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Nourish International

Examining Power, Privilege, and our Role in International Development by Nathan Albright

November 18, 2014 | Posted in 2014, Alumni Spotlight, Newsletters, Nourish in the News, Office Updates, Student Advisory Board, Summer Institute, Summer Projects | By

Sometimes to think critically, you need to listen to your biggest critics. It would be hard to find someone who was more critical of international volunteer projects than Ivan Illich. As we begin looking into potential project partners for next summer, maybe listening to someone like Illich will help us think more critically about some of the tough decisions involved.

In 1968, the philosopher and former Catholic Priest spoke to the “Conference on InterAmerican Student Projects” about its work in Mexico and Latin America. In this impassioned speech, he told the well intentioned ‘do-gooders’ that “the existence of organizations like yours is offensive” and “to hell with good intentions… the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Here’s a little of what he went on to say:

By definition, you cannot help being ultimately vacationing salesmen for the middle-class “American Way of Life,” since that is really the only life you know.
Next to money and guns, the third largest North American export is the U.S. idealist…
Ideally, these people define their role as service. Actually, they frequently wind up alleviating the damage done by money and weapons, or “seducing” the “underdeveloped” to the benefits of the world of affluence and achievement.
All you will do in a Mexican village is create disorder.
You start on your task without any training. Even the Peace Corps spends around $10,000 on each corps member to help him adapt to his new environment and to guard him against culture shock. How odd that nobody ever thought about spending money to educate poor Mexicans in order to prevent them from the culture shock of meeting you?
Suppose you went to a U.S. ghetto this summer and tried to help the poor there “help themselves.” Very soon you would be either spit upon or laughed at. People offended by your pretentiousness would hit or spit. People who understand that your own bad consciences push you to this gesture would laugh condescendingly. Soon you would be made aware of your irrelevance among the poor, of your status as middle-class college students on a summer assignment. … If you insist on working with the poor, if this is your vocation, then at least work among the poor who can tell you to go to hell. It is incredibly unfair for you to impose yourselves on a village where you are so linguistically deaf and dumb that you don’t even understand what you are doing, or what people think of you. And it is profoundly damaging to yourselves when you define something that you want to do as “good,” a “sacrifice” and “help.”

That was nearly 50 years ago. Since then, the phenomenon of traveling to economically poor regions to volunteer—sometimes referred to as voluntourism—has seen a dramatic rise in popularity. But are the same issues Illich warned against still relevant today?

A more recent viewpoint comes from Linda Richter, executive director of the Human Sciences Research Council, who led a study looking into what she calls the “thriving industry of AIDS orphan tourism” in sub-Saharan Africa. What she found is disturbing. The majority of children in these orphanages are not orphans, she explains “[they] are there because of poverty rather than because their parents have died. Destitute parents may place their children in orphanages in the hope that their child will receive meals, clothing and schooling.” An influx of voluntourists who are willing to pay for the emotionally powerful experience of working in an orphanage has effectively created a market for orphans that local communities are now filling by giving up their own children. Richter explains:

Short-term volunteer tourists are encouraged to “make intimate connections” with previously neglected, abused, and abandoned young children. However, shortly after these ‘connections’ have been made, tourists leave—many undoubtedly feeling that they have made a positive contribution to the plight of very vulnerable children. And, in turn, feeling very special as a result of receiving a needy child’s affection. Unfortunately, many of the children they leave behind have experienced another abandonment to the detriment of their short- and long-term emotional and social development.

Rather than being raised by their living parents and family members, children are raised through an ever-changing stream of foreign volunteers that is “likely to be especially damaging to young children.” In light of this kind of study, it’s understandable that Illich and others have warned against voluntourism altogether. It’s disturbing to imagine the kind of damage that can be (and has been) done to a small community by a group of well-intentioned Westerners on a whirlwind trip to “make a difference” abroad. But how does something like that happen? And how can we avoid being part of a potentially detrimental project? Social critic and entrepreneur Pippa Biddle thinks it starts with acknowledging privilege.

