JCI Growth and Development Committee Chairperson Senator Ronald Kan
Q: We know that you attended 2018 Africa and Middle East Conference. Unlike ASPAC, it is uncommon for members of JCI Hong Kong. Would you briefly introduce to us what AMEC is about? Any differences and similarities with ASPAC?
A: AMEC is one of the four area conferences in JCI. It is also called CAMO because the Africa and Middle East in French is Afrique et Moyen-Orient. As a JCI Hong Kong National President in 2018, I have attended four area conferences and gone through the Grand Slam. In view of the program arrangement, AMEC is similar to other area conferences. However, participants of AMEC not only come from Africa and the Middle East but also from Europe because of the close proximity and direct flights. The number of participants is less than ASPAC. People could have a deeper dialog on various topics. In view of training workshops, participants of AMEC care about what is happening in the JCI world. Many attended the JCI Strategic Planning Committee workshop held in 2018 AMEC.
Q: You were JCI Hong Kong National President in 2018. Have you ever thought of attending AMEC before 2018? Why?
A: When I was planning to be the JCI Hong Kong National President in 2017, I had the idea of attending AMEC. It was a good chance to promote JCI Hong Kong and build a strong bonding with members from other countries.
Q: What was your most memorable thing(s) at AMEC? Would you recommend members of JCI Hong Kong to attend it?
A: In AMEC, some people come from French-speaking countries while some come from English-speaking countries. Language is the barrier for them to communicate. I recommend JCI Hong Kong members who understand some French to attend it so that they can fully immerse into the conference.
Q: Have you ever seen any projects in JCI Africa and the Middle East that have an impact in the society?
A: There was a memorable project called “I AM AFRICA”. Not only does it have good promotion but it also has a special meaning to enhance the bonding of JCI members in the region.
Q: As a global and active citizen, what can we do to have an impact in both Hong Kong, Africa and the Middle East?
A: Although the average earning index in Hong Kong is higher than Africa, Africa comes higher in the happy index. Africans enjoy their country culture and while we have a strong pressure from work. Enjoying life is a big topic that we can learn from them.
Q: This year, the JCI Hong Kong slogan is “Lead, Connect, Achieve”, would you share your experience on how JCI members can lead in their expertise, connect other parties and lead the society?
A: Members in HK are used to planning ahead for a project, however, facing the changing society, we need to be more flexible to apply our expertise on the latest social issues. When we work with other NGOs on SDG goals, we could set up more common goals to ensure a win-win situation. It can ensure their ownership and thus make achievements together.
JCI Bauhinia Member Natalie Wong
The Great Migration in Africa has always been one of the most spectacular wildlife phenomena on planet earth and a once in a life event. Every year in Kenya, over two million animals of various species would travel across in search of lush grazing grounds and water. In the year 2019, Natalie travelled to Kenya for two weeks to get a glimpse of the magnificent herds crossing the imposing barrier of the vast land. She witnessed the galloping swarms of zebras and giraffes, the preying eyes of hyenas and lions, the unforgiving gaze of vultures, and many more. Natalie described the place as boundless and perpetual, the fields stretch as far as the eyes could see; a direct contrast to what we have in Hong Kong. There are no skyscrapers in the region, but the basic infrastructure such as bridges and buildings are still sufficient. The place was a developing hustle, technology and smartphones are commonly used. The locals are all welcoming and friendly people, which is definitely the icing to the cake.
In 2020, the unexpected widespread of Coronavirus poses challenges to different projects. Natalie from JCI Bauhinia who is the Community Development Director and chairlady of their flagship CD project “Circle Care”(同心圓) will continue to be adaptive to changes by using online promotion technique and social media to gain awareness and do deep dive studies to bring impact to the community. Natalie is blessful of her supportive organizing committee members. With a strong team, this year, they promote achieving daily " Me Time" among women in Hong Kong and across asia countries, ultimately supporting all rounded development of women in their personal and family capacity.
For more details of “Circle Care”, please go to https://www.facebook.com/circlecarebjc/
JCI City Member Ringo Chan
Ringo Chan, who joined JCI City in 2019, is doing Shea butter business in West Africa.
Q: Why did you start your business in Africa? Can you briefly introduce your company?
A: Back in 2017 Canada, I happened to have a chance to speak to my African friend about business opportunities in Africa. We came up with an idea of sourcing and producing Shea butter in West Africa and exporting it to Guangzhou. In 2019, due to the policy changes, we reformed our business model to start a shea butter retail brand called “Purity Ranch”.
Q: What challenges did you encounter in Africa?
A: Public security and communication are the biggest challenges. The public security in West Africa is not good. There are always armed forces on the way from the city to the rural area where my factory situate at. When I traveled to my factory, gangs popped up and asked for money. They spoke French and I barely understood them. I started to learn French since then, and now, I can speak tons of French foul language to scare the gangs and keep them away from me.
Q: What are the differences between doing business in HK and Africa ? Eg interpersonal skills, leadership style
A: Integrity takes an important role. In Hong Kong, there are laws to enforce people to abide their duties with contract. It does not work in West Africa. When I first started my business there, I was cheated for a number of times after paying to the people. Therefore, I had to monitor the production line very closely. I went back and forth between West Africa and HK very frequently. However, after working with my staff for a period of time, we built trust and my business started to run more smoothly.
Q: Africa’s economy is growing. Do you think it is a potential market for HK youth?
A: It is always a potential market as there is a lot of raw materials. However, you have to be prepared to sacrifice before you can take.
Q: Have you ever seen any local projects in Africa that have impact in the society? Do Africa and HK communities share any common things that an active citizen can work on?
A: There are more Africa-related projects in Hong Kong than what I have ever seen in Africa locally. Both in Africa and Hong Kong, there are groups of people who are more in need than whom we have been working on. As an active citizen, we may take a step further to see a border picture behind different parties’ interest and work on their needs strategically.
Q: This year, the JCIHK slogan is “lead, connect, achieve”. What ways would you suggest the other JC members to lead in their expertise, connect other parties and lead the society?
A: Common vision. Gathering a group of people who share a common vision can lead, connect and achieve a new height.
For full version, please visit http://www.jcihk.org/uploadfile/Harbour%20Lights_2020%20(Issue%201)_10mb.pdf