Welcome to the January 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
- Spotlight: A Blueprint for Action for Washington’s Global Development Sector
- Featured Organizations: Global Washington Members Respond to the Crisis in Haiti
- Changemaker: Jessica Markowitz – Rallying Seattle area youth to help educate girls in Rwanda
- Global Entertainment: The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care
- Announcements: Watch Kristof’s Keynote Speech Online Now, Global WA Co-Sponsoring “WA for Haiti” Event, Celebrate International WA at the Governor’s Mansion, Intl. Health Care Volunteers Sought for Summer 2010
- Upcoming Events
Happy solar new year to all of you. I hope that you had an opportunity to enjoy your holiday time with your family and loved ones.
I want to thank all of you who participated in giving us some critical and needed feedback about Global Washington’s priorities for 2010.
Global Washington’s steering committee and staff reviewed feedback from our first annual conference in December. This information was integrated with the priority areas noted throughout the year. As a result, we have further focused and defined our vision and mission.
STRENGTHENING efforts build the global development public and private sectors capabilities for knowledge sharing, resource mobilization, professional development, communications, public awareness and organizational effectiveness in global development’s public and private sectors.
CONVENING efforts connect partners, sponsor collaborations, share and leverage resources and provide access to decision makers to support member-based programs.
ADVOCACY efforts promote the Washington State global development sector in order to identify increased resources, to enhance the visibility of the sector with Washington State citizens and to serve as a voice for global development interests based in Washington State.
Our 2010 agenda
Likewise, member feedback guided a few significant Global Washington program additions, events and resources. Our work over this coming year in developing and offering these new programs will also help us operationalize all of our priority areas. Highlights include:
- Creation of a Job Bank and Mapping Tool where member organizations can post employment, project, and volunteer opportunities and where they can profile staff and projects in a way that fosters collaboration.
- Global Socials, networking events targeting specific regions and timely issues. Topics of some of the exciting socials already in the works are “Issues to tackle in the Muslim world,” Global education priorities and partnerships” and “Connecting our state to ‘the other Washington’: A Meeting with USAID.”
- A series of Capacity Building Workshops to strengthen member organizations in areas they told us were highest-priority. The series will address topics such as: monitoring and evaluation; leadership; media relations; and fundraising.
- Creation of an Education Working Group with the kind of broad representation and innovative thinking to serve as a catalyst for Washington State’s global education sector. This group will help identify priorities and goals for promising new programs and approaches. Focus areas include new avenues for educational collaboration and impact; reliable and valid metrics; and innovative global citizenship and study abroad programs.
- Support for the development of Public-Private Partnerships through facilitating the creation of guiding principles for initiation and management of public-private partnerships; providing case studies that illuminate key issues and foster critical discussion; and by coordinating town hall meetings and roundtables with USAID and Washington State organizations and businesses.
- Promotion of Member Organizations through a variety of media in order to publicize their accomplishments and expertise. These efforts will include: increasing connections between member organizations and the media through events, databases, broadcast sponsorships and enhanced capabilities of Global Washington Connects; featuring member organizations through print and digital media and via a Speakers Forum; and building relationships with Results, Interaction and the ONE Campaign.
- Enhancing Policy and Public Awareness through creation and dissemination of whitepapers and briefings with policymakers; polling of Washington State residents regarding global development; public awareness campaigns that educate and engage Washington residents in global development and its importance.
Bookda Gheisar, Executive Director
In fall of 2009, Global Washington announced a process for the global development community of recognizing shared obstacles, learning from our common successes and realizing our best ideas and innovations. The plan was to emerge with a Blueprint for Action to set out concrete goals and benchmarks for the global development movement in the coming years.
Moving forward with this unified voice, we will use the blueprint sector-wide to persuade decision-makers, funders and the media, and to guide our own collaborative efforts towards these shared goals.
Together, the global development community will lead the way into the next decade – mobilizing the public and effecting transformational change around the world.
In the wake of Haiti’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake last week, the international community struggles to cope with the harrowing images and stories from the field. Of course, this is nothing compared to the devastation on the ground, and the sobering reality of what it will take for Haiti to recover. Our hearts go out to organizations that have lost staff in the disaster, and to the three million displaced Haitians who are left to grieve for their loved ones and for their country.
Since Global Washington is a hub to many of the state’s humanitarian relief and global development organizations, we would showcase some of our member’s response and contributions to the relief efforts in Haiti:
Peace Winds America, a Seattle-based international disaster relief NGO, and its sister organization, Peace Winds Japan, are teaming up to deliver aid to earthquake ravaged Haiti. CEO Dr. Charles Aanenson departed for Haiti on Tuesday January 19 to coordinate the effective distribution of medical and food supplies. They are working with an indigenous non-governmental organization, the Center for Health and Development (CDS, Centre pour le Developpement et la Santé), in Port au Prince, La Saline, and La Place Kasel.
World Vision has been working in Haiti for over 30 years and is collecting cash and product donations for its Haiti earthquake relief fund. World Vision has a team of rapid response professionals specifically trained in providing natural disaster assistance. In addition, the Federal-Way based Christian humanitarian organization already had 800 staff working on the ground when the earthquake struck on January 12th. Relief efforts currently underway include distributing emergency and basic needs supplies, as well as creating “child friendly” spaces to help protect unaccompanied children.
Mona Foundation is working with agencies such as the Red Cross, Food for the Poor, and Doctors without Borders to support their efforts in providing emergency care such as clean water, food and medical care. In addition, the Mona Foundation, which supports Anis Zunuzi School in the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, has set up a Haiti Disaster and Reconstruction Fund, from which 100% of all donations will be directly sent to Haiti. They are developing a plan for reconstructing schools in parts of Haiti damaged by the earthquake.
Mercy Corps deployed an emergency response team to Haiti, and is working with Partners in Health to provide survivors with access to clean water and sanitation. Mercy Corps will initiate a cash-for-work program that pays earthquake survivors a daily wage to clear debris, restore buildings and repair basic infrastructure. Mercy Corps will also implement a post-trauma counseling program for children to help them cope with the disaster’s mental health impact.
Medical Teams International Nine Medical Teams International volunteer physicians and nurses are hard at work at various hospitals in Port au Prince. At Kings Hospital, a 350-bed inpatient facility that survived the earthquake, our volunteer orthopedic surgeons are operating on people who were injured and who lost limbs as a result of the earthquake. They are also assisting at other temporary hospitals throughout the area and are beginning to send volunteers to hospitals outside of Port au Prince because many people who are injured have fled the city in a desperate search for medical care.
Microsoft has stepped up to the plate with an initial pledge of $1.25 million in cash and in-kind materials to the relief effort, has activated its Disaster Response Team to monitor the situation in Haiti, and has also teamed with NetHope to establish temporary telecommunications infrastructure to help organize relief efforts on the ground. In addition to asking employees to support relief efforts, Microsoft’s Akhtar Badshah posted this Huffington Post column asking for donations.
InterConnection and World Concern have partnered to send refurbished laptops to Haiti. Anyone can help by donating a working Pentium 3 or Pentium 4 laptop by mail, shipping costs will be covered. Equipment will be refurbished, equipped with French Microsoft Windows and Office, shipped to Haiti, and deployed to communication hubs wherever they are needed the most.
The Grameen Foundation encourages you to post words of encouragement to the people of Haiti in their blog. Grameen Foundation is also accepting donations as they team up with their local partner Fonkoze in an effort to help families recover from the earthquake. Oikocredit is also monitoring and supporting the work of its Haiti project partner Fonkoze as it responds to the earthquake.
RenegAID is working to mobilize the donation and delivery of good used (or new) bikes to Haiti’s earthquake survivors
The Max Foundation provides a link to their partner organization, Partners in Health, for guidance and information on relief efforts in Haiti. The African Chamber of Commerce of the Pacific Northwest is also asking their members to donate money through the Partners in Health website.
The Seattle Foundation has listed seven organizations active in the recovery of Haiti to which you can donate. TSF also encourages supporting projects focused on disaster readiness in Haiti and the rest of the world.
RESULTS encourages donations to two organizations working on the disaster response in Haiti: Partners in Health, and Fonkoze.
Washington Global Health Alliance has provided a list of their partner organizations working on disaster relief in Haiti, and what each group is doing in response to the Haitian earthquake.
