Imagine your city

Imagine your city
– Inspired by the imagine Chicago movement

Imagine a city where…
 young people are leading the way forward
 public schools are thriving community learning centers
 neighborhoods and institutions work together to share ideas and resources.
 all citizens recognize and apply their talents to create a positive future for themselves and their community

your dream city
 what do you imagine and hope for your city?
 who can work with you to bring your vision to life?
 what will you dare to create?
 can you be a catalyst for creative connections?
 can you be part of a self-organizing team to make things happen?

People to people International-Europe
 we want to hear about your dreams
 we want to support you as you deliver transformation
 together we can do it.

Doing what we can

Doing something is better than doing nothing at all – every little bit helps, as the saying goes.

It is amazing how several small acts of kindness can deliver huge benefits to communities. One person might choose to donate €1 each month. Another individual will support a youth project, such as scouting, dedicating time each month. People that like to run will raise money for a great cause as they participate in their local 20K or Marathon. There are groups of families that undertake community projects together. This helps build a community, friendships and provides an opportunity for a family to deliver a community service together.

Please do something! It is time to engage and not simply say “I just don’t know how to get started”. Find a local cause that you can connect with. Are you passionate about the environment, the elderly, children with problems, animal welfare, the state of our buildings, litter on the streets, weeds growing everywhere, graffiti in the wrong places, food waste, composting, the circular economy, the arts, or is your passion sport or education? Whatever it is, other people will feel the same way. Connecting with like-minded people ensures that there is a bond and an energy to build on.

There is so much to be done everywhere you look. There are many organizations, associations and opportunities that would benefit from some help. It is not always about money, although money does help to pay for some much-needed resources. And, if collecting funds or making a financial donation works best for you – that is a very welcome something.

If you’re stuck for ideas about what you can do, please do connect and we will do our very best to guide you. PTPI is making every effort to be a connecting NGO for the many opportunities to contribute, and the many needs that communities have. Just remember doing what we can, is preferable to doing nothing at all. Our community will be better off when we are all doing what we can.

Chalks Corriette
PTPI Europe

SDGs and PTPI Europe – the long view

Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, more than 190 world leaders committed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to help us all end extreme poverty, fight inequality & injustice, and fix climate change. We each have a role to play if we’re going to achieve these goals of a more prosperous, equitable, and sustainable world.

The 169 targets contained within those goals, are a fabulous roadmap to the future. These goals are being adopted by both the public and private sectors. They provide business and industry a great platform to measure their sustainability, as well as their contribution to the planet and humanity.

For PTPI Europe, our ability to have a meaningful impact will happen when our chapters align their activities with SDGs. This means in reality that we have to take a long view during our thinking and planning. We plan to register in accordance with the UN SDG platform, the things we do, as a way of demonstrating our commitment to people, the plant and peace. This means that we must prove our commitment through concrete initiatives.

The initiatives need to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Resource-based, with Time-based deliverables.

We are fortunate, in that there are some key people in our network that have experience with SDG type projects, and we shall introduce them to you soon. We shall be making contact with specific chapters since we know those that are engaged with SDG type projects. During the European Conference this September, alignment to the SDGs will be discussed.

Sustainability is the most important responsibility we all have as global citizens (sustainability being defined as environmental, economic and social impact), and this gives us a unique edge over other humanitarian organizations.

Out of Africa – The Gambia and the SDGs

At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015, more than 150 world leaders adopted the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs were developed by the United Nations Foundation. The 17 goals and the 169 targets contained within those goals, are a fabulous roadmap to the future. These goals are being adopted by both the public and private sectors. The goals allow business and industry to have a common platform and measurement criteria of their sustainability, as well as their contribution to the planet and humanity.

There are a number of PTPI chapters that already use the SDGs as a way of connecting with important Stakeholders.

For, Demba Kandeh, President, People to People International – The Gambia, West Africa, this is her focus:

• We are working on Global Volunteerism (Community Service) Cultural Performance/Activities (SDG Goal 11)
• Media Conversation (Peace Building, Leadership, Volunteerism and Cultural diversity.) (SDG Goal 16)
• Community Peer Educators’ Mentor-ship on peace Building, leadership & Cultural & diversity exchange programs. (SDG Goal 4)
• Panel Discussion on Peace building & Cultural diversity with concerned Stakeholders and Major Community groups (SDG Goal 10)

The 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to transform our world:
GOAL 1: No Poverty
GOAL 2: Zero Hunger
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
GOAL 13: Climate Action
GOAL 14: Life Below Water
GOAL 15: Life on Land
GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal
To the Goals

The Gambia:
The Gambia is a small West African country, bounded by Senegal, with a narrow Atlantic coastline. It’s known for its diverse ecosystems around the central Gambia River. Abundant wildlife in its Kiang West National Park and Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve includes monkeys, leopards, hippos, hyenas and rare birds. The capital, Banjul, and nearby Serrekunda offer access to beaches.

