IDW 2011 – The Debaters

The Debaters Lunch Hour Series

International Development Week, held annually the first full week of February, is proclaimed by the Canadian International Development Agency and highlights the work of Canada’s development community. Thanks to funding from the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation, The Marquis Project, along with other local development groups, is taking the opportunity to educate and create a dialogue within the community around topics related to international development, February 7th through to the 11th.

Considering the cultured world we live in, there is never an easy algorithm to default to when applying international development strategies.  Successful development projects require immense time, consideration, and communication and overlooking any one of these aspects could potentially lead to disaster.  This is exemplified in a story told to me by a friend about a development project in Zimbabwe. With an intention to help small fisherman become more self-sufficient, while preserving the already depleting forests of Zimbabwe, a large NGO devised a “flawless” plan to create 16 foot fishing boats using cement. Although the group was successful at avoiding use of precious forests preserves, the boats were incredibly expensive and impractically heavy. After investing in the boats out of their own pockets, the fishermen were appalled to learn that even with the utmost strength, they were unable to move the boats.  The plan to implement sustainable fish farming was quickly abandoned, as evidenced by the graveyard of cement boats on the shores of Zambezi river. Although the NGO had committed time and had established a dialogue with the locals, clearly, consideration was the missing link in this project.

Hearing stories like this one convinced Brandon’s International Development Committee that we needed to start thinking and talking about development more critically within our community.  This is the purpose of The International Development Week 2011 Debaters Lunch Hour Series.  A series of free, public debates mimicking the CBC radio 1’s “The Debaters”.  The first debate on Climate Change will be held at Crocus Plains High School on Monday, February 7th. On Tuesday, February 8th debaters will grapple over the statement “It is impossible to feed the world’s people using organically produced foods”. The food security debate will take place at Brandon University’s Mingling Area from 12:40-1:30 and will feature the Organic Food Council’s Janine Gibson. A debate on the effectiveness of international aid in Africa will take place over the lunch hour (12:00-1:00) at The Marquis Project’s Worldly Goods Shop Thursday, February 10th.  And finally, a panel discussion on sustainable development at home and abroad will wrap up the week’s activities at City Hall from 12:00-1:00 Friday, February 11th.  The panel discussion “Dream a Better World” will demonstrate the importance of sustainability in our local communities while we pursue broader development goals globally. Panelists will answer targeted questions relating to local sustainability policies, recycling and waste management practices, local aid strategies, and sustainable business practices.  Brandon mayor Shari Decter Hirst will be among other local, expert panelists. Please bring your own lunch to the sessions. Refreshments will be provided. For more information on these events, please contact Karli at 727-5675 or

About Marquis

The Marquis Project is a non-profit, charitable non-governmental organization dedicated to making our world better. Established in 1979 by development activists in and around Brandon, Manitoba, it is sustained by the support and participation of individuals, families, congregations, schools and community organizations. What began as a small resource centre on world issues serving southwestern Manitoba is now a nationally recognized non-governmental organization.