The University of Washington’s Office of Global Affairs has organized a list of organizations to which you can make a donation to aid the victims of the disaster in Haiti.
PATH has developed a list of four relief organizations that are currently working in Haiti and encourage you to make a donation.
Many more fantastic organizations, both here in Washington and beyond, are also contributing to the relief efforts in Haiti. Please visit our Help Haiti page to learn more about relief efforts and how you can get involved.
It can be easy to underestimate youth. But at 14-years-old, Jessica Markowitz has already proven herself to be a remarkably powerful role model for inspiring Seattle area youth to participate in humanitarian issues and see themselves as part of a global community. Three years ago, Jessica founded Richard’s Rwanda, an organization dedicated to helping girls in Rwanda receive an education. As a freshman at Garfield High School, she is pioneering the next generation of leadership striving for a more equitable and educated world.
In 2006, Jessica’s family hosted Richard Kananga, a Rwandan human rights advocate working with children whose lives were devastated by the genocide. As Richard spoke about the tragedy and the importance of rebuilding hope and forgiveness in the country, Jessica was inspired and determined to find her own way of contributing to Rwanda’s healing process. Richard spoke of the important role female education plays in rebuilding Rwanda’s economic and social vitality. As a young, female student who felt very connected with her academic community, it was an issue that personally resonated with Jessica. She began generating support from her community, talking with fellow students and organizing bake sales and school supply drives. Today, Richard’s Rwanda has expanded chapters into five Seattle high schools.
So far, Richard’s Rwanda has sponsored 22 girls in rural Rwanda, providing school uniforms, supplies, and covering the cost of school fees. Jessica recently received the 2009 World of Children Award, regarded as the “Nobel Prize for Children”, at UNICEF in New York. The proceeds from the award are going toward building a library in Rwanda. But beyond the physical contributions of Richard’s Rwanda, the heart of the organization’s success may lie in Jessica’s ability to engage the girls on a much more personal level. Jessica has traveled to Rwanda several times, building lifelong friendships with the girls. Her youth has proven to be a powerful asset to her organization’s achievements, as she may be able to reach out to Rwandan girls in a way that an adult could not.
During her visit to Rwanda last summer, Jessica taught a women’s empowerment class. She asked the girls to stand in the front of the room, say their name, and declare, “I am powerful, strong, and a leader.” Many of the girls were shy and hesitant at first, needing to be urged to speak up so their peers could hear them. But overnight something seemed to sink in with the girls. “The next day each girl kept coming up to me, saying her name and telling me she is ‘powerful, strong, and a leader’,” Jessica said.
Jessica speaks about her work with Richard’s Rwanda energetically, citing motivation, leadership, and the willingness to take risks as defining characteristics of a “changemaker”. It is easy to tell that she benefits from her work as much as the girls she sponsors, which may be why she is so magnetic in rallying her fellow peers.
Jessica embodies the humanitarian spirit of helping those less fortunate, but does so with self-awareness and humility. She recognizes the intellectual puzzle that plagues many in the global development field: There is so much that needs to be done, where do I start? For Jessica, she started by being powerful, strong, and a leader.
For more information on Richard’s Rwanda, please visit:
For further reading on Jessica Markowitz, please visit:
Global Entertainment: The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care
In his new book The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care (2009), T.R. Reid compares the U.S. health care system to others around the world and concludes that just about every other wealthy democracy has a health care system that is cheaper, more efficient, and more socially fair. This well-crafted, well-researched, and thought-provoking book is not only timely in light of current health care reforms in the U.S.; it also sheds light on health care in industrialized and developing countries around the world, giving guidance for those in the process of building a health care system.
Reid’s quest began after he suffered a shoulder injury in the 1970s. Not satisfied with the prognosis that he needed shoulder replacement surgery, he took his injury to doctors around the globe. Reid’s shoulder was “examined, X-rayed, patted, poked, palpated, massaged, and manipulated in countless ways” using techniques ranging from Western medicine to Ayurveda and acupuncture. Besides the treatments themselves, Reid was exposed to widely differing medical and insurance systems, patient care practices, and ethical systems. Reid’s account of these experiences provides an insightful and entertaining narrative background for the book’s empirical research and historical analysis.
The book begins by outlining the features of several state-level health care models around the world, and then selects a number of case studies that reflect these models: France, Germany, Japan, Britain, and Canada. He also includes an interesting discussion of Taiwan, Switzerland, and some developing countries for comparison. Reid chooses these cases not only because they demonstrate a diversity of models for health care, but also because they are comparable to the U.S. in terms of their wealth, and their economic and political systems. Reid then provides us with rich historical background about the formation of these systems along with an account of how they rate in terms of four fields: universality of coverage, quality of care, cost to the public and individual, and how much choice health care recipients enjoy under each system.
As it turns out, all the countries that Reid analyses provide universal health coverage to their citizens—except for the U.S. He explains this anomaly in terms of historical factors and also moral standards that are lacking in the U.S. We need to ask ourselves, he writes: “What are America’s basic ethical values? Do we believe that every American has a right to health care when he needs it?” For the other countries in this analysis, there exists an ethical consensus that every citizen indeed has the basic right to health care. And although the U.S. does not provide universal coverage, it still spends more money on health care than any other country. This is because, compared to all these other countries, the U.S. has a painfully complex, fragmented, overlapping, and conflicting payment system. Reid writes: “In fact, a better organized system, covering everyone, would almost certainly cut our health care costs—after all, every other rich nation’s health care system is cheaper than ours.”
I recommend this book to anyone interested in the topics of domestic and global health care. I also recommend the book to those who have thought little about this issue– it is quite an illuminating and educational read.
Ketty Loeb, Founder
- Nicholas Kristof Keynote Speech Now Available Online : For a limited time, you can now view Nicholas Kristof”s keynote speech from our conference December on our website. Kristof, who co-authored the best-selling book “Half the Sky – Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” (now in its 17th printing ) with his wife Sheryl WuDunn, discussed the need to focus on women & girls when addressing poverty and injustice as well as highlighted Washington’s role as a leader in addressing global development issues. Click here to watch the video now; available online for 30 days.
- Global Washington Co-Sponsoring “Washington for Haiti” Event, Jan. 28th: Global Washington has joined together with Seattle Greendrinks, SeaMo, Re-Vision Labs and Seattle Works to co-host “Washington for Haiti“ in recognition of the urgent need for support on Thursday, January 28 from 6:00 – 9:00pm. All proceeds will be going directly to Fonkoze, and the event will provide an opportunity for the Seattle community to gather and learn from experts and witnesses, since the more we know about the tragedy, the more likely we are to commit to supporting the long term changes needed to ensure that a disaster of this magnitude never happens again. Click here to read the press release and be sure to RSVP at the event’s Facebook page.
- Come celebrate International Washington at the Governor’s Mansion: The Seattle Trade Alliance invites you to come celebrate International Washington at the Governor’s Mansion on Thursday, February 25 from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. with Governor Chris Gregoire and State Legislators. This is a unique opportunity to remind ourselves of just how international our state is. We will note the hundreds of sister city relationships in our state, the foreign companies employing Washington state workers, the exchange programs with countries all over the world and much, much more. As our region is tied ever more internationally, this year we especially note the importance of international education to our state. Governor Gregoire has opened up the Mansion for this special event and will be giving brief remarks. The cost for this event is $30 for members. Refunds cannot be made after Thursday, February 17. Contact Thaihang Vu at 206-389-7301 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Last year, the reception sold out so if you want to attend, please RSVP ASAP. Space is not guaranteed until we have received your payment. Please bring picture ID with you to the reception. Register online by clicking here.
- Health Care Volunteers Sought for International Summer Program 2010: Health care professionals are invited to volunteer for travel to Vietnam, Peru, Tanzania and India this summer as participants in Global Impact, a Seattle Community Colleges service learning program presented in partnership with Seattle-area medical, education and service organizations. This is the 5th consecutive year Global Impact has run global health programs to developing countries. There are also opportunities to volunteer on these programs for those without healthcare training. Information and application materials are on the website, including an article in the Washington Family Physician’s Journal and an informational power point about the program.
