The Way Forward After the Pandemic
The COVID-19 Pandemic made it clear that the AFS mission and strategic goals remain as relevant as ever. But it also devastated the Network’s finances and significantly reduced our human resource capacity. Many activities and investments were no longer possible. At the same time, COVID-19 proved to be an unexpected catalyst for the integration of new technologies in many of our programs, operations and processes; and we have learned in the past year that it is possible to work with more agility and flexibility.
With this in mind, AFS International has built on the original Network Strategy and put together a draft plan in April 2021 that focuses on three key priorities to guide the AFS Network in the coming years. This is not a replacement for the existing Network Strategy, but represents a 3-year execution plan based on the Network Strategy taking the changed circumstances into account.
These three impact goals remain as relevant as ever.
- Developing Active Global Citizens
- Globalizing Schools and Institutions
- Expanding Access to Intercultural Learning
COVID-19 has changed the external and internal environment for AFS significantly: physical exchanges have mostly ground to a halt, AFS National Organizations and AFS International have fewer human and financial resources, and several AFS organizations went out of business.
In June, The Board of Trustees approved a revised version of the 3-year recovery plan, where several adjustments were made to create a plan that is balanced, inclusive, and takes the different stages of recovery of Partners into account, while still being ambitious. The priorities are as follows:
Priority #1 Programs: Rebuild and Strengthen our Programs
Priority #2 Operations: Build a more sustainable and flexible Network
Priority #3 Purpose: Strengthen our Social Impact and Global Competence Development
Phase 2 Consultation kick started with a deep dive session on the following topics with the goal to articulate positions and possibilities to work on the challenges of these long-standing issues:-
- Expand Network Capacity (‘AFS Priority’)
- Program Pricing and Hosting Fees
Partners were invited to participate in the deep dive sessions to ensure inclusivity and transparency as the continued process which has been successful so far.
The whole process of developing the plan sees active partner engagement and the network is working together as One AFS to ensure that we come out stronger.