WRA’s events in 2016 have been epic!
This year WRA has hosted three fabulous Meet, Greet & Eat events as well as an International Development Symposium, hosting a combined turnout of more than 125 development enthusiasts. Meals were shared, stories were told and connections made.
In Adelaide, the evening was kicked off by WRA's CEO Dr Don Van Cooten and was centred on Good Development Principles based on his extensive experience as an on-the-ground, development practitioner, followed by a case study from three-time Everest summiter, Duncan Chessel of Himalayan Development Foundation Australia. He spoke of their humbling in-country service delivery throughout the immediate and ongoing Nepal Earthquake aftermath whereby funds were prudently reserved for the rebuilding of schools, health posts and other infrastructure over a multi-year timeframe as that is where the organisation’s strengths lie. Despite fuel blockades, building code delays and ongoing threats of further tremors, the project has built strong rapport with local communities to lay a sturdy foundation, not only of bricks and cement, but also of empowerment and participation.
In Brisbane, WRA's Manager of International Projects Dianne Harris-Miles engaged the crowd with interactive dialogue on the topic of Development – What’s Hot & What’s Not! She explored the pillars of sustainable development through key themes of participation, fair distribution, capacity building and exit strategy, before discussing problematic worldviews across various genre.
In Sydney, it was a real treat to hear from Edgar Voigts of Mission Aviation Fellowship who spoke on the topic of Extreme Development. He provided an excellent overview of their 135 fixed wing aircraft hard at work around the world, overcoming barriers such as rugged terrain, civil unrest and natural disaster to bring help, hope and healing to the world's most isolated communities, as well as their partnership with a helicopter company in Nepal to reach communities isolated and hurting from the recent quake.
Finally, our weekend Symposium event in Melbourne was a great success. The topic of Friday evening's keynote address was Faith & Development with Dianne Harris-Miles exploring the close relationship between development and the impact of traditional beliefs and religious practices. Saturday's program covered a range of relevant topics from Youth Participation in Development, Economic Development through Microenterprise, Living Pharmacies, Community Empowerment and Critical issues to Successful Microfinance. The day concluded with a lively panel discussing Effective Exit Strategies.