April 2010 Newsletter
Welcome to the April 2010 issue of the Global Washington newsletter. If you would like to contact us directly, please email us.
IN THIS ISSUE
- Note from our Executive Director
- Featured Organization: Bahia Street
- Book Review: Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an age of Plenty
- Changemaker: Mark Howard of Earthcorps
- Upcoming Events
- Featured Events
Note from our Executive Director
Thanks to all of you for responding to our Membership Satisfaction and Recruitment Survey Report. This month we share with you the highlights and findings of our survey which we conducted in February of 2010. I am so pleased to find that Global Washington members are pleased with the value in their Global Washington membership. We learned that 97% of Global Washington member respondents reported that they benefit from membership.
I am thrilled that so many of you responded to our survey. We gathered a lot of insightful information on how Global Washington can delve deeper into our membership services and programming in order to expand upon and enrich what we offer to the global development community in Washington State. Thank you for contributing your valuable time and your feedback.
Improvements suggested by members tend to be in areas that represent a further enhancement of existing GW programs and services rather than additions or eliminations ( More detail is provided in the summary of the survey). Members see GW’s networking/connecting function as membership’s greatest benefit as well as the area of greatest potential improvement. They want to move beyond the purely social aspects of networking and are looking for GW to facilitate connections that will more immediately serve specific organizational (or individual) needs. They are hungry to learn from each other and to establish targeted collaborations (on projects, policy & advocacy efforts, funding proposals, etc). They indicate that GW might have a role to play in these joint efforts.The survey presented several possible capacity-building workshop topics and invited respondents to list additional topics of interest. All four of the topics listed on the survey were popular with both members and non-members, with media skills and fundraising of the most value to members and leadership of the most value to non-members. Among the additional topics provided by respondents, the topic of partnerships/alliances/interdisciplinary collaborations clearly dominated the lists provided by both members and non-members and warrants consideration as a possible addition to the GW agenda. Other topics included: leveraging technology; student opportunities; branding & marketing; and K-12 global education.We take these important responses to our survey in to serious consideration in offering trainings and programs for the rest of 2010. We will be partnering with INETRACTION, ONE campaign, and Center for Global Development on several trainings so that we can use their existing curriculum and expertise in our region. We will also be sending you more information soon about our second annual conference in 2010. I hope to see you all there.We hope you, as a vital participant in Washington State’s global development community, can join us in these opportunities to both learn from experts and share your knowledge with others.
Bookda Gheisar, Executive Director
The lessons learned from Bahia Street are intended to give these girls the strength and tools with which they can engage the community and affect social change. It is important to emphasize that this education is intended to supplement the girls’ public school education: all Bahia Street girls attend public school in the morning and Bahia Street in the afternoon. This supplemental approach allows the Bahia Street students to go back to their public schools and become leaders and role models to other students in their classes. It keeps them connected with their communities so that they can work for change that benefits impoverished people beyond themselves.
With the lessons learned from Bahia Street, the girls and young women are able to excel in school and score high on college placement exams. After attending university, Bahia Street graduates have the knowledge, skills, and commitment needed to succeed individually while participating in the civic and social life of their communities and city. The end result is a growing population of educated and engaged African-Brazilian women able to lead their communities.
Bahia Street’s work addresses the core roots of poverty, recognizing that the only way to end poverty is to change the society in which it exists. As Nancy Bacon explains, “Poverty exists within societies that for better or worse have reached an equilibrium with poverty in place. The only way to permanently end poverty is to change that equilibrium to one where poor people have equal access to education, government services, and economic opportunities.” By giving local people the space and support they need to work for social change within their own society, Bahia Street builds local capacity for a range of initiatives that further equality and human rights in Salvador.
