Ben met up (virtually) with Kofi Asante recently, have a listen to his thoughts on all things SDGs and Global Citizenship
Samuel Kofi Asante is a product of the University of Ghana. A young man who is passionate about kids and as a matter of fact has always wanted to support young ones to achieve their dreams. His organisation, ‘Kofi Asante Initiatives’ was inspired by his stay in Nyinanasusu located in the Ashanti Region of Ghana when he was doing his national service. He served as a teacher and during his stay, he saw the wide gap of disparities in village education; poor and inadequate educational materials, emotional and psychological breakdown on the part of the kids, teachers and sometimes parents. He therefore decided to take it up and provide solutions hence Kofi Asante Initiatives.
Thanks to Ben for the interview and introduction
For more information on The Kofi Asante Initiative: https://www.facebook.com/kofi.asante.5203
What does it mean to be a global citizen? A global citizen is someone who is aware of both local and global matters and their role in shaping it better. A global citizen takes action for local or/and global causes, taking into consideration the impact of their actions on others and the globe itself.
Which SDG do you think impacts the most? Goal 16; Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Which one are you passionate about? Goal 1-5 and 16
How did you get involved with your organisation? I saw a need for young people to be empowered with civic education, basic life skills, knowledge of rights and to begin to mobilise and demand for social change as a group as well as individually in their respective spaces. My present organisation was born through experiences with other organisations I was part of early on that gave me the opportunity to do all of these things now.
What makes you passionate about what you do within your organisation? Seeing people begin to embrace, accept, work towards and exhibit the change we seek.
How do you see Move the World and your Organisation partner? Through capacity building training for our beneficiaries and volunteers. As well as through an exchange and review of training materials.
** Creative Branders Organisation is brand new- no online presence yet, but stay tuned! **
What does it mean to a be a Global Citizen? Being a global citizen implies that one has adequate knowledge of the world, ones role in it and again contributes towards ensuring a changed world thus being an active citizen
In regards to the SDGs, which of them are you most passionate about or which one impacts you the most? Goal 1 – No Poverty
How did you get involved with your organisation? First of all, I am passionate about working with NGOs. I joined a local NGO where working conditions were not good. My exposure to the INGOs through partnership projects I implemented at the local NGO in addition to my interaction with colleagues who find themselves there made me aspired to join them for improved working condition as well as the prestige attached to it. I challenged myself to gain considerable experience from the local NGO to compensate for the loss (lack of better working condition) and to enrich my CV to be make me marketable. While working at the local NGO after one year I began to look out for job adverts from these INGO and kept applying. By God’s grace, I was shortlisted, called for an interview which i performed and selected out of the four who were interviewed and given my appointment letter to work with CARE.
What makes you passionate about what you do within your organisation? As an individual with passion for community work and working with local communities, I happen to find myself in the position of a field officer where I constantly engage local communities and vulnerable group. Working with them to impact their lives, thus defeat poverty and improve their well.
How do you see Move The World and your organisation collaborating? CARE is committed to partnership building in programming due to diversity and inherent opportunities. Partnership ensures that expertise are brought on board to make lasting impact in the lives of the vulnerable. Once your organisation shares similar mission with CARE and has the expertise to drive projects, CARE could always collaborate on projects
Interview with Emmanuel Woma
Disclaimer: The views shared here represent Hakim as an individual and not that of CARE as an organisation and “I am responsible for any errors and omissions. They do not represent the views of CARE, Thank You.”
