Support International Service In The Era Of COVID

by The Advocacy Project
Support International Service In The Era Of COVID
Support International Service In The Era Of COVID
Support International Service In The Era Of COVID
Support International Service In The Era Of COVID
Support International Service In The Era Of COVID
Support International Service In The Era Of COVID
Support International Service In The Era Of COVID
Support International Service In The Era Of COVID
Support International Service In The Era Of COVID
Support International Service In The Era Of COVID
Support International Service In The Era Of COVID
Support International Service In The Era Of COVID
The 2017 Peace Fellows
The 2017 Peace Fellows

The Value of Service

This is the fourth time we have reported back on our program to recruit 40 graduate students to serve as Peace Fellows with our partner organizations around the world. After two years the number recruited now stands at nineteen. Nine have been selected for positions this summer, and all attended a week of training at Georgetown University last week. The photo above shows them relaxing at the end of training – you can see the relief on their faces!

As in past years, the 2017 Fellows will support innovative campaigns that were launched by their hosts with funding through AP. Much of the money was raised through Global Giving - if you contributed we are most grateful! Our recent appeal for Nepal was particularly successful.

Here is a rundown of the 2017 Fellows and their assignments:

  • Lauren studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. She will help the Gulu Disabled Persons Union (GDPU) to build an accessible toilet for students with disabilities at the Ogul School in northern Uganda.
  • Talley (George Washington University) will help the Children Peace Initiative in Kenya to promote conflict resolution between warring pastoralists in northwest Kenya.
  • Jacob (The Fletcher School at Tufts University) will help the Association for Persons with Disabilities (AEPD) in Vietnam to support families that were poisoned by Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. AP and AEPD have funded four families so far through microprojects on Global Giving. Jacob will work with a fifth - Tran Thi Thao. her husband Ngo Gia Hue, and their severely affected children.
  • In Nepal, Rachel (Sciences Po in Paris) will work in the remote district of Dhankuta, where her host Care Women Nepal screens women for uterine prolapse.
  • Also in Nepal, Cynthia (University of Maryland) will accompany field officers from CONCERN as they follow up with 50 children who have been rescued from the brick factories and placed in school.
  • Vicky (The Fletcher School, Tufts University) will team up with Kirstin (Georgetown University) to work with the network of families of the disappeared in Nepal (NEFAD). Vicky (pictured below) will help 35 wives of the disappeared to produce embroidery for sale in the district of Bardiya, while Kirstin will work with NEFAD’s founder to advocate on their behalf in Kathmandu.
  • Alberto (The School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University) will serve at Peace Labs in Lebanon. Peace Labs helps communities to overcome religious tensions and deal with the influx of refugees from Syria.
  • Reina (University of California, Santa Barbara) will work at the Hope Workshop, an inspiring group of women refugees from Syria and Iraq who have made two striking quilts depicting the refugee’s story.

In a departure from past years, we are asking all partners to recruit a local university student (AP Associate) to support their Fellow in the field and continue to volunteer after the Fellow leaves. We hope this will enrich the experience for the 2017 Fellows and expand our fellowship program to students from the Global South. The first Associate to be selected this year is Prabal (photo), a student at Tribhuvan University in Nepal who will accompany Kirstin and Vicky to Bardiya and Kathmandu.

This year's cohort brings the total number of students deployed under AP's fellowship program to 294 and we were delighted that several past Fellows were on hand last week to remind us that peace fellowships can lay the foundation for a stellar career in peace and human rights. One trainer, Ash (photo), developed a passion for blogging during his 2008 fellowship in Peru and puts his skills to good use today by producing podcasts for the UN World Food Program. Many other Fellows have benefitted from the experience, as you can see from this page.

This year’s Fellows will shortly start posting blogs and we invite you to follow their progress by clicking on their profiles. They will be backed up from Washington by Karen Delaney, AP's fellowship coordinator, and three talented interns. We welcome your feedback and suggestions!

With our best wishes and thanks

Iain and the AP team.

Vicky will teach embroidery training in Nepal
Vicky will teach embroidery training in Nepal
Prabal and Sarita will host Fellows in Nepal
Prabal and Sarita will host Fellows in Nepal
Ash, 2008 Fellow and 2017 trainer
Ash, 2008 Fellow and 2017 trainer
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Peace Fellow Ai with the Le family in Vietnam
Peace Fellow Ai with the Le family in Vietnam

The Value of Service

This report on our fellowship appeal through GlobalGiving will feature three accomplished young professionals who served as Peace Fellows for The Advocacy Project (AP) in 2016. The three are among eleven Peace Fellows who were deployed last year to work with our community-based partners. Each has given us much to reflect on as we start recruiting for 2017.

