Calgary Professional Chapter Quarterly Newsletter Date of Issue: November 7 2010 Issue Number: 1
Reverse-Trick-or-Treating: Raising Fair Trade Awareness This Halloween members of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) hit the streets of Calgary to bring awareness to Fair Trade chocolate through ‘Reverse Trick-or-Treating’. They went door to door distributing free fair trade chocolate along with important awareness about problems in the cocoa industry, and the power of Fair Trade to provide a potential solution. In fact, the cocoa in a piece of chocolate within a childs treat-or-treat pillowcase could have contributed to forced labour conditions for a child "Giving out chocolate is that is younger than they are. As so much fun! People described by TransFair Canada, a nonprofit Fair Trade certification organization, and the only Canadian member of the Fairtrade Labelling are so surprised and Organizations (FLO) International, "Fair Trade is about making changes the bag gets lighter instead of heavier!" to conventional trade, which frequently fails to deliver on promises of sustainable livelihoods for people in the poorest countries in the world. It seeks to change the terms of trade for the products we buy - to ensure the Maxwell Nguyen (First time reverse trick-or-treator and farmers and artisans behind those products get a better deal. This engineering student at the UofC) includes fair prices, social and economic premiums, fair and safe labour, environmental sustainability, access to credit, and long-term contracts for producers." Pressure is now being placed on companies to help curb the atrocious conditions in which cocoa is produced – and Fair Trade is part of that movement. Mainstream chocolate producers like Cadbury and Nestle have begun to use Fair Trade certified cocoa in some of their poducts. Want to join the movement? Look for Fair Trade certified labels on your everyday consumer purchases, or go to http://transfair.ca/en to learn more. So don’t worry – you can loosen your belt another notch and enjoy some more chocolate bliss as you help make a difference in a cocoa farmer’s future. Sweet. LOOK FOR THESE SYMBOLS TO DISCOVER FAIRTRADE!
Calgarians Overseas This past summer, two students from the University of Calgary participated in EWB’s Junior Fellow Program. Instead of a typical summer job in Canada, they spent their four months in Africa as part of EWB's team of Overseas volunteers. Jessica Lam was a volunteer in Kanyangala Zambia, working with the African based company Forest Fruits. Two of her assignments included completing a complete crop forecast and identifying the GPS coordinates of all the bee-hives in her assignment area. Jessica blogged the following about her assignment: “We hope that knowing the exact geographical locations of the hives can really be of use. Hopefully, marking the hive locations is the first step in creating a database of information. We hope to attach information about each hive to its location then use that information to decide where people and material resources need to be allocated in order to best help the farmers. For example, if you see an area of hives where many of them have been infested with ants, it’s probably a good idea to send someone in to teach the beekeepers how to keep ants out of their hives. Hive information can also include honey productivity levels and help us locate and learn from both those producing very little honey and those producing a lot of honey…"
July 5, 2010, lambiainzambia.wordpress.com Chelsea Keenan was a Junior Fellow in Burkina Faso, in Western Africa. Chelsea was partnered with the Professional Farmers Association of Burkina Faso to aid them in developing business skills and tools which will enable them “to better support their members in working towards treating their farms more like businesses”. Chelsea reflects on some of the challenges she faced in her placement : “… at the beginning it was sometimes difficult to evaluate my coworkers’ level of motivation … I made the decision early on that it was not my place to motivate anyone, but rather to support the union in activities they were already motivated to do … [I] sat down with my colleagues to ask whether they were truly motivated to take on the projects we had started. They emphatically answered that yes, they were motivated, but were often simply tired due to the busy time of year. Working in a completely different cultural context was also challenging, especially since I was intervening in the highly political agricultural sector. It was often difficult to know what to say, and what not to say. In a presentation of my placement to the Provincial Union, for example, I suggested that another volunteer might come to the province to continue the work I had been doing. This became a somewhat political and heated discussion, to my surprise. In that same presentation, somehow a side conversation began about who had dibs on marrying me…"
August 21, 2010, http://whatilearnedinburkina.wordpress.com/ Jessica and Chelsea will be hosting November’s Development Discussion. During this time they’ll share some of their favorite, or least favorite experiences and lessons learned. Hope to see you there! Event Details: Wednesday, November 10, 2010, Upstairs at the Barley Mill @ Eau Claire Market (201 Barclay Parade, SW, Calgary), 6:30 pm
2011 EWB National Conference The chill in the air is an ever present reminder that the winter is coming. But with the gloomy weather comes an annual beacon of hope – the Engineers Without Borders National Conference. The 10th Anniversary Conference will take place in Toronto from January 13 to 15, 2011.