We can trust our social connectors to serve communities well

For many years I worked in the area of SR (social responsibility). There was a heap of training to go through, and years of field experience, so that I could prove my competence. And was I proud when I landed a senior job at a major Corporate, to use my skills. Then something happened that informed my understanding of responsibility. And, boy did I have a rude awakening.

I learned to degree level, to understand the metrics of social reporting. This was to allow the business and political world a method to share data that would be consistent. This all made total sense. Since if we cannot compare apples with apples, then how would solutions happen? I found myself involved with issues that affect people that:
• are denied access to technology
• are suffering from poor well-being
• are minorities in their home countries
• are harmed by natural disasters
• are forgotten about

Many projects down the road, I started to experience the same consistent problems. So much of what caused issues to remain issues, was down to a lack of trust in the social connectors – the people on the front-line, making things happen. These connectors would burn out, faster than they could put in place solutions. Because, the world was too cynical to believe in the solutions, the connectors or had another agenda.

I moved on from the world of SR in the context of big business, politics and NGO implementations. I then learned what we had done to grass-roots project funding. Whilst everyone focused on metrics for large social projects, we overlooked small community activities. The metrics we were working with made no sense if you operated a local youth soccer team, for example.

This meant that in corporate reporting terms, the bigger UN type activities looked better in annual reports. This became the focus of company giving programs – staff would support the company SR goals, the company would donate resources – this made people happy. At least at the corporate level.

I started being more involved in local grass-roots activities. And, I saw first-hand the problems of putting all your financial eggs in the big baskets of big SR projects. Small literacy initiatives, run by amazing volunteers with fantastic skills, were not made sustainable. They needed small amounts of money, over a long period of time. And, being small, meant they did not have charity or not-for-profit status. This excluded them from traditional funding channels. Even though what they were doing delivered value to the locals in their community.

Myself and some friends, recognized the problem. We connected with a registered umbrella organisation, with the purpose of helping many grass-roots projects and activities. But, we still had a problem to overcome – to convince everyday citizens and business to fund raise with us, or for us. The local youth soccer team or literacy projects are not as sexy as the bigger World Food Program (WFP) projects. Both are worthy of anyone’s support and both will have a positive impact on the life of individuals. There are many funding channels for WFP like projects. There are no, or few, official funding channels for grass-roots projects. Local projects rely on local enthusiasts to develop required funding. These days however, local enthusiasts are rare to find, and their desire to be involved in long-term projects has been overtaken by surviving all that life is throwing at them.

The people that stay committed to the cause of gross-roots projects, are the social connectors. They remain steadfast in their conviction that without local engagement, a community can be stripped of opportunity. Connectors are struggling to engage people to support projects. The skills and the people are available. However, they are in need of small amounts of pocket money to cover basic expenses. We are permitted as a registered not-for-profit to cover basic expenses for volunteers. We need to have the funds available, and we are talking about small amounts of money. Our fund raising can raise 3000-euro one year, and 30,000 the next. Much depends on how much time we can dedicate alongside full-time work or studies.

Our experience is that our community of social connectors are trustworthy. They all have a proven track record of delivering amazing social change. Many of connectors, including myself, have to undergo regular background checks because we work with youth, the elderly or other vulnerable people.

Can you support us? We do receive regular small amounts from individuals, and we are grateful for these donations. People have hosted parties or dedicated a birthday event on social media to raise funds. No one wants to give money away, and I am very aware of the need for trust and transparency. Our key donors (angel investors and philanthropists) speak with me on a regular basis to talk about what our team is doing. People check on my activities through Social Media and others ask me for a short report to be emailed.

I now dedicate my time locally, away from the big social responsibility (SR) projects of the corporate world. I have found this to be more rewarding and to deliver change that I can see and touch immediately. I can also ensure that 85% of donated funds go on projects with only 15% being consumed by operating costs. This is a much better outcome for society.

