With our gala just around the corner, CAUSE Canada’s Canadian office is buzzing with excitement and putting the final touches on the evening. This event is our biggest opportunity each year to share face-to-face with our partners, donors, and guests some of the heart of our work. In the past, we have hosted prestigious speakers but this year we decided to focus on helping you to understand some of our work – and to having a fun evening of course!

This year’s theme #Whatif… is inviting you to imagine what you, as a supporter of CAUSE Canada and, as someone who cares about the extreme poor, can do if you join the global agenda to address some of the most critical issues challenging development today.

In 2015, the global community agreed to the Sustainable Development Goals. One of the key messages of this global agenda is that we all have a role to play in addressing extreme poverty. The goals are not just for developing countries – they are also for developed countries. The message is: we all need to work together to solve some of the biggest issues contributing to extreme poverty.

Over the past year, many of our donors asked us to do our best to give attendees a glimpse into what we actually do in the field. Our team has taken on this task with enthusiasm. As part of the evening, we will have a few interactive demonstrations of some of the work we are doing in West Africa and Central America. And because we agree with the global agenda, we thought it would be relevant to not just tell you about our programs but challenge you to consider what you can do to help move the agenda forward.

One of the most exciting displays featured at the event is related to our Peer Literacy Program in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone is #81 of the 88 poorest countries in the world. Outside of Freetown, there is little-to-no power grid. Most households are reliant on generators for a few hours of power each day. Internet access is extremely expensive and one of the highest administrative costs to running our Sierra Leone office.

The Peer Literacy Program works with young women in junior high and high school to help them stay in school and improve the literacy of children in primary school. These adolescent girls are trained in basic tutoring skills and then they tutor and mentor younger children to develop literacy skills. We all know how important it is to read to our children but when many of these children come from families where their parents are not literate, the children need all of the extra support that we can give them to help them learn to read.

Our Peer Literacy Facilitators do more than help children learn to read. They also learn and model leadership skills, and provide younger children with female role models who are staying in school, becoming community leaders, and making a difference in the world.

While the Peer Literacy Program is a great program, in the past few years, we have tapped into World Possible’s amazing tool the RACHEL (Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning) to increase the educational resources available to our Peer Literacy Facilitators and the children in the communities where we are working.

The RACHEL is an offline server. Using low-cost tablets and wifi connectivity to the RACHEL, students are able to access learning programs and educational tools including Khan Academy Lite. While we all have questions about technology from time-to-time, tablets are largely self-directed technology. What this means for children and adolescents is that no one is really required to teach them anything. All they need are these tools to dive into new learning resources.

While all of this sounds great, until you see the RACHEL in action, particularly in Sierra Leone, it is difficult to grasp the amazing ways we are using technology to increase kids’ access to education. At next week’s event, guests are going to have an opportunity to interact with pieces from a number of our programs – both the technology and methodology of the programs – and have the opportunity to ask questions about how the program works, who it is serving, and how it is making a positive change. We hope that this will give you a glimpse into some of what CAUSE Canada does in the field.

Of course, the evening will also be focused on having an enjoyable time raising funds for the work we do. The beautiful location of Pinebrook Golf Course, a great band, and the always-entertaining live auction will have us all relaxed and ready for summer.

If you have not yet bought your tickets, we hope you will consider joining us on May 25th. Tickets are $100 and tax receipts will be issued for at least $40 of the ticket price. We hope to see you there!


Executive Director, CAUSE Canada