Click here to see a full list of international development events on the Global Washington’s calendar. Upcoming events include:
- January 27: Rick Steves: Travel As A Political Act
- January 28: Washington for Haiti
- January 28: Making Foreign Aid Work to End Poverty
- January 30: Health, Sex and Women’s Rights in Contemporary Asia Lecture Series: Women Feed the World
- February4: Democracy, Peace and Development for the Bottom Billion: A Conversation with Paul Collier
- February 6: Asia – The Frontier in the Battle for Health Equity in the World
- February 7: Exiled Voices for Justice Documentary Series: Burma
- February 13: In Silence – Maternal Mortality in India
- February 14: Exiled Voices for Justice Documentary Series: Sudan
Please submit your events to our calendar!
Many of our members, as well as countless other groups, are providing crucial aid to survivors of the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that devasted Haiti this week. We’ve compiled a great list of relief efforts and resources and hope you will find it helpful as you seek out effective and meaningful ways to contribute. Be sure to check back often as we are continually updating, and email any additions and suggestions to us at email@example.com
by Global Washington Education Coordinator Mariah Ortiz and GW intern, Pat Orozco
Recently, a team of global education volunteers has been convened to support the international education work of Global Washington members. Washington State has a dynamic global education community! Many organizations work together to shape culturally competent citizens, who will take full advantage of our interconnected world and form a strong foundation for the state’s dynamic global development field. Global education is the tide that lifts the international development industry’s many boats.
This is the first of many upcoming blogs, which will highlight global education organizations, schools, business, nonprofits and other public agencies throughout the state. You will be hearing from many of our wonderful global ed volunteers: Michelle, Kelly C., Kelly T., Lindsay, Luke, Pat and Sheel. We also welcome any story ideas or news submissions for inclusion in the blog! Email Mariah Ortiz with your ideas!
What kind of international education project has Global Washington been working on?
· Global Learning Goals
The Washington State Global Learning Goals are the result of collaboration between Global Washington and faculty from seven Washington State institutions of higher education. The goals express Washington State’s support for global education. They serve three major objectives: (1) bring statewide attention to the importance of producing globally-competent graduates; (2) provide a platform of common goals for Washington colleges and universities that can be adapted to fit individual institutional missions; and (3) position Washington State as a leader in global learning.
28 colleges and universities in the state have endorsed the Global Learning Goals so far. The goal is for all Washington State college and university presidents to endorse the Global Learning Goals. We are reaching out to institutions, advocating for their endorsement of the goals, and inclusion in school policies and curriculum.
· Metrics for Assessing Global Learning Goals Implementation
In collaboration with the Global Washington Educational Advisory Committee, the Global Ed team is researching ways to assess the impact of programs that support the Global Learning Goals. We are researching best practices for measuring global learning programs. Our aim is to identify a clear, easily adoptable and uniform set of metrics and tools that higher education institutions can use to assess the progress of their global efforts.
· Updating the International and Global Learning Inventory
Global Washington published a report in 2007 that provides detailed information about the international global learning opportunities available to students at Washington’s four-year degree granting colleges and universities. The Inventory shows the depth, breadth and innovation of the state’s formal and informal global education programs. We are updating the report to make the content easily and publicly accessible and more comprehensive by including more higher learning institutions.
Welcome to the December 2009 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
- Spotlight: First Annual Global Washington Conference a Great Success!
- Featured Organization: Grameen Foundation
- Changemaker: Chris Fontana: For want of a lesson plan, 5,000 lives have increased opportunity
- Global Entertainment: Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics
- Announcements: Join Global Washington in 2010, RDI Releases New Book on Land Rights, InterConnection Brings Computer Microloan Program to Chile, Julia Bolz on KUOW
- Upcoming Events
I want to thank all of you who attended our conference for being there and for making this first annual conference such an incredible success. We are delighted with the positive feedback, the number of people who came and were part of the event (over 300), and with the number of people who helped plan the conference. Thank you for all of your work. Our staff and steering committee will now take the next 6 weeks to review the notes from the breakout sessions and begin the process of planning for 2010. Thanks for all the input. We will be in touch to follow up on the next steps.
Another exciting project that we have been able to finalize this year is a white paper which was done with the help of the Jackson School at the University of Washington. This paper highlights how United States foreign assistance could be more effective at delivering aid to address global development challenges. This report identifies principles of aid effectiveness and uses them to diagnose the major problems facing U.S. foreign assistance. It also proposes recommendations for meeting 21st century global development challenges. Please click here to read the full report.
I wanted to bring to your attention a new petition that the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) is circulating for a global development strategy to give development a strong voice in foreign policy decisions. They already have collected over 30,000 signatures- let’s increase these signatures and help them reach their goal of 150,000. They are collecting signatures until December 22nd. You can simply click here to sign the petition. Congress has just passed the FY2010 Global Aid and Operations Budget that contains funding for the State Department and other foreign operations, which you can read about here.
Thank you all so much for all of your support in 2009. We look forward to your active participation in 2010 in shaping our work and strategy. And no matter how you celebrate this season and the coming of a new year, may your days be filled with happiness and love.
Bookda Gheisar, Executive Director
Over 300 people participated in the day’s events, engaging in lively discussions and sharing strategic approaches for strengthening cross-sector collaboration among Washington State’s dynamic global development community. We learned a great deal from our esteemed keynote speakers and panels of experts, taking away lessons that will help to make future development efforts more effective. Chief among these lessons is the understanding that public-private partnerships, local ownership, and the empowerment of women should play a key role in future development strategy.
Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times opened the conference by stressing the importance of focusing development efforts on the empowerment of women and education. Often, women-centered solutions to problems suffered in the developing world are much more cost-effective. For example, at a cost of 50 cents a year per child, deworming can significantly increase school-attendance, particularly for girls.
By focusing on education, particularly on educating women, Kristof believes a nation has an advantage over other developing countries. Bangladesh provides a strong example in emphasizing education in the female population after its separation from West Pakistan in 1971. In turn, the focus on education provided the opportunity for the development of a busy garment industry and successful micro-lending institutions.
The day’s first panel focused on what strategies may be implemented to help alleviate poverty and empower women. The panel agreed that collaboration and partnership with the local communities, as well as an adaptable strategy are key to the success of development projects.
Rick Beckett, President of Global Partnerships stressed the strategy of inclusion in microfinance, which has helped Global Partnerships to achieve a 98% loan repayment rate. Renee Giovarelli of the Rural Development Institute understands the need to listen to the local community, a principle that has guided RDI in providing land rights as a transformative investment in the community. Margaret Willson of the Bahia Street School in Brazil strongly believes in cooperation and local ownership of aid projects, stating the importance of ceding power to the local community.
In the second keynote address, Ambassador Elizabeth Bagley, discussed the importance of developing partnerships between the public and private sectors in an effort to better combat the world’s challenges. With 80% of all aid money from the U.S. coming from private sources such as businesses, philanthropists, and non-profits, it is pivotal that the government works alongside the private sector. With such partnerships, Ambassador Bagley believes the world can work together towards the empowerment of women, an end to human trafficking, and more sustainable energy practices.
The second panel also focused on the need of partnerships between the public and private sectors as a way to more effectively implement development strategies. Gary Kotzen of Costco emphasized the need of businesses to partner with and develop local farmers and producers as a way to facilitate growth at both the local level and the business level.
Given the state of the current global financial system, funding for non-profit development projects may be more difficult to acquire. As a solution to this problem, John Beale of VillageReach sees partnerships between businesses and non-profits as a way to continue to maintain development projects even when most of the funding dries up.
After the opportunity to engage and learn from our speakers and panelists, we gave attendees the chance to engage each other in dialogue focused on what can be done to make our global development efforts more effective. Participants were split into cross-sectoral groups as well as specific issue areas to discuss the challenges in today’s global development sector and identify solutions to create a more effective strategy to alleviate poverty and suffering worldwide.
Thank you to everyone who attended the conference and to those who support it through sponsorships, planning and staffing. Most of all, thank you for your insights and contributions to our Blueprint for Action. We are in the midst of compiling your suggestions for how Global WA can better serve Washington State’s global development sector, and we will share a finalized Blueprint for Action in early 2010.
To see photos and video of conference highlights, click here.
Click on these links to read media coverage of the Global Washington conference by:
Photos by Nancy Levine
You are a farmer in a small Ugandan village. Your sole source of income is the bananas you grow and sell to people in the village. A new mold appears on the bananas that you’ve never seen before. What do you do? You ask your neighbors, but no one can identify it. Thanks to the Grameen Foundation, information is now available. You go to the local Village Phone Operator and ask him or her to send a text message describing the problem to Farmer’s Friend. For a small charge you’ll get an answer back almost instantly.