To make a donation by bank transfer – details can be found here

To make a donation by credit card – please use PayPal to send money through email

Thank you for reading this. I hope that I have provided a small glimpse into the challenges my community face, to deliver local social projects and activities. If you would like to learn more, please do feel that you can connect me

Chalks Richard Corriette
Consulting Social Entrepreneur

Who does what, when and how? We do!

These days, it’s often hard to tell exactly who’s responsible for what problem and this is coupled with an uncertainty about the role we play as citizens in making important stuff happen.

The fact is, it doesn’t just ‘happen’ and if we, the citizens, are going to sit around waiting for some magical organization to come along and make everything better, we’ll be sitting around grumbling for a very long time.

Complaints about the state of the streets, public buildings and parks can be seen in their 100s on social media sites. And we can’t realistically expect the communes or even ‘big business’ to solve everything. Experience has taught us that it doesn’t happen quickly enough, well enough…or even at all.

In the case of the communes, there usually isn’t the cash, and as for the private sector, well, many requests to support community charities are simply pushed onto the desks of HR or marketing departments.

But we can do something ourselves. We can get together with friends in supporting our own local groups, work to rally our community and deal with many minor problems, such as rubbish, graffiti and more. As a bonus, we get to know each other too – helping to grow both ourselves and our community spirit.

For more information do contact chalks
People To People International Europe asbl (

Community and PTPI in Europe

PTPI as we experience it, is a loose network of people, connected through a chapter framework and a global program of recommended action areas to cover. Local relevance is an important factor, especially as available resources, both human and financial, play a major role determining success of any activity.

For some chapters, a high level of flexibility is welcome, and others would prefer a more structured approach to implementing the activities that support all PTPI programs. We need to find a way to support each other. The more experienced chapters have much to teach us all. And, less experienced chapters need to be better at asking for and defining their needs for assistance.

We are only as good as our last, or most recent activities. Which is why we must share much more about the great things we do. We have been told many times that PTPI is a best kept secret.

Please do send in your ideas about how we might do more, share more, include more and truly make a difference to cultural understanding.

We do belong to something good. Time now to prove it.

contact us

What can we learn from the Maker Movement?

The underlying culture of the maker community, means that they are always looking to do better. Despite how good things are today, what is coming up that could make it even better. What are the opportunities and tools out there, allowing our members and our community more chance of engagement and support?

As an NGO with 61 years under our belt, it can be all too easy to sit back and operate business as usual. But we can see that the world is very different today, and we know that unless we keep up with contemporary thinking, behavior and modern practices – we can easily become obsolete. As many business gurus have said “if you aren’t growing you’re dying” – and we have not grown our membership in a long time.

Sustain: It is important for us to reform the way we are administered. Ever since we became a legal entity in Europe, we have been operating with several layers of bureaucracy. Having a permanent administrative board, does call into question the need for other roles that are part of the current EEC. Equally the workload has changed significantly, and much more is done in the Brussels office because they are close to our legal reporting entity.

There is an opportunity to take a look at what we really need, and to ensure that our bylaws, represent the requirement from January 2018.

Disrupt: Nothing can be more disruptive than the power technology has, to impact communications and relationships. Whilst many people like to get their hands on printed material, it is no longer practical, cost-effective, or friendly to our planet to do this. It applies equally to printed material given out at workshops or conferences.

We need to move to a process of placing materials in the online document library, where people can take a look, download to a local computer, and if they still wish to have a hardcopy – that would be a personal choice. We also need to make better use of technology to provide regular updates, news and information to our community. The onus is on the individual therefore, to read and respond to emails and look at the news and information channels on our website.

Regenerate: The networks, friendships and successes of the past are an important base to build from. Our rich history has shown us what can be achieved when a thoughtful group of people, connect in many places around the world. It is also important to be mindful of modern times, current opportunities that are accessible to many, and think about how we can best provide an offering that remains exciting to our members.

We must find ways to engage all generations of our membership, no matter how challenging this may appear. The youth are keen to exchange ideas, learn from each other and grow networks. The adult membership seeks opportunities to gather, experience new things, see unusual places and absorb culture. Both groups are looking for us to find cost effective ways to deliver excellent opportunities. Cost effective being key.

These issues will be discussed as part of the Council meeting, at this year’s European Conference taking place this September in Armenia. We would also like to hear from our chapter presidents and members. Please do send us your thoughts, ideas or observations.