Subject: News from Global Citizen Journey
From: Susan Partnow
Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2008 12:23:50 -0400 (EDT)

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Global Citizen Journey
Issue: 13
July, 2008
Dear Susan,

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
Quick Hits:

Picnic in the Park!
     All volunteers, delegates, supporters of GCJ are welcomed. JWest African danceoin 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:
     Mrs. GiftyPhoto of 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, Ghanachildren waving in new caps 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:
     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 back.

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:
  1. Community - this is a self-organized co-op, complete with leadership (President, VP, Secretary)
  2. Support for women:  the group is called "Kazoza Kumukenyezi" - "The woman's future".  This is by, for, and about women
  3. 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 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.
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.

Website Updates
We're getting web-savvy here at

  • 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 e-newsletter archive.
  • 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,, digg, and many more applications.
  • Stay connected! Click the new RSS Feed button (image below) to add GCJRSS feed image 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 with GlobeSmart®
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 future newsletter!

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 (, 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.

Willson writes 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.
In This Issue
GCJ Quick Hits
Planning team returns from Burundi
Website Changes
New tool to enhance intercultural sensitivity
July's Book of the Month
Heightened Tensions in the Niger Delta
Get to Know GCJ
Quick Links

burundian flag
Join us in Burundi in Summer 2009.
Find out more.
Upcoming Events
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 with kids in Burundi

Bob hangs out with the neighborhood children.

Burundi kids

Local children pose for the camera.

New homeowners in Burundi

Carama residents on the site of their future home.

New House in Burundi

Laying the foundations of a home while children gather in front of a finished home.

Citiboke water point - Burundi

Prosper stands in front of Citiboke water point.

Just a trickle - Burundi

Filling containers at a water point.

Rebuilding a house in Burundi

A collapsed house waiting to be rebuilt.


Updated photos from Ghana and Nigeria

Completed WHH building

Ghana - The finished Western Heritage Home Building

Children working with fingerpuppets

Ghana - Children in Axim play with finger puppets.


Giraffe Service Club International

Giraffe Service Club International in front of library

Nigeria - Students of the Giraffe Service Club International work outside the library
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