The Paradigm Shift Project

Summary of organization/program

The Paradigm Shift Project (PSP) is a registered Canadian charity that aims to advance education on important issues relating to poverty, ecology, health and community development in developing countries through the production of documentary films and educational materials.

Contact information


 448 Saint Johns Road, Toronto, ON M6S 2L2 Canada

 Canada: +1.416.356.3129 / Hong Kong: +852.9815.2904 / Indonesia: +62.812.3752.9357


Geographic region

  • Local, National and International 


  • Other non-profit organizations in other parts of the world (the global south) 
    • the organization works to connect donors from the north to local organizations within the south to provide adequate and relevant aid services.
  • Students within the education systems locally in Ontario and throughout the world
    •  the documentary films created by this organization are used through education initiatives to teach youth how to help create change in the world. 

History/Background Information

  • Established: 2004
  • The Paradigm Shift Project’s Executive Director Rebecca Sweetman was working with a local environmental NGO in Indonesia when the December 26th, 2004 tsunami hit the west coast of Sumatra.  She became a relief worker overnight and realized how local organizations are amazingly adept at responding immediately to local needs.

    Communities in North Sumatra and Aceh experienced firsthand how needs assessments failed them without their direct input.  From international organizations they received largely irrelevant and even damaging aid goods (such as powdered baby formula when there was no clean water to mix it with), and didn’t receive what the community needed most- prayer mats, sustainable reconstruction techniques, and midwives.

    Local organizations have a great capacity to ascertain what is really needed by their communities, but often do not receive the funding required to implement their projects, as the global north is hesitant to invest directly in organizations of the global south for fear of corruption and accountability.  These fears are largely misguided.  

    The global north needs to rethink how it contributes to development, and how their donations can be most effective.  By investing directly in the communities that need the funds, a much higher percentage of the donation goes directly to the organization’s programs.  Larger international organizations simply have larger overhead costs.  This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t support international organizations; this is to say that  it’s important that we support local organizations as well.

Dominant Media Forms

video production


  • Aims to advance education on important issues relating to poverty, ecology, health and community development in developing countries
  • PSP works to demystify international development for the general public through education initiatives
  • Teach our youth how each individual can help to create positive change in our society.
  • The Paradigm Shift Project believes that showing the world the needs of the global south in their own voices will mobilize the global north to make a direct contribution to improving lives across the globe

Statement of Principles

not provided


  • Through the production of documentary films and educational materials (curricula guides) that are informed by local communities and those who work to help them
  • The Paradigm Shift Project plays a role here to link donors from the global north with organizations from the global south, while also giving local non-profits an educational and fundraising tool to use to reach new donors.

Samples of work

vimeo YouTube_logo_stacked_white

Funding Sources

not provided