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The Diversity in Development & and the Dangers in Voluntourism

Developing Communities Everywhere Org. (DCE) is a not for profit organization that creates and implements initiatives focused on working with local and rural and underdeveloped communities around the globe; we focus on addressing working with communities to uncover their needsand develop sustainable solut ions with them. Our current initiative is in sub-Saharan Africa, where we are currently working collaboratively with a rural community in Ghana to addresstheir social needs and develop methods to be financially independent , and not have the need for aid in the future. A Canadian founded organisation DCE strives to educate local Canadians on the work needing to be done in international development and looking at ways to involve Canadian youth on the international forefront . For our first event and a way of showcasing DCE's values and regards towards international development , DCE created a seminar called Diversity in Development and the Dangers of Voluntourism, which took place at the University of Toronto Jackman's Humanities building. The seminar was co-hosted with the UTSU Social Justice & Equity Commission and guest NGO Jeffrey Ikeaka

Foundat ion. The seminars goal was to explore what it means to be a racialized person

participating in international development , as well as to explore the barriers and strengths that a racialized person in internat ional development may experience. The purpose of the

seminar was to learn from other racialized people of their experience in international

development , actively discuss interests, views and why or why not racialized people apply or

do not apply to international development projects, explore the statistics of racialized

people participating in international development , explore the applicat ion process for

international development projects from a general and non-profit perspective as well as

develop solut ions to address barriers in international development .

The seminar opened up informatively as our guest NGO Jeffery Ikeaka introduced his

organisation and what they did, and our panelists also spoke about their educational

backgrounds and who they are in relat ion to international development . Participants went

right into discussion as panelists Mr. Wasike a professor and Mr. Doldron spoke on topics of

international development , current affairs such as the political updates in Zimbabwe and the effects it has on international development and the use and abuse of foreign aid by African leaders. Professor Wasike, an African Studies professor at the University of Toronto

explored with our audience what it meant to be African from an international development

perspective, and how as diasporic Africans we have a responsibility of reshaping the current

mindset of the African always needing help, to the African valuing what they have in their

homes and welding their local wealth as aid for themselves. Mr.Doldron who is a retired

high school teacher and currently runs his own non-governmental organization called Afri-

Americas Foundation (Education beyond borders) , spoke about the need for sound

education practices in Africa and the need for us all to look from different lenses at what the real issues are, that are happening in Africa from lenses outside of our Western ones.

After the panelist presentation and discussion with the audience, we broke out into a circle

and discussed; The Application process of International Development and what they are

looking for and is there a problem of ethnic representation in international development?How can we govern ourselves regarding voluntourism and be respectful of the culture as

diasporic members or non-diaspora members? We did an activity where we asked our

audience members to write their top 3 intentions when participating or seeking to

participate in an international development , their top 3 initial regards when participating in international aid and how they believe they're seen by others when practicing development.

Some students spoke about the stigma behind applying for financial help to go on an

excursion and the invasive process of exposing your lifestyle and personal details to be

deemed eligible. Nevertheless, DCE executives encouraged students to be involved in this

world as a global citizen and take advantage of opportunities to travel, understand how to be strategic when working with leadership authority, and lastly to network with connectors

that can assist to bring about change in the community you hope to work in.

November 23, 2017

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