Team Box Activities in Action: Food Fight

New Global Citizens went to Arizona State University to meet 105 students in the Barrett Summer Scholars program. This awesome group of students was happy to participate in an activity about global wealth distribution from NGC’s Team Box called “Food Fight.”

The students were numbered and split up into 6 groups, each representing a region of the world (Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America & Caribbean, USA & Canada, and Oceania & Australia). Each group was proportional to both the land mass and population of the region. The groups were also each given a paper bag containing a number of pieces of candy, proportional to the region’s GDP as a percentage in relation to the rest of the world. Students were instructed to look at the contents of their bag and, discuss within their own group whether they were comfortable with what they had. Once individual discussions were finished, we shifted to a larger group discussion. After everyone was able to see what every group had in their paper bags, they discussed the real world applications of this exercise.

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BSS Students from the Asia group give a thumbs down for their overcrowding and lower GDP

When asked to describe how they felt after discovering the “GDP” of each region, there were mixed thoughts among the group. The USA & Canada and Europe groups said that before seeing what others had, they felt comfortable with what they had, and felt that they had more than enough. Once they saw other groups’ bags, they felt guilty. Students also discussed the effects of land mass and population. One student observed that in a region like Asia that is heavily and densely populated, overcrowding leads to pollution. And in Africa, where land area is abundant, students noted that even though there is space to grow in the region, they don’t have the technology to develop and take advantage of their resources. Many students in the discussion quickly realized how much more the U.S. and Europe have than other regions, and in doing so, increased their understanding of the world and the inequities seen in the activity. One student stated that even within the U.S., wealth distribution is extremely uneven, and that should be considered as well.

The discussion shifted to the question of what we as global citizens can and should do in the face of these inequities. One participant said that “Just giving them stuff isn’t enough; you have to teach them how to make and build things themselves.” Students discussed the importance of acting as global citizens to help alleviate global issues, and not just throw money and less developed countries as wealthy countries like the U.S. tend to do. Through further discussion, they grasped many of NGC’s foundational ideals, concluding that, as quoted by a student, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

This post was written by NGC Intern Kirstyn Rowen.

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Living On a Dollar Review

The NGC staff started the Documentary/Book Club to review resources we utilize in our programs and to find new ways to learn more about global issues. Feel free to email the reviewer (contact info below) if you have any follow-up questions!

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“Small changes make big impacts.”

Who should watch: There topics covered are appropriate for audiences in middle school and up. If elementary-aged students were to watch, it’s important to preface the viewing with a brief overview of poverty around the world. We also suggest following up with ways for students to make an impact and support locally-led solutions.

Why it’s important: This gives viewers from the developed world a great perspective of what it’s like for a peer to go to a country where locals deal with issues like extreme poverty and economic sustainability every day.

What Maggie thought: I think this is a great conversation starter regarding what poverty looks like locally and globally, as well as how it is directly connected to other issues like healthcare and education. The documentary follows four college-aged males as they live on $1 a day for 56 days in a rural mountain village of Peña Blanca, Guatemala. In a short time period they connect with the local community and experience their undeniable generosity and challenging financial situations. The four students are welcomed with open arms, and learn from their neighbors about the struggle to provide basic necessities for their families (food, shelter, healthcare, education, etc.).

We learn that the locals are hardworking, supportive, and creative individuals who with small changes (like microfinance loans) are able to slow the cycle of poverty and perhaps even change the course of the younger generation’s lives. My own experience traveling in El Salvador mirrored that of Living On a Dollar, which is why I would recommend it. The one hour film gives insight to the struggles and resilience of other global citizens living on one dollar a day. Next step: take action! Learn more about NGC’s partnerships with 45 grassroots partners around the world here.

Maggie Broderick, NGC Development & Operations Manager, reviewed Living On a Dollar. To learn more about her, click here.

Invest in the Future with Innovation and Sustainability Training

 

Fever, chills, headache, sweats, fatigue, nausea, vomiting. To most people, this collection of symptoms sounds like the flu. And yet for the 3.2 billion people at risk, this could also mean a much deadlier diagnosis: malaria. For this reason, among many others, malaria is one of the most difficult subjects to address in terms of public health crises. Most people in malaria affected areas expect to wind up with the disease at some point in their lives. Additionally, many of the solutions posed to rural communities for fighting the disease have been short-sighted, unsustainable, and ridden with financial challenges. As we educate the next generation of new global citizens, how do we guide our students to seek out and support sustainable, innovative solutions malaria and other public health crises?

A Brief History of Malaria Solutions

Many are not aware that malaria was once a major threat in the swamp-ridden, southeast United States. In a land that is humid and warm for over half of the year, mosquitoes carrying malaria posed a major threat to the average American. The United States was able to eradicate malaria through a comprehensive pesticide program centered around now-infamous DDT. Talk about an unsustainable solution!