Ai, pictured above, returned from her fellowship in Vietnam shortly before Christmas and is now in the middle of her final semester at the Mailman Institute of Public Health at Columbia University in New York. Rose served in Mali and studies at Georgetown University. Allyson, from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, worked with refugees in Jordan in the summer. All three will graduate in May.

As you may remember, our fellowship program seeks to draw on the skills of graduate students, and make these skills available to our community-based partners. In the process we expect that the Fellows will benefit personally, academically and professionally from the experience. We are seeking funds to deploy up to 40 Fellows between 2016 and 2018.

How have we done so far?


Many of the organizations that hosted Fellows last year have deep roots in their communities and are incredibly effective advocates, but lack technical skills and contacts. This is where our Fellows come in. Ai was particularly useful to her organization, the Association for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (AEPD) in Quang Binh province, Vietnam, because she was born in Vietnam and was able to stay for six months. But she also helped them to fill some important gaps.

AEPD works with people who suffered disabiltiy in war and is particularly concerned with families that were poisoned by Agent Orange – the herbicide that was dropped on Vietnam during the war. Ai has raised over $4,500 for four families, most of it through her own appeals on GlobalGiving. This enabled AEPD to buy cows and chickens for the families and provide them with some economic independence. Ai is pictured above with one of the beneficiaries, Mr Le, whose three daughters were paralyzed by Agent Orange.

Last year’s eleven Fellows raised around $10,000 – a record.

Building programs for social change

We also ask Peace Fellows to help their hosts launch innovative programs/campaigns for social change. We have written elsewhere about the work done by Peace Fellow Rose in Mali, where our partner organization (Sini Sanuman) supports survivors of war rape. This program trains survivors to make and sell soap. Rose helped by supervising the construction of a storage shed, commissioning new soap molds, improving the quality of the soap and introducing a systen of book-keeping to track sales.

The results of Rose's intervention, which lasted 10 weeks, speak for themselves. Our partner Sini Sanuman produced and sold almost 26,000 bars of soap last year – above the target of 25,000 bars. The beneficiaries now keep 60% of the profits. Our German donors were so impressed that they have agreed to fund the program again in 2017 to the tune of $180,000.

Advocacy quilts

We see another encouraging outcome in Jordan, involving refugees from the wars in the Middle East. Over the summer Peace Fellow Allyson (Fletcher School at Tufts University) worked at the Collateral Repair Project in Amman, where she helped refugee women to describe their journey to safety through 25 embroidered squares. The photo shows two artists at work on their squares.

Allyson brought the squares back in August. We then handed them over to Quilters by the Sea, a leading quilt guild in Portsmouth, Rhode Island for assembly into quilts. Working under the leadership of Ruth (photo), six experienced quilters assembled the squares into two spectacular quilts which can be seen on this page.

We have ambitious plans for the quilts. First, we are making them available to events that promote understanding about refugees, particularly at universities. This past week alone, the quilts were shown at Georgetown and the University of Maryland. Other universities – Salve Regina, Yale, George Washington, Houston and West Virginia - have expressed interest.

Our second goal for the quilts is to generate an income for the artists, and with this in mind we are seeking corporations and firms that might use our quilts to decorate their office walls. Several other quilts are currently being assembled, featuring tigers in Nepal and camels in Mali. If, as we hope, this can evolve into an income-generation project we will have Fellows like Allyson to thank. Almost all of our quilts were made under the watchful eye of Fellows.

Impact on Fellows

The other broad goal of our fellowship program is to ensure that our Fellows benefit personally, academically and professionally. We track these three impacts carefully and ask Fellows to complete an extensive questionnaire when they return home. We have just posted new pages on our website which feature some of the remarkable young men and women who have served since 2003. Here is one of the entries:

"Compassion: Danita (Missouri University, 2008) is one of several former refugees who have signed on as Peace Fellows to repay the kindness they received while they themselves were in dire need. Danita’s family lived in the besieged enclave of Bihac, Bosnia, when the family was given asylum by the US during the Bosnian war. Danita spent four months as a Fellow working with blind children in Bangladesh and used her own money to donate to a school for blind children run by her host. After her fellowship, Danita returned to Bangladesh to work with Rohingya refugees."

