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Rethinking Development: German-Ugandan Project teams rock the stage

Aktualisiert: 15. Apr. 2019

High–level representatives from politics and civil society discuss how young people experience global justice and how change is possible

Berlin, Sony Center on March 14, 2019 – “to be taken seriously, you do not need an Armani Suit, but a good idea”, said Ambassador Dölger, regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa und Sahel of the German foreign office in Berlin at a conference of the Africa Association of German economy and GlobalMatch e. V. titled “Rethinking Development”. It needs people from areas of science, business and culture, who are aware of the global difficulties we are facing and want to engage themselves in providing creative solutions. On the evening of March 14, old and young people from these areas came together to discuss the questions of how a global cooperation could be thought and shaped in different ways. Speaking from the perspective of the federal government, Dölger announced that cooperation with the global south should be prioritized in the future to address the question of global change. For that purpose, one must also ask oneself who are going to be the drivers and leaders of such change. According to Dölger, experience shows that instead of government it is often different agents such as entrepreneurs and civil society that are the most important agents, because they are the people who are facing directly with the problems of a globalized world. For this reason, the main actors of the evening were project founders and social entrepreneurs from Germany and Uganda.

What does it mean to redefine and conceive development work in a different manner?

The Trybe Project is producing bags from plastic waste as an innovative model for promoting global responsibility. These little changes embedded in daily actions of people could mean a great effort for boosting social responsibility that is essential for mitigating the effects of a globalized world. Through crowdfunding campaigns, on the other hand, we are able to involve people directly in the problem. But at the same time, upcycling shows that many processes are actually a cycle. Consequently the sooner we deal with disposal the better we we can reach a significant impact on the innovation of products, says co-founder Belinda (21, Uganda), pointing to a stylish recycled bag. “our project has started collecting plastic from Victoria lake. But soon we realized that plastic pollution is not an ‘African’ problem, but it is happening all over the world and also in Germany”. Development work is being rethought in Belinda’s Project, as the global south, in our case Uganda, is just no longer recipient country of financial aid and instead it can be imagined as a country with an own agency that needs to face its own problems by switching perspectives. Rather, it addresses a global issue that not only the global north has to deal with but it opens the possibilities for the global south in order to propose Ideas and solutions within the frame of global network. Like Belinda, there are other founders who are working on study packages on environmental protection or an app that helps to reduce one’s own plastic consumption. The Project React now Save Young mother has already helped 800 young mothers to deal with economic and social challenges of their new life situation. Emma (27, Uganda) supports people in discovering and developing their talent, while he raps “Hit of the evening”. Jonathan (23, Germany) calls for the global tip. Prosper (25, Uganda) and his team are commited to ensuring that girls do not have to spend money on menstrual products. “If biology creates inequality, that does not mean society that society has to reproduce it.” Save the future support children whose education cannot be afforded. Heads as well as Old is Gold, two projects of young women, fighting for respectful treatment of older generations

The appearance of equality in an unfair world

Great Ideas and great personalities are behind projects, but Daphin (21, Uganda), co-founder of the Arise African Youth Organization, underlines the co-panellists of Viva con Agua, Global Match and ProjectTogether. “Although we work for the same cause, the visa Process is but a significant hurdle for the Ugandan founders”. The question of structural inequalities also was described by co-founders of GlobalMatch, Charles (25, Uganda) and Katharina, in the opening speech: “I grew up in a village called Bukaya, next to an orphanage, where I often saw people from the north, volunteers like Katharina, coming and going. In the beginning I was curious to learn from them, but I soon noticed that they only pretend to be change agents, but never really take responsibility. They start small holiday projects that they never complete”. The federal government is creating special instruments for financing African founders and is launching programs, such as Africa Come, in order to create ‘legal’ ways to Germany. Despite the good will of many actors to create equal opportunities, structures often remain firm and inflexible. Many of the co-founders had to experience for example that access to funding from federal funds is only granted to those who can submit an application in the German language and also, if the location of the activities is Uganda, a legal form in Germany is a prerequisite for the application or an organisation from Germany must be made an influential partner. Charles explains impressively that these inequalities have a common origin; colonialism: "It is important to know that colonialism did not end at the time when the territories were decolonized, for example, neo-colonial trade relations still destroy local markets today". Moderator of a panel and postcolonialism expert, Jeannot Ekobe, succeeded in celebrating the achievements of the German-Ugandan project teams, while at the same time creating space for debate on deep-rooted problems and demands for systemic solutions.

GlobalMatch stands for equal opportunities and ambitious projects

Since 2017, more than 200 people from different regions of the world have met on a professional online platform. The program offers a framework for exploring one's own vision and implementing it 1:1 with a suitable project partner. Together the creativity is increased, knowledge and possibilities from other countries are made usable. Online and flexible, anyone can become an entrepreneur. The participants immerse themselves in an intensive learning journey and train to create projects with Design Thinking.

Everyone can rethink development

Those who are enthusiastic about the topic of the conference are invited to get in touch with the projects. The teams are happy about helping hands or financial support. GlobalMatch as an organization is determined to bring the unique approach of critical thinking and innovative project work into the world and is looking for partners. Ultimately, the conference calls each individual to develop creative potential while critically exploring where one's privileges can be shared.

For more information about the projects of the evening

AriseAfricanYouthOrganization: menstruation utilities


TRYBE: upcycled plastic bags


Shaping Environmental Mindsets: info packages for students


Tip Me: the global tip


Talent Development: empowerment through music


MamiWata: Making water quality monitoring affordable


Track your Plastic-Consumption App


OLD is GOLD: elderly home and healthy feeding


THE HEADS: less privileged elderly women


React Now Save Young Mothers: housing & skill training


Save the Future: education for children


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