Nuru International is excited to celebrate one year of Rebecca Farmer working with our team in Ethiopia! We recently caught up with Becca for a quick interview over a fine cup of coffee in the beautiful green mountains of Ethiopia to learn about her first year with Nuru.
What inspires you to fight extreme poverty?
Phew, where to start with such a fraught term?
Perhaps the theoretical first – the big-hitting perspectives for me are Paulo Freire (almost everything in Pedagogy of the Oppressed), Paul Farmer (structural violence, critical anthropology, a deep mistrust of cost-effectiveness, treatment as cure), Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (“Can the Subaltern Speak?”), Audre Lorde (intersectionalism, coalition-building, the importance of anger & speaking your truth), and Fred Moten & Stephano Harney (I’m still grappling with the undercommons).
What that really all comes down to, I think, is a drive to subvert global structures of oppression & power through work driven by true collaboration — which for me means deep listening, respect, honest communication and love.
What most prepared you for this role with Nuru?
Hm, two-pronged answer. For work prep, probably my graduate program, Master of Development Practice at UC Berkeley. The curriculum promotes integrated models for international development, community-driven development, and a familiarity with M&E principles. For lifestyle, scrappy backpacking/WWOOFing all around the world.
What is your best method for staying productive?
Probably a strong commitment to self-care. I am useless in the working world if I’m not taking care of myself personally. It’s a wonder what a good night’s sleep and a good morning stretch can do!
What is the greatest advice a mentor has given you?
“To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.”
What are your favorite hobbies you do in your spare time?
Shooting the breeze with Anne & Amy & David on our back porch as the sun sets, cooking adventures, reading, ukulele, yoga, and keeping up with any other Bay Area stereotypes you can think of.
What is something you can do/or have done that people are always surprised by?
I worked in big finance in NYC and London for a few years. Still surprises me sometimes…
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it for sure be?
Maybe blue cheese pizza with roasted kale, squash, onions and garlic?
Becca joined Nuru after receiving her MA in Development Practice at UC Berkeley. While there she focused her studies on social and environmental justice, particularly in regards to rural communities. During the program she also taught impact evaluation and worked with a non-profit in Colombia to build a monitoring and evaluation framework for their youth empowerment programs. Before Berkeley, she worked in finance in New York City. She earned her BA in Business Administration at Boston University. In her spare time you can find her planning her next outdoor activity – hiking, camping, biking, farming, picnicking, etc.