BWI will make innovative unionism its objective and strategy for the future. In the frame of our discussions in Durban South Africa, BWI invited Dr. Auma Obama, Founder and Managing Director of Saut Kuu Foundation, to discuss sustainable economic growth and redefining poverty and economic development in communities that are socially and economically disadvantaged.
Dr. Obama highlighted her work in investing in the youth who are "the drivers of the future" through vocational and skills trainings, leadership development programmes and economic cooperative initiatives. After sharing her personal experience "I went through a process of defining myself as a woman and defining myself as an African", she explained the “perception’ of Africa and clearly questioned the existing and common “development aid” developed for more than 70 years for developing countries. "We have to change this victim mindset. We have to become active players", she said.
"The current development aid is about charity and philanthropy. It has its place in conflict situation and natural disaster." However, in her opinion, how to sustain development aid in the long term was not thought thoroughly. "We need to challenge it as it creates dependency and takes away people' dignity."
There is a need to shift development aid from this abstract formulation to real economic development/growth; shifting from aid to trade underpinned by personality development, character and leadership. People have to become economically independent and generate their own resources to realize their potential become part of economic value chain.
Born and raised in Kenya, Dr. Obama worked for CARE International before establishing her own foundation Sauti Kuu, meaning “Powerful Voices’ in Kiswahil.