international development

As a former volunteer, I believe a conversation about WE's voluntourism model and youth engagement practices is long overdue.
Canada has a chance to streamline its efforts to make gender equality a reality in Canada and around the world
As our community has realized new rights in Canada, it's often made it even trickier to go back into the closet when we move to countries.
In truth, too much of contemporary development work relies on stereotypes. And while overly simplistic and ingrained ideas about men, women and the poor may be useful for fundraising purposes, when put into practice by organizations they contribute to ineffective development planning.
No parent dreams of their child working at a young age, missing out on school. But for Mark and his family of seven children in the Philippines, one income wasn't enough to provide for their basic needs. At seven years old, his son Paul carried the burden of work to give his other siblings a better chance in life.
Here in Canada, children learn to scuba dive for fun. But in Honduras, Ariel's work is largely invisible. Tourists tucking into a seafood meal just down the shore from his boat -- perhaps raising a glass of wine at sunset -- likely have no idea who hauled up their dinner from the ocean floor. 
In many parts of Africa and Asia, walking takes on a whole different meaning. That's because many women and children in these developing areas have to walk six kilometres every day to get water for their family. It's not a stroll in the park, or a breezy city walk -- it's a dangerous, hot, painful journey to provide for the needs of their families. 
We are presented opportunities everyday to make a difference in the lives of those around us, near or far, through our actions, time, or money. Whether we embrace that opportunity is up to us and, evidently, even the smallest of gestures or actions can veritably snowball into lasting results.
Eighty years ago, the Spanish Civil War resulted in a vast displacement and large number of unaccompanied child refugees. It was from the ashes of that crisis that Plan International was created. I am sure John Langdon-Davies, the founder of Plan International, would be heartbroken to know how urgently, in so many parts of the world, our work is still needed.
If we really want to support women and really want to be known as a feminist nation, then we need to work hand-in-hand with women and fund their work. We would welcome an announcement for this in the federal budget this week. But for this to happen, it would take courage and vision - not just rhetoric.