When it comes to the power dynamics of voluntourism, it is all about privilege. Privilege comes in a multitude of forms and is sometimes hard to identify. There is racial privilege, then there is economic privilege, educational privilege, geographic privilege, gender privilege, religious privilege, privilege that comes with adhering to heteronormative standards, skinny privilege, and a million more that have yet to be recognized or that I just do not know.
Privilege is, at its core, easy to identify but difficult to own up to. Those who experience it, myself included, struggle to openly recognize its existence as we hope beyond hope that our kind intentions and good will are enough to overcome it. But they aren’t. Intentions are not enough.

Amy Ernst, a human rights advocate and international aid worker, agrees that good intentions won’t protect those you may work with and offers a concrete example from her experience:

The small team I worked with taught me the many ways I could make problems worse, even with the best of intentions… it’s not always easy to predict when your actions will cause harm. As a white American, my presence alone indicated wealth and could endanger people—even entire villages—as armed groups, or community members, in desperate need could have targeted people I spoke with, thinking I had left money or goods behind.

Rafia Zakaria, a columnist for Pakistan’s largest English-language newspaper, explains another pitfall of unchecked privilege in a foreign culture:

Typically other people’s problems seem simpler, uncomplicated and easier to solve than those of one’s own society. In this context, the decontextualized hunger and homelessness in Haiti, Cambodia or Vietnam is an easy moral choice. Unlike the problems of other societies, the failing inner city schools in Chicago or the haplessness of those living on the fringes in Detroit is connected to larger political narratives. In simple terms, the lack of knowledge of other cultures makes them [seem] easier to help.

The dangers of privilege and relying on good intentions are very real and are all the more reason to be cautious and well-informed while interacting with another culture. However most, like Zakaria, believe there is still a great value to the experience of working alongside a foreign community and that “despite its flaws, the educational aspect of voluntourism’s cross-cultural exchange must be saved, made better instead of being rejected completely.” Zakaria believes we can do this by focusing on “the recipient community’s actual needs” as opposed to “the volunteer’s quest for experience.” Plenty of others offer their own advice and experiences to consider while you sift through international projects:

Richter suggests that rather than volunteering in an orphanage:

Every available resource should be utilised to support families and extended kin to enable them to provide high quality care for their children. Out-of-home residential care should not be an option when support can be given to families to take care of their own children.

Biddle believes we should first look at what we have to offer a community:

Wanting to create change does not necessarily mean that you have the skills or access to the resources needed to make that happen… [Students] should be helped, with input from the community, in finding what skills she can offer, whether that be fund-raising for new textbooks or helping with the harvest.

Young volunteers offer unique sets of skills and experiences that most current placement organizations don’t do enough to take advantage of. By sending volunteers to do complicated tasks, we set them up for failure and increase the likelihood that their trips become poverty tourism rather than productive service work.

Ernst reminds us that even if we think we have a pretty firm grasp on the project situation:

Accountability and humility are key. You may not have a training booklet telling you what’s right or wrong, but local experts exist everywhere. And if you look hard enough, you will find that all skills are needed; you just need to figure out where and how to apply them in the appropriate context.

Ossob Mohamud, a contributor for an African subsidiary of The Guardian, suggests addressing the “root institutional and structural causes of the problem”:

Time and energy would be better spent building real solidarity between disparate societies based on mutual respect and understanding. Instead of focusing on surface symptoms of poverty, volunteers and the organisations that recruit them should focus on the causes that often stem from an unjust global economic order. Why not advocate and campaign for IMF and World Bank reforms? How about having volunteers advocate for their home country to change aggressive foreign and agricultural policies (such as subsidy programmes)? This might seem unrealistic but the idea is to get volunteers to understand their own (direct or indirect) role in global poverty. The idea is to get volunteers truly invested in ending poverty, and not simply to feel better about themselves.

