This year’s international meeting of local Harambee committees took place in Rome on November 4th and 5th. Representatives from Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, France, Italy and the United States gathered together for the annual assessment of the initiatives undertaken in their respective countries to mobilize resources, interest and sensitivity to sub-Saharan Africa.
In addition to committe members, about a dozen Polish university students also attended the meeting to talk about an initiative they’ve launched entitled “We Treat with a Mission”, which pledges to raise awareness and to promote volunteer experiences for medical students in Kenya.
Representatives from Spain’s Harambee committe explained the different projects set in motion in 2016. Among them was a new initiative called “Designs that Change Lives” that, thanks to the involvement of established Spanish designers, offers scholarships for training young women in fashion careers. Another project looks to build collaborative agreements with schools in Spain to support the education of children in different African countries where Harambee carries out projects. In addition to these, Spain’s committee also spoke about the annual African woman award, given out every year in recognition of commitment to the advancement of women. On other fundraising fronts, Maria José Figueiredo of Portugal shared the results they’ve achieved by organizing musical, culinary and sporting events, while representatives of the Swiss Committee commented on the regular activities they do with local artisanal markets.
After recounting the initiatives carried out in Strasbourg and Paris, Marino Muller, France, proposed that Harambee France take on the organization of the VII edition of the Harambee International “Communicating Africa” Prize, whose awards ceremony will then be held in Toulouse in November 2017.
Isabel Macalintal, newly in charge of the USA Harambee Committee, shared an initiative of a more cultural nature that was done last June in New York City, in collaboration with IESE Business School: “African Art & Symbolism”. She also shared their objectives for 2017.
With regards to activities carried out in Italy, the committe recalled the “Ilomba” photo exhibition and other initiatives dedicated to schools, such as the “You Tale Africa” contest and the “Study in Solidarity” campaign. Following this, there was a projection of photographs from the trip to Kenya last July (“Travel with Purpose 2016”) and attended by several Harambee representatives. As for next year’s trip, Nigeria was decided as the destination for 2017.
The presentation by the Polish students met with great enthusiasm: the young medical students have been involved for a few years – with a lot of energy and commitment – in the promotion of volunteer support for the Muthale Hospital in Kitui, Kenya. They provide support by collecting and sending equipment and medicines, and by helping on-site during summer holidays.
During the meeting, we also reviewed the collection and sending of funds to ongoing projects in Africa in 2016, and determined which projects to promote in 2017.