Grameen Foundation is a global organization focused on poverty alleviation through access to microfinance and technology. Founded in 1996 by Alex Counts after years of mentoring under Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus in Bangladesh, the organization directly works to alleviate poverty through its programs and collaboration with local organizations around the world. Grameen Foundation has close to 100 staff, split between Washington, DC, Seattle, and countries around the world.
Grameen Foundation’s programs focus on scalability, maximizing impact, financial sustainability and focusing on the poorest of the poor: those living on less than $1 per day. Grameen Foundation and its local partners, including microfinance institutions (MFIs) delivering financial services to the poor, apply these principles in their own programs. Grameen Foundation looks for barriers and hurdles preventing both MFIs and poor people from being successful in their efforts to get out of poverty. Then, Grameen Foundation figures out how to tackle those barriers.
Access to capital markets is one of the hurdles for microfinance organizations. Loans made across international borders are subject to fluctuations in capital market exchange rates. These currency fluctuations mean that someone has to take exchange rate hits. In order to bypass market fluctuations, Grameen Foundation guarantees funds to the local banks in local currency for loans to MFIs. These banks can leverage the guarantee provide by Grameen Foundation making more funds available to MFIs than the actual amount of the guarantee. In the Philippines, the MFIs created a bond product, which the Foundation guaranteed.
Another issue that prevents MFIs from increasing the scale of their efforts is lack of professional staff development and succession planning. Grameen Foundation provides professional staff training for MFIs, providing guidance and acts as a resource for best practices.
Grameen Foundation developed the Progress out of Poverty Index to enable MFI’s to accurately assess the scope of poverty in their region and measure the effectiveness of the assistance they provide. The Progress out of Poverty Index utilizes a list of simple questions to determine the financial status of the poor participating in the micro-loan process. These questions relate to family size, number of children in school, and housing rather than typical financial questions. A value is assigned to each answer so that the MFIs can determine where a particular client appears on the poverty scale. By averaging all such values, the MFI can determine the average poverty level of the clients they assist. By asking the same series of questions repeatedly over time, the MFI can track each client’s movement out of poverty.
Providing the poorest of the poor with access to micro-loans is only one aspect of the financial assistance needed to alleviate poverty. The Grameen Foundation recently received a grant from the Gates Foundation to create 1.5 million new micro-savers in three countries.
On the technology side, the Foundation helps implement the work of the Grameen Technology Center, the Seattle based program which develops technology-based solutions for MFIs and the customers they serve. The Grameen Technology Center created Mifos, an Open Source software application that enables MFIs to collect and track information about their business and their clients. MFIs have difficulty growing beyond several thousand clients because they have many problems related to getting timely and accurate business intelligence. The Foundation is helping several large MFIs, such as Grameen Koota with 300,000 clients and ENDA in Tunisia to use Mifos in order to grow and serve more clients effectively. Others are using it on their own as an Open Source product and the Foundation assists them when asked.
Through the Village Phone program, Grameen Foundation is providing access to telecommunication services for the rural poor. Access to information is a key factor in lifting people out of poverty and allowing them to build and maintain sustainable businesses. To date, The Village Phone program has built a network of 25,000 Village Phone Operators in six countries. Grameen Foundation is expanding the original Village Phone concept to allow the Village Phone Operators to sell airtime as well as act as a communication link for the people in their Villages.
The Grameen Foundation’s ICT Innovation program builds on the success of Village Phone by developing applications that can be accessed via mobile phone through text messaging. The Foundation has partnered with Google and MTN, an African telecommuncations company, to support these information applications in Uganda and Ghana. In the opening example, a farmer who discovers an unknown mold growing on his crop of bananas can send a text message to the Farmer’s Friend application and receive information on how to treat his plants to remove the mold. Grameen develops and refines the application, Google facilitates the searches, and MTN provides the network service to rural areas. ICT Innovations is transforming the Village Phone Operator into a knowledge worker, the broker of information needed by the local farmer who may not be able to text himself even if he had a phone.
Lastly, the Village Energy program is working to develop safe and sustainable energy solutions for the rural poor. The goal of Village Energy is to improve the quality of life of the poor by providing access to electricity through the use of solar energy devices and other sustainable energy solutions.
The Grameen Foundation mobilizes resources to provide financial, professional and technological support to enable the poorest of the world’s poor to break the cycle of poverty. Its innovative strategies and products for MFIs and deployment of technological solutions for those who live on less than a dollar a day put it at the forefront of an old American entrepreneurial and philanthropic tradition–figuring out a way to make it work.
The holidays were over, but no time for lesson planning left Chris Fontana facing his high school class in Chicago in 1992 with no lesson for the day. (Chris insists, by the way, that not being prepared was quite unusual for him.) Reaching into the teacher’s bag of tricks, he had his students discuss current events. One student’s presentation of an article on the disappearing rain forests caught the imagination of both the class and the teacher and created a wave of enthusiasm for doing something about the problem. The class decided to collect all the paper the school used. The janitor agreed to store it for them. Ten days later they piled all the paper up in the school cafeteria in front of the students, faculty and local press, illustrating from their own lives their contribution to deforestation.
The bug stayed with both Chris and his students. He started reading the environmental reporter for the Christian Science Monitor. He became the faculty advisor to the environmental club. The class organized a summit of students looking for ways to avoid environmental degradation, bringing in speakers and arranging places for attendees to stay who had far to travel. Just three years later, those students had become YES, the organization which organized Global Youth Environmental Summit of 1995, co-sponsored by the United Nations Environmental Program, which brought together 300 high school students from 32 countries and 40 States for one week of education in environmental and peace issues, social action and leadership skills, and direct environmental service. Chris was the organization’s mentor and sponsor. Over the next few years, a total of six summits were put on, entirely by the students.
A chance meeting with Robert Mueller, the U.N. Under-Secretary General and co-founder of the University for Peace, on a trip to Guatemala inspired Chris to want to help youth develop information first hand about what they could do to address deforestation and problems of underdevelopment. To that end, Chris moved to Seattle, where, from 1996 to 1998, he studied Whole Systems Design at Antioch University and started Global Visionaries. In the beginning of the school year in 2001 he quit his job to devote full time to Global Visionaries. Then September 11 occurred. Maybe it wasn’t the easiest time to create an organization enabling enable young people to travel to economically challenged countries, but, as Chris recognized, it would prove a time more critical than ever to produce concerned global citizens.
Global Visionaries is an after school youth leadership program run by students from more than 12 Seattle high schools. By design, 50% of the participants are from economically challenged families and 50% are from upper or middle class families. It teaches the skills of leadership, educates and trains students in cross-cultural understanding, fundraising, social action and empowers students to take the crucial steps to eliminate racism and social inequalities both at home and abroad. GV participants learn how to become leaders in their local and the global community. Through socially conscious and environmentally focused education and community service in Seattle and abroad, and recognizing that youth need to work together to be the change for the future, GV encourages youth to seek alternative and innovative approaches to the problems facing their generation.
The trip to Guatemala at the end of the first year provides two weeks of immersion in Mayan Culture and Spanish language. The trip allows students to learn not only about the benefits and shortcomings of America’s role in Guatemalan history but also how Mayan culture affects the opportunities of Guatemalans today. The students live in the homes of Guatemalans and work on one of four projects: reforestation, coffee production, clinics or school construction. The project work is based on partnerships Global Visionaries has created with such Seattle groups as Earth Corps or Architects Without Borders, Seattle Chapter or Guatemalan groups such as San Miguel-based NGO, As Green As It Gets. The second year ends with a retreat which emphasizes how students can integrate what they learned over the previous two years into their lives here.
Global Visionaries has just completed its first five year planning thanks to a grant from the Seattle International Fund. Its future will emphasize four items. 1. Become a truly international organization with the Guatemalan leadership programming for Guatemalan youth on par with programming for U.S. students. 2. Create solid organizational infrastructure and strong staff professional development training. 3. Integrate and expand the after school and in-school leadership programs to reach 20% of Seattle youth by 2020. 4. Expand opportunities for students to stay involved as alumni.