Among the countless voices offering opinions on navigating the world of international volunteering, there isn’t one that reveals a clear path to picking a partner or a guaranteed method for a successful project. From the partner selection process to your first day on site, to posting pictures online and talking to friends when you get home, there’s a lot to be considered. A few basic themes seem to repeat:

Be educated. Learn whatever you can about the region and the culture of the people you’re planning to work with. Be aware of the historical events that led to their complicated situation and to your own.

Be humble. Part of learning is knowing how much you still don’t know. Remember that you’re coming from a position of immense privilege- simply by being enrolled in a college and travelling by plane to a project you are part of a relatively small global class. Be aware of the power dynamic this creates as well as the danger that power brings with it.

Be practical. Good intentions are not enough to guarantee success. Find out what the community needs (as opposed to what you want to do), and ask yourselves what you can realistically contribute. Attack root causes, rather than surface problems. Will people be better off when you leave? Pick a project or partner that has proven results.

At the end of the day, try to be thankful for the incredible gift of being invited into another culture and remember how much there is to learn from a culture so incredibly different than our own. Even Ivan Illich has some advice for those who are willing to go abroad humbly:

[Traveling on these projects] could lead you to new awareness: the awareness that even North Americans can receive the gift of hospitality without the slightest ability to pay for it; the awareness that for some gifts one cannot even say “thank you.”

Nathan Albright is the Community Discourse Coordinator at Nourish International.

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Annotations:

Ivan Illich speech to the Conference on InterAmerican Student Projects

http://blogs.cornell.edu/ccecrosscultural/2011/11/09/ivan-illich-to-hell-with-good-intentions/

HSRC- AIDS Orphan Tourism

http://www.hsrc.ac.za/en/review/August-2010/aids-orphan-tourism

New York Times- Voluntourism Debate http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/04/29/can-voluntourism-make-a-difference/poverty-as-a-tourist-attraction

Pippa Biddle- White Girls Aren’t The Problem…
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pippa-biddle/little-white-girls-arent-_b_6062638.html

Rafia Zakaria- The White Tourist’s Burden
http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/4/volunter-tourismwhitevoluntouristsafricaaidsorphans.html

Ossob Mohamud
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/feb/13/beware-voluntourists-doing-good

Exploring the Jungle

September 26, 2014 | Posted in 2014, Cornell, Ecuador, Summer Projects, UPenn | By

Sleeping for four days in a hammock underneath a large wooden structure, open and exposed to all of the Amazon’s elements beckons for a post. Three of the nourishers (including myself), worked with members in a community on the outskirts of the rainforest to build a greenhouse in order to grow vegetables. Due to the infamous amount of rain the region receives, vegetables are nearly impossible to grow without some sort of roof to grow under, and of course, protection is necessary to deter the large array of pests.

The community was roughly two hours from the city, Puyo, where we were staying. Thus, to be more efficient, we decided to stay in the community with a host family for a week as we helped build the greenhouse.

Photo Jul 22, 7 35 29 AM

 

During our stay, our host family and partner organization’s coordinator cooked for us different regional foods on an open fire: Photo Jul 22, 7 34 28 AM

We painted a mural in our free time:

Photo Aug 04, 11 57 10 AM

We played in waterfalls, picked bananas and cocoa beans, hiked in the rainforest, and had our faces painted with tribal art:

Photo Jul 22, 12 38 21 PMPhoto Jul 22, 12 43 14 PM

But more importantly, we made an impact within a community composed of the most welcoming and liveliest people, all while creating a bond between us three that continue to this day.

Photo Aug 04, 12 34 37 PM Photo Aug 04, 11 58 07 AM

 

Welcome Fall 2014 Interns

September 17, 2014 | Posted in 2014, Nourish Office, Office Updates | By

We are excited to welcome seven interns to our team this fall!

