In 2004, Barbara co-founded Voices for Global Change, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, headquartered in Alexandria, VA, that supports and gives guidance to women, youth and any group that has been marginalized from full participation in the economic, political and social life of their communities and countries. Among its various services, Voices designs education, training and mentoring programs that create awareness and understanding regarding the roles that individual citizens can play and the importance of each person’s “voice”.
Barbara co-developed, designed and currently manages a model initiative in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps of war-torn northern Uganda. Called "Paper to Pearls", the initiative – which is the first of its kind in the camps – is a micro-enterprise project through which Voices for Global Change buys recycled paper bead jewelry made by the women in the camps, which it then sells throughout the world. In addition to supporting the women on a daily basis, a majority of net revenues from the sale of the jewelry is returned to the camps in the form of education, training and entrepreneurship development. The project currently provides small business opportunities to 100 women and 20 child mothers in nine camps and the local municipality. (www.papertopearls.org)
Prior to founding Voices for Global Change, Barbara worked with numerous governmental, non-profit and private organizations designing and implementing communications products and services for broad international audiences. Throughout a 30-year media career, she worked in a variety of international settings and was recognized for her innovative approach to message development, one that was culturally appropriate and that stressed understanding and shared values. Until her work in Africa, Barbara’s particular area of expertise was Latin America, where she developed widely acclaimed radio and television programming that was the first of its kind.
Her introduction to Africa came in 2005 when she worked as one of a team of specialists in northern Uganda training 155 local government officials and other community leaders in communications and media relations. This training was part of a larger effort to build a coalition that would advocate and lobby for the reconstruction and redevelopment of that marginalized region of the country. Subsequent media training assisted young foreign affairs officials from the Republic of Georgia in strengthening their leadership, media relations and governance skills.