CRS staff spoke at a conference at Villanova University on April 2nd, helping students from Villanova and Cabrini College understand the field of international development. Catholic Philly writes:
Four years ago eastern Africa’s most prosperous region was facing a famine in the making. The cassava plant, whose potato-like roots form the staple diet for millions in the Great Lakes region of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, was under attack by a blight exacerbated by drought conditions.
Catholic Relief Services began addressing the problem with one of its strongest assets, Chandreyee Banerjee, a young Indian woman working for CRS in Kenya.
She organized researchers, local community partners, advocates and even information technology experts to implement solutions to the blight and enable continued cassava growth and harvesting.
That is the nature of today’s international development work, and it was the focus of a Global Development Day hosted April 2 at Villanova University along with CRS, the U.S. Catholic bishops’ overseas relief and development agency.
Another CRS staffer, Shannon Senefeld, described what she learned on a mission trip to Zambia in the 1990s. She saw that many of the volunteers’ hearts were in the right place, but were limited in what they could do because they were in the country for only a short time. She told the attendees:
“It’s not enough to have good intentions,” she said. “Development is not just charity, it’s a business.”