Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tannis Arnett's Interview with Darcy Pollack of One

What were your expectations for the partnership between ONE and YASC in Ghana?

Our hope was that by bringing ONE representatives on the trip with us, we could tap into the engagement our volunteers felt while in Ghana and encourage them to bring that passion home in way that could continue to have impact, specifically via advocacy. It is great when you are there, on the ground, and can actively help… but how do you continue to help when you get home? That’s where ONE comes in. The ONE Campaign is an advocacy network. They are not a fundraising organization; they are a “voice raising” organization. ONE sent four staffers on the trip with us: the U.S. Field Director, a regional Field Director, a policy expert and a trip logistics specialist. The idea was that they would (1) take us on local site visits so that we could see for ourselves programs that are having an impact on the ground, and (2) teach us about advocacy – what it means to advocate and how one does that. Our hope was that our volunteers would choose to continue their service by becoming members of ONE and advocating on behalf of the programs we saw on the ground -- programs that are changing people’s lives.

What were the highlights – what was your favourite activity/project?

As soon as I start to say one site visit or another was a highlight, I change my mind… they were all amazing! Perhaps most moving was meeting the cocoa farmers who are being advised by an NGO called Technoserv. Technoserv has helped them to navigate complex trade laws and certification requirements (like “Fair Trade” and “organic”), as well as provided them with much needed advice on fertilizers, pesticides and farming best practices. We saw one farm that was being helped by Technoserv, and it was so clean and prosperous. The farm across the road was not so lucky… they were not being aided by Technoserv, and it looked like a wild jungle. But the real difference? The farmers with Technoserv are making enough money to send their children to school… a first!

Was there a moment of illumination on the trip? Is there one big insight you gained from your experience? 

When we went to see a couple of the local fishing villages, it became apparent to me for the first time just how very complex the issues are that are facing these communities. This one village we visited had had six homes washed into the sea last year due to coastal erosion. And their fish stocks are being devastated by pollution and overfishing. You can’t just “solve” problems like these. It will truly take a global village to figure this out. That’s why we all need to be aware of how important U.S. funding is to programs like the Coastal Resources Center, which we saw doing phenomenal work in this village. That’s why we all need to be advocates!

How would you define sustainability?

Work that has a lasting impact.

How can this partnership be strengthened next year? What do you hope to achieve?

We hope that ONE will choose to join us again for our YASC trip to Ghana next summer… and that we can take even more people on these incredible site visits that they organize! There is no question in my mind… once you have seen these programs with your own eyes, you can’t help but work on their behalf. It is that powerful. My goal for next year? To encourage all our volunteers to become story tellers… to bear witness to the incredible work these programs do and in that way to advocate on their behalf!

Darcy Troy Pollack  A graduate of both Yale College and Harvard Business School, Darcy's career has spanned the investment banking and entertainment worlds at companies such as Goldman, Sachs & Co. Real Estate, Warner Brothers, United Talent Agency and Sony Retail Entertainment. Today Darcy focuses on entrepreneurial and philanthropic ventures, including Bono’s ONE organization, and is an active volunteer with Yale, where she is currently serving in her second year as a member of the Association of Yale Alumni (AYA) Board of Governors and is Chair of the new “shared interest group” Yale Blue Green.

Tannis Arnett  A graduate of Yale’s Master of Religion in the Arts program, Tannis has worked as a Marketing and Communications professional at TVO, Ontario’s public broadcaster, for over ten years.  The trip to Ghana was her fourth service tour with YASC.  She is currently the Chair of YASC’s Communications Committee.

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