The lessons taught by Bahia Street are not only reserved for the poor girls and young women in Brazil, however. To inspire an international engagement on ideas and actions related to poverty, equality, and “collaborative social change,” Bahia Street provides various ways to educate non-Brazilians. Bahia Street organizes study trips to Brazil to give diverse participants the opportunity to experience the life and culture of African-Brazilian people living in Salvador and to teach models for sustainable “development.” Bahia Street also partners with universities in the development of study abroad programs focused on topics ranging from multi-cultural identity to creative writing. Bahia Street offers internships and volunteer opportunities in Seattle and Brazil.
But Bahia Street has not achieved these successes without challenges along the way. Many of the girls’ parents do not support their daughter’s Bahia Street attendance; they themselves have no context for the benefits of an education, and poverty drives the need for even children to work and not be in school. To overcome this, Bahia Street began teaching classes to the parents and caregivers, 50-percent of whom are single mothers. Through these classes, parents develop a trust in Bahia Street and its objectives, learn parenting and social skills, and become informed about important government initiatives aimed issues like domestic violence or school attendance.
The success of Bahia Street can be traced to the way in which it was founded. While grassroots projects run by dynamic local people exist all over the world, most internationally-supported humanitarian organizations are begun and directed by “developed world” managers seeking to meet a specific need in poorer countries. Bahia Street was founded the other way around. After growing up in the same impoverished circumstances experienced by Bahia Street students today, Rita Conceição was able to attend university and earn a degree because of the tireless support of a handful of women in her community who tutored and supported her all along the way. Tired of the relentless poverty all around her, Rita – with Margaret—set out and interviewed community members about poverty, asking them what they thought would end the cycle of poverty for their people. Every one of them—man and woman—said girls education. Rita asked Margaret to help her create a project that would address this need, and Margaret agreed with the stipulation that Rita lead the project. Margaret created the international infrastructure that keeps the power with the people being served while offering international fiscal support and transparency.
It is this local ownership of Bahia Street coupled with the dedication and care of those who operate it that makes it such a successful organization. If more aid projects follow the model of Bahia Street, a world with greater equality and justice can readily be achieved.
To learn more about Bahia Street’s mission and accomplishments, please visit their website at www.bahiastreet.org or read Margaret Willson’ book about co-founding Bahia Street with Rita, Dance Lest We All Fall Down.
Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty
by Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman
Published by PublicAffairs, New York, with the support of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, 2009. Hardcover edition $27.95.
When Wall Street Journal reporters Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman appeared at Seattle’s Town Hall late last June to speak about their new book, they opened by explaining the triple meaning for their title Enough : “There’s enough food for everyone; enough is enough ! (six million kids die yearly due to hunger); and enough people are now part of the worldwide movement to end hunger.” They went on to say that they collaborated on this book to “stir people up to reverse the neglect of the hunger issue.” Their “mantra,” they said, is to “outrage and inspire” people to act. The book’s focus is largely on hunger in Africa, and as the authors put it, on why the Green Revolution bypassed Africa. The authors begin with an account of the Green Revolution precipitated more than a half-century ago by the research of the late Norman Borlaug, whose developments in wheat production resulted in significant upturns in agricultural output in Mexico, India, China and elsewhere. They trace the movement away from Borlaug’s successes with small farmers, and show how the failure to focus on small farmers, the failure to develop needed infrastructure and the failure to develop a reliable pricing and market economy, along with increasing involvement of Western government actions, deprived Africans of the means of providing for themselves. With regard to the involvement of Western nations beginning at the time of decolonization in the 1960s, the book recounts many external causes of Africa’s poverty: ongoing debt to foreign lending institutions (the World Bank and the IMF) and governments, misuse of foreign aid funds by corrupt leaders, increasing subsidies to farmers in the United States and Europe while simultaneously denying local African governments the right to subsidize farmers for seed and fertilizer, and structural adjustment programs that focus on expanding the private sector, reducing local government expenditures and increasing exports of agricultural goods to earn money to pay off the cycles of debt. The authors also focus on conditions within Africa: the failure to develop a firm market economy in many African nations, the lack of adequate roads and other forms of distribution, the fluctuations in agricultural commodity prices which cause farmers to overproduce in some years, then underproduce in subsequent years due to the depressed prices caused by overproduction. The authors stated at their Town Hall appearance that much of hunger is “bad policy, neglect, hypocrisy, ignorance …” and the book deals extensively with the policies and in particular what the authors call the hypocrisy of the Western nations in denying African governments the right to practice economic policies that have been successful and widely practiced in Europe and the U.S.
