David Noble and His Delegation Experience
Amazing. Life changing. Rewarding. That’s how David Noble, winner of last year’s Membership Draw, describes his experience on a recent delegation to Nicaragua and Honduras to meet with MEC and CODEMUH, two women’s organizations that work with maquila or sweatshop workers. He traveled with Barbara Wood, CoDev Executive Director along with representatives from CUPE and BCGEU. “It was an incredible experience”.
David, a staff representative with the BCGEU, has been involved with CoDev on some level for more than 10 years. He was first invited by past CoDev board member Guy Pocklington who sold David tickets to the CoDev Annual Dinner. From then on his interest in CoDev grew. “I am proud to be a member of CoDev because of all the great work they do in support of women and workers’ rights.” We asked David to describe his experience with the delegation.
What was your first thought when you heard you had won the trip?
I always wanted to go to Central American on vacation. But I knew this trip would be different. It would be an adventure.
What did you expect to learn on this adventure?
As a member, I am familiar with the work CoDev is doing with partners like MEC and CODEMUH, but I wanted to see it firsthand. And I did. I learned about the personal and individual success stories that these organizations have a hand in everyday. It was very moving.
What did you learn that you never thought you would?
There were really three levels of information that we were exposed to. We were briefed on high level topics like politics in both the countries, demographics, working conditions for men and women and the issues surrounding Free Trade Zones (FTZ). This was something that I did not understand fully. But meeting with people involved in the FTZ’s allowed me to fully grasp the pros and cons. (FTZ’s are areas or regions where countries promote foreign investment in particular sectors like clothing manufacturing by offering tax breaks and other incentives.)
The second level was meeting the workers who run the resource centres where workers can come for legal advice and other types of support. These centres are managed by bright, intelligent, committed women. They are working everyday to make a difference in their communities.
And the third level was hearing the individual stories of the women. Like I said before, it was extremely moving.
Both MEC and CODEMUH assist with workers appeals through their respective country’s Ministries of Labour. What I heard was without the support of these resource centres workers would be totally lost, unable to navigate through government appeal systems. I heard story after story of workers that had been returned to their jobs after being fired due to a workplace injury. I realized this would not be possible without the help of CoDev and its funding partnerships.
What was the best part of the trip for you?
The people. Not just the people that I met in Honduras and Nicaragua, but the people I traveled with. There was a great camaraderie amongst the members of the delegation. We learned a lot on this trip and we learned it together.
Were your expectations of the trip fulfilled?
For sure! And then some. I would definitely encourage people to buy draw tickets. But first you have to become a member. I encourage all your readers (if they aren’t already) to become members of CoDev.