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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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.

Merry’s Holiday Reflection

Nu3 niño galapa1

As I head home for the holidays this year, I’m eager for some amazing home cooking as part of my family’s holiday traditions.  I love food – it’s a part of my culture, and always the center of celebrations that bring my family together.  But as I continue through this season of celebration and abundance, it is important for me to remember and reflect on the fact that in the current state of our world, food is a privilege.

Food security happens when a household has access at all times to an adequate amount of nutritious food, or food that will allow them to live a full and healthy life.  For about one seventh of the world’s population, fear of hunger, starvation, or threat of malnutrition is an ongoing reality.  These people, an estimated 1 billion worldwide, are food-insecure.

Because children, especially young children, are at vital stages of growth and development, they are at higher risk of negative effects from hunger.  Children, who are malnourished, malnutrition meaning they do not get enough of the essential nutritional elements necessary for human health, are not able to develop and are more susceptible to diseases.  Each year, 2.6 million children die as a result of hunger-related causes.  Although overall the amount of people who are affected by hunger has gone down in the world, in certain regions including Africa, hunger has become more rampant.

There are many factors that allow hunger and malnutrition to persist in out world, but improved access to critical public services such as health clinics, and water and sanitation facilities, as well as increased support care for women and children would be a big step.  The United States also still has a huge population that is affected by hunger, about 14.5 percent of households, so remembering that this problem affects our local and international communities is also important.  There are many organizations, including some of NGC’s incredible partners, who fight hunger nation and worldwide as members of a global community working towards food security for all.

This post was written by NGC Team Mentor Merry Farrier.

Why Lucy (NGC Alumna & Former Board Member) Supports NGC

Lucy tabling to raise awareness about global issues in high school.

Lucy tabling to raise awareness about global issues in high school.

“I support New Global Citizens, because as a youth, NGC taught me that no matter what I go on to do, whatever I put my passion behind, I have a responsibility to use it for the greater good of society. I am pursuing a master’s in speech-language pathology, and my passions include caring for individuals who have been born with severe disabilities or who have gone through physical trauma that has rendered them unable to effectively communicate. I am working to turn this passion into a skill. I plan to work with and advocate for underserved populations in my own country, as well as in countries abroad.

My goals and dreams have been very much shaped by what NGC taught me so many years ago. They changed what I would have done anyways—found what we love—and ensured that I went on to use those skills and passions to solve the world’s greatest challenges. To me, this is the most incredible piece of NGC. New Global Citizens takes the new generation, and turns their minds and their eyes to the pressing issues of their world. They raise awareness, they instill passion, then they release mobilized, equipped, and influential young leaders into the world. How fantastic is that?” – Lucy Hardy

Why do you support NGC? Send your response to Maggie@newglobalcitizens.org.

Kamrie’s NGC Journey

When I first entered high school, my idea of community service involved volunteering at the library and collecting cans for a food drive. Although these are undeniably good deeds, they are restrained to a local scale; I had no idea what was going on globally. Why would I? It was not like a mere 9th-grader could have made a change big enough in the world anyway. Global issues were for the big characters in the world to deal with.

Each of the years I have been in NGC has taught me how very wrong I was. NGC has truly made me a global citizen, one who is not only aware of the global issues, but also that strong individuals all around the world are making improvements, and that I too, can be one of these individuals. I learned the power of awareness, and how it can spark more individuals to make a change. I learned the importance of sustainability, without which, change would be temporary. From the advocacy and community education projects for NGC, I have developed strong leadership and public speaking skills. Such skills have proven to be extremely helpful beyond high school.

New Global Citizens is not an ordinary school club. We are youth teams spread nationally, reaching internationally, promoting a positive outlook on global change.

Kamrie and her NGC Team!

Kamrie and her fellow NGC Team!

This post was written by NGC Team Mentor Kamrie Yeung.

What cause will you champion?

NGC’s Program Coordinator Maggie Broderick shares her evolved definition of global citizenship.

Center for Regional Development is an NGC Global Project located in Ecuador.

Center for Regional Development is an NGC Global Project located in Ecuador providing services to the disabled.

Global citizens have the ability and desire to champion causes that are universal, problems that every community faces and handles in their own way. Global citizens fight for equality and compassionate treatment of the most vulnerable populations. Global citizens are motivated to prove that change can, in fact, be created by one person.

