We all need to know our stuff so we can be effective advocates—raising awareness and building public support for this critical undertaking.
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Are we hard-wired for connection? Can we drop our personal agendas and fears and truly collaborate? I can say definitively yes. Throughout my 7+ years of involvement with FeelGood, I’ve seen time and again just how possible it is—most recently at the “World Hunger Summit” in Guelph, Ontario that I attended along with FeelGood leaders Ali White and Catie Bartone from the University of Vermont chapter.
We attended the summit—hosted by our Commitment 2030 Fund endorsing partner Universities Fighting World Hunger—with the intention of bringing FeelGood’s voice to the table and recruiting new Launchpad teams. What we discovered was that while FeelGood has a lot to offer the global mission to end extreme poverty and hunger by 2030, we also have a lot to learn.
Some of the critiques of the Gates Foundation’s recent annual letter —as well as of the Sustainable Development Goals themselves—are a reminder that in our work of making the world a better place, what’s most important is the spirit with which we do it. Given what we’re up against, ours is not an easy undertaking. But it can be incredibly joyful, especially when we take the time to appreciate each other, and to gratefully build upon, rather than to tear down, each other’s work. More important than joy, it creates the foundation for collaboration, without which we cannot succeed.
Thoughtful analyses and lively dialogue are of course essential to our collective learning, and for discovering the best way forward. But what determines whether the experience is energizing or enervating is the attitude that pervades it. Following are a few things we’ve learned from our partner organizations about what it takes to create a joyful, collaborative environment:
As one of the leaders of the international development community, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Annual Letter has a lot of weight. With years of experience, amazingly smart and dedicated staff, incredible research-backed programs and technology, and more funding than any nonprofit can dream of, the Foundation is a major voice in the field. This year’s Annual Letter was released in late January, and unsurprisingly we’ve seen a lot of positive responses, and also some critiques. So we’re here to break it down for you.
Each month of the academic year, we highlight a FeelGood member’s contributions to their chapter and the movement as part of the FeelWHAT student newsletter. And here on the blog we’re telling their stories. This month’s Cheese Wiz is Joe Murray, a Co-Deli Manager at the University of Michigan FeelGood chapter. Enjoy this write-up by Angelika Kurthen, who serves as Education and Recruitment Chair for Joe’s chapter.
Joe Murray is the un-sung hero of our FeelGood chapter at the University of Michigan (UMich). From an outside perspective, Joe seems like a pretty normal FeelGood leader who attends both chapter meetings and leadership meetings, comes to delis for the whole 3 hours they run, does a PR event here and there, and is always in a good mood. But after working with Joe for a year, I can testify that he is more than FeelGoods average leader. He goes above and beyond with regard to his leadership role as Co-Deli Manager, and he is willing to help out any stressed out leader do their duty as well.
This post is second in a three-part series of reflections from Dory Cooper, past president of FeelGood at the University of Vermont. In November 2014, Dory joined fellow FeelGooder Tim Baccaro (Stevens FeelGood ’15) on an investor trip to Bangladesh with The Hunger Project, one of our Commitment 2030 Fund partners. On February 5, they hosted a FeelGood LiveLab about their trip, which was recorded so you can check it out here.
So what’s going on in Bangladesh anyway? Where even is it? Are there tigers roaming the streets? Let’s take some time to go over some Bangladesh basics!
Our Commitment 2030 Fund partner Water For People is working on one of the most crucial issues facing our planet and therefore facing us: water.
Fresh, potable water is essential to life. It’s also incredibly scarce. Even though three-quarters of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, less than one percent (0.007% to be exact) is accessible for human use. And that tiny percentage needs to serve the needs of an ever-growing human population—a near impossibility given the unsustainable way most of us currently use and consume water.