Anna Graves, Events and Outreach

IMG_4031Anna is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying geography and religious studies. During her time as an undergraduate student, she has been a mentor for three international students and involved with organizations such as United Students Against Sweatshops. As a returning intern from summer 2014, Anna is excited to continue working with Nourish as the Events and Outreach Intern and to participate in their movement, which relies on students and education to create sustainable growth and social development both locally and internationally. In her free time she enjoys exploring, the outdoors, drawing, painting, attending concerts and spending time with family and friends.

 

 

 

Jessika Virtanen, Corporate and Foundational Outreach

550559_496980056983777_1692545746_nJessika is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in economics and global studies. She is interested in the concept of social entrepreneurship and ultimately intends to utilize her economics degree to help impoverished communities implement long-term changes. After interning with Nourish over the summer, she is excited to further explore nonprofit work this fall as the Corporate and Foundational Outreach Intern. She also works for the North Carolina Scholastic Media Association, an organization which provides resources for high school and college media organizations across the state, is on the Advocacy committee for UNC’s Relay for Life chapter, and has spent time tutoring the children of Burmese immigrants in local elementary schools. Her interests include running, reading and traveling.

 

 

Anna Long, Public Relations

302587_10150379429314318_462098958_nAnna is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying public relations and history. After becoming involved with both journalism and nonprofit work in college, she knew she wanted to channel her writing to make a positive impact in the community. She is passionate about sustainability and hopes to see Nourish’s model of social entrepreneurship and community-based solutions gain national attention. As a returning intern from summer 2014, she is excited to continue and further expand upon her work as the Public Relations Intern, which will allow her the opportunity to help raise awareness for the organization. In her free time, she enjoys reading, going to concerts and spending time at the lake.

 

 

 

Tammy Chen, Chapter Support

TammyphotoTammy is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Public Policy and minoring in Hispanic Studies. She is interested in pursuing a professional path that embraces the intersection of social policy and population health. This past summer, Tammy interned at an NGO in Chile to contribute to the foundation’s efforts to actualize global poverty alleviation/South-South cooperation in the Latin American and Caribbean region. Aside from her internship, she discovered her newfound love for snowboarding while in the Andes mountains. She also enjoys discovering new music, exercising, learning foreign language, and hearing the stories/perspectives of people from all over the world. This fall, Tammy will work with Nourish as the Chapter Support Intern.

 

Nae Won, Chapter Founders Team Lead

10494690_662410607190176_5779469349781380883_nA native of Charlotte, N.C., Nae is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill double majoring in public policy (health concentration) and global studies-global health with a minor in medical anthropology. Nae has served in various executive positions for student organizations, which exposed her to the knowledge of international relations, team management, and organization communication. She recently served as the American Executive Committee Chair for a student-led month long international conference — the Korea-America Student Conference — and is currently serving as a Special Events Coordinator for the UNC-CH Alpha Kappa Delta Phi, International Sorority Inc. Nae developed a passion for public health during her senior year of high school, when she witnessed inequality of healthcare during her mission trip to Costa Rica. Since then, she has dreamed of one day founding her own nonprofit to provide equal access to sustainable healthcare and human rights internationally. Other than taking classes, leading organizations, planning events, and working a part-time job as a manager in the student union, she loves to travel, listen to and play music, walk, and enjoy life to the fullest with the people she loves.

Carson Ledford, Business Consultant

image-2Carson is a junior global health studies major and public policy minor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Originally from Charlotte, N.C., he has been actively involved with the Ronald McDonald House Charity since 2010 and now enjoys exploring ways to give back in the Triangle. He is excited to work with Nourish International as the Business Consultant Intern to help continue the financial growth and success of the organization. One of his passions is international development, an area he hopes to pursue more through Nourish as well as post-undergrad. In his spare time, he likes to travel, spend time with his family, and restaurant hop.