Interview with Michou-Eymard Tchana-Hyman; Director of Global Citizenship – JUMP FOUNDATION
WHAT MICHOU DOES AT JUMP FOUNDATION I oversee the social work that Jump does (jump impact). Jump foundation is a social enterprise that works primarily with international schools. They hire us to come and run programs and workshops for them, those are either on-campus (jump schools), sometimes happens off-campus (jump- experiences) take them on trips, take them out into the world. They pay us and then with the extra revenue at the end of the day after paying our bills we put money towards jump impact, which is similar kinds of leadership programmes, but for youth who come from communities which have been traditionally marginalized. We run these leadership programmes we call the Jump Leadership Programs in about 9 active partner locations where we run it around the world. Some in Asia, some in Kenya, some in North and some in Latin America as well. So we use experiential education to try and empower leaders from both ends of the socio-economic spectrum, so we work with quite wealthy young people in the international schools and we also try and work with young people who don’t come from families or communities that are not as financially sound. Global citizenship plays a huge part in what we do in Jump Foundation. We work in a very international context; we work with a lot of people who don’t necessarily identify with location in terms of where they are from so this concept of global citizenship is really great for them. We have a diverse facilitator network, people facilitating from all over the world, every continent and it is kind of in our DNA. Global citizenship is incorporated into a lot of our programmes, we try to promote it as much as possible. At the moment we have two GC camps that are running, they are online (virtually) and it’s a week-long camp where students are learning about GC and talking with people all over. Right now some of the students are having a conversation with a young guy who is originally also from Cameroon but who grew up in New York and had an accident about 5 -6 years and ended up being paralyzed from the chest down in a wheelchair and has done a lot of modelling now. He has lived a very interesting life.
PERSONALLY, WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A GLOBAL CITIZEN? This is something I do think about a lot, so recently while I was thinking about this I bore it down to three words that I really feel embodies global citizenship. The first one I really believe is CURIOSITY, for me a Global citizen is somebody who is really curious about the world around and wants to learn what is happening around them; wants to learn what’s happening in the environment, in different communities and different places around the world and different kinds of people, different cultures. There is an element of curiosity that really drives Global citizens to try and understand the world around them. The next quality that I really feel embodies Global citizen is RESPONSIBILITY and so I think Global citizens identify that there is a bit of responsibility they owe the world, whether that is an environmental responsibility in terms of making sure that they are trying to minimize their impact through their economic purchases, either waste management in trying to reduce plastic usage also responsibility to the community around them, their society, people in general. Whether that’s their local community or larger global community and that they have responsibility to support the people in their community, people around them, whether they know them or not. The last quality that I think embodies global citizenship is RESPECT. There is this element of curiosity and responsibility but it is all rooted in a lot of respect. So respect for others, respect for yourself, respect for the planet. It doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with everybody, doesn’t necessarily mean you think everybody is right and people can’t do wrong, but how you engage with people is rooted in the element of respect. So for me, I really feel those three things embody what it means to be a global citizen.
WHICH OF THE SDGS DO YOU RESONATE WITH SO MUCH? I have personally got a mixed relationship with the SDGs. So just coming from the world of Global citizenship education, SDGs are everywhere, everyone is always talking about the SDGs and I feel like it has gotten to the point where people feel like SDGs are synonymous to Global Citizenship and it is one and the same. But I actually feel very differently and that the SDGs are not necessarily what defines Global Citizenship, I think it is a great framework, it is a really easy and simplified framework that helps people to start thinking about social issues. I believe it is a little bit oversimplified, but I think there is pros to that, because the reality of social impact work is very complex, very intertwined and that can be very intimidating to engage with, especially when you are new to social impact and social issues, and seeing how complicated things are can be a distraction for people, so having a nice simple framework, I think is good it is a good start, but I don’t think it is everything, I don’t think the SDGs, the global goals are everything. Actually I try when I am designing Global Citizenship program touch on the SDGs a little, not have too much focus on them. If you were to press me to pick a favourite, I will say probably two. The first one is partnership for the goals (SDG 17). I think social issues are systemic and the only way to really tackle them is through partnership and through thinking systems and the way that systems work and operate. The second one is number 10 – reduced inequalities, I think that is a nice blanket one, covers a lot of issues. That again, not looking at the different sub-goals and targets of the goal, but looking at the concept of reducing inequalities.