The book benefits greatly from extensive interviews (including photos) with several small farmers in Africa who eloquently articulate their own economic problems and the factors causing them, including Diamba Coulibaly, a cotton farmer in Mali who in 2002 protested the US Farm Bill’s provisions increasing subsidies to U.S. cotton producers (which provide a “safety net” to U.S. producers against international price fluctuations, a protection African farmers do not receive) ; and Chombe Seyoum, an Ethiopian farmer who in 2002 had produced a bumper crop of fruits and vegetables (which as a result fetched low prices, causing him to lose money and reduce his production the following year, even shutting down his irrigation system, when famine occurred in the country). In addition to the impoverished farmers, the authors also mention farmers who benefit from policies favorable to agricultural development, including an Egyptian farmer whose calves are well provided for with Nile River water that flows into Egypt from dehydrated regions in neighboring Ethiopia. After recounting the above factors in impoverishment of Africa, the authors return to the Green Revolution and its focus on the small farmer, explaining how the role of the small farmers had been abandoned in favor of developments in other sectors of the economy, in particular manufacturing. The authors emphasize the point that a return to helping small farmers with subsidies for seed and fertilizer, with devising a stable market economy with protections from downward price fluctuations, and assuring that markets are available and reachable by an adequate infrastructure are key points in preventing malnutrition and starvation. In the second half of the book, the authors move in the direction of identifying solutions to the problems outlined in the first section. Big actors such as Bono and Bill Gates open the discussion, but the authors are careful to name grassroots activists, such as two Alabama homemakers who drew the attention of their Congressman Spencer Bachus to the burdens of debt and the positive effects of debt cancellation. (Bachus, a conservative, responded by becoming a leading sponsor of the Jubilee Act for Responsible lending in 2007, which focused on debt relief for heavily indebted countries). Corporate responsibility in assisting Africans suffering from malnutrition is exemplified by the Dutch freight company TNT’s strong involvement in fighting hunger by airlifting food surpluses to people in areas of high malnutrition. The author’s point about the harmful effects of Western countries’ agricultural policies is repeated here, with an emphasis on the destructive effect of U.S. policies which enable heavily subsidized farmers to export their produce to countries which otherwise can and should be able to produce these products for themselves. U.S. agricultural goods exporting becomes an extension of our foreign policy which damages local producers in poor nations.
Readers need to read to the end of the book for the best examples of how people at the grassroots level can take action. The examples of support for the ongoing cancellation of debts owed to international institutions, and the inspiring example of how Ohio farmers assisted villagers in rural Kenya in the construction of a small dam that dramatically increased agricultural output for the local villagers, is especially motivating for those who want to act. I personally did feel outraged (as the authors had intended), especially in learning that the U.S. agricultural policy was intentionally benefiting American producers while knowingly having a harmful effect on poor African farmers. There’s good news in that area, too… the authors explain at some length (in Chapter 12) the reforms that have been taking place since 2007 at the World Bank and other institutions. The impetus for these changes ? The decision by the government of Mali, in defiance of structural adjustment programs imposed on the country, to unilaterally decide to provide subsidies to their farmers in 2005, with the doubling of their output in corn the next year, and the export of surplus corn in the year that followed! Read this book, discuss it with everyone you know, and find the ways in which you will be inspired and outraged to act.
