The 2018 Advocacy Project Peace Fellows
This report is coming to you from The Advocacy Project after an intense week-long training here in Washington with our 2018 Peace Fellows (photo above). Many of the ten Fellows have now left for their summer assignments, so this is an ideal time to be reporting back on how your donations have helped to fund this program.
We launched this appeal in June 2016, with the goal of recruiting 40 Fellows by the end of 2018. Up to this point we have deployed 30 Fellows from 12 universities to 10 countries – Vietnam, Nepal, Lebanon, Jordan, Greece, Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mali and Peru. In all, since we started this program in 2003, 305 young professionals have gone out around the world to work for social justice and expanded their own horizons in the process. Your donations have helped to make that happen!
To judge from training last week, this year’s cohort could be one of the best ever. As we reported in a recent news bulletin, they are also ambassadors for multiculturalism – something we are very proud of. Five of the 10 Fellows are American. The rest are from Brazil, Kenya, Germany, and the Netherlands. As we reported in the bulletin Michelle, a Kenyan national who studies at Columbia University in New York, dropped everything for the chance to help free girls from servitude in Nepal this summer. Past Fellows came from 46 nationalities (photo below).
We train our Fellows in six different services and ask their hosts to decide which ones they need. The most important service, from our perspective, is program design and development. All Fellows will help their hosts develop a start-up that will eventually trigger social change and address the causes of injustice. They will not be there to witness this long-term outcome, but with luck and ingenuity they can help to set their host on the right track. Several of our current programs were inspired by past Fellows.
This year’s Fellows will be taking on some challenging issues that will be familiar from last year. Marcela will be working with families that were affected by Agent Orange in Vietnam. Lara will meet with 50 children that have been freed from the brick kilns of Nepal and placed in school. Also in Nepal, Lindsey will help Care Women Nepal to hold a health camp for village women with prolapse. Komal will be working with wives of the disappeared in the western district of Bardiya.
Chris will be installing an accessible toilet at the Awach School in northern Uganda. Teresa will help refugee women in Jordan to produce embroidery for sale. Colleen will follow last year’s Fellow, Talley (photo below) to Kenya where she will help to expand Heifers for Peace, a fascinating project that provides cows to warring pastoralists.
AP has raised thousands of dollars for these programs on Global Giving and we will be working with our Fellows to scale them up this summer. We will also be back-stopping Michelle, Caroline and Alex, who will all be launching new start-ups. Caroline will work on a campaign in Nepal to end the practice of menstrual banishment known as chhaupadi. Michelle will help her hosts to come up with a solution to the servitude of kamlaris – girls who are sold into domestic service in western Nepal. Alex will work at the Women Advocacy Project in Zimbabwe, where she will help to launch a program on child marriage.
It should be an exciting and active summer!
Among the five other services offered through Fellows, we help partners to strengthen their organizations by telling their story through blogs, photos and podcasts; making websites and using social media; producing annual reports; raising funds through Global Giving; and promoting their work at the international level. Three partners – in Jordan, Nepal and Kenya – will be producing embroidered squares for advocacy quilts.
As in past years, we will monitor Fellows carefully while they are in the field and ask them to send us evaluations when they return in August. That will happen just in time for our next report to you, so we should have some results to report. We also invite you to follow the Fellows through their blogs, photos and our news bulletins, which will be appearing regularly through the summer.
As you may know from past reports, we hope that the fellowship experience will have a deep impact on these impressive young professionals. They will emerge more confident about working abroad, having learned skills that will hold them in good stead in their future careers. We have posted some past successes on our website.
Last week’s training showed how past Fellows have gone on to do fine work since leaving our program. No fewer than six former Fellows gave trainings. They included Ash (photo), who went to Peru for us in 2008 and now produces podcasts on hunger for the World Food Program; Karin, who followed Ash to Peru and teaches non-profit management at Johns Hopkins University; and Josh, who raised $4,500 for the first accessible toilet in Uganda and today runs a large company in Miami.
Looking back on his 2015 fellowship, Josh described it as a “once in a lifetime experience.” That’s what we hope to hear from this year’s splendid cohort!
Thank you again for making it happen!
Iain and the AP team.
5 Fellows will work in Nepal, helped by Niti
Ash, a 2008 fellow, gives a training in podcasting
Heading for Africa: Colleen, Alex and Chris
We love multiculturalism: the 2011 Nepal Fellows
What they can expect: Talley in Kenya last year