Many people want to work towards a just and sustainable world. Often, people from the Global North want to solve problems in the Global South.
This approach can foster dependency and can work against that progress.
But does that mean that people from the Global North should stop being active in other regions of the world?
It's time to take responsibility for creating a sustainable future.
Global cooperation for tackling challenges
Climate Change, forced migration, inequality... there are many global challenges. To solve them, the whole world needs to work together at eye level. International cooperation for solving those challenges should not be based on ethnocentrism. There is no right direction for development, many approaches can work . Thus we have to learn from other cultures and cooperate.
Equality of opportunities
We live in a globalised world in which almost everyone has access to internet and thus a vast pool of knowledge. Despite this imminent opportunity, one's future is nevertheless determined by the birth place. Regardless their economic situation people should have access to other world regions, gain knowledge, learn from other cultures and develop their own personality
Work together with your partner
for a global future.
Learn to cooperate as equals
Sustainably shape society
The Dilemma in Detail
During colonialism, Development meant a rejection of the past, because the “traditional” was seen as the opposite of Development and that “the poor hopeless peasant can only be rescued by an enlightened, educated elite” (Coulson, 2013).
Therefore, Development was part of the oppression by the coloniser and many people argue that it is still a form of controlling the Global South today: “Development is about […] the spatial reach of power and the control and management of other peoples, territories, environments and places” (Crush, 1995).
As a consequence of this definition of Development, a question arises: should any interventions in the Global South by NGOs from the Global North be abandoned?
Vanessa De Oliveira Andreotti suggests that White people have to decolonise their minds by “abandon[ing] that the first/ Developed/ Western world is ahead in progress/ time” (de Oliveira Andreotti, 2011, p. 394) and aspire to meet on equal footing. However, the German organisation Glokal e.V. mentions in their publication “Education for sustainable inequality? A postcolonial analysis of materials for development education in Germany” that it is equally important to keep in mind that the global interconnectedness resulting from globalisation cannot make us all equal, because of the unequal power relations that have developed and are being constantly reinforced (Danielzik, Kiesel, & Bendix, 2013).
It becomes clear that Development Work in the Global South can very easily be a new form of colonialism in terms of racial superiority resulting in the reproduction of Eurocentric narratives and epistemic ide, if the White person engaging in projects/ work in the Global South does not actively immerse her or himself into scrutinising her/his own superior position in the global system of power relations, and tries to find ways of how to overcome the issues that come with it.
Development as an outdated concept?
The burning question is, if development aid furthers dependency, is there any legitimacy for the Global North to engage in challenges like Climate Change, forced migration or inequalities in the Global South? Not resigning in front of this dilemma, we founded the social enterprise GlobalMatch.
Jeffrey Sachs affirms that “the pathways to sustainable development will not be identified through a top-down approach, but through a highly energised era of networked problem-solving that engages the world’s universities, businesses, nongovernmental organisations, governments, and especially young people, who should become the experts and leaders of a new and profoundly challenging era.”
The Vision of GlobalMatch is for young people all over the world to have equal opportunities to shape our global future; that they learn from each other and shape reality together and most importantly at eye level. This includes a mindset-change. The postcolonial notion that doers are only found in the Global North, whilst people from the South are students to be taught and victims to be saved is actively countered by GlobalMatch.
Our world is already connected through digital media. Also in the Global South smartphones and internet access shape the day to day life. GlobalMatch uses that potential by connecting young people from different parts of the world, one by one, according to their interests, professional backgrounds and other personality criteria. As the bare connection is not enough to overcome historically shaped thought patterns and power relations an online training enables both partners to analyse and confront postcoloniality within their encounter.
The core of each partnership is a joint project for sustainable development, that is planned and executed in the flow of design thinking. In a nutshell, this connection allows participants to share opportunities with each other, learn together and from each other, harness their potentials and build bridges across cultures.