Mark Howard grew up near one of the largest air force bases in the U.S. in Omaha, Nebraska. Many of his classmates were first generation immigrants, which exposed Mark to unique multicultural communities rarely found elsewhere in the relatively homogenous state. He decided to combine his wanderlust and passion for wildlife conservation by applying to the Peace Corps. When Mark discovered his placement would be in the Philippines, he bought some Tagalog language tapes and began to prepare for his assignment. Striving to uncover an authentic experience while living in the Philippines, Mark wanted to immerse himself in his surrounding as much as possible.
In the Philippines, Mark was assigned to the Palawan Conservation Corps, a Filipino-lead NGO teaching youth ages 10-24 about conservation who could not afford public school. Even free public school incurred expenses that challenged families financially, as they still had to cover transportation, uniform, and food costs for their children. At the Palawan Conservation Corps, Mark worked with a youth group to combat widespread illegal fishing and deforestation through a program that teaches youth smart harvesting and husbandry. By participating in the program, youth were eligible to acquire a GED. After Mark and his team designed the area’s first tree nursery, he asked the group organizers where they learned methods to teach youth about conservation. They replied, “EarthCorps.”
“We are building a global community”
EarthCorps, founded in 1993 by returning Peace Corps volunteers, centers its mission on “sustainability, diversity, integrity, and service.” EarthCorps partners with local communities around the world and teaches them how to fulfill their community’s needs for environmental restoration. The organization emphasizes the importance of inspiring local people in other countries to help their communities, and sees greater value in locals impacting their own people than in outsiders trying to impose change.
EarthCorps currently manages 12,000 volunteers a year, with a youth corps program for young adults 18 – 25 and a volunteer program for all ages. EarthCorps works with a number of environmental organizations that host about twenty-five international participants per year from all over the world as trainees. Partners pay EarthCorps to sponsor the trainee’s visa, health insurance, room, board and a monthly stipend. Partner organizations also typically provide training gear and local transportation. The trainee pays for 2/3 of airfare and half of US visa processing fees. Mark feels the experience should not be completely free because it allows participants to take ownership of their participation in EarthCorps, giving the program greater personal meaning. In addition, EarthCorps coordinates an extern program, linking volunteers to projects all over the US.
“We need better outreach to youth”
When Mark first started at EarthCorps he noticed that it lacked a sound recruitment method. In Mark’s seven years at EarthCorps, he has seen the organization triple in size, and feels this is only the tip of the iceberg. Earthcorps’ youth corps program is highly competitive, with six out of 140 applicants recently selected. The competitive nature of the youth corps reflects the uniqueness of the program as well as the lack of other opportunities for youth seeking a conservation corps experience analogous to EarthCorps.
EarthCorps highly supports sharing resources and knowledge with other organizations doing international work. EarthCorps will be partnering with Global Visionaries to train their staff in environmental restoration methods for their conservation programs abroad. According to Mark, “The stronger the voice becomes, the more likely it will go viral and be lead by a shared vision.”
To learn more abut EarthCorps, please visit: http://www.earthcorps.org/index.php
Join leadership gurus Pat Vivian and Wendy Wantanabe for a 3-part capacity building series for Executive Directors: On April 29th, May 6th, and May 27th
Global Washington is offering an exciting opportunity for new directors of global development organizations. Meet with peers in three co-facilitated sessions to learn new skills, share ideas, and gain support in your leadership role. This experience will help you gain confidence and skills in leading change in your organization to improve your organization’s impact and sustainability. You will discover your own strengths as a leader and leave with a set of new or deepened relationships among peers working on global issues. These sessions are deliberately designed as a series to provide you with firsthand experience in developing and participating in a learning community. For more information on the Executive Director series, please click here.
World Citizen and World Educator Awards Celebration with Keynote Address on Balancing Business Development and Intellectual Property Protection in China
Each year, the World Affairs Council recognizes two outstanding leaders from the State of Washington. The World Citizen Award acknowledges someone who has made exceptional contributions to public understanding of public relations, community involvement in world affairs, and local understanding of cultures, societies, and economies from around the world. The World Educator Award acknowledges an exceptional teacher who demonstrates leadership in connecting their students to the world and contributes to the development of new programs and resources that enable other teachers to do the same.