WHAT GOT YOU IN THE FIRST PLACE AND WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVATION? There are two things for me. The first thing which is going to be true for anyone who works for jump, if you ask them, is the people. It’s the community and the people that you get exposed to while working at jump, it really is incredible. There is the idea of workplace and friends, it gets very blended at jump and we become really close friends with everyone you work with. People take care of each other and they support each other and they look out for each other. Whether you have worked together for years or whether you have worked together for a little bit on a program, there is a really strong bond between everybody in the jump family. It is a beautiful thing and pretty rare, I haven’t quite seen that anywhere else. So that is a huge attraction for me in terms of working at Jump, it’s the people. The second is the work through jump impact, that was what really brought me back was the opportunity to step in and work with that. I believe that the model that we use for the Jump Leadership Program is a really powerful model that places emphasis on the communities that we work with, it is really much a backseat role that Jump plays in that model. So we work with these communities via a partner organization, we work with them we train them to run the model, we train youth in that community to run it. They put together conferences and workshops where they bringing together youth identified issues they see in their communities that they want to talk about, they have open communications, they come up with projects to address this issues. It is very youth focused and very youth driven programme, I just see a lot of value in that because I see it as very special. So that is what brought me back to Jump.
WHAT IS IT LIKE WORKING WITH DIFFERENT YOUTH FROM THE TWO ENDS OF THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC SPECTRUMS? There is a huge difference in terms of working at the international school or working with the kids of the diplomats, very important [I don’t want to say important because everyone is important] but these are people who have very high expectation, everything is very controlled, everything is very sterile and everything needs to be at a certain level where the school believes is quality, not necessarily what I believe to be quality but it’s got to be to the school believes is quality. In that situation we are very much in a client relationship where we are servicing them and providing for their needs. The kids sometimes wanna be there, sometimes don’t want to be there, so it’s a little bit of a different attitude from the kids. Meanwhile, when we work with our jump impact partners, it is very much collaboration, it is very much a partnership where we create strong relationships with them to the point where we are friends, we create friendships with them. We co-create stuff together we build stuff together and it is very easy and relaxed, it feels mutually beneficial. All the youth we work with are so motivated, so creative they really want to be there, they wanna be there because they care about their community, they care about making their community a better place and it’s just incredibly inspiring. We also work with amazing partners who are doing great work in their communities and that is inspiring in itself. The jump impact work is so motivational for me and so inspiring.
ARE THERE THINGS WE CAN COLLABORATE WITH JUMP FOUNDATION GOING FORWARD? I imagine that at this moment, especially given the state of the world and this pandemic, travels are at a halt, it’s been a bit challenging for jump in terms of a lot of our business relied on in-person workshops and in-person trips and those are all effectively put on hold for the next year while this pandemic sorts itself out. So we had to make a bit of pivot and now we are doing a lot of virtual facilitation and we are running virtual programs with people all over the world joining in. There are some really cool benefits with running virtual programs though. I think that probably at the moment what would make most sense is some knowledge share. Looking at, okay what are some of the ways that MTW is developing global citizenship and what is the curriculum you are using and what can we steal from you and what can you steal from us. I would say some sort of knowledge share; some sort of curriculum share would make the most sense right now.
What does it mean to be a global citizen? Being a global citizen is a collective responsibility of all of us playing active roles in developing our communities through the provision of equal, fair and sustainable opportunities.
Which of the SDG’s are you passionate about? Goals 3&4 are my primary interest, I believe when these two are met working together in partnership as goal 17 states, we will meet the rest of the goals with ease.
How did you get involved with your organization? I serve as the head of volunteers, this puts me in the lead role to the planning, organizing and implementation of all project activities.
What makes you passionate about what you do with your organization? It puts me in the position to have a better understanding of issues, I get to learn more from the people I work with and I also get to share my knowledge and experience with others.
How do you see MTW and your organisation collaborating? Hope Restoration Network works in 3 areas ie. Education, Health and Livelihood development, I believe both organizations can collaborate in education and Livelihood development for sustainability.
Introduction Dana Vanderburgh the Executive Director of Movement Exchange also a long time friend of the DMC and Move The World World and am so happy to be interviewed.
