Talley Diggs (Kenya)

Talley is a graduate student at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, where she is pursuing a Master’s in International Affairs with a focus in security. During the spring of 2017, Talley worked for the UN Foundation’s Better World Campaign, which promotes the critical work of the UN and lobbies for a strong US-UN partnership. This experience taught her advocacy skills that will be incredibly valuable during her tenure as a Peace Fellow in Kenya. Prior to moving to DC for grad school, Talley had several beneficial cross-cultural experiences that contributed to her passion for international affairs and development. Talley is originally from Oxford, Mississippi, and traveled to a different country for the first time when she interned abroad while an undergrad at the University of Mississippi. During the summer of 2013, Talley lived in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and worked for the World Food Programme supporting assistance programs for refugee camps and schools. In addition, Talley moved to eastern France to teach English in a high school following her graduation in 2015. She is thrilled to return to East Africa and explore her academic interests within the conflict resolution context of the Children’s Peace Initiative! At the conclusion of her time in Kenya, Talley reflected on her Peace Fellowship by saying, "My fellowship with CPI Kenya gave me invaluable field experience and a beautiful opportunity to change the lives of others through service. I am eternally grateful to AP for the friends I made through my host organization and the technical skills I gained to pursue a career in development". Want to contribute to her peace-building efforts in Kenya? Click here: https://goto.gg/28723



Questions of Kenya: Pre-Departure Reflection

30 May

“Turn your statements into questions.” This is the advice I received from my professor when I told her of my upcoming adventure in Kenya to work with the Children Peace Initiative (CPI). In her simple suggestion, she had immediately recognized the purpose of my fellowship: supporting local solutions to local problems. Her advice alludes to the frequent missteps, misunderstandings, and miscalculations of foreigners working within the local frameworks of community-based organizations.

Statements are informed by biases and assumptions. They reflect my American understanding of the world and its problems. Alternatively, questions are constructed by curiosity and will be key to understanding of cultural contexts. This summer while serving as a Peace Fellow for The Advocacy Project, I am committing myself to communication through questions. The Advocacy Project is a nonprofit in DC that advocates for marginalized communities by deploying graduate students into the field to work side by side with grassroots organizations. Learn more about AP’s remarkable outreach here.

AP's Executive Director, Iain Guest, showing off a beautiful advocacy quilt made by wives of the disappeared in Nepal.

AP’s Director and Founder, Iain Guest, showing off a beautiful advocacy quilt made by wives of the disappeared in Nepal.

 

Tomorrow, I will jet off to Nairobi to meet my host organization. CPI is a nonprofit based in Nairobi that works with the children of feuding pastoralist tribes to promote peace. Children are engaged in CPI’s programs as agents of conflict resolution; in striving to open the hearts and minds of children, CPI strives to transform the ongoing conflict between pastoralists over resources and cattle herding. Their model includes peace camps that bring together children of opposing tribes to facilitate friendships, exchange programs between families, and the donation of a cow to be shared by two families of opposing tribes as economic incentive for peace. I look forward to elaborating on this brief program description in future blogs as I learn more from my experiences with CPI.

Meeting with Christy Gillmore, who also served as an AP Fellow in Kenya!

Meeting with Christy Gillmore, who also served as an AP Fellow in Kenya!

 

In preparation for my fellowship, I spent last week with AP’s eight other Peace Fellows in intensive training. We met with experts to discuss cultural sensitivity, fundraising, organization strengthening, M&E, and social media strategies—and along the way we gained skills in blogging, photography, video editing, creating website, and making podcasts. These training sessions have succeeded in quelling many of my “how” questions. The training week was just the first taste of the learning to come from my experiences in Kenya.

Enjoying a week of training with fellow Fellow, Rachel, who is working in Nepal this summer.

Enjoying a week of training with fellow Fellow, Rachel, who is working in Nepal this summer.

 

Questions abound as the departure for my fellowship approaches. How can children be included and empowered in peacebuilding processes? What impact does the cultivation of friendship have on facilitating peace and assuaging cultural differences? How is the work of CPI transforming the conflict between pastoralists? Is CPI’s model sustainable and could it be adopted to address conflict resolution in other contexts? What indicators of social change will I be looking for to evaluate CPI’s programs? How can I best advocate for CPI in ten short weeks?

The very last question consumes my conscience. As The Advocacy Project’s fellow for CPI, I feel a great responsibility to advocate for marginalized pastoralist communities and tell their stories. This role is a humbling honor, a unique privilege, a lofty challenge, and an overwhelming sensation of purpose that galvanizes me. With a thousand questions tucked into my mind’s suitcase, I’m heading out tomorrow to find stories! Please follow me in my cultural detective work as I embark on a mission to listen, learn, and discover Kenya through the work of the Children Peace Initiative.

The AP Team and the nine Peace Fellows, who will be working with organizations in Nepal, Vietnam, Uganda, Lebanon, Jordan, and Kenya.

The AP Team and the nine Peace Fellows, who will be working with organizations in Nepal, Vietnam, Uganda, Lebanon, Jordan, and Kenya.

Wondering what you can do to bring peace to Kenya? Please click below to contribute to our work with pastoralists through Global Giving!

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Posted By Talley Diggs (Kenya)

Posted May 30th, 2017

41 Comments

  • Lisa robertson

    May 30, 2017

     

    So beautifully written – I look forward to following your adventure!

  • Bill Spicuzza

    May 30, 2017

     

    Talley, this will be such a great opportunity and I am so very proud of you! Safe travels. We will be looking forward to your descriptive reports. Best wishes as always,
    Bill

  • Kathy Al

    May 31, 2017

     

    Look forward to following your journey to Kenya and your quest to bring people closer to living in peace together. Your are ready and your words reflect your determination to listen and learn. Take care of yourself. We will be with you.

  • Kathleen Conroy

    May 31, 2017

     

    Hi Talley – I look forward to meeting you in Kenya while I am there during July and hear more about this fascinating project.

  • Iain

    June 5, 2017

     

    You were a great addition to training, Talley, and will make a huge contribution at CPI!

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