Chris was Antioch Alumni of the Year in 2007 and won the Thomas C. Wales Passionate Citizen Award in 2008. Chris’ approach remains guided by human rights lawyer’s Jason Foster’s insight that young people have the vision, skill and time to do anything, they just need the opportunity. Chris is in the opportunity business.
Global Visionaries is the third of organizations recently featured by Global Washington that focus on youth leadership training. One World Now and Global Citizens Corps, come at the issue from opposite sides. One World Now features training economically disadvantaged American youth in global economics and politics and emphasizes Chinese and Arabic language training. Global Citizen Corps harnesses technology to train young people living in conflict areas to improve their own lives and the political processes in their countries. Global Visionaries, brings American young people from economically disadvantaged families together with American young people from economically comfortable ones, helping them learn to work together in the context of global politics and economics. These organizations are laboratories for what works.
As a hat-tip to Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn for their call to action to end the oppression of women around the world in Half The Sky (Kristof recently provided the key note address at Global Washington’s December conference), this month’s review focuses on Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink’s book Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics. Written back in 1998, this book is a now classic study of how transnational advocacy networks (TANs) effect change around the world. Kristof and Wudunn seem to be calling for the creation of such an advocacy movement—and Activists Beyond Borders provides additional insight into how this might work.
The book sets out to answer the following questions: 1) how can we define a transnational advocacy network (and who comprises one); 2) why and how these networks have emerged; 3) how TANs work; and 4) under what conditions they have influence. Keck and Sikkink do a fantastic job of interweaving theory and empirical case studies to arrive at answers to these questions. They analyze a wide variety of both successful and unsuccessful campaigns that these transnational networks have waged over the years: the 19th century Anglo-American campaign to end slavery in the United States; the international suffrage movement to secure women’s voting rights between 1888 and 1928; the campaign by Western missionaries to eradicate foot binding in China; an early attempt to stop female circumcision in Africa; human rights campaigns in Argentina and Mexico in the 1970’s and 80s; and campaigns by international environmental networks to stop tropical deforestation and to stop environmental degradation via economic development.
The book does not offer a blueprint for a successful transnational social movement, but it does illuminate several factors that have enabled or undermined success in previous campaigns. Keck and Sikkink identify a number of key techniques that advocacy networks use, including the use of information, symbolic acts, leverage politics, and accountability: “Networks stress gathering and reporting reliable information, but also dramatize facts by using testimonies of specific individuals to evoke commitment and broader understanding. Activists use important symbolic events and conferences to publicize issues and build networks. In addition to trying to persuade through information and symbolic politics, networks also try to pressure targets to change policies by making an implied or explicit threat of sanctions or leverage if the gap between norms and practices remains too large. Material leverage comes from linking the issue of concern to money, trade, or prestige, as more powerful institutions or governments are pushed to apply pressure. Moral leverage pushes actors to change their practices by holding their behavior up to international scrutiny, or by holding governments or institutions accountable to previous commitments and principles they have endorsed.”
On the other hand, the use of such tactics is no guarantee that a campaign will succeed. National and international political, cultural, and ideological contexts can aid or thwart advocacy efforts. Securing the buy-in of influential local actors and NGOs also plays an important role—as do a host of other factors. For instance, comparing the campaign against foot binding in China (success) to the early campaign against female circumcision in Kenya (failed), Keck and Sikkink write: “In Kenya, a group of missionaries with tepid support from colonial authorities confronted a politically weak but ideologically strong opposition in the KCA. In China, a well-organized set of antifootbinding societies faced strongly entrenched cultural beliefs, but no effectively organized political opposition. When the societies gained the support of the both the Imperial Court and the nationalist reformer politicians, the eventual success of their campaign was insured.”
Perhaps the most valuable insight in Activists Beyond Borders is the important role that issues framing and resonance plays in transnational advocacy campaigns. Advocacy networks must be able to “mobilize information strategically to help create new issues and categories and to persuade, pressure, and gain leverage over much more powerful organizations and governments.” Activists in networks “try not only to influence policy outcomes, but to transform the terms and nature of the debate.” In addition: “New ideas are more likely to be influential if they fit well with existing ideas and ideologies in a particular historical setting.” Thus, the antifootbinding campaign in China was a success in big part because the issue framing carried out by missionaries and local actors resonated strongly with the revolutionary iconoclasm of the times (foot binding was reframed as a backward, traditional, and elitist practice that did not fit with China’s effort to modernize); while the campaign to end female circumcision in Kenya was easy delegitimized by local nationalist groups as yet another form of colonial domination.
One criticism of Activists Beyond Borders is that it looks at social movements from a primarily international perspective, and thus does not pay much attention to the valuable role of embedded, locally-grown nongovernmental organizations. But here is where we pick up Kristof and Wudunn’s book, which details many such local organizations and explains how international networks can cooperate to achieve shared goals.
Ketty Loeb, Founder
- Join Now! Global Washington Welcoming New Members for 2010 : With the great momentum we’ve created in 2009, the benefits of joining Global Washington are greater than ever. Our relationships have flourished and our network has grown, as evidenced by the recent media attention from The Huffington Post, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Redmond Reporter and Puget Sound Business Journal. Let us help you gain visibility for your work, help you gain access to policy makers and funders, and build your capacity to do good in the world in 2010. Click here to read more about the benefits of joining Global Washington.
- RDI Publishes New Book on Global Land Rights: Global Washington member organization Rural Development Institute has just published One Billion Rising: Law, Land and the Alleviation of Global Poverty. In this timely and important volume, lawyers from the Rural Development Institute and the University of Washington’s School of Law in Seattle use four decades worth of research on the results of land tenure reform efforts around the world in order to address how we might better meet the struggles to understand and change the plight of the rural poor. Learn more at http://www.rdiland.org/book/
- InterConnection Partners with Bancoestado to Offer Microloans for Computers in Chile: Another great member organization, InterConnection, is using micro credit to provide computers to low income in Chile. In March 2009, InterConnection opened a distribution center in Santiago. The computers provided by InterConnection.org are refurbished in Seattle and shipped to Chile, where they are partnering with Chile’s national bank, Bancoestado, on a microlending program to get the computers into the hands of small business owners. Click here to learn more about the program.
- Julia Bolz Speaks About Building Schools in Afghanistan on KUOW: This week, Global WA member Julia Bolz was a guest speaker on the KUOW show Weekday, along with Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea. Julia is the president of Ayni Education International and the founder of a grassroots project called, “Journey with an Afghan School.” She left her law firm in 1998 to serve as a human rights lawyer and social justice activist in the developing world. Since 2002, she has focused on educating girls in Afghanistan, where her team has built and supplied 30 schools, serving some 25,000 children. To learn more about Julia’s work, go to aynieducation.org. Listen to the show on-demand here.
Click here to see a full list of international development events on the Global Washington’s calendar. Upcoming events include:
- January9: Bring the Power of Digital Storytelling Into Your Classroom
- January 22: Service in Action Seminar Series: Volunteer Wrangling
- January 27: Rick Steves: Travel As A Political Act
- January 30: Health, Sex and Women’s Rights in Contemporary Asia Lecture Series: Women Feed the World
- February4: Democracy, Peace and Development for the Bottom Billion: A Conversation with Paul Collier
Please submit your events to our calendar!
by Global Washington intern, Pat Orozco
Writer Joel Connelly’s biggest takeaway from Global Washington’s first annual conference: “Helpers often need to take a back seat to those they are helping.” He cites several speakers and panelists from over 300 conference attendees, leaders in the global development field, who underscore that “local buy-in” is crucial for successful development, particularly efforts to combat poverty by empowering women and girls.
Connelly highlights panelist Margaret Willson of Bahia Street, a successful school for girls in impoverished Brazil, who makes clear that the organization’s record—12 alumna placed in Brazilian colleges and not a single unexpected pregnancy among its girls—is credited completely to the local African Brazilian women who run it. “It’s following their road map, not ours.”
Also “underscoring the Monday conference was a reality of local life: Seattle is an international city, and Washington is a state that looks outward.” Connelly points out that by thinking and acting locally and globally, the state is widely recognized for its contributions to the global development field. He quotes Mark Emmert, president of the University of Washington, who said students today dream about having “impact on a global scale” in a way that Baby Boomers “used to think about on a national scale.”
For the full blog post, check it out here.
