In years past, this introduction would highlight the many reasons to give praise to God for the goodness experienced throughout the year, to reflect on the challenges faced, and to rejoice in the successes that ACT has shared in over the past 52 weeks.
Going into 2020, we knew there would be changes to the leadership of ACT, following Adriaan stepping down as both International and Country Director. After a time of prayer and discernment, the Interim Leadership Team (ILT) was formed for the next season – Isabelle as Interim General Director for ACT Tunisia and ACT International, Freddie as Director of Finance and Hannah joining as Interim Director of Communications & Administration. The ILT is set to run until April 1st, 2021. We are thankful to Freddie for extending her time with us.
Our first online Board and Annual General Meetings took place in 2020. What a joy to reconnect with many, to share updates of the project work going on and engage with and think ahead to the next strategic direction and planning ACT will look to discern.
The Sfax office was closed in June as staff relocated or moved on from ACT. We are thankful for all the relationships fostered, and we hope one day to be able to have an ACT presence in Sfax once more.
We welcomed a few new faces to the ACT family – from both far and near. It has been a joy to see the ACT family grow and take new shape as people settle into their roles. A new project was also started, working with mental health professionals in the south (more information available in section 2).
2020 also saw a replacement Director of Finance and a new Director of Projects appointed, both to start at various points in 2021 – and both huge answers to the prayers of many, for which we are so thankful!
The restrictions imposed in the wake of Covid-19 have had ongoing impacts on all aspects of work and life for ACT. In response to the onset of the pandemic, ACT planned and implemented a countrywide relief effort between April and June, with its final activities taking place between October and December. Teams have had to be creative in how they can meet and support each other. Project Managers have sought to ensure their transformational work continues whilst gauging what is responsible and wise to undertake – this balance has been especially delicate for the projects who work with groups in health risks for the virus.
Lots of ink (or pixels?) will be used to record the events of 2020 the world over, and, indeed, there is plenty of space dedicated to the year’s events – Covid or other – further on in this report. Following the onset of the pandemic, the familiar adage – “In the same boat” – needed to be altered.
Recent events have shown that, while we may be facing the same storm, we are not all in the same boat. The devastation experienced by many serves as a great reminder that there is an overwhelming global need for servant-heartedness, sacrificial giving, and transformational care of and support for the most vulnerable.
We repeat Adriaan’s words from 2019: “With a committed board, loyal members, passionate staff, serving trustees and a growing group of praying friends and supporters, ACT is a global, diverse and unique group of people. Together we believe that there is an answer to injustice, brokenness, hatred, abuse and marginalization. An answer that is centred around our Christian faith, driven by our values and put into action!” Whatever the storms faced, or the boat sailed, this is still the ultimate truth of who we are as ACT.
Our hope for 2021 is that we are able to look back on what the past season of learning has taught us, and how we have been shaped to be better equipped for the new horizons ahead – following God’s guidance and relying on an abundance of grace and mercy.
May God bless you all!
Isabelle D., Freddie H., & Hannah M.
Interim Leadership Team ACT