A match made for match

Manitoba Council for International Co-operation and Thom Bargen host speaker event

Thom Bargen will host the fifth Local Brews + Global Views event, which gives members of the public an opportunity to discuss and ask questions about global development projects with Nuala Nazarko, regional manager for development with MATCH International Women’s Fund, and Kristie Pearson, the chair of the Winnipeg Fund in support of MATCH.

The events are organized through the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC), an entity that administers the Manitoba Government Matching Grant Program and includes a coalition of international non-governmental organizations with bases in Manitoba.

Grace Van Mil, the public engagement specialist for MCIC, says they “received funding from Global Affairs Canada to lead the discussion, and we came up with this idea of meeting up in a coffee house – that’s the local brews part of it – to talk about global issues.”

The events feature a speaker from one of the MCIC member organizations, which in the past have included Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and Make Music Matter, a music therapy program that facilitates healing in Rwanda.

Nazarko and Pearson work with MATCH International Women’s Fund, which distributes donations to MATCH among 22 grassroots organizations around the world that support women, girls and trans people in their communities. These organizations do not have the same visibility and global donor base as bigger international organizations, so MATCH acts as a kind of financial middle player between these organizations and donors in the Global North.

“I guess we just wanted to give the public a chance to learn more about these projects and meet the people who are doing this work,” Van Mil says. “We know that Manitobans give a lot and support a lot of projects overseas, so we wanted to give people a chance to interact with the people who are actually doing the work that they support.”

Alice Zador from Thom Bargen’s Kennedy location says the benefit of hosting events like these are two-pronged.

“It’s really nice to have new members of the community in our space, and it’s a learning experience for us as well. We get to participate in the workshop and watch and learn and listen,” she says.

“I just think it’s important for us to bridge all of these communities together and look at our spaces as not just as a business or as something that’s used to serve others but something that everyone can interact with and be apart of,” she says. “Our spaces are not purely made for the sake of business. They’re also made for us to connect with each other.”

Zador says to make the coffee shops functional and accessible spaces for these events, they try to make everything “as visible and audible as possible” and rearrange the furniture in the shop to suit the audience and speaker needs.

This event will be held Feb. 7 from 7 to 8 p.m. at Thom Bargen at 250 Kennedy Street.

Published in Volume 73, Number 16 of The Uniter (January 31, 2019)

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