Nearly 140 members of Congress have signed on to the FY11 Congressional Letter to the President supporting a robust International Affairs budget. From Washington State, Senator Patty Murray, as well as Representatives Adam Smith, David Reichert, Richard Larsen, and Jim McDermott have signed on. The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition needs your help to get more members of the Washington State delegation signed on to this important letter! The deadline is November 25th– only two days away.
Click here to urge your members of Congress to sign the letter.
UPDATE: Thank you for taking action- the USGLC reports that a record number of legislators have signed on to this letter demanding a robust FY 11 international affairs budget. Representatives Jay Inslee and Brian Baird of Washington State added their names to the letter after this post was published. For a full list of the signatories to the letter, see the FY 11 Congressional Letter to the President Update Center on the USGLC website.
Welcome to the November 2009 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
- Spotlight: Global Washington Releases Global Development Sector Profile
- Featured Organization: The Wang Center at Pacific Lutheran University
- Changemaker: Joe Orlando, A Gathering of Different Lights
- Global Entertainment: Three Cups of Tea – One Man’s Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations…One School at a Time
- Announcements: Premiere of The End of Poverty?, PATH Receives Contract & Funding for Congo Project, R.D.I. Awarded Largest Grant In Its History, Ashesi University & Patrick Awuah Win 2009 McNulty Prize
- Upcoming Events
We encourage you to contribute your innovative thoughts and ideas on how to move Washington State forward as a powerful collective of organizations working in the global development community. Please visit BlueprintForAction.Org to share your vision as part of our Blueprint for Action. Vote on those ideas and priorities you feel are most vital for building capacity among global development organizations in Washington State.
As we prepare for our conference, Global Washington is thrilled to bring such a vibrant community of inspiring and dynamic individuals and organizations together. We look forward to seeing you at the conference!In unity,
Bookda Gheisar, Executive Director
Global Washington, in partnership with Berk & Associates (a public policy consulting firm),contacted 763 businesses, academic centers, nonprofits and foundations in March and April 2009, inviting them to complete a survey of their global development activities. Of an estimated 763 organizations, a sampling of 122 met our definition of global development work based on their survey responses, including their reported activities in the developing world and the kind of issues they reported addressing.
The results have been developed into a Global Development Sector Profile for the state of Washington to demonstrate just how vital global development is to Washington’s future. This profile describes the impact of Washington’s global development sector both at home in Washington and around the world, and highlights the unique strengths and accomplishments of our region.
“Rooted in extraordinary vision and leadership. Washington’s global development sector is becoming an international force. Academic, business, philanthropic and nonprofit leaders from across the state are making crucial contributions to global health, poverty alleviation, the environment and education.” Click here to view the entire document as a PDF.
The Wang Center for Global Education at Pacific Lutheran University has achieved a record in international global education that no other institution shares. In 2006 it was the first university to have programs going simultaneously to all seven continents. According to Mary M. Dwyer, president of the Institute of the International Education of Students, simultaneous study on seven continents was “a first in the field of education abroad and puts PLU in the forefront of undergraduate education where education abroad is no longer a frill but rather central to a high quality college education.” PLU will again have students studying on all seven continents in 2010.
PLU has placed among the top 10 master’s degree universities in the United States for percentage of students engaged in international study. Over 40 percent of PLU students study abroad. The national study abroad average is 3 percent.
These broad efforts are the result of three decades of faculty initiatives accepted by the University. The big push came in 2003 when PLU adopted its strategic plan for PLU 2010 and beyond. The plan adopted global education as an integral part of a university education. The two overarching goals of the program were to increase participation of the PLU community in global education and to enhance the quality of its global education programs. To achieve the latter, the University is implementing a model of education it calls PLU’s Global Education Continuum which contains four developmental phases intended to nurture the ability to participate actively in learning and working environments in global contexts. Ideally students are exposed to introductory information about global problems and issues, are given the chance to explore this information through an off-campus course summer or J-Term course, participate in another culture in a semester or year long course away, and then integrate their knowledge by bringing home what they have learned.
PLU’s goal is to have fifty percent of the students study abroad. In a graduating class of 700, three or four hundred students will have spent at least four weeks away in intensive study. The effort to totally integrate the global program into the life of the university has been integral to making PLU a globally-focused university. PLU uses the term ‘study away’ as it does not just limit global education to studying abroad. PLU offers several domestic programs, in addition to those offered abroad, believing that students can gain valuable cultural and global perspectives within their own state, and even their own community.
Why PLU? How does a small college in Tacoma, Washington, make global education central to its mission to educate its students? It starts with PLU’s background as a Lutheran college which inherited the international development approach of its Norwegian founders: Conflict Resolution and Democracy Building. But Neal Sobania, Director of the Wang Center, freely admits that “the best ideas are stolen.” That works both ways. While PLU has borrowed ideas from other schools in the past, other schools now also borrow from PLU’s proven excellence.
PLU calls its travelers abroad “Sojourners,” and makes available to them a wide variety of programs. Gateway programs are semester-long study away programs that have been designed and developed by PLU and several key PLU faculty members. One example is the Norway-Namibia Project where students study in Norway alongside Namibian and Norwegian students and learn of Norway’s approach to democracy, development, and peace in the world today. Or students may spend a semester or year at Sichuan University (SU) in Chengdu, China, taking classes in Mandarin and Chinese culture, and other courses taught in English.
In addition to the Gateway programs, PLU students may participate in programs developed in conjunction with other universities and institutions, such as a program in Windhoek-Namibia offered through the Consortium for Global Education (CGE) in spring and fall semesters. This program focuses on nation building, globalization and decolonizing the mind from Southern African perspectives.
Finally there are J-Term programs led by PLU faculty that take place between the end of the fall semester and beginning of the spring semester. These courses go under such course titles as “Journey to the End of the Earth: Antarctica, Patagonia, Buenos Aires,” and environmental literature offering from the English Department, or “Telling Their Story: Arts and news Media in the United Arab Emirates” in the Communications Department.
In addition to assisting students and faculty with their study away goals, the Wang Center provides annual research grants to students and faculty alike, and sponsors International Symposia such as the one coming up in March titled “Understanding the World through Sports and Recreation.”
PLU received one million dollars from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in a challenge grant which PLU met resulting in a two million dollar endowment to provide students on campus with funds to go abroad such as those who are on Pell grant support.
PLU also received the 2009 Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization, a prestigious award honoring outstanding efforts on and off campus to engage the world and the international community. PLU is the first and only private college in the West to have received this honor.
A chapel stands off to side of the Seattle University campus infused with light. Depending upon where the visitor is in the chapel and the time of day, the light reflects the different colors of the painted baffles that hang in front of windows cut high in the chapel’s walls at the ceiling. A more traditional source filters light directly into the chapel through rectangles of colored glass set back in the walls like shadow boxes. The design, by architect Stephen Holl, is inspired by the way St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, learned how to discern interior lights and darkness.
The light Joe Orlando shows the world has similar sources. One major inspiration in his life reflects the countries and cultures he has visited and learned to love since that first trip abroad. The more direct light is his own interpretation of the world through his education and work. We all grow by both absorption and effort.
Joe Orlando is the Assistant Vice President of Mission and Ministry at Seattle University, and the Director of Jesuit Identity there. He has a B.A. from Harvard College, a Master of Divinity from Weston Jesuit School of Theology, a Master of Social Work from the University of Washington, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Seattle University. In charge of SU’s efforts to involve its students and faculty in mission-inspired outreach to local and international communities, Joe’s hands are full.
A junior year semester abroad in Florence to round out the Italian he was studying had a huge impact on his life. He became interested in Latin America and returned home to apply his Italian to quickly learning Spanish. After graduation and a month of service work in Mexico, he had the opportunity to go to Colombia as a translator for a medical team and then to the Central Valley in California where he taught job skills to economically disadvantaged teens. Then, working as the Assistant Director of the Jesuit International Volunteers, he traveled extensively around Central America, developing placements for volunteers.
After completing graduate study in ministry at Weston School of Theology, now a part of Boston College, he came to Seattle University in 1990. As a Campus Minister, he helped students learn how to use their gifts in service to others, helping them reach out to those in prison or at soup kitchens. He put his knowledge of Central America to work, taking a dozen students to Belize over Spring Break to learn about other cultures and about being part of a global community. That program lasted for four years, before he transferred his attention to Nicaragua where the community was much poorer and demanded more from the students. There students spent Spring Break staying in homes of local families, working in community feeding programs and meeting at night after dinner to discuss what they learned during the day about the privileges they took for granted.
