Yes, Grenada! We Can Help

By Mendenhall, Juanita | Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, September 2006 | Go to article overview

Yes, Grenada! We Can Help


Mendenhall, Juanita, Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences


The World Is Flat should be required reading for all to gain a better understanding of globalization and its effect on the world. Globalization is a process that is affecting all of us in a variety of ways, many positively and some negatively, but we cannot escape it. But let's not just let it happen to us.

What will be the legacy of the family and consumer sciences (FCS) profession? International interchange and cooperation is a great way for FCS professionals to contribute positively. Finding opportunities is easy because they are readily available to every one of us.

For 3 years, beginning in 2003, the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) Action Group for the 10th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family, developed, carried out, and evaluated a plan of action. Reported at our annual convention were numerous actions taken to strengthen families by FCS professionals who are members of: AAFCS (International Division and others), International Federation for Home Economics-United States (IFHE-US), and International Home Economics Services (IHES). These members joined together to take action locally, statewide, nationally, and internationally to make a difference for families.

The Action Group responded to a critical need of individuals and families in another country, Grenada, after Hurricane Ivan destroyed 95 % of everything on the island in September, 2004. Members mobilized via the internet in a matter of hours and contributed a remarkable amount of help in a fairly short time. Organizing through the international network of professionals was possible using today's technology: cell phones run from car batteries and computers hooked up to generators.

In the U.S, professionals went to work almost instantly with other FCS professionals. Several calls and contacts to the global network in three countries made it possible to get the first emergency help directly to home economists in Grenada through the Caribbean Association of Home Economists (CAHE) members in Trinidad who agreed to purchase items needed with the U.S. money. U.S. members sent money to the IFHE-US treasurer and it was transferred electronically to colleagues so they could make the purchases requested and hand-deliver them directly to the Grenada home economists, without any red tape! (A by-product of the efforts was that it benefited businesses in Trinidad.) The bank transfer process made the transfer of funds simple and quick, thanks to globalization, but the human element and "people connectedness" were still crucial to the success of the effort. …

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