Again, we hope you will check out these pages and be as impressed as we are.

Looking ahead and recruiting from the Global South

With a strong year behind us, we are now gearing up for the second year of this program/appeal. We hope to recruit eight Fellows. This is slightly down from last year, but we feel the need to focus. In addition, we will be asking host organizations to recruit graduate students from local universities to help our Fellows with transport and translation. These eight graduates will become associates to our program and volunteer with our partner organizations for the rest of the year.

This will produce two important results. First, it will further enrich the experience for our northern students. Second, it will expand our fellowship program to the Global South and empower skilled and committed local graduates. We receive many applications from qualified students in countries like Nepal, but are unable to bring them to the US for training. We will test out this new approach in 2017 and are excited at the prospect.

We will introduce you the 2017 cohort of fellows in our next report, and follow them through the summer. It promises to be another active year!

Thank you!

Iain and the AP team

Sewing tiles for the refugee quilts in Jordan
Sewing tiles for the refugee quilts in Jordan
Assembling the refugee quilts in Rhode Island
Assembling the refugee quilts in Rhode Island
Peace Fellow Danita in Bangladesh
Peace Fellow Danita in Bangladesh
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Lauren Purnell worked with brick kids in Nepal
Lauren Purnell worked with brick kids in Nepal

The Value of Service - Peace Fellows Trigger Social Change and See Their Own Lives Changed

 A second report from The Advocacy Project (AP)

Lauren Purnell, pictured above, spent ten weeks this summer helping to free child laborers from the brick kilns of Nepal. Lauren was one of 11 remarkable young professionals who volunteered in 2016 as an AP Peace Fellow. Your donation to our Global Giving appeal helped make it possible.

In this report we explain what our Fellows have achieved this year. But first, a reminder. Peace Fellows are graduate students who take time off from university to work with one of our partner organizations. We have recruited 285 Fellows since 2003. Eleven served this year in eight countries - Nepal, Vietnam, Kenya, Uganda, Mali, Jordan, Greece and Peru. You can read their profiles here.

Peace Fellows provide valuable technical support to our partners, but we also want them to gain personally from the experience. This report will explain how it all happens. We will end by introducing you to another 2016 Fellow - the inspiring Ai Hoang, who has returned to volunteer in Vietnam, where her family suffered during and after the war.

1. Preparing Fellows for deployment

We described the 2016 recruitment process in our first report. This included a week of professional training that prepared Fellows for their role as technical advisors. Judging from the evaluations, they found the sessions on photography and video editing particularly useful and also appreciated the podcasting training, which was given by Ash Kosiewicz, a former Peace Fellow who works at the World Food Program (photo). We were also grateful to Emma Hersh and Tia Donjon, from Global Giving, who showed Fellows how to post a microproject on Global Giving. As you can see below, this has generated over $9,000 for AP partners.

We measure the success of recruitment by the quality of Fellows, and the 2016 cohort was one of the strongest ever. But there is always room for improvement. For example, we hope to build stronger partnerships with academic programs like the Fletcher School at Tufts University or the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown. We would also like to take students from minorities and low-income areas who are highly motivated but struggle to raise funds. That’s for the future.

2. Building new partnerships

This year we sent Fellows to open up three new partnersships with: the Collateral Repair Project (CRP) which helps refugees in Jordan; the Children Peace Initiative, which promotes reconciliation between warring tribes in northwest Kenya; and the Greek Forum of Refugees, which advocates for asylum-seekers in Greece. We have high hopes that all three organizations will develop programs in the future that we can support year-round.

3. Supporting existing programs for social change

Several Fellows worked on innovative programs that AP helped to launch in past years:

    • In Mali, our partner (Sini Sanuman) runs centers where survivors of war rape regain their confidence by producing and selling soap. Peace Fellow Rose Twagirumukiza (Georgetown University) commissioned new soap molds, built a soap storage shed, and introduced a system for tracking soap sales. This improved productivity so much that trainees expect to produce and sell over 15,000 bars, which would do wonders for their income and morale. (Photo)
    • In Vietnam, Ai Hoang (Columbia University) has used Global Giving to raise funds for three families poisoned by Agent Orange - the herbicide dropped during the Vietnam War. Acting on advice from Ai’s host, the AEPD, the families have decided to buy oxen.
    • In Uganda, Amy Gillespie (New York University) helped the Gulu Disabled Persons Union (GDPU) to identify 10 schools that need accessible toilets. We hope to install a toilet in Ogul school next year.
    • In Nepal, as mentioned above, Lauren Purnell (Johns Hopkins University) helped our partner CONCERN to free 45 children from the brick kilns and place them in school. Lauren paid for the school fees of 20 children from her own appeals on Global Giving.
    • Also in Nepal,  Morgan Moses (Tulane) helped Care Women Nepal to organize a health camp for 930 village women. Several women were put on a shortlist to receive surgery for uterine prolapse.
    • In Peru, Daniel Prelipcian (Columbia) helped the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team (EPAF) develop a new project to help war-affected communities increase their earnings from alpaca wool. Many of the farmers lost family members in Peru’s long internal conflict. (Photo)

