Friday, September 19, 2008

My TIG Story

Report of a telephone interview that i did some months ago with Takingitglobal, a website for youth interaction and development
Delroy Nesta Williams (Sewotoy)
Male, 27 from Roseau, Commonwealth of Dominica
Joined TIG: October 5, 2004

My name is Delroy. I was born in the small capital of Roseau, in the Commonwealth of Dominica. My mother was 15 and my father was 18 when I was born, so I was raised by my grandmother. I was lucky enough to be sponsored by the Dominica Save the Children fund, which paid for my high school fees and books, and enabled me to receive quality education. In high school, I got involved with youth groups, and that’s also when I really took an interest in environmental and agricultural issues. I received a French government scholarship to study at a college in Guadeloupe, and while I was there, I joined a group called Club d’Afrique.

With this group, we went to Benin where we visited a number of villages, schools and youth groups. This experience had a big impact on me because before, I had thought that I was really poor and helpless, but in Benin I saw so many people who were much less fortunate than me. This really propelled me to get involved in development activities in my country and as much as possible in the Caribbean, and internationally.

Today, I am a member of the National Youth Council of Dominica, where we are currently focusing on encouraging social dialogue among Dominican youth on the issues that are plaguing our country. I am also involved with the National Association of Youth in Agriculture of Dominica, because we need to promote agriculture to young people to ensure food security, especially in our country. I am also an active member of several environmental groups, including the Dominica Youth Environment Organization, where we are doing a number of things to raise awareness of environmental issues among young persons in my country.

I first learned about TakingITGlobal at a workshop in Holland organized by the CTA (Centre technique de coopération agricole et rurale). A member from Nigeria did a presentation on TakingITGlobal, and as soon as I got back home, I went through the site, joined and became an active member.

I really get inspired when I see other people doing wonderful work toward improving their communities, and I want to emulate their initiatives. TIG has really inspired and motivated me in this respect: not only has it allowed me to better understand international issues like climate change, HIV/AIDS, and the ethics behind diamonds, I can also see that other young people all around the world are concerned about issues and are taking action. We can share information with others and broaden our own way of thinking through discussion and debates on TIG. For me, dialogue and self expression is very important to spreading information. Recently, we launched Youth Voices, an online newsletter focused on agriculture in the Caribbean. Youth Voices allows young people to write articles on agricultural issues, share their ideas and activities, and promote their projects, and it was partly inspired by the Panorama magazine.

TIG also informs youth about opportunities to get involved in their communities, and this is the part of TIG I really like. I wanted to engage more youth from my country, so I was promoting local issues, organizations, projects and events in Dominica through TIG tools and resources. I also like finding out about local opportunities through TIG and how I can be more personally active. For example, once I was browsing the TIG website and I saw an activity related to HIV/AIDS in my country that I didn’t even know about, and I immediately got involved. Afterwards, with my organization, we organized several camps in rural areas to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and different environmental issues. By providing information about something that was happening locally in Dominica, TIG assisted me in not only getting involved in that one initiative, but also in spreading my own activities within my country.

TIG also provides further opportunity for local and global engagements by connecting members and organizations. I have received a number of queries from groups regarding opportunities for global partnerships. Recently, a group in the USA contacted me to inquire about doing a project on human rights with the National Youth Council in Dominica. In addition, I communicated regularly with a Jamaican member on TIG about environmental issues. I actually met her in person at a workshop on climate change and sustainable development in the Caribbean. After exchanging a lot of ideas in person, she then convinced a development organization to organize a workshop on environmental law in Dominica and contacted me to facilitate this workshop! So as a direct result of our interaction on TIG, we were able to hold this workshop last November in my country.

As a website that allows youth from various corners of the world to network and to dialogue on world issues, TakingITGlobal is strongly becoming the site that I rely on for information and for discussion. The fact that the site is accessible in 12 languages really astonishes me. But the youth on TIG aren’t only discussing about local and global issues, they’re also contributing themselves to improving their communities, and that’s really inspirational.

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