Crossroaders in the Field
Toumaï Kafri (Bolivia 2013)
My name is Toumaї Kafri and I am thrilled to be heading off to La Paz, Bolivia for a mandate with the Asociación de Organizaciones de Productores Ecológicos de Bolivia (AOPEB). AOPEB, Carrefour’s newest partner in Bolivia, supports the development of an environmentally friendly agricultural model, bringing together 60,000 ecological farmers in nine national departments, themselves comprised of 90 municipalities.
Serge Fournier (Bolivia 2013)
Hi, my name is Serge Fournier. For the next six months, I will be living in Bolivia as a Crossroads volunteer. My mandate is to collaborate on training the trainers at ANED, a micro-finance organization. I will be based in La Paz, but will also travel to the regional offices to support the trainers there.
Josiane marquis (Bolivia 2013)
My name is Josiane and I come from a small town in Gaspésie. I’m currently finishing my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in International Development and Human Rights at Université Laval in Québec. I will be spending six months in Bolivia, contributing to an ongoing project that was launched a few years ago to support the partners of a micro-finance organization in La Paz called FONCRESOL and their client COAINE, a local coffee production cooperative in the Caranavi region. As Fair Trade and Marketing Officer, my role will be to facilitate business dealings between small producers of Bolivian coffee and Canadian roasters, thereby helping Bolivians to access the international coffee export market.
Sergio Figueredo (Bolivia 2013)
I'm thrilled to say that for the next six months, I’ll be participating in a microfinance research project in Bolivia. The objective of the project is to improve financial tools that will help low-income women create business opportunities, and hopefully escape from extreme poverty. In June, I will begin my mandate with the Asociación Nacional Ecuménica de Desarrollo (ANED), a Crossroads partner and one of the oldest and largest microfinance institutions in Bolivia. I will be conducting research, visiting marginalized villages, and learning from ANED's executive body.
Léa Cullen-Robitaille (Senegal 2013)
My name is Léa. I am fresh out of university and on my way to fulfilling an international cooperation assignment, as a way to round up my academic background. I hold a bachelor’s degree in management from Laval University, where I majored in international development and humanitarian action. Over the next six months, I will work as an Organizational Evaluation Advisor for the Union nationale des femmes coopératrices du Sénégal (UNFCS). UNFCS and Crossroads have just become partners. Thanks to this assessment, Crossroads and UNFCS will then work together to set UNFCS’ priorities for development and capacity-building.
Charles Babecki (Bolivia 2013)
My name is Charles Babecki. I was born and raised in Montréal and graduated from Syracuse University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Spanish. I will be volunteering my time and skills in Sucre, Bolivia with FONCRESOL, a micro finance institution, for 7 months. I will be implementing a financial product called “Crédito Futuro” which will provide university students with adequate housing accommodations and, at the same time, save money to start a business or to continue their professionalization. I am so excited to embark on this amazing adventure!
Laura Dowling (Swaziland 2013)
My name is Laura Dowling and over the next 9 months I will be a Liaison Officer for Crossroads International in Swaziland. While my mandate includes mentoring and managing the volunteers going to Swaziland, I will also be directly involved with the Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA), more specifically with the work of the Girls’ Empowerment Clubs in schools.
Genevieve Hill (Ghana 2013)
My name is Genevieve Hill and I was raised in Burlington, Ontario but nowadays I call both Montreal and Ghana home. I have a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Development from McGill University and am currently working as a Liaison officer for Crossroads International in Ghana. This is my third time working in Ghana, having previously worked in the area of women’s empowerment and education.
Chelsey Smith (Swaziland 2013)
I am Chelsey Smith, and I am passionate about love, literacy, education, and equality. Motivated by truth, justice, and an insatiable desire for adventure and challenge – I traveled to Swaziland to volunteer as a Resource Mobilisation Officer with the Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA) for nine months.
Laurent Thouin (Bolivia 2013)
My name is Laurent Thouin and I became a Crossroader in February 2013. I am in Bolivia, where I am now completing a mandate in human resources management. I work with Pro Rural, a local organization active in micro-finance and rural development which provides technical support together with seed capital and credit, in order to support local rural economies and generate employment.
Vania Sze (Ghana 2013)
My name is Vania Sze and I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. Having been immersed in the working world for the past three years and recently completed my professional designation, I realized that I needed to stay true to my passion in international development. I have a desire to bring these skills I have been fortunate to learn back to the international community through the development of sustainable business practices. In 2013 I will be venturing to Accra, Ghana to work with Pro-Link for 5 months helping to implement their accounting systems.
Fernand Roy (Bolivia 2013)
My name is Fernand Roy and I’ve been a proud Crossroader for more than a year. I retired after 31 years of service in the banking industry and I am delighted to play the role of a grandfather to my grandkids (I still love this!). But after some time, I felt the need to do more.
Joni Ward (Bolivia 2012)
My name is Joni Ward. Originally from the UK, I have made Montreal my home for the past decade. After spending 4.5yrs managing a 10,000 Villages fair trade store, I am thrilled to now have the opportunity to experience another aspect of fair trade, working alongside producers in the South. With the role of Fair Trade & Marketing Specialist, I am currently on a 7 month mandate in Bolivia, supporting the initiative of exporting fair trade Bolivian coffee to the Canadian market.
Jean-François Martel-Castonguay (Bolivia 2012)
My name is Jean-François and I am a Crossroads International volunteer. I work with the ANED, a Bolivian microfinance institution. My mandate is to assess the social performance of a microcredit program, the Bancos Comunales. This program targets groups of women almost exclusively and aims to assist in their independence, in addition to the improvement of their quality of life. I took on this mission with the willingness to bring a resource that will remain after I leave. I know, however, that this mission is first and foremost a cultural and knowledge exchange with the Bolivian people: a two-way exchange!
Kelsey Parsons (Ghana 2012)
My name is Kelsey Parsons and I’m originally from Oakville, Ontario. In October 2012, I’ll be heading off to Accra, Ghana for a one year mandate with Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF). As a lifelong traveler, I have always been interested in the intricacies of other cultures. I recently graduated from Carleton University with a degree in journalism and anthropology, and I can’t wait to put my studies to use as a Communications Officer for WiLDAF. I’ve always known the dusty books I’ve read about cross-cultural communication are no match for real life interaction, and I know I will learn countless lessons in the year I will be in Ghana.
Maureen Littlejohn (Swaziland 2012)
Maureen Littlejohn is a freelance contributor to publications including Guide to Canada, More, Vacations, Adventura, Convene, Homemakers, and the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian magazine. Based in Toronto, Maureen has a Master of Journalism degree from Carleton University and recently graduated from the International Development program at Humber College. As of July 25, Maureen will be in Swaziland for a year. She will be a communications officer for Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse, an organization that works to eradicate gender-based violence.