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News of Christine Parkinson – and teenagers from Kampala and Mumbai

Reviews of the book which Christine recently finished writing: “Three Generations Left? Human Activity and the Destruction of the Planet” are coming in. We direct readers to the latest one which was written by Caroline Whyte and first published on the FEASTA website,

Christine’s book outlines how so-called progress has combined with a host of other factors, including free trade, a market economy, population increase and the development of a super-rich minority owning most of the wealth of the planet, to bring about global warming and climate change which could lead to a loss of many species and mass human extinction before the end of this century. (Right: book signing at seminar)

It is also constructive – see some proposals published on the West Midlands New Economics website which are to be structured and extended.

Young readers in Uganda and India

Her target audience is aged 15-18 and any adult new to the subject. The writer was struck by the reaction of a teenage visitor from Mumbai (left) when given a copy recently. He looked delighted and not only gave thanks, but after leafing through the book repeated them far more emphatically.

When Charles in Uganda (below) was 15 he wrote about the drama project he founded, focussing on corruption: “You see a change maker doesn’t need to sit and keep quiet when there is an enemy ruining people that is why I never gave up with Drama project because I believe it create changes in this country and all over the world  . . . It hurts me so much when I see some NGOs have stopped to offer their aid to this country because of the rampant growing of a big-headed corruption in this country Uganda and maybe in some other countries also. So you find that the people deep in the villages are the one to suffer – and they suffer a lot.”

Recently Charles – now 19 – who has obtained good exam results, ‘topping’ his schoolmates in economics, history and literature – made a video with the primary purpose of seeking help with fees to enable him to attend university. Like all the young people on the Butterfly Project, he is from one of the poorest of families in his area.

After introducing himself, he refers to the way in which Christine’s book inspired him and strengthened his desire to study economics at university, an education which would enable him to work to address the gap between rich and poor. He speaks of reading about the way economic activity can affect our environment and social lives and of the modern economics in her book – free of greed and selfishness (perhaps referring to New Economics – NEF?)

He ends by saying that he seeks education to fit him to create change in his community.

A UNA reviewer called Christine’s book a wake-up call: “A succession of well-researched and wide-ranging facts substantiate its warning. She addresses readers who are likely to remain sceptical of her predictions, piling fact upon fact, ending with the entreaty, “Look at the evidence”. However sceptical the reader may be, a close consideration of the evidence set out by Dr Parkinson must surely cause such a reader to reconsider his or her opinion”.

Full details about the book, and many articles of interest, may be seen on Christine’s website.

 

 

 

 

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Ben Parkinson

We have been reporting on the work of Ben Parkinson for some years on our former website now as part of Christine Parkinson’s news archived here (scroll down) and – since 2012 – with extra news in four articles on a Birmingham website. He has achieved such a remarkable body of work in Uganda – on a financial shoestring – that it seems right to add him to our list of networkers in his own right.

Ben started his career in marketing and is an accomplished jazz pianist who has played with the Midland and National Youth Jazz Orchestra and at Ronnie Scotts and the Hundred Club.

In 1998 he set up a music social enterprise known as Choice Music, which was developed to improve access to live music in the UK, which won an award for its innovation in 2000.  In 2002, he became Chief Executive at Jericho Community Business, an intermediate labour market (ILM) organisation in Birmingham that still provides work placements to long-term unemployed.  Ben brought in and operated New Deal, LSC, MATRIX, Co-Financing, and ESF while at Jericho, which also became one of recommended places to visit for the government Social Enterprise Visit Programme.

Ben has now been working in Africa since 2007, initially in Nigeria with Ashoka Fellow, Emmanuel Nehemiah and since 2009 in Uganda, where he has been responsible for developing the Butterfly Project, a project to train social entrepreneurs from the most disadvantaged children living in remote rural and slum areas.

He used the money from the sale of his house to found the project in 2009, intending it to be just a pilot for one year, but the results were remarkable, as the children being trained embraced the idea of being changemakers much more than expected.  Since then he has recruited three other groups, from both rural and slum districts and has recorded similar positive results.

He is now most at home living in Uganda and spends most of the year working on the gradual evolution of the Butterfly Project.

In 2017, Ben hopes to set up a school to train teenage social entrepreneurs in Northern Uganda, implementing the core Ugandan curriculum with Saturday sessions concentrating on developing vision, implementing projects and otherwise utilising the existing Butterfly Project curriculum in conjunction with school programmes.

The original Pioneer members are now established young activists and lead Ashoka’s Youth Venture Programme in Uganda; many have won awards for their work or received publicity.  Most have social projects that they are delivering, on which they can focus their passion for change.

 

 

 

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