TWU celebrates its first fully-funded internship.
The end of last month marked the celebration of Trinity Western University’s first fully-funded international internship, hosted on January 31 in the Northwest Auditorium. The event included an international forum, themed, “Stepping into Development: Living & Working Abroad.” Notable participants included Murray MacTavish, Associate Professor of Leadership and International Development and Director of TWU’s MBA program, among other titles; director of Hungry for Life International Dave Blundell, MA in Non-Profit Leadership; and the Honorable Imbenzi George himself, Consul General to Kenya.
Recent alumna Caitlin Aleman, an intern working with internationally-funded internship in East Africa, also participated in the debate. Aleman’s internship goals include most prominently, economic development focused on Kenya’s most highly populated, impoverished areas; and on rural communities for holistic development.
The first question of the evening rang: “Might international communities do more harm than good?”
Handling the first affirmative, Blundell served a gut shot, displaying two water bottles from springs in Kenya. One was clear; one was a tarnished, hardly translucent, receptacle which contained water that George, as a child, watched people drink. He conceded: “I see as much failed projects as successful ones; but if these conferences keep children drinking this kind of water, is it not more effectual to help?” Why should international boundaries “automatically” make assistance irrelevant?
Looking past the water, George took the first negative, by pointing out that many international aid groups, over the past 80 years, have been composed of British and North American investors that arrive and then leave, thinking they have solved a problem. In reality, that has only increased the locals’ dependency on their temporary help. More tough punches came with stats: George stated that the issue isn’t about money. The money is there; one problem is that 60% of money in Kenya (totaling $4.5 million annually) goes out to foreign banks.
MacTavish came up with the second affirmative, divulging that there are multiple dimensions of poverty; these NGO’s see “not just lack of resources, but lack of means.” It is not enough to do holistic development out of humanitarian motivation; what needs to change—and has changed already—is building local accountability, so that, for example, large sums of money need not leave the country. The mandate is simply to be “a catalyst that can lead to its own self-creation” in local communities.
As the debate continued Aleman also weighed in and cited HODI (Hands-On International Development) as a good example. (HODI was previously described by George as being a welcome presence.) She lauded is
the grassroots, intimate level of synergism and awareness of the issues; “It’s a relationship: being part of the community”.
As the evening closed, a reflection that George opened with continued to resonate throughout the evening: “When I think of TWU, I see an institution dedicated to improvement…of people globally.”[custom_field limit="0" between=", " /]