Thinking local is key to world aid, concludes Seattle Post-Intelligencer blogger

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.