So much is going on this summer as we
both prepare for future journeys and engage in citizen diplomacy here
in Seattle. Read on for exciting updates about Burundi 2009, some of
our spinoff projects from past journeys, and our summer reading list.
Miss us? Scroll down to learn more
about our upcoming picnic! Hope to see you soon,
Global Citizen Journey
Picnic in the Park!
All volunteers, delegates, supporters
of GCJ are welcomed. Join us for music, singing, and dance lessons
from Awal Alhassan, an extraordinary dancer from Ghana. Bring your
instruments! We'll be right at the water's edge, so be ready to
play in and out of the water (we have covered shelter no matter what
the weather brings) Bring food and drink to share - especially
with an international flavor. We'll gather at Shelter #1 (near the
play area just south of the Environmental Education Center, near the
lake, at Seward Park from 5 to 9 pm on Friday, August 22nd.
Daasgift Quality Foundation:
Gifty Baaba Asmah, one of our amazing GCJ Ghana delegates in 2006, is
the founder and executive director of Daasgift Quality Foundation. It was incredible to see her in action
during the women's leadership sessions we helped sponsor during the
journey: she is tremendously inspiring and talented. Gifty
continues to help others through the development of Daasgift, which
provides business development and micro finance services to the rural
and urban poor. It is based in Takarodi, the city that is nearest to
our project site in Axim, Ghana. We are proud of Gifty and
appreciate the important gifts she is bringing to the people in the
region. Due in part to the generous donations by a number of GCJ
delegates, she was able to attend an important international
conference on microlending this Spring. To learn more about
Daasgift, please see their website.
Ghana Together gets their 501c3:
CONGRATULATIONS to our GCJ Ghana
delegates! We're thrilled to witness the ongoing commitment and
dedication of our GCJ Ghana delegates, who have just created their
own non profit, Ghana Together. We are filled with pride and awe --
GCJ feels like we've expanded our family. The Western Heritage Home
and the children it provides a home to are flourishing, with success
at school, a loving staff, and shared nutritious meals. Check out
the news on our blog page and be sure to check out their website: www.ghanatogether.org.
Accompanying photo: children in Axim show off their new caps.
Citizen Diplomacy in action: AGRA
dialogue with the Gates Foundation:
GCJ has been paying close attention to
the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). We acknowledge
the serious problems created by the 'first' wave of Green
Revolutions which industrialized agriculture, brought expensive
fertilizers, debt, terminator seeds and loss of small farmers to
India, Asia and the United States back in the 70's and beyond. We
have met with an ad hoc group, AGRA Watch, formed by the Community
Alliance for Global Justice (CAGJ), and now AGRA Watch has been
invited by the Gates Foundation to engage in the first dialogue on
July 14. Global Citizen Journey's role will be to create a
respectful and open 'learning and listening space' where all
concerns will be raised and considered. Our hope will be that
arising from these interactions, the actions, decisions, and outcomes
will be in the best interests of the ordinary people of Africa -
our fellow global citizens. Learn more about AGRA.
|Planning team just back from Burundi!
|The "Away Team" is on their way back from an incredible two
weeks in Burundi these first two weeks of July. GCJ Burundi Project Director
Brock Blatter was joined by delegates Bob Flax and Wes Herbert. Hosted and
supported by our Burundi Host, Prosper Ndbashuriye, they spent much of their
time in Carama helping to build homes and latrines, getting to know the
community, getting the full update on the situation with water there, and
learning about their needs. Take a look at the Burundi blog for some of Brock's fabulous reporting. We'll be
integrating what they learned and have more to report soon, so keep checking
Brock reports that it is now looking most likely that our
GCJ Burundi 2009 project will be a women's farming co-op - for a
number of powerful and inspiring reasons:
We think we'd be able to pay for the land, hand tools,
seed and fertilizers and help to create a storage/meeting space. Another
alternative we are considering would be building a bridge.