 

 

Sam Salvesen, Lead Generation

603710_10151060353099599_990596489_nSam is a a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill double majoring in economics and Latin American Studies. He developed an interest in nonprofit work while studying abroad in Brazil for eight months, where he witnessed first-hand the profound inequalities that pervade the country. Sam’s passion for nonprofits was solidified after he spent a month in Guatemala City conducting a socioeconomic survey in the largest informal settlement in Central America (more than 60,000 residents living in a ravine). He is eager to work with Nourish to seek out healthy partnerships with community leaders all over the world with the goal of one day returning to Brazil to start his own social enterprise. In his spare time, he enjoys skateboarding, playing soccer and taking spontaneous trips to the beach.

Ohio State Triple Salto Follow-up

September 16, 2014 | Posted in 2014, Ecuador, OSU, Summer Projects | By

It feels like a dream that just a few weeks ago we were standing over the equator staring at the completed structure of a greenhouse we had built with our own hands. For some of our group’s members this was the first time we had ever constructed something from start to finish. From the initial step of clearing and flattening the land to adding the plastic to the outside of our greenhouse structure, every step of the process came with its own challenges. It was on our most trying days that I came to understand and admire my teammates in a way that would have been impossible otherwise. Each person brought their own light, positivity, and sense of humor that made every single day fun and inspiring. The positive energy of our group was reflected onto our project and the local community as we were told several times how fun and unique our group of volunteers was.
The first greenhouse we built was at a local primary school. Despite our poor Spanish language skills, the children would crowd around us every day excited to ask questions. My attempts to respond were comical to say the least, and would often send the kids into fits of laughter. We had a blast with the children, but at the end of the day we didn’t know which ones could be going to bed hungry. It was incredible to interact with the people who would directly benefit from our efforts.  The greenhouse we built will be used to provide our new friends with at least one balanced and nutritious organic meal a day.
The second greenhouse was placed at a local farmers market. Here we were given the opportunity to work side by side with the community. This project site was unique in comparison to the first because the people would be using the greenhouse to generate an income for their families. It’s interesting to me that the same project could mean something completely different to different groups of people. At the school, a greenhouse is a means of sustaining life itself through nutrition. At the farmers market, a greenhouse is a means of improving the quality of life. Extra income could mean access to things like medicine and education.
While we hope that our efforts made a lasting impact on the communities in Ecuador, we know that this project and the friends we made have had an impact on us. I am so thankful for this opportunity to learn and grow, and I will never forget the experiences I had in Ecuador. Thank you Triple Salto for being such a gracious host. Thank you to the community members who brought us food every day, even when they had their own families to feed at home. Last but not least, thank you to my OSU project teammates for always lifting my spirits.
Nourish Love <3
Maxie​

In retrospect…

August 28, 2014 | Posted in 2014, Indonesia, Summer Projects, U Idaho | By

Hello virtual world! It has been a while. Upon return from Bali, half of the team launched right into the summer institute and the other half fell back into normal life in our respective home towns.

This week we are all reunited and are jumping back on the Nourish train. Having the group back together has given us a lot of opportunity to look back upon our time in Bali.

We started off the journey pale but bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. We returned home after an amazing stint in Bali a little road-weary but tanner and satisfied. We were able to teach students of varying ages English skills like reading, writing, speaking and listening. With education, the progress is difficult to see to the naked eye but everyone was able to find worth in students correctly utilizing a pronoun or remembering to differentiate between he and she (there is no gender in Indonesian.)

The last week of our stay was all about launching an environmental program. We talked about this a bit in the previous blog post so I won’t bore you with all of the details again but we were able to make a real and visible impact on the coastline by Slukat and seemingly inspire many students to take initiative in their own communities and make a change for a more environmentally-friendly Indonesia.

