Marie-Christine Gélinas change summary

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My project is taking place in an NGO that has an educational vocation. Since 1970, it raises awareness on issues related to international solidarity among youths from 12 to 17 years old. It offers workshops in high schools across the province on topics such as child labor, fair trade, international cooperation, globalization and so on. For the past few years, it has also been working closely on university campuses, with cegep students and the “grand public” (30 and above).

My project is to try to enlarge our “clientele” to include the primary school kids. We would then work with all age groups in our society. This project was the result of increasing demands from primary schools in the Montreal area. Teachers were interested in the way we were doing things with the high schools and wanted to have something designed for their kids. My primary task was to write a concept paper in which I would evaluate our human and financial resources within the organization as well as the needs expressed by the primary schools. We would then see if a partnership with the Commission scolaire de Montréal would be possible, to open doors for us and to increase the chances for the schools to get funding for such activities.

However, as of now, nothing has moved really. We’re waiting for our CIDA funding agreement to be renewed. This means that there can’t be any new projects started yet, no partnership sought. This is probably the biggest challenge. My supervisor told me the project should be put on the ice unless I find some external funding that would cover the cost of a year of workshops (creation, training, promotion and salary of the facilitators). And even that would still depend of our funding for next year. (The chances are the agreement will be renewed, however, no on can predict how much we’re going to have, which is the problematic part for my project).

The lack of financial resources resulted in a lack of interest from my colleagues and my supervisor who did not quite believe in the realization of the project in a short future. On top of that, two colleagues left for professional fatigue, greatly affecting our team of 7. We all have an increased workload which makes it almost impossible for me to find time to push the project.

So, basically, nothing much happened concretely, although I feel like I have learned a whole lot on organizations and on the limitations an organization has when it is not financially autonomous.