FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Project Diaspora Presents
VIA: VILLAGES IN ACTION CONFERENCE
Kikuube Village Grounds, Masindi, Uganda
Saturday 14th January 2012, 10am – 8pm
Project Diaspora is thrilled to announce that the next Villages in Action (VIA) conference will take place on January 14th, 2012. VIA, the first globally streamed development conference, returns to the village of Kikuube Uganda to explore the role of Business and Technology in the Village.
Further exploring the topics identified by the first locally-led discussions of the Millenium Development Goals, this conference will focus on the role that business and entrepreneurship play in reducing poverty in the small but interconnected community. The conference will also explore the role of technology in the village by discussing the importance of access to information via mobile phones in a community without an internet connection, electricity or running water. The VIA conference will also feature the possibilities that thrive at the intersection of youth, technology, and village ingenuity.
The first VIA found that members of the community themselves are the key to development in villages like Kikuube. There was sufficient local capacity to address many of the development issues facing the community. What was needed was a platform of recognition, support, and empowerment of those local efforts so villagers could continue to do what they identified as much-needed development in their community.
Most importantly, the community recognized business and economic empowerment as the driving force behind development in Kikuube. For example, sugar cane farmers saw a remarkable improvement in their standard of living when they transitioned from subsistence to commercial farming. Their disposable income spent within the community then had an impact on other small enterprises. Development in this village turned out to be a interdependent cycle of business activities.
This year’s conference is made possible by the generous financial support of Business Fights Poverty. Zahid Torres-Rahman, founder of the London-based network for professionals passionate about fighting poverty through business, had this to say about VIA:
For all the talk about how to improve the lives of poor people, too little time is spent actually engaging poor people in the conversation. The fact is that when asked, poor people say that getting a job or growing a business is their best strategy for escaping poverty. We need to think about how best we can help poor people achieve that. But above all we need to listen. Villages in Action is a unique event that gives poor people the chance to lead the discussion, and we are delighted to be sponsoring it for a second year.
About Business Fights Poverty
Business Fights Poverty in a free-to-join global community of professionals passionate about fighting world poverty through good business. Business Fights Poverty connects over 10,000 people from 150 countries through its online network (www.businessfightspoverty.org), its communities on Twitter (@FightPoverty), Facebook and LinkedIn, and through physical events. Community members come from a diverse range of business, government and civil society backgrounds to share experience and good practice – collectively pushing the boundaries of how business can fight poverty. We believe that we can achieve more together – by harnessing our collective intelligence and energy – than we can alone.
About Villages in Action
In September of 2010, the world’s elite gathered in New York and DC to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Millennium Development Goals. Missing from the conversation were the voices at the base of the pyramid, i.e., the poor. In November of 2010, a little-known conference was held in a small village in NW Uganda to bring these voices to the fore. The Villages in Action 2010 conference brought together over 500 villagers who were given a chance to voice their opinions on development in their villages. A stage was built, microphones handed over and the world participated via the internet as Kikuube Village in Masindi Uganda joined the global development debate for the first time. Villages in action is a Project Diaspora initiative.
About Project Diaspora
Project Diaspora (PD) is a USA-based organisation established in September 2007 with a simple mission—to promote African Diaspora engagement in sustainable economic activities within Africa. PD actively seeks to mobilize, engage, and motivate members of the African Diaspora to participate in Africa’s economic, social, and cultural renaissance. Looking beyond the $40 billion in annual remittances to the continent, the strongest resources the African Diaspora possess are its vast wealth of knowledge, technical expertise and professional network. Africa’s Diaspora is well positioned to become a major developmental force. In light of their cultural and personal ties to their home communities there is no other single group that is better equipped to generate positive, sustained change across the continent.