Rachel Wilson

Rachel is a graduate of Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor's in Social Work and a minor in Political Science. As an undergrad she traveled to Uganda and worked in a school and clinic conducting research on stigma related to orphans on HIV/AIDS and went on after graduating to become a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya, where she worked in the public health sector facilitating group work, teaching life skills classes, and providing assistance to local medical clinics. After Peace Corps, Rachel volunteered at an orphanage in Kenya for several months before working for a short time in foster care in Illinois. Rachel is now completing her Master's in International Peace and Conflict Resolution at Arcadia University in Philadelphia. After her fellowship, Rachel wrote: "Working as a Peace Fellow in Kenya was a very unique experience that not only helped me develop different professional skills but also changed my personal views on development work and the importance of local answers for local problems."



The Power of a Peace Fellow

15 Oct

It has now been almost two months since I left Kenya and my fellowship with CPI, and though I jumped right into another internship I have had some time to reflect on my role and overall experience. 

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Working in “developing countries” is always an interesting ride, and in some ways there are no guarantees and it usually serves in your favor to keep your expectations low and go with the flow as much as possible. 

Being able to see the more administrative side of working in an NGO was really interesting, and I have a much clearer vision of what kind of reporting and documentation is required for donors. I think the most valuable aspect of the Fellowship for myself was learning about the literal application of peace education and being able to see firsthand grassroots conflict resolution. It sounds quite basic but prior to working with CPI-Kenya I don’t think I would’ve even thought about attempting to search for different peace education curricula or understand how effective it can be when integrated into normal school programs. Now I realize that there are many programs out there waiting to be utilized and adapted to fit specific contexts. It opened my eyes to a whole new realm of possibilities! 

It has been very interesting to go straight from the Fellowship in Kenya to an internship in Zanzibar. I have found myself acknowledging many of the same needs and possible deliverables for my organization here, and I think that the experience in Kenya provided me with the confidence to be more assertive in what I think I can provide. 

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I definitely feel as though my favorite times with CPI was working in the North for the parents meeting portion of the peace program and for the Interactions for Peace (I4P) program in Nairobi primary schools. I love working directly with the target populations, especially youth, so being able to see the students learning the I4P program, and the interaction between the students and parents of previously warring tribes in the North holds more sentimental value for me. As far as what I was able to deliver for CPI, I was able to produce several videos for CPI and though I would not consider myself an expert by any means, I am proud of the final products. We also completed some basic training on social media outlets and I completed a Program Summary which compiled in whole their documentation and project reports to date. It is my plan to return to Kenya in the near future and I certainly hope that when I do I will be able to see a different stage of CPI’s project cycle.

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Posted By Rachel Wilson

Posted Oct 15th, 2016

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