Every person has the capacity to be a global citizen. We all have at least one cause that drives us to develop sustainable, positive solutions for our world. Can you imagine what our world would be like if we all dedicated time to improving the conditions of our peers in our local and global communities?

For me, I am continuously driven to ensure access to people with disabilities. These individuals deserve equal access to a rich education and fulfilling, life-long employment. As I have traveled around the world, I have been amazed at the similar challenges facing people with disabilities.

In some countries, simple tasks such as traveling on public sidewalks are near impossible for people with physical disabilities; thus, many of those individuals end up homebound. In others, people with disabilities are not given the opportunity to receive an education with their peers or even one at all.

Disabilities are even seen as an illness that can be “caught” if others spend time with the “inflicted.”

Therefore, people with disabilities frequently are unable to socialize with others outside of their home, and as a result, a large part of our global population does not have the opportunity to form personal relationships with people with disabilities. These individuals deserve better.

I will not solely be able to alter the societal structures that thwart the advancement of people with disabilities, but I can do my part to advocate on behalf of and with this population. I can champion and volunteer at incredible organizations like Best Buddies, Special Olympics, SAARC, and Foundation for People with Disabilities (an NGC Global Project). I can also educate others on the injustices that people with disabilities still face abroad and in the United States.

I will be a global citizen as I work to provide access for all people with disabilities. What cause will drive you to be a global citizen? How will you provide solutions to our ever changing global society?

Compassion: Building A Path Towards A Better Future

The following post was written by New Global Citizens Director of Programs Lisa Glenn
Lisa with her class in South Africa

Lisa with her class in South Africa

The world needs more compassion.
After graduating college, I found myself in Johannesburg, South Africa, serving out of a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship at University of the Witwatersrand.
For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by people unlike me in every imaginable way–a big departure from my small town Southern upbringing. Johannesburg is a city of roughly 5 million people, and like the rest of South Africa, has eleven official languages and multitudes of ethnic and religious groups. As a newly minted college graduate, I was definitely in a world I didn’t understand.
It was easy to become disoriented, homesick, or jaded by the bustling crowds and unimaginable poverty. But in this confusing new place, I was lucky to find a friend. Elizabeth was a middle-aged teacher from Botswana also studying education with me at Wits. She was also unlike me in many ways. She had grown up in Africa in a much more impoverished situation than myself. She spoke Setswana, English, and some Afrikaans. We had very little in common from a first encounter. But on one campus bus ride home from class, we found our common ground.
“Eish, I’m so homesick!” Elizabeth said to me. “It is so hard for me to leave my family and to be so far away. But who am I to tell you? Your family is even further away than mine! Shame! How are you doing with all this change?”
From then on, we spent rides home and evenings studying and giggling like elementary schoolers.
 
Lisa with friends in Mozambique

Lisa with friends in Mozambique

Elizabeth’s friendship and compassion, so unexpected, opened me up to see the similarities between my world and the new world that I had walked into. Through such an unexpected friendship, I was able to see that my hopes and fears weren’t that unlike those of others across the world. Elizabeth wanted to finish her degree, return to her family (she had two adorable kids), and make the world a little better as a teacher. My friendship with Elizabeth taught me that compassion shown to another human can open up doors you might never imagine. 

 
Being a humanitarian isn’t about saving the world or doing all the right things. It’s about being a human who is fundamentally “for” other humans. It’s believing that we are more defined by our similarities than our differences, and that when we find those similarities, we can see each other as partners and advocates instead of adversaries or competitors.
Compassion enables us to work toward a better future for all.  

Lisa right of Nelson Mandela stature

Lisa right of Nelson Mandela stature

 
Elizabeth and I were able to live out our compassion for each other by being around when the other was homesick. Elizabeth would make me traditional Motswana food while I edited her writing (English was one of several languages for her). We would make sure to meet each other at the bus. Years after leaving South Africa, I am still struck by Elizabeth’s compassion. She now works as the Head of School at a rural school in Botswana which has been hit hard by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Many of her students are orphans, many arrive without proper nutrition, and few have not been affected in some way by this terrible disease. Elizabeth lives out her days as a true humanitarian by offering compassion through the act of education to children who desperately need someone to be “for” them. 
 
Humanitarianism is ubuntu. I am because you are because we are. 
Comment to share your voice on the importance on compassion and share the post via social media with the world!