that a true investment in people in the form of a basic income is required to enable the scale of social change needed at this point in history.

Dr Neil Howard is a researcher and activist based at the University of Bath, in the UK. He works on exploitation, basic income, and non-violent community organising. He is an editor of one of the sections at openDemocracy and engaged with various social movements.


Watch a recording of our first #GreatAdaptation fireside discussion

Shape History is a social impact communications agency. We nurture purpose-led institutions, charities, campaigning groups and social impact leaders with strategic design and communication to accelerate social impact.

Want to connect with the Shape History team?

FurloughHumanitarian AidInternational DevelopmentUniversal Basic Income
Ed Fletcher

Ed Fletcher

Ed joined Shape History after 5 years at international charity Hope for Children as their Head of Fundraising & Communications. His experience in international development means he has a driving passion towards gender empowerment, social investment & Tech for Good. Having worked on social impact campaigns with everyone from government institutions to tech start-ups, he brings a wealth of experience to Shape History. As MD of Operations, Ed leads on all new business & client development, working closely with our creative team to deliver outstanding campaigns & creative strategy that empower our partners to create high-impact social change.

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