November 2020

The end of 2020 is near and the second edition of the Journal is here!

We were very happy to hear all the positive feedback from readers on the first issue and we look forward to continuing to create the ICO World Journal in 2021.  We hope to have even more contributors from ICO and would welcome any ideas to further improve the journal. As with our first issue, this November 2020 edition is interactive. Click on any of the links and you will be taken to supporting documents, the website, or our other online mediums. 

From all of us on the ICO World Team, we would like to thank you for your support and friendship throughout this year and look forward to taking on 2021 together!

Yours in friendship,

The ICO World Team

Table of Contents :

  • New Developments in the ICO Institute
  • The Capacity Building Group and The ICO Technologies Centre 
  • COVID-19 Update
  • Regional Updates
  • The Bulletin Board 
  • Journal Articles 
    • What is Community? 
    • Life in the Time of COVID

New Developments in the ICO Institute 

Announcement on behalf of John Mitchell – Chairman Emeritus and Founder (current focus – Global Strategy and Mentoring Support):

Over the last year, an enormous effort has been undertaken to strengthen the Foundation’s capabilities Globally. We have strengthened the Engagement Group, launched the Communications Group and refocused the Capacity Building Group. At this time we are also providing additional resources to the Finance and Administration Group. We have also been steadily developing the ICO Communities Group, which has to be at full operational capability before we can bring the Council of ICO Communities into full representation of all our members including the nominal 100,000 we have been privileged to serve Globally. That day indeed will be historic!

The ICO Institute has been a long-term development and I am very pleased to announce the following organisation and appointments to the ICO Institute.  These will play an increasingly important and vital role in the future of ICO, our ICO Communities and the Global Community which we share and serve.

Profile photo for Scarlette Verjinschi

Scarlette Verjinschi- Lead ICO Institute 

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Scarlette Verjinschi to Lead – ICO Institute from Lead – Centre for Research reporting directly to myself in the development stages. Linda McCarron Co-CEO will work closely with Scarlette, Wally Eamer – Global Advisor and myself in those development stages. Once the ICO Institute is fully operational, Scarlette will report directly to Linda and Wally and I will then focus on the development of the Council of ICO Communities.

Scarlette immigrated with her family to Canada in 1993.  She has a Master’s degree in Architecture and obtained a Master’s degree in Business Administration in 2002, from Royal Roads University. As a public servant, she led and developed various provincial initiatives and programs at the Ministries of Social Development, Health and Citizens’ Services; she joined the University of Victoria in 2018 as the Director of Planning and Operations in the External Relations Division.  Scarlette is interested in social justice, multi-faceted personal and professional development, and sustainability for the social, built and natural environments.  

To read more about other members in the ICO Institute and their new appointments click here.

The Capacity Building Group and the ICO Technologies Centre 

Towards the end of July it was officially announced that the Organizational Capacity Building Unit will now become the Capacity Building Group. This group will be led by the newly appointed Lead of the Capacity Building Group: Claire Ward (read more about Claire here).

Below is more information on the Capacity Building Group from Claire and Co-CEO Linda McCarron:

The Capacity Building Advantage

By Claire Ward, Lead – Capacity Building Centre and Linda McCarron, Co- CEO

Our team members work tirelessly to generate outcomes that advance the organization’s vision. While team members are focused on helping others, we will be focused on them!  In 2020 we created a new department called the Capacity Building Group.  By doing so, ICO is making an investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of the organization.

Distinct capacity-building projects – such as identifying a communications strategy, improving volunteer recruitment, ensuring thoughtful leadership succession, fine-tuning how we measure outcomes – enable us to proactively ensure the long term viability of our organization. When capacity building is successful, it gives our team members the skills and tools to realize our mission of positively impacting lives and communities.

The relabelling of this group allows for more structural subunits and better reflects the importance, scope and capabilities of this group. One of those subunits is the newly created ICO Technologies Centre. To read more about the members of the ICO Technologies Centre click here.