Now, Malaria is found in far fewer places in the world, with its primary area of impact on the African continent. Solutions offered thus far focus on three primary methods of prevention: systematic indoor pesticide treatments, anti-malarial medications and insecticide-treated bed nets. Unfortunately, none of these solutions are without their challenges. Pesticide treatments (like DDT) often have unwanted environmental or health challenges. Anti-malarial medications can be poor in quality in unregulated countries, and in many cases, counterfeit medications are passed off as the real thing. Finally, bed nets have become more widely used as fishing nets to alleviate the more pressing challenge of hunger rather than used as intended to keep mosquitoes at bay.

Clearly, the lack of economic development in many countries can be one of the greatest factors affecting malaria eradication. Solutions must be cost-effective, require a low level of education for the average participant, last long-term, and include an innovative public health campaign element to educate through print and non-print media. Solutions developed so far have reduced the rate of infection and death, but have not eradicated malaria. This is where our students come in.

Teaching Innovation and Sustainability

In an education system that focuses more and more on standardized testing and student compliance, we have a commitment as educators and as citizens of the world to prepare our future leaders to tackle this kind of challenge.  With that being said, teaching innovation and sustainability requires a very different pedagogical style than the drill and kill approach of multiple choice testing. In order to defeat global challenges like malaria, we must invest in the future of our students’ educational experience. So, how do we teach innovation and sustainability? We recommend these 5 tips for teachers to focus on:

  1. Encourage students to question the process. In order for students to question the existing solutions to complex problems (and therefore develop better ones), they must first feel comfortable questioning processes in the classroom. Questions in the classroom should not be seen as a lack of compliance, but as a quest for understanding–encourage them!
  2. Teach and brainstorm with the end in mind. Encourage students to use systems-thinking practices such as effects chains, mind maps, and flowcharts. By mapping out all possible outcomes of a potential solution, students are more likely to find the flaws in their thinking.
  3. Think like a collaborator, not like a problem-solver. This may seem counter-intuitive, but no one should walk into a community with solutions in hand. Sustainable problem-solving requires collaboration across areas of expertise, cultural affiliations, political stances, and much more. Students must learn to think like collaborators in order to create the best possible solutions to global challenges.
  4. Always ask a local. Connected to tip #3, solutions are most often unsustainable when they don’t take into account the daily experience of those living with the challenge. Students should get in the habit of collaborating with those closest to the issues and taking their ideas, solutions, and lives into account.
  5. Research the Solutions You Support! It’s possible that you will at some point stumble upon a really great solution being carried out by an existing organization. If this is the case, you should support their work–after asking a few questions. When they support a global solution, students should always ask about the sustainability of the organization’s financial model, implementation model, and more.

For more thoughts on how to teach innovation and sustainability, join us this Thursday, April 23 at 5PST for #globaledchat. For more information on malaria, join the conversation on Twitter by following @WorldMalariaDay2015.

A Path Appears: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty (Part II) Review

Photo: http://apathappears.org/

Photo: Madame Rea (http://apathappears.org/)

The NGC staff started the Documentary/Book Club to review resources we utilize in our programs and to find new ways to learn more about global issues. Feel free to email the reviewer (contact info below) if you have any follow-up questions!

“Talent is universal, opportunity is not.”

Who should watch: High school students (with parental consent) and adults

Why it’s important: The second installment of the A Path Appears series explores the connections between poverty and other barriers (education, healthcare, etc.) that are faced by countless across the globe.

What Maggie thought: A Path Appears: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty is a must-see and worthy follow-up to WuDunn and Kristof’s Half the Sky (documentary and film). This episode sheds light on the challenges faced by individuals living in extreme poverty in the U.S. (specifically West Virginia), Haiti, and Colombia.

The first location for this installment is in West Virginia, which is one of the poorest regions of the United States because of coal mines closing, manufacturing plants moving, and an overall lack of available jobs. As Jennifer Garner (native to the area) explains, “Poverty is not about not having money, but it’s about not having hope.” Kristof and Garner introduce us to Lynn, a young mother who is doing all she can to stop the cycle of poverty with her daughter by making education a priority. This part of the episode will be eyeopening for most who have not seen such extreme poverty in the United States.

Next, Kristof is off to Haiti to explore the history of aid and its impact on the country’s economic opportunities. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, but the presence of countless development organizations has not changed its course. Kristof meets Madame Rea, a woman who runs a school for every child, no matter their financial situation. (In Haiti there is no public school system.) Madame Rea is an advocate for her students, which viewers see when she fights for the safety of a student who is a restavek (child slave). Madame Rea and her fellow Haitians prove that locally-led solutions are the best solutions.

