October 25, 2011

Projects Forum #2: Botswana and government policy


This week

Projects Forum #2- Botswana and government policy

Faisal, Isabelle, and Lyndsay discussed their experiences as QPID cooperants in Botswana, with a focus on how government policy can affect development. The organizations they interned with were involved with human rights and land distribution issues and HIV/AIDS education. They also talked about how government policy sometimes helped NGOs accomplish more (more publicity, more respect if a well-known politican or business person was involved with their organization) or create obstacles to development (as in land distribution). Have a question about QPID in Botswana? Contact Isabelle at qpid.projectbotswana@gmail.com

What do you think? Is development always political? Is it possible for organizations to work without the influence of politics and policy? Or is it a question of development being politicized? How much of an organization's work depends on where its money comes from?

We want to know what YOU think!

It's been a while since we had the chance to chat here on the blog. Here's a quick recap of Forums since the last post:

  • Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre: Located on Queen's Campus, Four Directions has been central to the Aboriginal community at Queen's since it opened in 1996. Dana Wesley from Four Directions talked about the annual Pow Wow that took place at Queen's on October 1. She talked a bit about the role of the Centre in the Queen's community and some of the obstacles and discrimination Aboriginal peoples have faced in the past. More info: http://www.queensu.ca/fdasc/index.html

  • Projects Forum #1- Nunavut and Community-identified Needs: Peter and Steph talked about the QPID internships they did with the Hamlet of Arviat in Nunavut over the summer. As well as describing the successes (getting kids active, improving nutrition) and challenges (difficulty of integrating literacy, limited support from the director of the camp) they ran into while running a drop-in summer camp in Arviat, they also highlighted some ways cooperants could better address the needs of the community- namely by focusing on the areas identified by the community itself. For more info, contact Peter and Steph through their Nunavut Project Manager email qpid.projectnunavut@gmail.com.

  • Tammy Babcock from Help Tammy Help Haiti (HTHH): Tammy founded the organization in 2008 with the goal of promoting sustainable growth in Cité Soleil, Haiti and improving the socio-economic conditions of its residents. Help Tammy Help Haiti focuses on providing free medical care, access to clean drinking water, and access to education. She discussed her and her team's successes like building a non-profit water tower to provide clean water at low cost to the Cité Soleil community and the process of building a community centre as a first step to stopping gang violence.She also talked about some of the many obstacles HTHH faced, including gaining the trust of members of the community. Finally, she stressed the importance of sustainability in HTHH's projects. More info: http://helptammyhelphaiti.com/

September 21, 2011

What if we rethought development?

The question "What is development?" is complex and multi-faceted. Development means something different to everyone and much of its meaning depends on personal experience. We explored a few possibilities of what development is, from computers as educational tools in Delhi to small things like avoiding buying clothes new. Links to the examples from Forum are listed below.

Some things to think about:
To what extent is development local and to what extent is it international?
Why do you want to learn more about development?
What factors have influenced how you view development (travel, movies, people you know, where you grew up, family, etc.)?


September 15, 2011

Development: What does it MEAN?

Welcome back to QPID!

Hope you had a great summer and were able to come to our first QPID Forum (general info session) this week. This was a short Forum where we touched on the question "What is development?" Is development building new infrastructure or establishing a democratic political system? Is it clean water? Affordable housing? Education? Medical care? Business? Are some forms of development more effective than others? What does development mean to you?

We'll explore this question in more detail at 5:30pm on Tuesday in Ellis 226. Bring your friends, your thinking caps, and an open mind.

For more information on two of the photo-examples we looked at this week, check out the following links.

Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil : http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/26/favela-ghost-town-rio-world-cup

March 09, 2011

'Traditional' or 'modern' maternal medicine

Continuing from last night's forum about maternal health, I wanted to pose a few discussion questions to you all.

Can 'traditional' medicine be reconciled with 'modern' medicine? If a family member prefers to use 'traditional' methods of healing for a pregnant relative facing complications, is that the right option? If they have been told a woman will die unless they receive 'modern' medicine, what is to be done? What is more important, an immediate life, or cultural promotion and tolerance that may lead to a more sustainable acceptance of 'traditional' medicine. Thoughts?

March 06, 2011

'What Next'

Popular protest in Egypt and Tunisia and the consequent dismantling of decades of repressive government has inspired similar demands for social, political and economic reform throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East. However, with the end of the rule of President Hosni Sayyid Mubarak and President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, respectfully, it is critical to address how the demand for political, economic and social reforms will be answered and the subsequent actions taken by the succeeding governments. Amongst the media focus on ongoing protests and turbulence in areas such as Libya, Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain, Algeria, and Iran is the lack of similar interest in the agenda taken by officials and authorities in Egypt and Tunisia where power was seized from dictators. Removing an oppressive ruler may only be the beginnings of a long process of quelling unrest, reaching equality and implementation of an agenda for greater human rights.

As an Western observer of the current events in Northern Africa and Middle East, it is easy to become lost in the sweep of emotions underlying these revolutions and to push for ideas of democracy in countries such as Egypt, which is currently under military leadership. The effects of the impact of transnational affairs and the Western world is evident from the rise of anti-colonialism and political dissent of the West following post-war decolonization of countries in the mid-twentieth century. Is it effective to impose principles of Western society on countries with differing political, economic and social traditions, especially with the consideration of past developments of supposed anti-western ideologies and the rise of pan-Arabism?

The following is a short list of some sites with information and facts regarding the past, the present and the opinions of various organizations, groups and individuals on what they believe are topics to be addressed for the future. The uprisings in Northern Africa and the Middle East are important moments in global history and given that we have the privilege of easily accessing information, we should critically analyze the situation in these areas and our roles as citizens in the global community at large.
The above article is an independently written piece regarding current events and does not necessarily represent the opinions and views of QPID as a whole.

February 28, 2011

Fostering development consciousness outside of QPID forum

With all the fascinating topics addressed at QPID forum and the engaging discussions that follow the presentations and workshops, we recognize how short and limiting 50 minutes can be in fostering active discussions.  Hence, we've decided to form this Discussion Blog as a means for QPID members to discuss, question and put forth their opinions and ideas regarding different development issues such as the ones presented in QPID forum.

While discussion topics will be lead by the QPID Communications, we encourage all members to actively participate and comment.  You do not need to sign-up for an account and there is an option to post anonymously.  Controversial comments will not be removed but we do ask that members refrain from profanity and comments will be monitored as this blog is meant to be a venue for discussion and not for attacks on individuals or groups.

If you have any suggestions or comments about this blog or discussion topics, please email the Webmaster (qpid.webmaster@gmail.com) or Communications (qpid.communications@gmail.com).