Peace Day – Announcing Our PeaceCon Scholarship Recipients
The International Day of Peace, September 21st, is observed around the globe. Peace Day has grown from an International Day recognized by the United Nations to a global display of unity for more peaceful, just and inclusive societies. As the hub of the peacebuilding field, the Alliance for Peacebuilding is proud to be hosting local peacebuilders at PeaceCon 2018 as part of our scholarship fund. On Peace Day, we want to recognize the amazing work of those who have been awarded the scholarship! The scholarship fund is made possible by the generous support of Humanity United.
Sophie Zala Kanza (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Sophie Zala Kanza is the co-founder of Sophie A Kanza Foundation, a youth led Non Profit Company with a special focus on youth volunteerism, activism and peacebuilding. Proudly from Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo now living in South Africa, she works to spread love and tolerance by creating safe space for dialogue between migrants and locals, and carrying out Afrophobia Awareness campaigns through the use of their UNAOC Plural + award-winning Joburg shot short film #Singabantu – We Are Human that has been seen/screened on 4 continents and events like #SpeedDating4SocialCohesion.
Sophie was ranked number 41 of 100 Most Influential South Africans 2017/8, Global Faces of Impact 2017, as well as a One Young World Global Peace Ambassador 2018.
Angeli Monique Siladan (Philippines)
Angeli is the co-founder and project manager of Qapwa, a digital storytelling project that showcases the narratives of everyday Filipinos. She and other Qapwa storytellers travel all over the Philippines in search for 1000 stories of Muslim Filipinos, and try to challenge stereotypes by training storytellers, publishing stories online and partnering with peace-promoting organizations.
She has always been fond of people’s stories, photography and using technology for social good. She didn’t know then that these skills could help her do peacebuilding work. She is an accidental peacebuilder and she is proud to contribute her skills to build a platform for Kapwa.
Kapwa is a Filipino value of building a shared identity and equality with the other. She built Qapwa, a digital storytelling project that brings to light stories of everyday Filipinos. Before 2018 ends, Qapwa hopes to publish 1000 stories of Muslim Filipinos both online and offline, and train at least 60 young people on promoting peace through storytelling.
In Qapwa, they believe that stories are powerful. It can influence people and challenge the status quo. She used to work for the Philippines’ Youth Commission and actively volunteers as a Girl Scout. Aside from Qapwa, she also teaches coding to college students at a local university.
Charlie Wandji (Cameroon)
Charlie Batchanzi Wandji is a peacebuilder and currently the Project Manager / Co-Founder of IDP-GOODS.
IDP-GOODS helps reduce violent extremism in the Far North Region of Cameroon by providing income-generating activities to Internally Displaced Persons victims of terrorists’ attacks by the terrorist group Boko Haram.
So far, IDP-GOODS has successfully trained more than 300 IDPs in income generating activities and has trained more than 10,000 youths on countering violent extremism using a cartoon training manual they developed.
Samah Mansur (Egypt)
Samah Mansur is from Egypt and has a master’s degree in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University. She works considerably on gender, democracy, peace, security and evaluating numerous projects to fight violence against women. At present, she is a program officer of gender and peacebuilding at ACT, where she works with women in disadvantaged communities in Egypt. Of the programs she lead there, the most successful intervention has been the setting up of a cooperative pulse processing project known as Women Mock Parliament. The Project seeks to build the capacity of young women and members of local and national legislatures in order to educate and mobilize public opinion on the issue of including women in decision- making, advocating for equality between men and women in access to services and resources, and raise awareness of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and 1820.
Regina Nkonge (Kenya)
Regina has been spearheading a pilot project aimed at examining how nations and institutions can leverage technology to widen access to tertiary education for refugees. The pilot project at Kakuma refugee camp, begun in July 2016 after a tripartite MoU was signed between UNHCR, Windle Trust Kenya and @iLabAfrica – Strathmore University Kenya. The project set out to link faculty from the Strathmore University School of Accountancy with students at Kakuma refugee camp via web conferencing. Through this model, classes of Certified Public Accountant (CPA) courses were streamed from the University to the Camp. The pilot began with 24 students and of these, 16 have sat CPA section one and CPA section two national examinations.
