Sunday, May 17, 2015

See Mama, I made it to Ghana by Road! :-)

"The city looked familiar yet strange. And the trail of motorcycles [okadas] were almost endless—zooming across the streets like we see in Lagos mainland.

Through Contonuo we traveled. 

Through the busy streets. 

Into an untarred road. 

ZZZzzz. 

I slept and woke up and we were still in Benin Republic. 

The untarred road spread across us like a blanket covering an unmade bed....

I posted it! ---->>>> READ: Our Road Trip: Traveling From Lagos To Ghana By Road [Part 1]: http://ruralreporters.com/road-trip-traveling-from-lagos-to-ghana-by-road/




Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Announcement: She Leads Africa launches the 2015 Entrepreneur Showcase

She Leads Africa announces the launch of its second annual Entrepreneur Showcase for the most talented female entrepreneurs across Africa and the diaspora. This event is the premier platform for young female entrepreneurs looking to grow and scale their businesses across Africa. Participants in the competition will compete for $15,000 in cash prizes, media features in international news outlets, and exclusive meetings with top investors.

Applications for the 2015 competition open on May 1 and close on June 30. Businesses from any industry are eligible to apply as long as there is one woman on the founding team between 18-35 years old. Companies must have launched their product or service, been in operation for less than 3 years and received less than $50,000 USD in funding.

Applications and more details can be found at www.sheleadsafrica.org


Friday, April 24, 2015

Satyagraha Institute - Update - Training Opportunity for Young Leaders

Satyagraha Institute USA is inviting young leaders to apply for its training programme coming up in August!


Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must:

• Have a genuine desire to explore the variety of traditions of nonviolence.
• Be age 18 or older.
• Be physically, mentally, and emotionally stable.
• Have a good sense of humor and communication skills.
• Be adaptable to changing situations.
• Be comfortable living with limited privacy and space, in a community of diverse individuals.
 

Application Instructions

Application deadline:
Sunday, June 28, 2015

Submit items by email to:
info@satyagrahainstitute.org
When submitting any items by email (including applications, photos, and references), please be sure to use this address.


Revised Dates
Shorter Program Options
Lower Program Fee


In response to your input, we have revised the dates and fees for the Satyagraha Institute 2015 pilot program.

The Institute will now be held August 4-18. The program fee is now only $700. (And, for those who cannot attend the entire program, early departure on August 14 is an option, with a reduced fee of $500.) Please see our website for details.

The application deadline is now Sunday, June 28. Space is limited, so early application is suggested.

If this opportunity inspires you, but you hesitate to apply, please email or call us so we can explore what might be possible.

Also, if you can think of anyone in your community who might benefit from this opportunity to develop the skills, understanding, and heart of nonviolence, please encourage them to apply: 


What is Satyagraha?

Mohandas Gandhi, who famously experimented with the possibilities of nonviolence, coined the Sanskrit term satyagraha to identify a method of social change. Gandhi proposed that satya(truth) combined with  agraha (firmness) creates a useful social power that does not rely on harming others. Gandhi often referred to this power as "truth-force."

Satyagraha is an adherence to truth as it unfolds. Since many perspectives are necessary in order to see what is true, satyagraha offers a way to create change that recognizes both our incomplete understanding of any given situation and the wisdom that others have to share.

Satyagraha is a way of directly engaging with others to work out the difficult aspects of life without resorting to coercion, harm, or ill intention. It is the social power which arises when we act with kindness, respect, patience, generosity, and service.

Key components of satyagraha include:

• Changing ourselves as a means of changing the world

• Touching our adversary's heart as a means of changing the world

• Maintaining kind intentions without exception

• Attempting to refrain from harming others

• Offering selfless service

• Employing means consistent with the ends we desire

• Nurturing systems that value nondiscrimination and respect

• Dismantling harmful institutions, while simultaneously building supportive institutions to take their place


UPDATE- Satyagraha Institute For Young Leaders - Revised Dates, Shorter Program Options and Lower Program Fee



Black Hills

Satyagraha Institute


Announcement !

Revised Dates
Shorter Program Options
Lower Program Fee

 

In response to your input, we have revised the dates and fees for the Satyagraha Institute 2015 pilot program.

The Institute will now be held August 4-18. The program fee is now only $700. (And, for those who cannot attend the entire program, early departure on August 14 is an option, with a reduced fee of $500.) Please see our website for details.

The application deadline is now Sunday, June 28. Space is limited, so early application is suggested.

If this opportunity inspires you, but you hesitate to apply, please email or call us so we can explore what might be possible.

Also, if you can think of anyone in your community who might benefit from this opportunity to develop the skills, understanding, and heart of nonviolence, please encourage them to apply.

Apply Today

We are still in need of several major donors. Many of you have already sent generous contributions to make Satyagraha Institute a reality. If you, or anyone you know, is interested in making a major charitable donation, please see our support page or contact us. We are happy to provide more details about our specific budget and program needs.

Peace
 
Visit Our Website
Mohandas Gandhi

What is Satyagraha?

Mohandas Gandhi, who famously experimented with the possibilities of nonviolence, coined the Sanskrit term satyagraha to identify a method of social change. Gandhi proposed that satya (truth) combined with  agraha (firmness) creates a useful social power that does not rely on harming others. Gandhi often referred to this power as "truth-force."

Satyagraha is an adherence to truth as it unfolds. Since many perspectives are necessary in order to see what is true, satyagraha offers a way to create change that recognizes both our incomplete understanding of any given situation and the wisdom that others have to share.

Satyagraha is a way of directly engaging with others to work out the difficult aspects of life without resorting to coercion, harm, or ill intention. It is the social power which arises when we act with kindness, respect, patience, generosity, and service.