Changing his focus from students to faculty and staff on becoming the Director of Jesuit Identity, Joe helps his colleagues understand how they can put the Jesuit mission into action in their roles on campus as teachers and leaders. To supplement programs such as retreats, speakers and discussion groups, Joe designed an annual nine day Nicaraguan immersion experience for 15 faculty and staff that emphasizes the Jesuit mission commitment to justice and global engagement. In 2001 he took a diverse group of faculty and staff to Nicaragua where they both learned about the development needs of the country, and learned from their Jesuit university counterparts in Managua about how the Jesuit mission can inspire action (the Universidad Centroamericana, or UCA) How, for example, does a law school do clinical work in Nicaragua? How does a university respond to the need for microfinance among the rural poor? This experience was so highly regarded by the faculty that in 2002, the President of Seattle University took his Executive Team along with some Deans and Trustees through a similar intensive nine day immersion program in Nicaragua, in close collaboration with peers at the UCA in Managua. Since 2001 the Nicaragua Immersion Experience has brought 85 faculty, 43 staff and 6 trustees/spouses to Nicaragua on 9 separate trips.
Joe’s formulation of the Nicaragua Immersion Experience in support of the Jesuit educational mission has born fruit. One SU biologist helped local farmers understand the genetic origins of freshwater shrimp through a Fulbright scholarship. An SU chemist developed a kit that farmers can use to tell them when the fermentation of coffee beans is done. SU’s chapter of Engineers without Borders redesigned an elementary school’s drainage system after the need was identified during a trip by the group’s faculty advisor to prevent flooding during the rainy season. Nursing students have participated in a five week community health practicum there. The Law School sends two students every summer to work on casework with their peers and to learn about legal issues around microfinance, such as land title problems. Following up on a marketing plan proposed by a visitor from the Business School, and in cooperation with the microfinance efforts of the UCA, the SU bookstore has sold more than $125,000 of crafts made by local artisans who are microloan recipients.
But as is usually the case, these visits changed the visitors more than the visited. Teachers learned the difference that passion brings to their lives and teaching. Teaching about poverty means asking their students to actually speak to people who are poor. The skills local women showed in organizing themselves become text book examples in the classroom. The experience of engagement in Nicaragua has encouraged the University to become more daring in its engagement at home. It is probably not a coincidence that the people who approved SU’s hosting of Tent City in 2005 had been on the Nicaragua trip in 2002.
The visits also lead a trustee to propose, and Seattle University to endorse, the investment of University funds in microfinance efforts in developing countries in coordination with Global Partnerships. Joe’s goal, which he has presented to the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (composed of 28 US universities, and linked with more than 200 Jesuit institutions worldwide), is that 1% of all Jesuit university investments be placed in microfinance endeavors.
The programs Joe has developed for Seattle University students, faculty and staff helps them learn both to be present to the light of others, and to channel their own light in service to others in the world.top
Global Entertainment: Three Cups of Tea – One Man’s Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations…One School at a Time
Three Cups of Tea tells the inspirational story of mountain climber Greg Mortenson, who lost his way while descending K2 and found himself on a new journey to build schools in one of the world’s most remote, destitute, and volatile regions.
The story begins in 1993 when a lost and exhausted Mortenson stumbled into Korphe village, high up in the Karakoram mountains of Pakistan. While being nursed to health by the villagers, he was deeply touched by their kindness and generosity but disturbed to discover that the village children had no schoolhouse, pens, or paper with which to study. Mortenson swore he would return and build a school for Korphe. Not only did Mortenson fulfill this promise; he soon found himself building many more schools in the region.
The book describes Mortenson’s tremendous dedication, self-sacrifice, and bravery. In the early days, he sold everything he owned to build the first school, wrote hundreds of fundraising letters on a typewriter (only to receive one small donation), worked long hours and slept in hallways to save money for the school. Even after he found a devoted sponsor and founded the Central Asia Institute, Mortenson allowed himself very little pay, and instead channeled every penny into building the schools. Over the years, Mortenson made dozens of trips into the remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan to scout and build these schools, refusing to be deterred by harsh and desolate geography, fatwas, kidnapping, death threats by fellow Americans, and war.
Besides being an inspirational read, Three Cups of Tea provides a much-needed window into the lives and circumstances of Pakistanis and Afghans in the years before and after September 11th. The book depicts most of the people he encountered as moderate Muslims, extremely poor but full of hope and optimism for the future of their children, fans of the United States, and extremely grateful to Mortenson for building the schools. Reading the book gives one a sense of an alternative future for US-Muslim relations if not for Al Qaeda and September 11th.
As luck would have it, though, September 11th did happen, and Mortenson found himself and his work at the center of international conflict. The book provides an amazing account of Mortenson watching as Al Quaeda troops rolled through Pakistan and into Afghanistan by the truckful just prior to the attack on America, setting up tens of thousands of Wahhabi madrassa (fundamentalist schools that often serve as terrorist training camps). Equally as interesting is Mortenson’s account of watching from the mountains of Pakistan as the September 11th attack and the war in Afghanistan unfolded. He tells us that the villagers were angry and outraged by the attack on “the village of New York”, but they were also not at all surprised that the attack was waged by Osama Bin Laden, a bad egg they had been observing from their side of the Afghan border.
Refusing to leave even when foreigners were evacuated, Mortenson remained, vowing to continue building schools in Pakistan, and also to build them in Afghanistan. During this time, the schools took on a new relevance for Mortenson and for the many Americans who now took up his cause. Whereas the project began as a simple effort to bring education to remote villages that otherwise lacked schools and educational resources for their children, the schools now became a bastion against rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the region. They provide education to girls where Pakistani and Afghan schools would not; they offer a balanced and yet Islam-friendly alternative to the fundamentalist education taught in rapidly proliferating madrassas; they give impoverished villagers options for a brighter future; and they serve to root out ignorance that feeds the fires of terrorism in the region.
One major lesson of the book that I take away is this: creating a successful international development program is about 60 percent hard work and determination, and 40 percent luck. By virtue of his tremendous will, self sacrifice, and relentless outreach, networking, and fundraising drive, Mortenson has been able to build the Central Asian Institute and some 130 schools since 1993. But much of this might never have happened if not for Mortenson’s chance introduction to the philanthropist Dr. Hoerni (indeed, even with his generous support, the Central Asian Institute struggled to keep financially afloat for several years). Nor would the Central Asia Institute have found such success if not for a turn of fate one sunny September morning in 2001, when US public attention shifted to this otherwise obscure region. With this crisis, Mortenson’s work became much more relevant to the American public and donations began pouring in, enabling him to expand operations both within Pakistan and into Afghanistan.
The one criticism I have of the book is that the first quarter spends too much time detailing Mortenson’s mountain climbing adventure. But don’t give up. It is well worth the read.Review by Ketty Loeb, Wokai Seattle Founder
- Premiere of Compelling Film The End of Poverty? : The End of Poverty? is a daring, thought-provoking and very timely documentary by award-winning filmmaker, Philippe Diaz, revealing that poverty is not an accident. It began with military conquest, slavery and colonization that resulted in the seizure of land, minerals and forced labor. Today, global poverty has reached new levels because of unfair debt, trade and tax policies — in other words, wealthy countries exploiting the weaknesses of poor, developing countries.The End of Poverty? asks why today 20% of the planet’s population uses 80% of its resources and consumes 30% more than the planet can regenerate?The film has been selected to over 25 international film festivals and will be released in theatres in November 2009. Directed by Philippe Diaz, produced by Cinema Libre Studio with the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, 104mins, 2008, USA, documentary in English, Spanish, French with English Subtitles.Official Website: http://www.theendofpoverty.com
Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRZnEBFYNS0
Sign up for The End of Poverty? mailing list to receive updates and exclusive giveaways! http://cinemalibrestudio.com/icontact_images/teop_sign_up.html
In Seattle starting December 4th at Regal Meridian 16, 1501 7th Ave Seattle, WA 98101, (206) 622-2434
- PATH and Partners Awarded 5-year Contract and Funding for Congo HIV/AIDS Project: PATH and its project partners have been awarded a five-year contract to improve HIV/AIDS services in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The PATH-led consortium will receive up to $45 million in project funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID). “This new project is a comprehensive and integrated response to the devastation caused by HIV/AIDS in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Julie Pulerwitz, ScD, director of the HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis Program at PATH. “It will not only improve prevention, care, and treatment services in the short term but also strengthen the long-term capacity of local communities and health systems to meet the nation’s overwhelming needs.” To read more about this project, click here.
