Chalice Canada

For the past 18 years Chalice has been enriching lives, while restoring hope and dignity to people in developing countries through our Child Sponsorship Programme. Located in Nova Scotia with a head office in Lower Sackville, Chalice is gaining recognition each year as more and more people hear about the work we do in the developing world.

There are so many exciting projects happening at Chalice right now. We are very excited to be approaching 50,000 child sponsorships!  Sponsorship ensures that a child will go to school, as well as providing nutritious food, clothing and health care.  Over the years we have seen that in supporting children like this, many complete their high school education and go on to post-secondary studies.  We are now seeing the first generation of professionals and community leaders that were originally sponsored through Chalice; and as a result, the cycle of poverty is being broken within many families and communities.

At one of our Sites in Chiclayo, Peru children enter the Programme through sponsorship where they receive school support, nutrition and gain access to activities like art and music. The mothers of the sponsored children meet on a regular basis to discuss issues and how they can advance as a community. It was through these meetings that it was determined that the community’s greatest need was water. Leaders in the group approached the municipality to build a new water facility but were unable to make much progress. Upon learning of their need for water, Chalice was able to provide the financial support through a Community Project fund and worked with the municipality, our local partner Centro Esperanza, and the community to make the project a reality.

Once the community had access to a reliable water supply they were able to receive livestock through the Chalice Gift Catalogue. Seeing the success of their children combined with the positive changes they themselves have created in their community, these women are empowered and many have returned to school to complete their education.

Last year through the ACIC International Youth Internship Program (IYIP) Chalice hosted three interns to work in Chiclayo and further help develop some of our programmes. One of those interns, Ciera DeSilva, returned to Chiclayo after completing her internship to continue her work with the children and teens in Peru. You can follow Ciera’s work through her beautiful writing and photography on her blog, “Music is what feelings sound like.”

There are many ways you can get involved with Chalice:

CAP International (Children/Youth As Peacebuilders)

Linda Dale launched CAP International in 2005 on its own after it had been a project within another organization from 2000 to 2005. It was originally started because she saw youth implicated in armed conflict and as child soldiers and she wanted to create a space for youth to support each other and create peer- support groups that they can use at local level. Another goal of the organization is to advocate and speak about children’s rights in armed conflict. CAP works to create the opportunities and space for youth to speak from their own perspective on issues such as children born in conflict, former child soldiers, and youth and children living and working in the extractive industry.

A lot of the time youth don’t have the space and opportunity to speak about issues that affect them directly. CAP is helping to change this. CAP members are able to speak to a situation, analyze it and provide solutions on a local, national and international level. CAP currently works in Uganda and has worked in Columbia, Rwanda and Thailand in the past.

The organization uses arts-based work – drawing, social mapping, mask creation – to allow people to think with their head and heart and is very participatory. “It’s so important learn from youth, listen to them,” Linda says.

Currently, CAP is working on documenting youth’s experiences with the Lord’s Resistance Army so when/ if Kony is brought to court these accounts can be heard as testimony. CAP is also working on creating scholarships to support youth attending school.

“We recently worked with Save the Children and International Bureau of Children’s Rights on a Children’s Rights Package for Africa. The children and youth’s perspectives will be part of the training process and CAP’s members will support the workshops with youth included in the workshop.” Linda explains.

CAP is a new member of ACIC and Linda says it’s important to feel part of a community and to learn from each other. “ACIC is more important in Atlantic Canada where organizations are smaller and more cooperation is needed and possible.”

Interested in volunteering with CAP?

Do you have social media and website experience? Interested in Skyping with CAP members overseas? Have time to spend supporting this great organization? CAP is looking for volunteers who have arts and sports experience as well to work with the youth in Northern Uganda. If you’re interested be in touch with Linda Dale: caplindadale@gmail.com and check out the website: www.childrenyouthaspeacebuilders.ca.

Coady International Institute Member Spotlight

"If we are wise, we will help the people everywhere to get the good and abundant life... to become masters of their own destiny" - Rev. Dr. Moses M. Coady

Coady International Institute has been called Canada’s best-kept secret. Tucked away in a small corner of St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, ‘the Coady’, as it’s known locally, has been educating development professionals from around the world since 1959. In fact, there are more than 6,500 graduates from 130 countries.  

Citizen leaders from around the globe travel to Antigonish each year. Why do they come? They are leaders in their own communities who want to help others get out of poverty. They tackle health crises like HIV/AIDS. They want women to play greater roles in their societies. They are passionate advocates for democracy. (Watch Dr. John Gaventa, Coady’s director, speak about democracy in this Open Society Foundation video.)

