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Victoria International Development Education Association (VIDEA)

Member Profile December 2012

This month, CCIC spoke with Lesley Palmer, Programme Manager at the Victoria International Development Education Association (VIDEA), a dynamic NGO based in British Columbia. VIDEA was established as a non-profit organization in 1977 to “inspire thought and action on global issues”. The organization will be celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2013 and we take this opportunity to present some of the work done by VIDEA on global education and on partnering with Southern organizations through the years, as well as some initiatives being developed more recently.

VIDEA Twinning Programme

Friendship and solidarity between BC communities and Zambian communities through VIDEA’s Twinning Programme

CCIC: VIDEA will be celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2013! Tell us about some of VIDEA's greatest achievements. And what are some of the most important challenges that you faced in the recent years?


VIDEA: Yes, we are very excited to be celebrating 35 years of promoting global education and engaging youth and communities in global issues! VIDEA is one of Canada's oldest global education centres, and we work to build relationships among Canadians working for global justice, peace and sustainable development, linking local and international issues with community initiatives.

Some of VIDEA's greatest achievements have been:

  • Setting up sustainable and equitable partnerships with our overseas partners;
  • Engaging with the educational community across British Columbia, Canada, and the United States through the development of quality learning resources and through innovative learning opportunities that have helped generations of students and teachers to better understand and become active on global issues;
  • Developing a culture of friendship and solidarity across our work that guides our programmes;
  • Creating opportunities across BC for community members to become actively involved in the development of sustaining relationships with counterparts in southern African communities.

As a result of challenges and changes in the international development funding climate, over the past couple of years VIDEA has worked hard to explore new and innovative ways of delivering programming. This has been characterised by the fostering of new non-traditional partnerships and through increased use of digital and social media opportunities for public engagement and fund development.


CCIC: VIDEA is one of Canada's oldest global education centres; how has your approach to global education evolved over the years?


VIDEA: VIDEA works with a broad partner network to develop learning tools and opportunities to empower people to better understand global issues, poverty issues, community diversity, global citizenship, and the interconnectedness of the world. Our approach to global education has evolved over the years from focusing on awareness raising to moving people to a place of action where they become directly engaged and involved in the issues. This has grown into programming that is increasingly made up of community and youth-led activities, and includes the use of innovative social and digital media initiatives to engage and inspire youth.



CCIC: Could you share a story from the field that illustrates VIDEA's work today and that you are particularly proud of?


VIDEA: VIDEA's overseas programme creates relationships with overseas partners and communities based on the principles of friendship, solidarity, equality and respect for local communities. We are particularly proud of the linkages and relationship building that is part of our twinning programme. VIDEA's twinning programme works in partnership with Women for Change (WfC) in Zambia to create sustaining links of friendship and solidarity between BC communities and rural WfC operational areas. Current links exist between Kelowna and Senanga, Victoria and Lundazi, and Nelson and Kaoma. Over the past 7 years these relationships have grown to include: support to a cooperative of 46 basket makers in Senanga District; art exchanges between schools in each of these districts; official sister-city relationships between Kelowna and Senanga and Nelson and Kaoma; an Orphan and Vulnerable Children Education Programme that provides primary, middle, high school and university education to over 35 young people in the Kaoma, Senanga, Lundazi and Lusaka districts of Zambia; and mutual exchanges of knowledge, experience and solidarity through visits to rural Zambia by lead volunteers from BC, and to BC by members of WfC staff.



CCIC: Your organization has developed the Indigenous Knowledge Programme; can you tell us more about it?


VIDEA: VIDEA's Indigenous Knowledge Programme focuses on creating links between indigenous peoples in BC with indigenous peoples in sub-Saharan Africa, sharing indigenous knowledge, culture and language across communities. A key component of this programme is the importance of creating safe and accessible programming for indigenous elders and youth to have their voices heard. The programme includes:

Mpambo Project - the Mpambo project focuses on supporting and preserving indigenous thought, language and culture in Uganda. The focus of the Mpambo project in recent years has been to create a place of indigenous learning, the House of Indigenous Cultures, that will serve as a seat to bring together many ways of learning (a multi-versity).

International Aboriginal Youth Internships (IAYI) - This year VIDEA was one of only 8 organisations across Canada that gained CIDA funding to carry out international Aboriginal internships. The IAYI initiative provided opportunities for 10 Indigenous youth to participate in international internships with our partner organizations in Zambia and Uganda.

Elder's Wisdom - this project works with Elders in BC to identify and share key cultural pieces of knowledge, experience or practice and to share this with Elders from other project areas. The archive includes stories, footage and crafts covering issues from traditional crafts, to healthy children and healthy families, to environmental and food security strategies and language preservation.



CCIC: How do you envision the future or your organization?


VIDEA: Key to the success of VIDEA’s programmes are the organisational, institutional and funding partners that we are proud to work with. We envision a future with a strong core of independent funding that does not leave us reliant on government funding or tied to externally decided funding priorities, allowing us to continue to uphold our values and maintain a human rights focus whilst maintaining commitments to our overseas gender and human rights focused partners. VIDEA's programmes have always rested on a wide volunteer network throughout BC and the Yukon, where currently just under 200 volunteers are actively engaged in committees and youth groups. Having this strong volunteer base enables us to maintain our programmes even when funding is scarce.


CCIC: How would you describe the benefits of being a member of CCIC and what it means for your organization?

VIDEA: The benefits of being a member of CCIC include access to training opportunities, subscribing to CCIC's comprehensive and progressive Code of Ethics, and the solidarity, advocacy, and knowledge sharing that comes with being affiliated with other NGOs and civil society organizations working in international development. For our organization, membership also provides an opportunity for us to contribute to the future development of our sector.


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