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"Yes, I Can" - Reflections Across Borders

The Best ROI - Women and the Economy Online Forum wrapped up recently with friendships formed across the world (see the result announcement here). As part of the outcome, a women-owned business in Uganda received a microloan won by the team via KIVA, and a few more BWB Clubs will be launched to create local action projects and meet global goals.


To reflect on this collaborative experience, Marlene Walter (Goetheschule Essen, Germany) had a discussion with forum mate Travis Kasagga Paul (Lubiri Secondary School, Uganda). The following is an abbreviated essay from Marlene:


Looking at the world today with the various crisis situations we are facing – be it the global Coronavirus pandemic or the effects of the war in Ukraine– they all have one thing in common: they can only be approached and solved globally. Myriad issues prove that international partnerships and cooperations are essential to finding solutions to these challenges. Yet, how can we use this immense power to combat globally linked problems like inequality by benefiting from each other without regard to any kind of international barriers or borders?


One solution to this issue is independent and digital forums like Buddies Without Borders, which allow goal-oriented interaction between students of the same age without being limited by national borders or distance. Furthermore, the creation of our project was only possible through the collaboration of our team and Travis, a BWB participant from Uganda. With his local perspective, Travis contributed a lot to our project. We invest in our pitched loan that will help a woman in Uganda to expand her business and to support her area in a socio-economic way, thanks to the Best Team Award that our team won.


Additionally, Travis and I were honoured to start a BWB Club in each of our countries (Germany and Uganda). In a recent digital meeting, we discussed our experiences in the Forum as well as exchanged suggestions and thoughts concerning our clubs in our schools. It was at hand that the question arose to what extent we as students can make the world a better place, or how to define this place.


Travis said that despite the differences, each teammate shares the similarity of having a sincere mutual interest in each other and the intention of getting to know each other and the situation in each country. As far as I can see, this statement summarizes the foundation of the bonding among the participants in the BWB forums. Travis agrees when he says that he was benefiting from these similarities and learned not only how to communicate but also how to get out the best of his work while working with people from different countries and therefore different perspectives. This approach of not seeing differences as a barrier but as a possibility of going beyond the own horizon is a solid foundation for future international social connections.


As we shared ideas for our upcoming clubs, it is obvious to what extent our plans and goals are influenced by what we learned from the BWB Forum. According to Travis, his club should teach its participants different communication skills and how to interact with other international students from all over the world. I agree with his approach to include a more international perspective to each club by exchanging with other BWB schools worldwide. This kind of international partnership to solve issues is something that Travis and I both learned to value.


When asked if he thinks he can change the world he lives in to make it a better place, Travis clearly answers in the affirmative. “The forum has shaped my view on being able to change the world through learning how to communicate with different people (…) of different cultures and races to work hand in hand to solve different problems.” From my point of view, this statement shows what international partnerships and giving young people the opportunity to make a real difference in the world can achieve: The Motivation and confidence of young people to have the power of contributing to making the world a better place. In the words of Travis, "Yes, I think I can change something in the world.”


-Marlene Walter

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1件のコメント


Ozkan Akdugan
Ozkan Akdugan
2023年6月07日

Thank you Marlen and Travis for your fabulous comments.

いいね!
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