At St. Francis Xavier University, a Coady Institute education ignites this leadership. It inspires development leaders to learn practical skills and strengthen their commitment to their communities and organizations. Our unique asset-based approach to development recognizes that each community and individual has strengths and resources that they can use to build sustainable communities. Our program staff and associates have extensive field experience. They use participatory adult education methods to draw out the insights and experiences of learners, while introducing new ideas.

Our flagship 20-week Diploma in Development Leadership is designed for citizen leaders who are passionate about creating positive change.

We also offer shorter, specialized certificate ‘skills’ courses. Our education offers a focus on three specific thematic; promoting accountable democracies, strengthening local economies and building resilient communities. You can view all upcoming 2015 Coady programs at http://www.coady.stfx.ca/

Our graduates would include people like Adepeju Jaiyeoba of Nigeria, who founded Mothers Delivery Kits, which help save the lives of hundreds of mothers and their babies. (video of President Obama thanking Adepeju at a recent event in Washington. D.C.)  Another graduate, Father Shaiju Chacko, an Indian priest, is helping to deliver a massive five-year training program for 100,000 youth in the states of Jammu and Kashmir.

2014 is the 55th anniversary of Coady International Institute. To mark the occasion, it is highlighting alumni success stories at Coady Celebrates, its annual fundraising dinner in Halifax on October 22nd, and developing an interactive timeline marking 55 significant events in its history.

For alumni success stories, visit http://www.coady.stfx.ca/alumni/

Support Coady scholarships at http://www.coady.stfx.ca/coady/support/

Follow Coady Institute on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/coady.institute

CHAT to the Future Member Spotlight

What an inspirational, uplifting organization! CHAT to the Future is one of ACIC’s newest members, ratified at the 2014 AGM this past June. CHAT, which stands for “Care and Hope through Adoption of Technology”, uses 21st Century technology to connect their youth in North America with those they support in Uganda. Through the use of Skype, children are able to meet ‘screen to screen’ to see the faces of those they are helping and, conversely, those helping them.

CHAT connects students in over 40 North American Schools, including 28 in New Brunswick and even schools as far as Florida and Colorado, to their school called “CHAT House” just outside of Kampala, Uganda. North American students create their own “micro-businesses” to support and run the school. All proceeds go directly to CHAT House to provide basic needs (including education) for the children. Through their fundraising, students even pay the small salary of a live-in certified Ugandan teacher to assist with homework, tutoring, and household tasks. Although the schoolchildren do a phenomenal job supporting the students and CHAT House, CHAT is also a registered Canadian charity and you too can play an important role is securing the long term, sustainable success of both CHAT House and the children.

Recently, Adam McKim, Executive Director of CHAT to the Future, traveled to Uganda as the 17 children living in CHAT House celebrated 17 birthdays. In an interview with CBC Shift New Brunswick (link the interview here: http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Local+Shows/Maritimes/Shift+-+NB/ID/2489146785/), Adam explained that none of the kids know their birthday. So CHAT decided to celebrate with them all at once!

With the collaborative team work of CHAT staff, corporate sponsors, individual sponsors, North American children, their teachers and their communities, CHAT to the Future has flourished into a phenomenal organization that is ready to grow and help more Ugandan children in need!

For more information on how to connect with CHAT, please see below.

For teachers looking to get involved: www.chattothefuture.org/teachers  

Invest in CHAT through their 4 donation options: teach, grow, move, build: www.chattothefuture.org/invest 

Connect with CHAT on Facebook: www.facebook.com/chathhs

Connect with CHAT on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CHATtotheFuture 

Connect with CHAT on YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/chattothefuture

BONUS: www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ftRHr_fiuE&list=FLbN_wE96JENsGJ9WEJWQ6kA

Check out this video of students at George Street Middle School in Fredericton, NB being celebrated as “Everyday Heroes” by Skype because of their work with CHAT, helping a Ugandan boy named Ben. They were rewarded with a private screening of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, but what they didn’t know was Skype wanted to surprise them by facilitating discussion through Skype with their movie star heroes such as Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, and more!  

 

Canadian Women for Women of Afghanistan

Susan Hartley is the Chair of the Atlantic Chapter of the Canadian Women for Women of Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan), one of ACIC’s newest members. Susan is also a Director on the National Board of Directors. There are now 13 CW4WAfghan chapters throughout Canada, with the Atlantic Chapter forming in Pictou County, Nova Scotia in 2010. The Chapter is now based in Charlottetown, PEI and consists of members throughout all four Atlantic Provinces.