Movement Exchange is 501c3 Non-Profit that is based out of the USA and we have university chapters all across US and we have Uran programme in Panama and our mission is to unite dance and service and to provide dance education to particularly youth but communities that don’t typically have access to dance education, so our mission is to both cultivate, civically engage dancers who are active in their communities but also to ensure that dance education is accessible to all, and so we do that through the universities chapters that gives dance classes for free for different organisations that are surrounding their university community so they partner with boys and girls clubs, domestic violence shelters, refugee agency sometimes kids whose parents are incarcerated, some works with adults and nursing homes.
What does it mean to be a Global Citizen?
For Movement Exchange to be a global citizen, it means to recognise that you have the ability within your own self, within your own body and particularly, when you are thinking of dance that you can connect with others, you can build relationships with others, you can make a difference in your community and that you don’t need to have the same background even the same language and that, we have that capacity already within ourselves to be that global citizen, that person who is connective with others, who is empathetic, who is able to build positive relationships and also to be their authentic self and that is the beauty of Movement Exchange. So we are asking people to come in, bring what they are passionate about which is dance and what they have skills in, you can be a global citizen and be a dancer, you can do both. Dancers already have the perfect tools to be come global citizens because they are able to connect and move with others.
In regards to the SDGs, which one do you feel impacts you the most
I think good health and wellbeing, in the sense that being able to dance is a big part of being able to be a healthy fulfilled individual. We both know that dance provide exercise but also that sense of wellbeing, that sense of being able to accomplish things with your body. I think also in many ways the idea of quality education is focused on academic education but I think it’s important to include dance education, I think we’ve seen it in lots of academic programmes, things like dance and other artistic activities get cut, so that’s important gab that needs to be addressed within education, we can’t just say that education is learning from books, it’s not. I think also peace and justice in terms of building institutions that focus on peace and justice, because for us we don’t say that dance is going to change the world and just get rid of all the conflict that exists, that would be wonderful! But we really do believe that engaging with others through dance and building those connection and being able to connect with others and realised that you are able to do that! Is a really important first step in generating those conversations that we need to address problems.
How did you get involved with your organization?
I was introduced to Movement Exchange as an undergraduate student when I was at Indiana university which am still there! So I got involved as a volunteer and then I started providing different types of admin services here and there, just stayed involved for a several years and they were looking for a new executive director and I felt like the right time! So Movement Exchange has been a part of my life now for 6 years going on 7 years.Now my favourite part about my job being in the admin side now, that I get to have those conversations with all these different people and I recognise my self, that young collage student or that dancer who is just starting to realise that dance is so much more than just a studio.
What makes you passionate about what you do within your organization?
Am passionate about getting to watch people both explore their own abilities to engage in their communities through dance. I love getting to see how our students in our other programs are able to experience and become more creative, more expressive individuals through dance and see how dance changes their lives, that is what drives me everyday, being able to work with an organisation that really believe that dance can make a difference and that dance is important, and I feel more like a dancer now than I ever did when I was in the studio every single day! Because I understand what dance does and I understand why dance is important and why we need to keep advocating for it and that is why I love doing what I do!!!
How do you see MTW and your organization collaborating?
I think it’s really neat to see the way that you are teaching students to be global citizens, you have a lot of activities that emphasis on movement , I know that your founders have a background in dance and that is where they came from so it’s not surprising that so many of your activities involves creativity, involves art , involves movement, so there is a very similar philosophy that both of our organisation have in terms of what it means to be a global citizen and what are the different ways we can cultivate that with the youth? To me it’s really where I see our organisation overlapping, who knows what that will look like in the future!!!
Any advice for the youth My advice is to find what you are passionate about and use that to make a difference, if you like to dance think about how you can make a difference through dance, if you like to cook how can you make a difference through cooking, if you love creative art, if you love football, singing etc, think about what you are passionate about! You don’t need to become somebody different to make a difference. We all think that change happens when you have to be someone working for the UN or become a politician, maybe that isn’t what you want to do but also just do what you love and be passionate about it and share that with other people and I think you will find that you will be able to make a difference, because you are being true to yourself and you know there is something special about everything that we do!!!.