Kristof wraps up this episode in Colombia to share how the Fundación Juan Felipe Gomez Escobar is providing opportunities for teen mothers. Young women in the program have access to job training, counseling, healthcare, and more. Fundación Juanfe is working to empower young women with children while also educating girls on how to stop the cycle of teenage pregnancy (and extreme poverty) in their community. This organization is a great example of a holistic approach to tackling a complicated problem.

Did you get the chance to see this episode? If so, what did you think?

Maggie Broderick, NGC Development & Operations Manager, reviewed A Path Appears to learn more about her click here.

Written by Team Mentor Kamrie Yeung irv Irvington High School’s NGC team has been thriving for many years now, and this school year has been no different. Their success is stemmed from their meticulous time management and organized events. The team leaders had designated the first semester to be focused on fundraising for their global project of the year, The Greenhouse Project. Out of the two to three they had planned, they had already held a joint-restaurant fundraiser in November of 2013. The team has plans to expand beyond service for the Greenhouse Project and on to soup-kitchen volunteering. In this way, team members would get a chance to encounter poverty in their own community and to help their neighbors with it. Yet another side project, the team will also do a Coins for Change Project, a coin fundraiser held at three to four local elementary and middle schools. The CCP would fulfill the community education part of NGC’s fundraising, advocating, and community education (FACE) mission statement. Because this project is held at elementary and middle schools, it helps with grassroots education, which would eventually accumulate as the youth group matures.

Combating Extreme Poverty: A Poor Inconvenience

Post contributed by Team Mentor Ashely Suarez 

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Why it’s an issue:

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NGC’s logo for Extreme Hunger & Poverty

As part of the United Nation’s first Millennium Development Goals, extreme poverty is one of the world’s greatest problems, generating a multiplicity of other issues that further complicate the daily lives of individuals and families. According to the United Nations, it robs them of their basic human needs such as food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education, and information. It is characterized by living on less than $2 a day and, for many people, this may sound farfetched and uncommon, but the sad truth is that half the planet lives with these conditions. Extreme poverty does not solely refer to income but to access to services as well. While it is extremely important to help ease some of the stemming issues of poverty such as hunger, we must come up with a way to combat the deep-rooted problem. It may seem almost impossible to eradicate extreme poverty, but with the help of optimistic NGC teams around the country and global organizations such as The Shelter of Friendship and A Ban Against Neglect, we can help make those basic human needs more accessible.

Fundraising:

NGC teams can come up with various creative ideas on how to fundraise for their global projects. By hosting events such as Poetry Nights where students pay a small fee for entrance and spend the evening listening to great poetry and music, teams can easily raise more than $200. Rather than simply asking for donations, although that can also work, it would be more effective to communicate where the funds are going by having an event and spending some time explaining the project or hosting activities such as Awareness Weeks where they dedicate the week to community education and fundraising. It can often be difficult to come up with different ways to fundraise, but with a little inspiration and a lot of motivation, teams can virtually do anything to help raise money for their projects. When in doubt, hold a bake sale: no one can deny a delicious cookie to help those in need of shelter.

Advocacy:

Our generation is one of the most passionate and reformist groups; we use our voices to bring light to issues that are important to each of us. Extreme poverty is one of those issues, and with their voices and actions, NGC teams can advocate for it by choosing a global project that helps to combat it. Advocacy can be done on a local and global scale, reaching out to community partners and businesses for support as well as senators and even the president. Partnering with local businesses or reaching out to state senators can make a huge difference on the impact that the team has on the community. This in turn will allow the team’s efforts to be seen by people across the country. Even if teams choose to keep things local, it still helps to reach out to others to help advocate for extreme poverty.

Community Education:

One of the biggest problems that is hindering progression in combating issues such as extreme poverty is a lack of knowledge. When people are unaware about what is going on around the globe, these issues are buried and continue to impede the lives of many people. NGC teams can use their voices and creative minds to help educate their schools and local communities about extreme poverty and its prevalence in society. By hosting documentary nights featuring films relevant to their global project or issue, teams can educate others on the importance of helping to end extreme poverty. Also, explaining the different problems that arise from poverty such as a lack of access to healthcare or education can further bring awareness to the topic. Once that is done, NGC teams can use their resources and ideas to work together with others to help end poverty through their global partner.

Impact:

Extreme poverty is a widespread issue that has received attention but has yet to be eradicated. Through the F.A.C.E. goals, NGC teams can make ending it that much easier. Although it may seem that a group of high school students can only do so much, their efforts will go a long way.

The global partnership that the team supports will work to help make their efforts worthwhile and noticed. We are helping real people with real lives; we are making a difference. And while extreme poverty will not disappear in a day, our teams will be the drop in the water that causes a wave of progression.