Key components of satyagraha include:

• Changing ourselves as a means of changing the world

• Touching our adversary's heart as a means of changing the world

• Maintaining kind intentions without exception

• Attempting to refrain from harming others

• Offering selfless service

• Employing means consistent with the ends we desire

• Nurturing systems that value nondiscrimination and respect

• Dismantling harmful institutions, while simultaneously building supportive institutions to take their place

 
Copyright © 2015 Satyagraha Institute. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

South Africa: Xenophobic violence and the rest of us


In April 2008, I remember asking a young South African about the Xenophobic violence in his country. The response I got shocked me.

He justified the killings of foreigners. He could have as well said, we will kill all of them because they are taking our jobs.

I was short of words. And for the rest of the conference, I avoided the young man like a plague because his mind was made up. No other view made sense to him.

By the way, we were in a global conference where a teenager from Israel gave a high5 to a youth from Iraq. One of those conferences where we lived the dream-- that one day the world will be sane again. And we'll stop killing one another.

I wonder if the inter-cultural dialogue and interaction made any impact on the young South African.

Fast-forward 2015. South Africans have launched another attack on foreigners. For almost the same reason as the past.

And tens and hundreds of young South Africans might just justify the action with the same thought pattern-- they [other Africans] are taking our jobs, lets kill them all.

Forgetting that as the world continues to shrink to globalisation, young Africans will continue to break barrier and travel across borders to seek out new ventures, to foster development on the continent through cross-cultural innovations and collaboration.

Dear South Africans and other Africans, can you hear me?

Re-Orientation is key.





Image source: DailyMaverick



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Remember, this is not just about #BringBackOurGirls

One evening in Nassarawa-Eggon [a town in Nasarawa state], we were all minding our business when suddenly we heard gunshots.

Next, we heard heavy footsteps running towards the direction of our rooms [staff quarters]. Trust what followed. Doors were locked. Bolted. Light went off. Silence.

A few minutes later, we were snapped back to reality by voices of the strangers.

Apparently, one of my colleagues successfully provided shelter for some of the people who had come running towards our rooms. They begged for shelter and she obliged.

The strangers were night travellers. They had heard rumours of arm robbery attack some miles away, which prompted them [and some other drivers/travellers] to run out of their vehicles for safety. One of the closest spot was the fenceless secondary school where we were serving [NYSC]. 

That was not the first time we have had strangers driving into the school at night seeking for refuge from the terrors of armed men on the highway. There were also cases of strangers dropping in at odd hours looking for ways to lure students out of the school compound... until a group of senior students shout the stranger out of the compound.

Don't get me wrong, Nassarawa-eggon is a relatively peaceful community.

My point?

It is possible for armed men to drop into a secondary school in northeast Nigeria and whisk kids away into sambisa forest. Most schools -- especially government-funded boarding schools-- lack a lot of things, including adequate security.

The case of over 200 girls that were kidnapped a year ago, for me, has brought to light many issues that is wrong with Nigeria and how our government leaders run the system.

Let us not loose sight of those important things.

A year ago:

"Is this #BringBackOurGirls campaign real? Are you sure those girls were really kidnapped?"

Those were some on the questions in the minds of many people a year ago, when the news of the Chibok kidnapping was first announced. Someone actually confronted me with similar questions... which I had no answers to then.

There were those who passionately protested for the girls to be rescued. Amidst opposition, their attitude said: we are here to brazen it all out. 
















Those who traveled to the community reported what they saw.

Then there was this:
































Pictures. More pictures. Some were real, some had elements of photo-shop. It almost became a distraction. In public forums, after an event, participants were mobilised to take a group picture holding up the famous #BringBackOurGirls postcard.

But this, like the hashtag boom on twitter cannot be faulted. At least, it was relevant enough to soon draw global attention. The shame of a nation became a global discourse. How can over 200 girls be kidnapped from a school without any declaration of a state of emergency?

The apathy.

The concern.




Over a year later, we are still waiting for the girls to be brought back home.


More girls and women have been kidnapped after the Chibok girls. How about boys and men in those communities? How are they affected? They are maimed, killed or forced to join the Boko Haram sect.

Was the Bring Back Our Girls campaign a failure? Will the story of the kidnapped girls just remain another case to be remembered annually?

Will our government leaders take action to prevent future occurrence? 

We are in a time of war. War against a failing system and ineffective government. War against Boko Haram. 

Nothing can be achieved through apathy, denial or simply by wishing things away.


Our President-Elect, Gen Muhammadu Buhari and his administration [hello May 29th!] have not promised us Utopia. But at least they will hopefully help revive the Nigeria economy and deal with all these social vices, with support from the rest of us, of course.

All hope is not lost.


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Waiting... Who'll be our "next" president?

Lagos is quiet this morning.
The roads are free.
Yesterday afternoon
I heard a woman
screaming at her neighbour's daughter:
Leave the street, get inside, where is your mother? If everyone starts running, where will you go? Hurry up, inside.

If everyone starts running?
To where? For what?

3pm. Yesterday.
Offices shut their doors.
Too early. It used to be 5pm, for some.
I could smell the fear in the air.
It still stinks.
It is like we are all waiting
for the dragon that will be unleashed
once the election results are announced.

The war may never come.
But still,
the roads are empty this morning.
Fear is a terrible state to be in.

This is not poetry.
This is not journalism.
Whatever it is,
Pray for Nigeria.
#NigeriaDecides
#NigeriaElections

Note:
The picture was taken last week. Army officers on their morning parade around Adeola Odeku. It has nothing to do with elections.