The organization’s work is three-fold. The first is various types of public engagement events raising awareness about issues facing the women and girls of Afghanistan. These events are held throughout Atlantic Canada all year round. Events include presentations to Rotary Clubs, schools, churches and larger community events, all intended to raise awareness and funds for the fantastic work of CW4WAfghan. Public engagement leads into their second type of work – fundraising. Members of CW4WAfghan host suppers (large and small scale) and invite people, which they encourage to donate and learn more about the issues as well as solutions facing the women of Afghanistan. The organization allocates 93% of the money raised towards programs it provides in Afghanistan. Thirdly, CW4WAfghan advocates for change by coordinating letter-writing campaigns, conducting media interviews, and pushing for action on human rights for women. It’s important to note that the work in Canada is done 100% by volunteers.

CW4WAfghan is also hosting two large events this year featuring Mellissa Fung, a CBC reporter who was held captive in Afghanistan in 2008. Mellissa will be speaking in Pictou County on May 8, 2014 and in PEI in the fall 2014 about her continued commitment to the Afghan people. The exact date for PEI has yet to be decided, but please stay tuned for more information as the fall draws nearer.

When asked how to put herself out of a job (the ultimate goal of many social organizations), Susan talks about their office and Afghan staff members in Kabul, Afghanistan. The hope is that more and more of the work at CW4WAfghan will be done by Afghan community partners, specifically with the literacy programs that are currently run by both Afghans and Canadians. Currently, Afghan trainers have trained 1,000 teachers a year for the past five years and CW4WAfghan also conducts capacity-building workshops for community organizations. The hope is that once organizations are trained they will function with increased autonomy.

Lastly, it is important to emphasize that CW4WAfghan was established since 1996 and has been working with the Afghan people long before the general public was familiar with Afghanistan in the news due to the military presence. Susan stated that the organization will continue to work with the people of Afghanistan even after the military presence of other countries leaves.

We see Afghanistan in a different, and more hopeful, light than what people see most often in the news,” says Susan.

Member Spotlight- Uganda Venture

Uganda Venture is one of ACIC's newest members.

For the holiday season they've launched a Lights for Light Campaign. We find out more about the campaign from Fadi AL Qassar, Managing Director.

1. Why has there been such a delay in government funding for electricity in Tabiro? What changed -- why now? 

Only about 5% of the Uganda population has access to a formal source of power. So this is not a delay, but it's more so an achievement to have a village like Tabiro considered by the government. And the reason the government is willing to invest in Tabiro is due to the programs that were created in the village, such as the micro credit program and the computer program in the school. The village uses a lot more electricity, through generators, than your average Ugandan village or town. 

2. Did Uganda Venture approach the government of Uganda for the funding? How'd this agreement between Tabiro and the Ugandan government come to exist? 

When we first started working in Tabiro the community has flagged electricity as a crucial need.  We encouraged them to apply to get access to electricity from the main road about 4KM from the village. Our job in this process was to encourage the community leaders to submit the application and not to lose faith because we were backing them on this initiative.

3. What exactly will the funding pay for? i.e., who will pay for the ongoing costs of maintenance and the cost of electricity itself?

The funding will pay for the costs to bring electricity to the village. Currently businesses, the school and orphanage and some homes use generators to gain access to electricity. This is very costly, not sustainable and dirty. By putting Tabiro on the grid, we are free up the money used on generators and saving people money because the electrical rates are lower than paying for gas.

4. Aside from the more obvious benefits of convenience that come with having electricity, what will electricity mean for Tabiro in terms of creating a more self-sustaining village? 

One example I can use here, is that of the local grocer in the village. Currently, he sells a lot more non-perishable items in his store, because he cannot afford to have the generator run all day to refrigerate fresh produce. By bringing power to the village, he can have a proper refrigeration system allowing him to expand his product offering. This would provide a better service to the village and would increase his income allowing him to better support his family.

Additionally, according to a World Bank study without electricity, education, health care and other critical services decline. And The World Bank estimates that 2-3% of GDP is wiped out in Africa every year because of unreliable energy supply.

This is an amazing and sustainable opportunity to bring to the village.

5. Is there yet a general timeline in place for this project? 

Within the next year.

6. What else can people do to help with this project and other Uganda Venture projects, aside from financial contributions? 