As well as working with the students, the Slukat alumni were often around the compound and always willing to sit and chat. They also sought help with academia and English. For example, Agus is a talented young man who is looking to study abroad in Japan to further his hopeful law career in Bali. However, money and a solid application were needed for this so there was editing to be done as well as networking for finances. Check out his Gofundme page if y’all are interested in learning more. http://www.gofundme.com/c3cimk

I think that every team member had interactions with people this summer: students, staff, alumni, local people or other travelers that really widened their perspective on human nature. We were treated with nothing but kindness and respect by almost every single person we encountered. Sure, I would like to think that we made an impact and bettered the lives of our students; but they definitely made a bigger impact on our lives. And we are incredibly lucky to have been given such an amazing opportunity.

Thank you so very very much to everyone who contributed time or thoughts or money to our journey. We could not have done it without you and we appreciate it so much!

IDAHO OUT!

Nourish University of Idaho Chapter

Brick by Brick

August 26, 2014 | Posted in 2014, U Washington, Uganda, Uncategorized | By

As we head into our last week in Uganda, things are starting to wrap up. It’s exciting to see all of the projects that we’ve been working on so close to completion, but it’s sad to think that we only have a few more days to spend with the wonderful people we’ve grown to know over the past month.

The wells are nearly complete, both just waiting for pumps. Thanks to the unpredictability of Ugandan electricity, there are still a few parts that weren’t ready to pick up over the weekend, so we are waiting for them to arrive from Kampala in the next few days. Installing the water pump and purification system is the last step before both Kiseeza and Mazooba have fully functioning wells and clean water!

DSC_1318 (Tarryn and Sarah helping lay bricks and rocks in Mazooba)

One  inspiring moment from the past week was watching the community come together in Mazooba during construction. The well is at the bottom of the hill where trucks cannot reach, so we had to dump all of the bricks and rocks at the top. We spent one full day with community members helping shift the materials to the bottom, working alongside people of all ages carrying what they could manage, whether that was one brick, or eight.

DSC_1249 (Children from Mazooba carrying rocks down the hill)

We also had the chance this week to sit down with Walusimbi Willy, one of the co-founders of Rural Health Care Foundation, to talk with him about all of the different projects the organization does. We realized that we didn’t know about much outside of our projects since we’d been so focused on water. After hearing everything, we were blown away by the range of projects and extensive  involvement they have with the communities surrounding Mubende. RHCF started with a goal of improving the health of communities, initially leading to programs in HIV/AIDS treatment. As the organization grew, they added on projects for orphans, food and nutrition, maternal health, and other small projects. While water is their primary focus now, RHCF still runs projects in all of these other areas when funding is available.

While we have all been working very hard on completing the wells, we did steal a weekend to get away. Nearly all of the RHCF staff went with us to Queen Elizabeth National Park to go on a safari! It was really fun to hang out with the staff outside of work and get to experience something new for all of us. We saw lots of different animals, from water buck to elephants to hippos lounging in the Kazinga Channel. We also got to cross the equator!

 

IMG_2744 (Us at the equator with Willy, Doctor, Roland, and Pius).

 

 

Nourish International Launches New Look!

August 20, 2014 | Posted in 2014, Nourish Office, Office Updates | By

Nourish Community,

We are pleased to roll out our new logo and tagline this month. Nourish International’s new look can be attributed to a partnership with Clean Design, a brand and ad agency based in Raleigh, NC that was recently named the #1 Graphic Design Firm in the Triangle. All of their services were generously donated to support the re-brand.

nourish_logo_cmyk

Our new logo, featured in our August 2014 Newsletter, captures the three elements and synergy of our work to engage students, empower communities, and use business as a tool to impact poverty. In addition, the vibrant colors capture the global reach of our work and innovative spirit of the Nourish Network. Our new tagline, “Impacting Poverty with Ingenuity,” showcases our entrepreneurial spirit and unique model in our field of work.

We are delighted to share our new look with you and hope you will join us in showing our appreciation for Clean Design for their tremendous support in this process.

