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/

1 comment:

  1. I really feel as though development is inherently political, despite comments made to the contrary during forum discussion. I think the face that work being done to affect social change can be seen as potentially politically neutral is one of the biggest issues in our current development paradigm. This is because NGOs and development assistance are filling a gap in the provision of social services and public goods that is normally the domain of the government. The fact that NGOs exist and partially fill this gap allows the neoliberal economic system, in practices such as structural adjustment, to persist and reproduce itself. Even in the case that development isn't overtly political, such as those who are involved in development organizations being tied to politics (as the Botswana team brought up), development is inherently tied to politics. I do also think that the prevalence of politically minded people in development organizations is far from being a mere coincidence.