A World of Opportunity

Last year I helped with an online fundraising campaign for EWB, entitled “The Gift of Opportunity”. Through the amazing generosity of friends, family, and even a few strangers, I received support of over $1,000 in a few short weeks, all for EWB’s overseas programs. Also, out of hundreds of participants, I had the 6th most contributors – testament to the amazing people in my life.

Well, we’re at it again. Please think about giving again this year. Friends, colleagues, family, strangers who like this blog – you’re all welcome. Your donations will help make our work overseas possible, and I guarantee your support will be a huge source of personal motivation for me. Every little bit counts.

The following is my campaign write-up for this year, which you can also see by following the blue link above:

Connecting Canadians to AfricansThis picture shows me with Mr. and Mrs. Moritia, an amazing couple that have hosted me several times since I arrived in Malawi. Each time they’ve treated me as their own – mwana wanga, “my child”. They’re two of the nicest people I’ve ever met. (I’m the one in the middle).

Hello Everyone.

Last year I participated in this campaign and with the help of amazing friends and family (and even a few strangers) we raised over $1000 to help support EWB’s work overseas – work which I have been deeply engaged with ever since.

Connecting Canadians to Africa, and Africans to Canada, is something I am extremely passionate about. It’s why I work so hard on my blog. It’s why I make an effort to connect with EWB chapters as much as possible. It’s a big part of how I think change will happen in Malawi, and it's a big part of my motivation to get up every morning and keep working here.

I dream of a day, however, when connections between Canada and Malawi won’t be so reliant on westerners like me. I dream of a day with more Malawians on the internet, a day with more cell phones in the village, a day where people have more wealth, and more free time. I dream of a day where more Malawians can visit Canada, where Malawian youth have the same opportunities to travel the world that I have. Think about it: young Malawians backpacking Europe on their gap year. It’s a long road to get there, and there are a lot of important issues to address in the interim, but a prosperous, globalized, and connected Africa is a vision I can’t let go of. It’s a vision that gets me through the tough times here, and inspires me during the good ones.

In a recent Munk Debate, held in Toronto, famous Zambian aid-critic Dambisa Moyo made the following remark:

“I’m going to conclude with a comment that a friend of mine from Nigeria made. He said, ‘Why have you bothered to write this book? It’s a complete waste of time, nobody cares.’ And he added, ‘You do know why they give aid, don’t you? Ultimately, it’s because Africa is to development what Mars is to NASA. We spend billions of dollars every year, analyzing, researching, quibbling about data, but ultimately, nobody really believes that we’re going to live on Mars and nobody believes that Africa is actually going to develop.’ “

In many ways I agree with this. We desperately need an aid sector that really believes in a bright future future for Africa, and is working hard to help find creative new ways to get there – we don’t have one right now. However, I disagree with her conclusion that aid should be stopped. I think aid just needs to get better.

I truly believe that EWB is helping to lead this charge; that we’re helping to make aid better. I’m excited to be part of it, and have committed at least a second year of my life as a volunteer in Malawi, continuing to support our work here. I hope you believe in us enough to lend a little support as well. Thanks for anything you might contribute.

http://opportunity.ewb.ca/page/outreach/view/connectedcontributing/Owen (if you’re interested, and I really hope you are, follow this link to donate) StumbleUpon

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