Featured Content, June 27:
Interview with Jesse Moore, Representative of Care Canada, Denisse Rudich, Jesse Moore, and Petra Kukacka
Teaching Assistants Denisse Rudich and Petra Kukacka interview Jesse Moore, a representative from Care Canada, a subsidiary of one of the worlds largest non-governmental international aid organizations of its kind, working in over 70 countries. Care strives to help the poorest of the poor. Here, at the G8 Summit in Kananaskis, Care is focusing on poverty in Africa. A main initiative of the organization links fighting poverty with combating AIDS, and helping millions of orphans in the region. This crisis contributes greatly to crippling Africa's economic growth.
Care's AIDS initiatives mainly focus on prevention and education. The organization strives to inform people of the dangers of becoming infected. Perhaps their most famous program took place in Zambia, between 1994 and 1999. This initiative provided young Zambian citizens with the opportunity to be advocates in their communities. The HIV infection rate dropped by 50% over the course of the program.
Care is also focused on establishing long-term prevention programs. Although funding plays a major role in their ability to act, Care endeavors to provide people with skills to sustain programs after the money runs out.
Another Care initiative, "Healthy Babies", was also established in Zambia. The program monitors the growth and infant health of small children. Simple infant diseases have devastated entire communities. Jesse Moore again emphasizes the need to teach locals the skills to sustain the health program.
The interview then reflects on low income levels in Africa and citizens' ability to devote time to volunteer. Young volunteers represent the majority of full time participants; as such, their income is mainly derived from parents, spouses, and relatives. In addition, unemployment levels are so high that this is one of the few opportunities for these citizens to obtain, just as citizens of the West volunteer to develop skills and make progress towards employment. These participants are intelligent people who are committed to aiding their communities.
The TAs then question the relevance of addressing the "digital divide" versus efforts like providing clean water. Jesse Moore explains that this G8 initiative benefits access to information and education. However, efforts like this are simply a tool for fostering links to education not resolving all of Africa's problems. He emphasizes that varied initiatives encourage divergent communities' involvement, in this case high-tech industries. He hopes that policy's like these will stimulate greater participation in other relevant areas of development.
The discussants then focus on potential hostility to Care's initiatives from governments in Africa. Care does not normally work in a country that does not welcome them. Rapid changes in the composition of government, like those in Zambia, do present problems. Jesse Moore emphasizes that Care works when it can, and that being politically impartial is key.
Africa is a huge and diverse continent it is unfair to treat it as a whole. What would Care recommend to the leaders of the NePAD initiative and the G8? Jesse Moore proposes that they be fluid and open to address different regions' and individual countries' crises. With AIDs, a pan-African solution is more appropriate. With regional droughts and specific political difficulties a more micro approach would be more effective.