Global development exhibit parks in Sudbury

A different type of tour bus is hitting the festival circuit in Sudbury this weekend. ​The mobile museum, "Together: An exhibition on global development," shows Canadians how time is more valuable than money when it comes to long-term change.

'Together: An exhibition on global development' has visited every province in Canada since 2015

Together: An exhibition on global development, will be in Sudbury this weekend in Bell Park. (Samantha Samson/CBC News)

A different type of tour bus is hitting the festival circuit in Sudbury this weekend.

The mobile museum, "Together: An exhibition on global development," is put on by Aga Khan Foundation Canada, a charity that assists people around the world with social, economic and cultural issues.

On the outside, the exhibit looks like a colourfully decorated 18-wheeler. Step inside, however, and you get a crash course on how helping countries become independent creates a better world.

Francois Grenier, the tour manager for the exhibit, shows the cards visitors can write what their "better world includes..." (Samantha Samson/CBC News)

Bringing 'habits into their lifestyle'

Tour manager Francois Grenier says part of the exhibit showcases stories of people who've benefited from the charity's work. Most of the exhibit, however, includes interactive displays about global development.

"It's about teaching countries to build their own tools," says Grenier.

In one example, he explains how helping people who have a hard time accessing health care — rather than donating money — benefits them in the long run.

"For example, we'll provide old cell phones to people from a village — old relics from the early 2000s that still work — to text doctors and nurses," says Grenier.

"It doesn't fix a broken leg, but it's a start. We're forcing a habit into their lifestyle, which is to call the doctor when you're sick."

Skills > cash in the long run

Grenier says he hopes people walk away with the idea that, if they can, it's always best to donate time rather than just money. One example of that, he says, is how Canadians helped Peru become the world's number one potato producer with around 4,000 different varieties.

Grenier says Canadians taught farmers to grow potatoes on a commercial scale in all types of fields, and how to sell the product with marketing.

The stairs to the exhibit are decorated, but that's not the only way to get on. The exhibit is wheelchair accessible, from a rear entrance. (Samantha Samson/CBC News)

"Say if I show up with a billion potatoes. When they're done, they'll ask for more. That's the problem with long-term generosity — it comes to an end," Grenier says.

"Instead, we're going to take the time and the money to show them how to do it on their own. It takes more time and it's more costly, but it lasts forever."

The exhibit will be in Sudbury through the weekend, right next to Northern Lights Festival Boreal in Bell Park. Then, it'll head to Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay before it hits the prairies. You can see the tour schedule here.