- Community - this is a
self-organized co-op, complete with leadership (President, VP, Secretary)
- Support for women: the group
is called "Kazoza Kumukenyezi" - "The woman's
future". This is by, for, and about women
- Real, meaningful, help -
people will eat better if we do this project. This project could save lives.
They'll grow two crops, peanuts (no fertilizer needed) to harvest in November,
then rice (needs fertilizer) to harvest in May.
We still have room for 7 delegates, so we hope you'll
think about applying and/or sharing this life changing possibility with
colleagues and friends. We'd especially like some delegates with
background in agriculture.
|We're getting web-savvy here at www.globalcitizenjourney.org:
- Check out our new Google search
feature to find exactly what you're looking for! Just type your
query into the search box at the left hand side of every page and
search the whole site - journey blogs, info pages - even our
- We've added Google maps to each of our project sites--head on over and learn more about the places we've been!
- Use our new bookmark buttons to
add your favorite GCJ pages to your Facebook profile, del.icio.us,
digg, and many more applications.
- Stay connected! Click the new RSS
Feed button (image below) to add GCJ updates to your favorite feed reader! Feed readers
like iGoogle, MyYahoo, Sage, or Newsgator take the latest GCJ
headlines and posts and consolidate them in one place for you - put
them right alongside newspaper headlines, local weather, and tons of
other information, on your personalized homepage.
GCJ Delegates Enhance Intercultural Sensitivity
New tool to give cultural insight to our delegates.
|With the support and initiative of GCJ
Ghana delegate Louise Wilkinson and Ken Belanger (Director, Aperian
Global Human Resources) we have been working with Aperian Global's
Corporate Social Responsibility unit (under its Corporate Partners
Plan) to develop a pilot project. They decided they would offer
premier clients the opportunity to extend their GlobeSmart®
license to a charitable international NGO doing work that can be
enhanced by international cultural understanding.
Aperian selected Boeing as their first
premier client, and GCJ is delighted to have been selected by Boeing
as their NGO of choice.
What does this mean? Now our delegates
will have access to this powerful web tool which provides easy access
to information on conducting business with people from more than 50
countries. As described on their website, "GlobeSmart
addresses the greatest cause of difficulties in global business
interactions--the challenges of relating and communicating
successfully with counterparts from other countries. The tool
develops awareness on three levels: individual self awareness,
awareness of other cultures, and awareness of global business. GlobeSmart helps organizations avoid costly mistakes and lost
productivity by enabling them to leverage their global diversity."
While their inventory of 50 countries does not include Ghana or
Burundi, we are finding a review of their rich data on neighboring
Nigeria and Angola provides great insights. View a demo of this tool. Much gratitude to
Aperian Global, Ken Belanger and Boeing!
|dance lest we all fall down
July's Book of the Month
|We at Global Citizen Journey not only
love to read, we love to share what we read with our friends!
Starting this month we'll be adding a book review to every
newsletter, but we'd love to hear what you're reading, as well.
If you have anything to add to our resources list, let us know; if you'd
like to write up a review, send it on in, and we'll include it in a
dance lest we all fall down: a journey of friendship, poverty, power and peace
by Margaret Willson, Cold Tree Press, (2007).
This inspiring, fascinating and
great-to-read first person account tells of the founding and
development of Bahia Street (www.bahiastreet.org), a grassroots
organization dedicated to creating a top quality educational center
for girls in an African-Brazilian shantytown in Northeastern Brazil.