Please join us as Bill Stafford, President of the Trade Development Alliance of greater Seattle receives the World Citizen Award, and Ben Wheeler, a teacher at Explorer West Middle Schoo, receives the World Educator Award. For more information on this event, please click here.
Interconnection Board Member – Invitation to Apply:
InterConnection.org is making three board of directors positions available in April. We are seeking people with real world skills in finance, business management and non-profit leadership. This is a tangible opportunity to make a difference around the world.
For over ten years InterConnection has provided refurbished computers to unemployed, low income, non-profits and schools both in the Seattle area and in developing countries. It has grown from a volunteer based organization to one with 10 full time staff, 20 volunteers per day, and the capacity to refurbish and distribute hundreds of computers per month.
Board members must be willing to serve on a ‘working board’. This means members are actively involved in decision making, developing plans for growth and outreach. While InterConnection provides computer and technology support, board members don’t require a technology background or skills.
Board meetings occur once a month, for two hours, at our center in Seattle. Mandatory attendance is expected and term commitment is two years. Before applying, please review the website: www.interconnection.org
To apply, send a statement of interest and resume to:
Charles Brennick, Director
Please submit applications by April 30, 2010
RESULTS Seattle panel discussion on “How Can We End Chronic Hunger Across the Globe?”
Join RESULTS Seattleon Tuesday evening, May 18 from 7 to 9 pm at Seattle University, Casey Building Room 516, for a book club open to the public. Featuring a panel discussion on how famines and malnutrition, especially in Africa, have been created by misguided foreign aid and agricultural public policies in both rich Western countries and in poor developing countries. These actions have had adverse outcomes for farmers and food production in developing countries. The book:Enough: Why the world’s poorest starve in an age of plenty,byRoger Thurow and Scott Kilman.
The Panel of Speakers on areas covered in the book
- Sheiko Nagawo, a RESULTS volunteer, Seattle school teacher, parent of 3 children and Oromo immigrant who lived through some of the famines in Ethiopia and has followed US foreign policy changes towards his native country.
- Dr. Jonathan Gorstein, has 2 decades of experience as a nutritionist in developing countries. He teaches in the UW Dept of Global Health and is director of Sajilo Solutions which aims to improve nutritional status of vulnerable populations in developing countries. Sajilo consults with programs such as the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the Gates Foundation. For more information: http://www.sajilosolutions.org/index.html
- Heather Day is a founder and the Executive Director of the Seattle-based Community Alliance for Global Justice, and co-founded AGRA Watch, a project of CAGJ. She just returned from Kenya where she met with many farmers and organizations doing organic sustainable agriculture. She will share first hand reports on activities of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) that is funded by the Gates & Rockefeller Foundations. For more information: http://www.seattleglobaljustice.org/agra-watch/
For more information about RESULTS, contact email@example.com
For more information about the RESULTS book club, contact Ellie Graham at firstname.lastname@example.org Get involved in social justice issues
Seattle photographer and global gender empowerment activist Phil Borges seeks feedback and participation by organizations in his motivational website http://stirringthefire.com/. His goal is to inspire individuals to get informed and involved in social justice issues through study abroad (and other conduits). Is your organization listed on his site? Should it be? Please direct comments to:
www.bridges2understanding.org Artvocacy: An IRC sponsored event featuring original artwork by Seattle’s refugee and immigrant community
In June 2010, the IRC in Seattle will hold its fifth annual arts event in honor of World Refugee Day. Titled Artvocacy 2010, this event provides area refugee artists and performers an occasion to share their art and gain exposure while raising awareness of refugee issues. We are asking you to help us spread the word to first and second generation refugee artists and craftspeople who might be interested in participating in this year’s show.