COVID-19 Update

Photo courtesy of: Nepal Women’s Health Camp

It has been eight months since the WHO announced the COVID-19 outbreak as a global pandemic. In April, ICO launched the COVID-19 Relief Donation Program which allowed donors to direct their funds to support those suffering from the effects of the pandemic.  The following initiatives have been accepting donations to help with COVID-19 relief:

As of the end of October, a total of $39,000 has been sent to these areas to specifically address local challenges of COVID-19. The money has been used to distribute basic food staples to the most vulnerable. Some initiatives have also rented rooms to help students who are unable to attend school. Others have helped those who are unemployed make their rent so that they can continue to stay in their homes. Donations have also helped supply quarantine centers with masks and hand sanitizer.  

COVID-19 will continue to affect us all for the foreseeable future and these initiatives will continue to accept donations for COVID-19 Relief to directly assist these communities who are struggling.

Photo courtesy of: Nakuru Meru School Sponsorship
August 2020 Bondo Update 

Nakuru Meru School Sponsorship Update- Oct. 2020 


Photo courtesy of: Vietnam Education Initiative  Nepal Women’s Health camp Update – September 2020

Cambodia Agriculture Initiative – Fall 2020 Update 

Vietnam Education Initiative- Fall 2020 Update 

Nepal Women’s Health Camp- October 2020 Update

Photo courtesy of: San Antonio Education and Community Initiative   

August 2020- La Casita Blog

San Antonio Education and Community Update- October 2020

San Antonio’s New School Sits on the Hillside Waiting for the Children 

San Antonio Wood Stove Program- Update Oct. 2020

A video from our friends in Guatemala: 

*Special thanks to Equipo La Casita, Susan Gage, and Sebastian Labra for this video! 

Don’t forget to check us out on social media!

This adapted college essay provides some interesting insight into community – the basis for ICO.

What is Community?  
                  By Dylan J. Kaplan, Lead – Communications Group                          

“Definitions are essential, but we cannot forget that words get their power from the concepts they represent. Community is a perfect example of this; it is a simple word with a meaning more powerful than nine letters could ever be. Understanding the definition of community requires you to keep in mind there are many layers to its meaning. How communities affect people is as important as the definition is in understanding the word.” (Continue reading this article here)

Life in the Time of COVID
     By Colleen Hanley, Lead – Centre for Education

In our family, this phrase has come to imply some kind of adaptation to the way things used to be.  Life in the time of COVID has meant way less time planning my next travel and way more time focusing on local food security and working with my friends halfway around the world. 

During the summer and into the Fall I volunteered with LUSH Valley working with their Good Food Box call centre, picking fruit and gleaning in local farms and weekly work parties at one of their community gardens.  It’s been a good grounding in the critical importance of locally grown food … and understanding the impact of good food for people whose finances don’t allow for purchasing locally grown produce.

And 10 hours away I have been working with Maasai and Canadian friends as we together build pathways for the community of Makuyuni, polee polee (little by little), transitioning from a pastoralist to a sustainable agrarian lifestyle.  The boma where our work is centered (about 45 minutes SE of Arusha on the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater) has made amazing strides in the time of COVID; a first social enterprise focused on local access to food staples opened in the boma with business training from One Love Africa for our Community coordinator and creating two jobs, an over 200 percent increase in the number of kids going to school ( including 45% young girls), creation of seven acres of arable land (with guidance and funding from ICO’s Permaculture East Africa project), the addition of a new classroom in the Nashipay Maasai School complex, stable access to water, updated strategic plan for the school and now daily bussing so kids too far away to walk can get to their Maasai school.  Everyone in the boma is healthy thanks to our Community Coordinator (funded by For the Love of Africa’s MamaPower) offering health education about hand washing and social distancing. Makuyuni, our boma of 700 people, is so far off the grid that they were unaware of COVID – no smart phones, no radios, no TV.  You can read our most recent issue of Nashipay News

And life has changed for me. The people I work with weekly on What’sApp have become a part of my life and of my family’s too.  After our weekly Wednesday phone calls (evening in Tanzania, morning here in BC), I am asked – what’s happening at the school? Is everyone healthy?    The time of Covid has been a powerful reminder of the privilege I live in.  And more importantly a reminder of my responsibility to volunteer in antiracist and decolonized ways.

Do you have an article you would like to see included in the ICO World Journal? 

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