Kelly's Signature

Kelly Leonhardt Phoenix
Executive Director
Nourish International

P.S. Interested in representing the new Nourish look? Purchase one of our Nourish T-Shirts today! Shirts are just $15. Deadline to order is tomorrow (8/21) at 10PM. Buy one today!

Nourish Students Will Join the Millennium Campus Conference 2014– Not Too Late to Apply!

August 19, 2014 | Posted in 2014, Nourish Office | By

We are honored to announce that six Nourish students will be joining Nourish International staff at the Millennium Campus Conference in Boca Raton in October. Nourish has been named a co-host for this year’s Millennium Campus Conference, and we are thrilled to have Nourish students join us at this transformative conference!

The six Nourish students selected to join us are:

Abigail Mackey, Ohio State University

Anna Zigmond, Indiana University

Annie Finley, University of Idaho

Hailey Lewis, University of Idaho

Dineka Ringling, University of Idaho

Reynel Mirabal, Barry University

MCC will be held on Lynn University’s campus from Oct. 10-12. The conference aims to gather college students from all over the world to voice youth perspectives on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. During the conference, students will participate in workshops and listen to world renowned speakers such as New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, Peace Corps Director Carrie Hassler-Radelet, and President of the US Fund for UNICEF Caryl M. Stern.

Nourish students can still apply to attend the conference: Apply Here to be part of the Nourish delegation representing Nourish at MCC (Note: scholarship opportunities are now closed).  Students will also need to complete a separate application directly with MCC at http://www.mcc2014.org/apply/. The registration fee is $65. The Late Application Deadline to apply is September 5.


Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity!

Update from UW Project Interns in Uganda

August 14, 2014 | Posted in 2014, Summer Projects, U Washington, Uganda, Uncategorized | By

It’s almost half way through our project and things are going well! Both of the water projects are underway. The first, in Kiseeza, should be working by the middle of next week. We helped to build the cement covering a few days ago and we’re waiting for it to dry before we can finish up. Yesterday, we watched the start of the second water project in Mazooba village – in one day the community dug 10 feet! It’s been really exciting to witness the construction of both projects and to see the commitment of the community.

These successes haven’t come without some slight setbacks. The weather, periodic heavy downpours, have definitely delayed the progress at Kiseeza. Many times, due to soil saturation, the sides of the well caved in. This destroyed the work on the day and the well had to be re-dug. The heavy rains also have been affecting our ability to get to and from the site. Our car has been stuck in the mud more than once, but thanks to the ingenuity of the villagers, we have been able to get it out and moving again. This definitely isn’t what we expected when we thought about complications, but thankfully nothing has been able to stop us from pushing forward!

In our free time, we’ve taken on a few more projects at the office to help make an even bigger impact. Tarryn has been working on helping create reports and graphs from baseline data, and teaching the staff how to use the various programs needed. We’ve also been helping to revamp their website to make it more user friendly and to hopefully help them attract more donors and grants! Check it out!

On our way back from Kampala last weekend, we had the honor to stop by another RHCF project – Rural Mama Children’s Home. We found out that it is an orphanage that was created as an offshoot of an HIV/AIDS program that they were running in order to find care for the orphans of the affected persons. While it is still largely under construction, the work that RHCF has done and what they hope to do is inspiring, and we can’t wait to see where it goes.

Probably the hardest experience we’ve had so far is visiting the only school in Kiseeza that services all children in a 6km radius. Being only 2 years old, it serves over 150 students from baby school (preschool) to primary four. Despite being on holiday, most students showed up to greet us and sing us songs. The headmaster and one of the teachers took us on a tour of the grounds and told us about how important education was to the village and the children. Unfortunately, even though there is a need and desire for education, only 100 kids were able to take their exams due to the high cost of school fees. When we asked how much it was, we were devastated to hear that one trimester only cost 15,000 shillings, the USD equivalent of $6. Needless to say, we were inspired to do something to help the children and the school grow, and hopefully we will be able to contribute in the future (keep an eye out, we’re working on a plan!!)