Co-Founder/Author Margaret Willson exemplifies what GCJ aspires to:
a deep sense of our interconnectedness with respect, trust and
deference to communities to know the best way to meet their
challenges. She offers wise insights about the pitfalls of
'do-gooder' impulses and the complexities of racism, class and
power, and an extraordinary example of community based change.
with the sensitivity and language of a poet. In this section she addresses the role of power/patronage in international aid:
"I began to think about the giving away of
power. Generosity in terms of the donation of material things is
comparatively easy. We keep the power because we never give away
things we really think we need, and because through giving we
increase our social power. We do nothing to destabilize the status
quo." "...people start nonprofits for all kinds of reasons, and,
generally, the primary reason is not that they want to change the
world. Perhaps that is what they think they want to do when they
start, but individual development aid projects have a great deal to
do with personal insecurity and the desire for power...We have a
concrete idea of what a "good" life for others is and what they
need to have this "good" life. So, we force ideas upon them...We
want to write the curriculum, design the housing project, the water
project, the solar project-whatever it is that we think would be
best for others...In the end, however, we keep the control of society
in our hands. This is also why most projects help people just enough
to give them tools to survive, but not to raise them to a level to
make them equal with the ruling class. This would be dangerous
because we would no longer have control...Central to actual change is
the real giving away of power and influence. This is very difficult
on a personal level because we want to be recognized for our work,
for the things we have done that have actually helped, and for the
time we have spent on whatever project we feel strongly about.... But,
I began to realize, giving away power is a learning experience of the
deepest kind. Through giving away outward power, I realized I had
begun to gain internal power...."
Read more at the Bahia Street website.
|Report from the Niger Delta
Heightened tensions in the region brings attention to gas flares
|From Mary Ella
Keblusek, Project Director for GCJ Nigeria - The Niger Delta
has been in the news frequently in the last few months, as heightened
tensions between the people who live in the Niger Delta and the
government / oil companies has led to increased violence, and is at
least partially responsible for the rapid increase in the global oil
crisis. The federal government has proposed yet another 'summit'
which is seen by many as merely a way to delay addressing the
long-term problems of the region. The British government recently
offered military support to the Nigerian government to help control
the delta. This was not well received by those living in the delta,
who have waged significant protests and threatened to call off a
recent truce. Events are clearly accelerating in the area, and we
are hopeful that something tangible will come out of the federal
governments realization that 'business as usual' is no longer
going to be acceptable.
On a positive note, at least one
representative of the Nigerian government has suggested that if the
oil companies don't hold to the current deadline of the end of this
year for removing their gas flares, the government will take care of
it by closing installations that have gas flares until the situations
are corrected. This would be an excellent step toward reducing one of
the major global contributors of green house gases.
Report from the Library - The local
high school has adopted the Niger Delta Friendship Library as a
service project, and students now work at the building twice a week doing clean
up and maintenance. Using learning materials donated by Whidbey
Island-based nonprofit Giraffe Heroes Project, the group decided to call
themselves the Giraffe Service Club International. Their leader,
teacher Job Bebenimibo, was the person who first suggested that GCJ
build a library in Oporoza as our project for the 2005 delegation. The Service Club members are also working
on improving their computer skills so that they can teach others how
to use the computer facility portion of the library.
|Join us in Burundi in Summer 2009.
|Find out more.
|Want to get to know GCJ? Join us on Tuesday, July 29th from 5:15-7 for an informal conversation and video presentation. (email for more directions).
Check out our website for
an updated list of events!
Picnic in the Park!
Join us this August 22nd from 5pm to 9pm for a picnic at Seward Park, Shelter #1.
GCJ delegates, volunteers, alumni and friends are all welcome to a day of Ghanaian dance lessons, music, international potluck, and fun. Mark it on your calendar!
|Do You Have A Story To Share?
|We're in the process of collecting delegate stories to add to our website, and to use in order to help future delegates prepare for a Journey. Are you a former delegate with a story to shore? Let us know!
|Bob, Brock and Wes sent us some photos from Burundi--join us at the picnic to see more when they return!
Bob hangs out with the neighborhood children.
Local children pose for the camera.
Carama residents on the site of their future home.
Laying the foundations of a home while children gather in front of a finished home.
Prosper stands in front of Citiboke water point.
Filling containers at a water point.
A collapsed house waiting to be rebuilt.
Updated photos from Ghana and Nigeria
Ghana - The finished Western Heritage Home Building
Ghana - Children in Axim play with finger puppets.
Nigeria - Students of the Giraffe Service Club International work outside the library