4. Telling the Story

As well as supporting programs, our 2016 Peace Fellows publicised the work of their hosts through more than 100 blogs, 930 photos, podcasts, news bulletins and videos. Many are of high quality. For example, Dorothy Khan blogged about the practice of chhaupadi in Nepal, which forces women and girls to live in a shed during menstruation. Mattea Cumoletti's photos, blogs and podcasts exposed the lack of protection for refugees in Greece. Rachel Wilson blogged about how the Children Peace Initiative in Northern Kenya uses cows to resolve conflict between warring pastoralist tribes. Our photos have been viewed over 70,000 times since June.

5. Raising funds

Eight Fellows launched microprojects through Global Giving and raised $9,042 for their hosts from 188 separate donations. Two Fellows – Lauren in Nepal and Ai Hoang in Vietnam – launched two appeals each and all have both been fully funded. If you donated, thank you!

6. Advocacy quilts

Over 50 women told their story through embroidered squares in Jordan and Nepal under the watchful eye of Peace Fellows. In Jordan, Allyson Hawkins helped refugee women from Syria and Iraq to describe their terrifying journey to safety through embroidery. The squares will be assembled into two quilts by experts in Rhode Island and used to publicize the plight of refugees in the US.

In Nepal, 35 wives of the disappeared have also told their story through embroidery, with help from Peace Fellow Megan Keeling. Their squares were exhibited for the first time in Kathmandu on August 30, International Day of the Disappeared, and will shortly be taken to the US to be assembled into quilts. At least one will return to Nepal and be used by advocates for families of the disappeared.

7. Impact

Being a Peace Fellow can be life-changing and we ask Fellows to report back on how they were affected by the experience.

In their evaluations, many of the 2016 Fellows refer to the new skills they have learned. Almost all are better communicators than when they left. Lauren, Daniel and Allyson became adept at writing proposals. Megan and Mattea became IT experts. Mattea and Amy turned into enthusiastic podcasters. Lauren and Megan produced short video films. These skills will be useful in the years that lie ahead.

We also expect that working in tough conditions will build character. This was certainly the case for Dorothy Khan, who spent much of her fellowship in an isolated village in central Nepal without running water. In a final blog, Dorothy also wrote about the value of direct experience: “I also learned about the many forms of discrimination that women (and girls) face in Nepal. From seeing the open huts that these girls sleep in, to watching them be isolated merely because they menstruate, I am not sure if I would have understood what these women feel if I hadn’t worked there.”

After working with refugees in Greece, Mattea Cumuletti shared the same sentiment: "There is no better way to understand the depths and complexities of the refugee crisis than from working with and listening to the people who are going through them."

Several Fellows have kept up their good work since returning home. Daniel Prelipcian gave a presentation about his alpaca project in Peru at his church in Manhattan. Rose Twagirumukiza gave the keynote address at the annual meeting of the Zonta Women’s Club of Washington and spoke movingly about her own personal journey - from the genocide in Rwanda to university in the US and back to Africa as a volunteer.

8. Meet Ai Hoang

Ai Hoang (photo) is the only Fellow who remains in the field and she exemplifies the extraordinary qualities of this year's cohort. As noted above, Ai works with victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam and it has not been easy. But Ai has also gained strength from seeing the courage of people so much worse off than herself. She has raised over $4,000 with help from family members, some of whom themselves suffered persecution in Vietnam. It is another sign that Peace fellowships bring out the best in people and offer hope in a troubled world.

With your help, AP will continue to recruit Fellows through 2018 and beyond. Once again, thank you for supporting this strong program!