 

Here are some photos so you can see what we’ve been up to!

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This is a kid getting water from the current water source. Not only are these local sources highly contaminated and shared with livestock, they also pose a danger to children who can fall in and drown.

DSC_0885

Measuring how deep the well at Kiseeza is. You can see the flooding around the well that happened after a rainstorm.

 

Celebrating our largest Summer Institute to date!

August 13, 2014 | Posted in 2014, Nourish Office, Summer Institute | By

Thanks to our generous supporters, passionate students, alumni and speakers, the 2014 Summer Institute was our largest to date. The rigorous and rewarding 5-day conference prepared students for the challenges they’ll face as Chapter members this year. Through workshops, mentoring and hands-on training, students learned how to earn money, partner with international communities, and run a successful Nourish Chapter on their campuses.

IMG_9747

With each day focusing on a different aspect of what it takes to succeed in international development, students are now prepared to hit the ground running as they start a new and exciting year of Nourish. Here is a glimpse of what was covered at this year’s Institute:

Thursday, July 31- Leveraging Your Passion

It is no secret that it takes passion and dedication to complete a successful international development project. The first day of the conference focused on how to leverage that passion as a tool to create lasting change. Nourish consultant Sarah Miller Frazer discussed how to balance audacity with humility — how to be bold and passionate while understanding that there will be difficulties to overcome along the way. Sam Vaghar, Executive Director and co-founder of The Millennium Campus Network, emphasized the power young people have to change the world now.

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Friday, August 1 – Leveraging Your Chapter

The second day of the conference was all about establishing and marketing Chapters. Ed Cheely, Senior Director of Sales and Business Development at Citrix ShareFile, discussed the importance of company culture and how to apply it to motivate a Nourish team. Nancy Woody from CleanDesign, the brand and design agency that created Nourish’s new logo and look, taught students how to establish their Chapter’s brand. Motivating speakers like Zach Ward from DSI, Allie Ahearn from the UNC Admission’s Office, Alexis Tavarez from the UF Chapter and Frank Phoenix from the Fenwick Foundation shared how to effectively leverage Chapters in the media and in the world.

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Saturday, August 2 – Leveraging Business as a Tool for Good

The values of the business world and the nonprofit world may appear to clash at first glance. However, business skills are vitally important and can be leveraged as a tool for social good. Carlyle Singer, Chief Operating Officer of the Acumen Fund, led a session called “More Money = More Impact” that emphasized the value of business in international development. Adam Wyrick of Citrix ShareFile shared sales techniques and how to apply them to Ventures. Barbara Jessie-Black, Executive Director of the PTA Thrift Shop, discussed how to scale ventures to fit the needs of a community. Students brainstormed and pitched business models that embodied the values of the triple bottom line ­— benefitting people, profit and planet. These models will serve as the foundation for successful Ventures in the coming year.

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Sunday, August 3 – Leveraging Partnership

The Nourish approach is unique in that it relies on building strong relationships with community partners. By working alongside community leaders, student interns gain insight into how best to implement a sustainable project. Nourish Board of Directors member LaHoma Romocki, a former PeaceCorps Cameroon Director, taught the Nourish approach and the successes and challenges of sustainable development. Hillary Larman of the US Fund for UNICEF discussed advocacy in action and how to create successful partnerships. Board members Evan Ashkin and Ann-Marie Clayton explained what partnership means and how to evaluate impact.

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Monday, August 4 – Leveraging What You’ve Learned

The last day of the Institute was bittersweet as students reflected on what they learned throughout the conference. Nourish Board Chairperson Dee Blake talked with students about Nourish’s strategic plan and how to carry it over to their Chapters.

The Nourish staff was thrilled by the engaging discussions and ideas presented by students throughout the Institute. We are confident that our Chapters are prepared for the coming year and we can’t wait to see where it will take us. Thank you to all involved in the conference — it was a huge success! We hope to see you there next year.

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