Can international development be sustainable? The McGill chapter of Engineers Without Borders Canada thinks so, and is trying to help make it a reality with its Junior Fellowship (JF) program. The JF program spans 18 months; students are trained here at McGill, spend the summer in various African Countries to work on a variety of projects, and then share what they have learned when they return to Canada. By immersing themselves in the host communities, JFs gain a holistic understanding of the challenges at hand, and work with the local people to find sustainable solutions.
A key component of the JF program is leadership development – to establish local leaders in the host communities who will help initiate and sustain change. Bailey Greenspon, a JF who spent last summer in Ghana, worked with LEAD-Ghana, a grassroots NGO created to encourage local youth to be leaders and drive effective change in their communities.
In just four short months she witnessed the transformation from a mere conviction to a flourishing organization. Bailey worked on a pilot program to create a leadership conference, which brought LEAD students together to be inspired and provide them with more tools to succeed. This years’ JF is continuing Bailey’s work and is organizing the second annual leadership conference and at the same time, training local youth leaders to take on and manage this project for subsequent years.
Watch this video to hear about Bailey and Vivian Mau’s experiences with the JF program.
How did the JF program prepare Bailey for life after McGill?
“Living overseas, immersed in a foreign culture, I discovered what Socrates shared with us long ago—that I can only be sure that I know nothing. That anything we profess to know about development, about cultures, about right and wrong have a thousand different perspectives one person could never fathom. I now know that I know nothing, and I think that is the humblest and best way to start my adult life.”
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