- Rural Development Institute Receives $9 million from Omidyar: Member organization R.D.I. has been awarded the largest grant in its history — $9 million over three years — from the Omidyar Network. According to Tim Hanstad, RDI’s president and CEO, “With this grant, RDI will begin implementing an ambitious three-year plan to bring secure land rights to 9 million families living in poverty. These rights can bring about transformative economic and social benefits that improve well-being and restore dignity.” In addition to receiving the grant, RDI launched its Global Center for Women’s Land Rights, an initiative dedicated to procuring land ownership for women. Click here to learn more about Rural Development Institute.
- Ashesi University and Patrick Awuah Win the 2009 John P. McNulty Prize: The jury, including Madeleine Albright and Bill Gates, Sr., awarded the prize for extraordinary leaders making creative, effective, and lasting contributions to their community earlier this month. It acknowledges the visionary leadership of Patrick Awuah in creating Ashesi University and its commitment to ethics and civics, which is guaranteeing future generations of leaders for Ghana, Africa and the world. Click here to read the Aspen Institute’s press release and to watch the new McNulty Prize video about Ashesi.
Click here to see a full list of international development events on the Global Washington’s calendar. Upcoming events include:
- November 20: American Red Cross – Tsunami Recovery
- November20: FIUTS Presents CulturalFest
- December 3: The WTO in Seattle 10 Years Later: An in-depth analysis of democracy and globalization then and now
- December 4: Targeted Killings – The Decline of the Norm Against Assassination?
- December 7: Global Washington’s Annual Conference – A Blueprint for Action
- December 8: Iraqi Priorities: A Conversation and Luncheon with Samir Sumaida’ie, Iraqi Ambassador to the U.S.
- December 8: Three Cups of Tea: Islam and Schooling in Asia: Islam, Asia, Modernity Professional Development for Educators Workshop
Please submit your events to our calendar!
by Global Washington Policy Coordinator Danielle Ellingston
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to mark up the Kerry/Lugar Foreign Aid Reform Bill, S. 1524 today, despite objections from the State Department. According to Foreign Policy’s blog, the Cable, State Department leaders asked Senator Kerry to hold off on moving the bill forward, at least until they had a chance to finish the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR). Kerry would have complied with this request, but Senator Lugar reportedly forced his hand- Lugar would withdraw his support for the bill if Kerry didn’t move it forward. And understandably, Kerry could not afford to lose Lugar.
The State Department was asking a lot of Kerry, since the QDDR isn’t due to be completed until fall 2010. That is a long time to wait for action on foreign aid reform by Congress, and a lot can happen in a year. If Congress wants to have a say in this process, it needs to get its chips on the table now, especially with the administration taking so long with each step. The White House has already shown us how slow it can be, by taking more time to announce a USAID administrator nominee than the polar ice caps need to melt. If moving forward on this bill helps push the White House to move a little faster on foreign aid reform, so much the better.
S. 1524, the Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act of 2009, strengthens USAID by restoring its policy planning staff and giving it new authority to oversee foreign assistance programs throughout the government. It is a small but necessary step in modernizing U.S. foreign assistance, which is fragmented and uncoordinated. Maybe everything in this bill and more could be accomplished through the QDDR and the Presidential Study Directive, but without Congressional action that could take a very long time.
There are two other foreign aid reform bills which have been introduced in the House. H.R. 2139, The Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009, was introduced by Howard Berman in April 2009, and directs the President to develop a comprehensive national strategy to promote global development, as well as a system for monitoring effectiveness. H.R. 2639, The Global Poverty Act of 2009, introduced by Adam Smith of the 9th district of Washington State in May 2009, directs the President to develop a similar strategy, with the objective of eliminating extreme global poverty and achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people living on less than $1 per day. The NGO Bread for the World has a nice side-by-side comparison of S. 1524 and H.R. 2139 in its blog.
By Xeno Acharya, Global Washington intern
The use of a code of conduct as an ethical guide is not new. Previously popular with the military, the code has recently become fashionable among NGOs. Over the past decade, a lot of NGOs have formed and tried to adhere to various codes of conducts. They come in different flavors, these codes. They are either country specific (click here to see an example of code of conduct for NGOs working in Ethiopia) or project specific (click here to see an example of code of conduct for NGOs working in HIV/AIDS), or they are country level codes that empower recipient countries and prevent donor communities from monopolizing aid activities, such as the Paris Declaration (2005).
Recently, a few big players in the global health arena have partnered to produce yet another NGO code of conduct for health systems strengthening. These partners, including Health Alliance International, Partners In Health, Health GAP, and Action Aid International, have managed to add more than forty-five different NGOs as signatories for the code. The NGO code of conduct for health systems strengthening came about as a response to the recent growth in the number of international non-governmental organizations initiated by increased aid flow. Due to crowding of NGOs with similar niches, recipient country governments have a hard time managing all the programs, making effective project implementation virtually impossible, thus counteracting the purpose of aid in the first place.
The NGOs code of conduct for health systems strengthening has the following six articles:
I. NGOs will engage in hiring practices that ensure long-term health system sustainability.
II. NGOs will enact employee compensation practices that strengthen the public sector.
III. NGOs pledge to create and maintain human resources training and support systems that are good for the countries where they work.
IV. NGOs will minimize the NGO management burden for ministries.
V. NGOs will support Ministries of Health as they engage with communities.
VI. NGOs will advocate for policies that promote and support the public sector.
These types of codes offer practical ethical standards for NGOs and donors engaged in development work. These standards aim to improve the quality and impact of their work. All of this sounds well and good, but the question still remains—how much of this well intentioned code is having an effect and changing NGO behavior? A brief talk with one of the strongest advocates for the health systems code, Dr. Steve Gloyd of Health Alliance International, suggests that the code is not being adhered to even by signatories who were at first excited about it. “Most of the staff in the signatory NGOs don’t even know about the code”, said Dr. Gloyd when asked about its effectiveness. The signatories are voluntary participants of the code, acknowledging it as a guiding principle to real change. Some NGOs, however, face structural problems in implementation that the code fails to address.
What is missing from this effort to improve NGO functioning in low and middle income countries? What would the alternative look like? Although having a centralized, international monitor for NGO activities in recipient countries (such as a coalition of donor agencies, foundations, and big international NGOs) would be ideal, it would probably not be feasible because of the vast number of NGOs around the world. However, a network of the few biggest players in global health in collaboration with recipient country governments could not only manage the NGO code of conduct, but it could also monitor NGO effectiveness and alignment with country national development strategies. Using country governments to help monitor NGO effectiveness (and adherence to the code) has the drawback that governments are prone to corruption. This however could be overcome through checks done by the coalition. If the recipient country’s government is corrupt and dysfunctional, channeling aid away from the government and to its local NGOs could help in initiating a dialogue, both within the recipient country and internationally among donor communities. Mandating the code for all NGOs working in a recipient country will decrease the tendency to dismiss it as something optional. Perhaps the monitors of the code could learn something from the way the military makes ‘recommendations’ for a code of conduct!
GDRC NGO Codes of Conduct
by Global Washington Policy Coordinator Danielle Ellingston
Rajiv Shah, formerly the director of agricultural development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will be named to head USAID just in the nick of time. He has already been confirmed by the Senate for a position in the Department of Agriculture, so it is possible that he will sail through confirmation for USAID administrator and we will have someone in place in early 2010.
Shah’s bio is impressive: he has an MD, a degree in economics, and a lot of international development experience. He also has ties to the Seattle community, having served on many boards of local organizations including the Seattle Public Library and Agros International.
Much has been said about Shah’s youth- he is only 36 years old, which could be an asset but it may also work against him. According to a hill staffer quoted by the Politico Blog, “He will be a good antidote to some of the stagnancy currently plaguing the agency and will hopefully have a mandate to fundamentally change the way business is done over there. … Also hear from the Agriculture Committee staff that he’s done a great job thus far and is very well-respected.”
It sounds like Shah may be the agent of change that is needed over at USAID, since talk about foreign aid reform is heating up. 2010 is going to be an important year for foreign aid reform.