What does it mean to be a Global Citizen? To be a global citizen means to see yourself in the perspective of the bigger global family and to thus be well informed and prepared of matters relating to that bigger picture. Global citizens are creative, innovative, and proactive people due to their exposure on global perspectives and are also tolerant people who embrace the concept of diversity. Global citizens play active roles in their communities, and this is because they understand they are responsible of their community, which forms part of the globe.
In regards to the SDGs, which one do you feel impacts you the most and/or which one are you most passionate about? I am most passionate about SDG Goal 4 – Quality Education. Under this goal, the UN and world leaders seek to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. “Potential” is one thing that inspires me a lot. Potential of young people, startups and projects, etc. And it takes education, and quality education for that matter, to help one unleash potentials.
How did you get involved with your organisation- in your case, how did it begin? I had a strong desire to create change! I wanted to contribute to the shaping of the better Africa we dream of. One dawn in December 2013, I had the aha moment of a “billion” Africans coming together to pick a problem each in Africa to turn into a project. This yields at least a “billion” solutions and opportunities. It sounded inspiring! And exciting! Thus, we created the 1Billion Africa movement and platform.
What makes you passionate about what you do within your organisation? The breath-taking stories on the ground, and our “breadcrumb” successes or WINS on the journey. Wherever we have failed, we have also called that a WIN, because we picked a lesson up. There is indeed a great potential to create more impact with more support and collaborations from other organisations.
How do you see MTW and 1BA collaborating? We have lots in the past! By identifying common grounds and creating more/new innovative projects. As well by finding strategic roles within our existing projects for the other party to come on board.
An interview with Agormor Richard Delali Del (RD) with Emmanuel Woma (EW)
1. EW – Can you please tell me about your organization and how you got involved with your organization? • RD – The name of the organization is called Alliance For SDGs Network and what we do is to connect our African communities which surround us. In particular, the four Francophone countries around Ghana; Abidjan, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo. Alliance For SDGs Network is a global collective of young people who want to peruse and champion the SDGs so that at the end of the day we can meet the agenda 2030 and also to develop our nation as well. I got involved in this organization because I happen to work with World Merit (an organization that begun in UK) and Joshua, our leader saw the potential in me because we both worked together. So as far as the world is concerned and that’s why we got ourselves into this organization.
2. EW – In regards to the SDGs, which one are you passionate about ? • RD – I am passionate about many SDGs but specifically I have enthusiasm for Goal 17 which is Partnership for the Goals. We have realized that we need to partner with other people and also as young people we need to come out as a global citizen so that we can partner together, seek for advice or council and information to put together in one basket and to protect the African continent and also be able to solve problems in the African countries.
3. EW- What does it mean to be a global citizen? • RD- Global citizen as itself as a whole is creating awareness, understanding the wider world and also trying to cooperate with the institutions that are governed. As far as global citizenshop is concerned I just want to encourage the youth to just get collaborating so that we go wider and understand what the world is all about
4. EW – How do you see Move the World and your organization collaborating. • RD – I have understood or I have seen that Move The World is also one of the organization that is trying to take on the world and I believe we can join forces together. Trust me when we come to the issue of SDGs , Alliance For SDGs Network has the people who have traveled outside the country and inside the country, so we have plenty of experience that if we team up with MTW we can make sure we empower the young generation and to project the image of Africa and the world as well.
To be a global citizen means to understand what happens around you and outside your immediate environment to a much wider global context. It means understanding the issues that affect you and others in different areas as well as thinking of solutions that helps address challenges in your community and other communities
Which of the SDGs are you passionate about?
Goal 4(Quality Education) & 5(Gender Equality) impacts me the most and I am passionate about goal 3(Good Health & Wellbeing)
How did you get involved with your organisation?
I was curious to learn and understand how babies are formed and find solutions to the mysterious death of women and children at birth. That was the beginning of my entry career – working on Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights, Maternal Health and other related issues.
What makes you passionate about what you do with your organisation?
The fact that I get to change the lives of people directly in different communities everyday.
How do you see MTW and your organisation collaborating?
We work with many young people through AfriYAN Ghana on different youth development issues, Move the World is a great partner to leverage youth voices and build capacities for great development outcomes in different areas across Ghana.