Meet 5 Humanitarian Leaders Putting Community Feedback First

GlobalGiving is excited to introduce this year’s Disaster Feedback Fellows, outstanding humanitarians who put the communities they serve at the center of their recovery and resilience work.


 

GlobalGiving 2020 Disaster Feedback Fellows
From left to right: Mohammad Jawad Zawulistani, Piter Panjaitan, Farah Al-Wazeer, Muhammad Rayhaan Ismail Sooliman, and Yvonne Petrasovits

In communities affected by natural disasters and humanitarian crises, gathering and using feedback in program design can be particularly challenging.

GlobalGiving understands the importance of feedback in development and humanitarian initiatives, which is why we are partnering once again with Feedback Labs to support community leaders centering feedback in their work across the globe through the Feedback Fellowship.

This year-long fellowship will connect 10 fellows to each other and notable practitioners in feedback collection and management. These amazing nonprofit leaders were selected out of hundreds of applicants—and nine of 10 are project leaders in the GlobalGiving community. [See a full list of fellows.]

Five fellows will participate in the second annual Disaster Feedback Fellowship, hosted by GlobalGiving’s Disaster Recovery Network. The Disaster Feedback Fellows will come together for workshops at GlobalGiving’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 20-21, 2020. They will also attend the 2020 Feedback Labs Summit in Puerto Rico.

Meet GlobalGiving’s 2019-2020 Disaster Feedback Fellows:

    Farah Al-Wazeer | Communications, Partnership, and Knowledge Officer | Small & Micro Enterprise Promotion Service (SMEPS) | Yemen

    Farah remains persistent and optimistic even while her team works in what is considered the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. She believes that strong awareness campaigns are vital to building resilience to future disasters. Her day-to-day work focuses on creative communications through video, in-person visits, posters, and social media. SMEPS is a young development agency established as a subsidiary of the Social Fund for Development in Yemen in 2006. It seeks to build and facilitate the economic and technical capacities of market-driven private-sector parties and has created thousands of jobs in Yemen.

    Piter Panjaitan | Director | Yayasan Bukit Kehidupan Ungasan (Bali Life Foundation) | Indonesia

    Piter believes that capacity-building activities—such as education, training, and partnership programs—should be better adapted to suit local needs, geography, culture, and climate conditions. Culturally appropriate programming will improve communities “ability to withstand and recover from disasters.” Piter founded Bali Life Foundation alongside his wife Lyna. The foundation is focused on educational empowerment for underprivileged children, and restoring hope, dignity, and purpose to families. Piter is proud of Bali Life’s work and their ability to respond to disasters—after the last Indonesia tsunami, they were able to help 2,000 people in partnership with GlobalGiving. Piter is excited to share his specific expertise about disaster response in archipelago landscapes as a Disaster Feedback Fellow.

    Yvonne Petrasovits | Executive Director at Doorways of Northwest Florida | United States

    Yvonne is focused on ending homelessness in a six-county area of rural Northwest Florida. Hurricane Michael hit her community in 2018, displacing 2,000 residents. Doorways has been collaborating with seven other nonprofits to assist survivors in putting their lives back together through shelter, relocation, counseling, and rebuilding programs. Yvonne believes education and awareness building is key to disaster resilience in Florida. “Many people have no idea where to go for help,” she said. Yvonne also calls for improvement in coordination and outreach by local nonprofits and government agencies.

    Muhammad Rayhaan Ismail Sooliman | Operations Director at Waqful Waqifin (Gift of the Givers) Foundation| South Africa

    Muhammad is focused on disaster response and management, search and rescue, and humanitarian relief for Gift of the Givers, which works in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, and Palestine. Muhammad believes disasters in South Africa can sometimes be “a blessing in disguise” because they can raise awareness of hidden or ignored problems, particularly for “people already living in challenging conditions, neglected by authorities.” Muhammad believes activism has a large role to play in helping people access basic services and better political representation.

    Mohammad Jawad Zawulistani | Managing Director for the Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy | Bamyan Foundation Board Member | Afghanistan

    Jawad is interested in initiatives that promote youth-led peace, foster dialogue and understanding, and empower youth and war victims to make societal contributions. He wants to prioritize protecting human rights in conflict-affected contexts and promoting inclusive conflict policies and approaches. He believes global empathy and solidarity are important factors in building disaster resilience in Afghanistan. “Communities need to believe that their views and feedback matters,” he said, especially in Afghanistan, which is prone to natural disasters and shaped by decades of conflict.

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Featured Photo: 50 Scholarships for At-Risk Youth in Afghanistan by Bamyan Foundation

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