“If you don’t arrive thinking of yourself as a social entrepreneur we hope you will leave thinking otherwise” Conference sessions will fall into three streams: EWB People and Programs, African Development, and Canada’s Role. By creating a variety of sessions, the foundation for both personal and professional development and learning has been laid. In the past, guest speakers from General Roméo Dallaire to the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean have captivated and inspired audiences at the conference.This year, K'naan, the internationally acclaimed poet and hip hop artist, will be there to help celebrate the 10th anniversary of EWB. Additional speakers include the renowned development author Robert Chambers and Sulley Gariba, a Ghanaian policy analyst who is working to develop Ghana's Poverty Reduction Strategy and Program. Just the Facts: Whether a keynote address ignites your imagination, a passionate discussion with a fellow EWBer engages you, or you have the opportunity to learn about the challenges of development first hand over dinner with an African delegate, the conference is guaranteed to inspire. We hope to see you there!
What: Canada’s largest annual international development conference Where: Allstream Center, Toronto, Ontario When: January 13-15 , 2011 Registration: Chapter Member - 3 days (January 13 – 15th): Deadline extended to November 12, 2010 Public registration – 2 days (January 14 and 15th only) – Registration starts November 14, 2010. More Information: http://www.conference2011.ewb.ca/
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Western Retreat Over the weekend of October 15, members from the Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg Professional Chapters gathered in Whistler, along with Eli Angen (National Director of Corporate and Professional Engagement), Robin Farnworth (National Director of Overseas Sending) and recently returned African Program Staff member Troy Barrie. Troy led the delegates through an in-depth look at the Rural Agriculture in Ghana African Program. Other sessions had a strong emphasis on developing the soft leadership skills that focus around “Attracting, Engaging and Retaining” EWB members and building our in-Canada network of committed change agents. “Members are the key to EWB’s strength,” says Karen Hincks, Calgary Co-Leader. “During the retreat we learned so much from each other. When members come together, great (and lengthy!) discussions happen. And from those discussions come ideas and tangible action for making our chapter stronger.” “It was great to connect with members from other chapters,” commented Carissa Vados, one of Vancouver’s Co-Leaders. “We committed to work more collaboratively on some of our common initiatives, such as the Run to End Poverty. I look forward to checking in face-to-face with everyone at the National Conference in January.”
A Little Bit About Us... Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is a movement of professional engineers, students, overseas volunteer staff, and supporters across Canada. Together, we are almost 50,000 strong. We believe that the next generation of rural Africans should have the same opportunities to improve their lives that we have right here at home. The Calgary Professional Chapter is involved in many events, from corporate workplace outreach programs to member learning initiatives. Workplace outreach events are put on by knowledgeable EWB volunteers, and aim to raise awareness of issues associated with international development, and where global engineering can fit into the mix. Monthly member learning events (generally held on the 2nd Thursday of the month) provide a forum for individuals to learn from each other and guest speakers about the many facets of international development. Want to get involved? No matter what your background, we are always looking for volunteers who are passionate about making a difference. Please see the Calgary Professional Chapter’s website at http://calgary.ewb.ca/ for more information, or e-mail us at Calgary@ewb.ca to find out how you can get involved.