From the AP team


For more information:

Rose makes soap with SGBV survivors in Mali
Rose makes soap with SGBV survivors in Mali
Daniel collars an alpaca in Peru
Daniel collars an alpaca in Peru
Ai Hoang (right) with Mai Thi Loi, an AO survivor
Ai Hoang (right) with Mai Thi Loi, an AO survivor
Morgan Moses learns podcasting from Ash Kosiewicz
Morgan Moses learns podcasting from Ash Kosiewicz
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The 2016 Peace Fellows and AP interns at training
The 2016 Peace Fellows and AP interns at training

 A summer of success - Peace Fellows raise $8,685 and benefit 8,000 individuals in eight countries!

- A first report from The Advocacy Project

This is our first report on our Global Giving appeal to help deploy 40 Peace Fellows by 2018. The appeal is off to a very strong start. We have sent eleven Peace Fellows to eight countries. All have worked on innovative programs. Eight have launched their own microprojects on Global Giving which have so far generated $8,685. We will report in detail on the outputs and outcomes in November.

We had three main goals in launching this appeal:

1. Recruit, train and deploy eleven Peace Fellows to work with community organizations: This goal has been achieved. We received around 80 strong applications for 11 fellowships and invited those selected to Washington for a week of training in May (photo). All were deployed in June, and all but one (Ai Hoang in Vietnam) will return by the end of August. We will then continue to support their host organizations from Washington and through field visits in October.

This year’s Fellows are exceptionally capable and motivated. They also have moving stories to tell. Rose Twagirumukiza lost a father to the Rwandan genocide and is now studying at Georgetown University. She decided to “give back” to the many people who had helped her along the way by becoming an AP Peace Fellow and helping rape survivors in Mali. Rose became a US citizen one week before traveling to Mali. This was also Peace Fellow Daniel Prelipcian’s first trip outside the US as an American citizen. Originally from Romania, Daniel is helping relatives of the disappeared in Peru to increase their earnings from alpaca wool. Ai Hoang is also on a voyage of personal discovery. Almost 20 years after leaving Vietnam as a refugee, Ai has returned to Vietnam to work with victims of Agent Orange.

Our Fellows have produced over 70 blogs, several videos and hundreds of photos. We are proud of them all and will report back on their evaluations in our next report. These fellowships are intended to produce academic benefits, build confidence and prepare Fellows for work in human rights. Let’s see what they have to say!

2. Jump start and fund 11 programs for social change: Our hope was that this year’s Peace Fellows would help their hosts to manage and fund innovative programs that can benefit marginalized communities. With help from our friends at Global Giving, we also asked them to seek funding for their programs on Global Giving through this appeal. The results so far are impressive. In nine weeks, 8 Fellows have raised $8,685, almost all through Global Giving. Four met their funding targets within 6 weeks and two have launched a second microproject. So far, 136 individuals have donated. We estimate that almost 8,000 individuals and family members have directly benefitted. All this has far exceeded expectations.

3. Lay a strong foundation for our fellowship program, through to December 2018: Our third goal is to learn from this summer’s program going into 2017. With this in mind, we have commissioned 5 evaluations: three from Fellows (after training, on their deliverables, and on the impact of the fellowship); one from our interns here in Washington; and one from the partners. We will share these results with you in our next report, and review them with our Board.

One key outcome has been the generosity and enthusiasm of those, like yourself, who appreciate our Fellowship program and have chosen to help. These include our Global Giving donors, of course; donors to our fellowship program, including in particular our AP Board, Humanity United, the Brimstone Foundation, and the Journey Fund; career service offices from eight leading universities who helped to fund our Fellows; seven wonderful interns who volunteered to work in our Washington office; the Jennifer Jessica Cohen Foundation, which funded two Fellows; qulters from three guilds that have expressed interest in assembling quilts from squares collected by our Fellows; and local associations, like The Zonta Club of Washington, which have followed the work of Fellows and will organize events for them on their return. Your support has made this a memorable summer and given us enormous encouragement for the future.

Thank you from the AP team!

For more information:

Peace Fellow Rose Twagirumukiza in Mali with soap!
Peace Fellow Rose Twagirumukiza in Mali with soap!
Peace Fellow Dorothy Khan in Nepal
Peace Fellow Dorothy Khan in Nepal
Fellow Ai Hoang has funded this family in Vietnam
Fellow Ai Hoang has funded this family in Vietnam


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Organization Information

The Advocacy Project

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AdvocacyProject
Project Leader:
Iain Guest
Washington, DC United States
$35,146 raised of $45,000 goal
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