Artvocacy offers the public an opportunity to learn more about experiences that refugees face, while giving participating artists a chance to network with the wider arts community. As in past years, we expect over 350 guests to attend and enjoy the fine arts, traditional crafts, and modern artistic expressions reflecting the diversity and value of the cultural contributions that refugees make in our communities. Artvocacy has been a great channel through which we’ve raised awareness of refugees in the past and we hope to uphold and continue the trend this year. If you have any questions, or would like to attend this year’s event, please contact Maggi Little at +1 206 623 2105 or Maggi.Little@theIRC.org
Washington Global Health Alliance Discovery Series
Please join Ambassador Mark Dybul, MD, Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Co-Director of the Global Health Law Program at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 “for a lecture and networking reception on “PEPFAR: A Case Study on How to Save Lives by Breaking All the Rules”. Lecture at 6 p.m., with Networking Reception in Vista Café at 7 p.m. at the Foege Auditorium, Genome Sciences Building, 1705 NE Pacific St. Seattle, WA 98195
A public showing of the film Lumo
May 2nd at Seattle University, in which Mama Muliri was featured. Lumo is an intimate look into a woman’s tragedy and healing process, and, by extension, into the scourge of rape that marks the war-torn politics of central Africa. Lumo is also the story of a remarkable African hospital that works tirelessly to restore the physical and mental health of women suffering in an epidemic of fistula caused by rape. For details about this showing, please visit http://exiledvoicesforjustice.org/films/congo
Sunday, May 2, 11am-3pm
Pigott Auditorium, Seattle University
901 Twelfth Ave.
Seattle, WA 98122
NBR Co-Presents ASEAN: CROSSROADS OF GLOBAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT
Luncheon and Seminar
SEATTLE On May 3, 2010, the US-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Business Council and the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), in partnership with the Trade Development Alliance (TDA), The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) and the National Center for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (NCAPEC), will present the seminar “ASEAN: The Crossroads of Global Trade and Investment” and host a luncheon for invited guests. U.S. Trade Representative The Honorable Ron Kirk and ASEAN Secretary General H.E. Dr. Surin Pitsuwan will be joined by trade ministers from Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos and Brunei — five of the ten ASEAN member countries — to promote commercial development and trade opportunities for Washington State in Southeast Asia.
Why is ASEAN important for U.S. business?
- Southeast Asia’s markets are already leading the global economy. In the ASEAN region, made up of ten nations — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma/Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — 2010 growth estimates range between 3-8 percent.
- ASEAN has a collective GDP of nearly $1.5 trillion and a population of nearly 600 million.
- ASEAN is the fifth-largest trading partner and the fourth-largest export market for the U.S., with two-way ASEAN-U.S. goods and services trade reaching $203 billion in 2008.
- The average ASEAN consumer purchases TWICE as many American goods as the average Chinese consumer!
- U.S. The Honorable Ron Kirk, United States Trade Representative
- ASEAN H.E. Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary General of ASEAN
- Malaysia H.E. Dato’ Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of Trade and Industry
- Indonesia H.E. Dr. Mari Pangestu, Minister of TradeBrunei
- H.E. Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng, Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and TradeLaos
- H.E. Dr. Nam Viyaketh, Minister of Industry and CommerceThailand
- H.E. Dr. Porntiva Nakasai, Minister of Commerce
Monday, May 3, 2010
11:00 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Seminar on ASEAN: The crossroads of trade and investment in Asia and the focal point of developing regional architecture
1:00-2:15 p.m. Luncheon: Keynote address by USTR Ambassador Ron Kirk
2:15-3:15 p.m. Networking session between U.S. Government export promotion agencies and small- and medium-sized business audience participants
Four Seasons Hotel
99 Union Street, Seattle, WA 98101
For more information or to request a press pass, please call Ms. Neepaporn “A” Boungjaktha at (206) 389-7289 or email at email@example.com.
Please submit your events to our calendar!
Global Washington Events
April 23 -25
World Citizen and World Educator Awards Celebration with Keynote Address on Balancing Business Development and Intellectual Property Protection in China
Service in Action Seminar Series 2009-2010: Storytelling for Effective Advocacy