People can volunteer with Uganda Venture in Halifax or they can join us on a three week volunteer trip in Uganda. Those interested can contact me directly. fadi@ugandaventure.com

***

Check out Uganda Venture:

www.ugandaventure.com

www.twitter.com/ugandaventure

www.facebook.com/ugandaventure

Member Spotlight - ISCA-AIDC

International Sustainable Community Assistance - Appui International Durable aux Communautés (ISCA-AIDC) is a relatively new member of ACIC, joining us during our Annual General Meeting in June 2013. ISCA is a non-governmental, independent, not-for-profit organization with a goal of supporting developing communities throughout the world in an endeavor to improve their livelihoods.

ISCA is located in beautiful Prince Edward Island, and currently consists of a small team of dedicated individuals who are passionate about people, animals and sustainable development. In careful dialogue with their overseas partners, ISCA is committed to identifying and administering sustainable international development projects which are aimed at increasing knowledge and skills to improve lives of people and livestock in lower-income countries.

Photo Credit: ISCA/AIDC Website - http://www.isca-aidc.ca/gallery.htmlFrom the very beginning of ISCA projects, members of the local communities are involved in the project identification and development. ISCA thereby ensures the consideration of local customs, resources and capacities.

ISCA members have worked in various positions with partners in countries such as Haiti, South East Asia, and Africa since 2004. ISCAs primary focus is on participatory knowledge-sharing and capacity-building in agriculture and livestock-management, two critical areas through which sustainable development and empowerment of people in developing countries can be addressed long-term.

ISCA-AIDC is dedicated to close collaboration with governments, non-government organizations, educational institutions and international agencies. They have established relationships with the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC), University of Prince Edward Island, Canada, the Foundation for International Development Assistance/productive cooperatives Haiti and the Haitian American Friendship Foundation.

Photo Credit: ISCA/AIDC Website - http://www.isca-aidc.ca/gallery.htmlISCA-AIDC strongly believes in the right to self-determination, the dignity of each individual and incorporates dialogue, mutual respect, fairness and consideration of local culture, resources and capacities in all its activities.

Keep up the good work, ISCA! We look forward to working with you in the future.

For more information on ISCA and their programs, please visit their website at: www.isca-aidc.ca 

Member Spotlight - Breaking the Silence

Breaking the Silence (BTS) is a Maritimes-based solidarity network that began to organize in 1988 to support the efforts of Guatemalans struggling for political, social, economic and environmental justice. They recognize that injustice is connected to structural inequalities both within and between countries, and BTS is committed to supporting structural transformation both in Guatemala and in Canada.
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ACIC Honorary Member- Bill Gunn

Bill Gunn has recently become an Honorary Member of ACIC after being a reliable friend and ally of ACIC for many years. Most recently he hosted ACIC members at his house during the 2012 AGM and Symposium! We hope to see Bill at various ACIC events in the future as well where his witty humour is always appreciated!


Bill and his adoring daughters.

We ask Bill a few questions about himself:

1. What does your job entail?

This answer will shortly need to be in the past tense as, unfortunately, CIDA has taken a decision to close all our regional offices as of September 30th and I will be retiring from the government by early November. However, the job as regional director is one of two-way liaison or intelligence provision.  I try to explain and promote  Atlantic development organisations, events, concerns and comparative advantages to CIDA HQ and, conversely, try my best to explain and promote CIDA programmes, policies and results to groups and individuals in Atlantic Canada.

2. What's your favorite part of your work?

If allowed to take a slightly longer view, the absolute favourite part of working for CIDA was my overseas postings in India and South Africa.  Working directly with developing country partners and trying to figure out how best Canada can support their development efforts was so rewarding on so many levels.  The work here in Atlantic Canada has been rewarding also, although it was more of a vicarious experience --  taking pride in the great efforts that Atlantic organisations are making to build a better world and contributing where I could a bit of knowledge on how to work with CIDA or what makes for effective development cooperation.

3. What book are you currently reading?

There are a few books I'm gradually  working through right now, with an eye to my next career as gentleman farmer (well, farmer):  "The Art of Fermentation" by Sandor Ellix Katz; "The Winter Harvest Handbook (Year-Round Vegetable Production Using Deep-Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses)" by Eliot Coleman; and "Edible Forest Gardens" by Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier. After 28 years as a bureaucrat, I figure it's time I learn how to be directly productive ...

4. Favourite Quote:

"I don't want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as members."

5. On a day off, I'd...

Up until now, the answer would always be: On a day off, I'd go putter in the garden, orchards or woods.  These will become my "day on" activities now, so I'll need a different day off activity. Perhaps I will rediscover my sculpting and reading addictions that took a back seat to kids and career ...