Hello from 31,000 feet above the North Atlantic! As I write this first blog, I’m sitting in row 22 of the first leg of my journey to Nairobi, Kenya. Despite the length of this first flight (13 hours, woof!), I find myself incredibly excited. For the last five days, the nine other Peace Fellows and I went through training with the Advocacy Project (AP) to prepare us for our work this summer in Kenya, Uganda, Nepal, Zimbabwe, Vietnam, and Jordan. While our fellowships this summer will be very different, (click here if you want to read about the other fellowships!) we all formed friendships and a unique bond over the work we’ll be doing this summer and the passion we all have for grass-roots organizations leading to social change.
To give some background and a better understanding of what I’ll be doing this summer, it’s important to first understand what the Advocacy Project is. AP is a non-profit organization whose mission is to give a voice to the voiceless and to help marginalized communities take action to protect their rights. AP does this by partnering with community-based organizations (CBO’s) around the world, sending a Peace Fellow to work with them for 10 weeks to help strengthen their organization by telling their story, helping develop their programs, assisting in fundraising efforts, helping develop their IT and social media, and boosting their international promotion.
What makes AP so different from other non-profits and NGO’s is that AP recognizes the strength of local solutions for local problems. While a practice may work in one part of the world, it may not work in another, and that is why AP partners with community-based organizations to try and help effect change. I love this model; it empowers CBO’s across the globe while recognizing that rubber-stamp solutions are not as effective as grass-root solutions.
That is why I am heading to Kenya to spend 10 weeks working in Nairobi, Baringo County, and Samburu County with the Children Peace Initiative Kenya! AP and CPI Kenya have been in partnership for three years now; I will write more in my next blog about CPI Kenya and the righteous work they do, but if you’re curious feel free to check them here .
Keeping all that in mind, AP conducted five days of intense training for us Peace Fellows, covering subjects such as blogging, conducting interviews, security, cultural sensitivity, podcasting, video editing, photography, crowdsourcing, budgeting, website building, monitoring and evaluation, and much more. We shared our goals for this summer, our hopes, our fears, our concerns, our excitement, and of course we shared a pint or two together at the closing reception 🙂
Our training wrapped up Sunday evening with a going-away reception at AP’s offices, where we toasted to the incredible directors Iain and Karen and said our goodbyes. Unfortunately, I had to call it quits earlier than I wanted, but if you know me then you can probably guess that I hadn’t started my packing yet. And 15 hours after I started packing I was wheels-up, en route Nairobi!
As I sit here on the plane I know that trying to sleep is fruitless; the adrenaline I have for reaching Nairobi and meeting the wonderful people at CPI Kenya is way too high. I’ll wrap this up by thanking you for reading through the whole blog and asking you to continue reading it (I’ll be posting one a week) and if you like it, then feel free to share it!
Posted By Colleen Denny
Posted Jun 6th, 2018