Regina Nkonge heads the Digital Learning Research and Innovation team in @iLabAfrica department, Strathmore University Kenya. The team leverages technology to design, develop, implement and test projects that bridge educational gaps. Through various collaborations and partnerships, and with the support of Strathmore University, Regina has been actively involved in mobilizing and training refugees as well as youth in urban, rural and marginalized areas as of Kenya.
Prior to @iLabAfrica, Nkonge was Project Coordinator at AISPO Uganda (Associazione Italiana per la Solidarieta tra I Popoli) an Italian organization registered under the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she coordinated implementation of health projects such as cancer awareness, free heart transplant for Ugandan children and Quality Assurance for TB diagnosis in 52 laboratories in Kampala. Regina holds an MSc. in Information Systems Security from Strathmore University Kenya, and a BSc. in Information Sciences – Information Technology Major from Moi University.
Yan Naung Myint (Myanmar)
Yan is a committed pacifist, activist and human rights advocate in Myanmar. He is currently working as a Myanmar Programme Officer in ARTICLE 19, a human rights organization defending and promoting freedom of expression and freedom of information all over the world. He has been working in countering violent extremism and peacebuilding throughout Myanmar for many years. He organized capacity building training and workshops on international standards, including HRC resolution 16/18 and Rabat Plan of Action, for religious, ethnic and other minority activists, lawyers, parliamentarians, journalists, media actors and civil society leaders in Myanmar. He is currently supporting civil society advocacy relating to legal reform process on countering violent extremism in Myanmar. His work focuses on increasing the capacity of lawmakers, civil society leaders, and media actors to open spaces for inclusive debate, progressive dialogue and legal reforms on countering violent extremism in Myanmar.
Michael Naah (Ghana)
Michael is a Military Observer (MILOB) with the MINUSMA in the northern part of Mali. As an experienced peacekeeper, whilst performing his core MILOB activities in the most dangerous United Nations Peace Support Operation currently, he is also engaged in conducting an independent work on Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding activities in Mali and the Sahel region in general. His work is focused on the relationship between ethnicity/tribe and violent extremism in the Sahel region; ethnic/tribal distribution of Terrorist Armed Groups (TAGs) in the Sahel region; inter-linkages between tribal migration, trafficking and spread of violent extremism in the Sahel region; and the impact of the Protection of Civilians (PoC) mandate of MINUSMA.
Elma Mahmutovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Elma has been working on issues related to peacebuilding in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Western Balkans for the past 10 years. Her current job at the United World College in Mostar helps her connect her passion for topics of reconciliation, peacebuilding and human rights and utilize it in a formal educational setting. Working in a school with 200 students from over 70 countries is a great way of getting to know the power of diversity in a real-life setting. She is happy to work on projects that connect youth from the Western Balkans and youth from other parts of the world and show them that a better future is possible and attainable if we join our forces and celebrate both our common characteristics but also our differences with equal respect.
Mical Jules (Haiti)
Because a child victim of violence is a weakened adult, LAVIE-Haiti has been fighting for several years to eliminate all forms of violence against young people. As Secretary-General, Social Worker and resident of one of the precarious neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, Mical knows the challenges of such a commitment and is determined to go all the way.
Olusola John Ogundola (Nigeria)
Ekiti Joint Disability Forum (EJDF) is a peacebuilding program Olusola initiated to tackle group-based conflicts among people with disabilities in Ekiti state, south-west Nigeria. He is interested in examining the role communication play in intergroup relations. His experiences as a person living with disability influence his work in peacebuilding. He founded Project Restoration International (PRI) in 2009, as a disability rights initiative to mobilize and empower persons with disabilities for nation-building.