Saturday, July 04, 2015

New Level!


I started a new blog on medium.

One of the first posts on this blog went live on July 07, 2006. The reason for coming on blogger was to muse about anything and everything.

It soon evolved from being a journal of a young woman looking for her place in the world into an advocacy channel. Between January 2007 and January 2012, articles were cross-posted from "Dis Generation," my weekly youth-focused column in the Nation newspaper, one of Nigeria's national newspapers.

With  257,083 pageviews - 651 posts, - 70 followers, this blog and I have come a long way...traveled across the globe on free tickets because of the recognition it brought :-)

 Oh well. But we are to keep growing and help others up in the process!



Today, July 04 2015, I'm putting a close to this chapter of my life :-), to start something more beautiful, by the grace of God.

Please keep enjoying all the past articles on here... six hundred and fifty one in all. And the new ones coming on medium.

Thank you very much for all these years of keeping a tab on my works. Many thanks to the guest bloggers who occasionally came to my rescue when I had those writer's block...LOL... And YES! Thank you to my family, good friends, mentors and all those who believed in me and gave me a spot to stand on their shoulders.  I hope we'll keep inspiring one another.

Still on bloggerFaith & Books, Research and funny short stories.

What next? I'm at CSJ sharpening my ax! Grace to it, grace to it!

Why? "Remember: The duller the ax the harder the work; Use your head: The more brains, the less muscle."  Ecclesiastes 10:10 The Message (MSG)

Where to find me:

- Blog on MEDIUM

RURAL REPORTERS

- Faith

VOA

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

- OFFLINE - where exciting things still happen :-)


Shalom!

JE

great oaks grow from little acorns




31 - I Give thanks


If you refuse to tell ur story or share your testimony, others will do it for you. And most times, they don't tell it right! So always testify!!!

I give thanks:

I'm thankful for God's mercy, 
extravagant grace and love! 
I'm thankful for life.
I'm thankful for light.

I'm thankful for my lovely family,
and good friends.

I'm thankful for wisdom.

I'm thankful for every boy, girl,
man and woman,
Who invested in me,
and gave me a lift.
I'm thankful for the Klines.
I'm thankful for my Pastor,
the Church and gospel of Christ.

I'm thankful for the valleys that
has helped me grow stronger.

I'm thankful for Nigeria.

I'm thankful for #CSJ16.
I'm thankful for heartfelt love,
cheerful laughter and safe travels.
I'm thankful for provision and
protection so divine!

I'm thankful for beauty,
and patience.

I'm thankful for talent, 
opportunities and favour.

I'm thankful for you.
May you always find a reason
to give thanks too.

I'm thankful for the best,

which is to come.



Saturday, May 30, 2015

Tech and 2015 Elections in Nigeria


The recorded success of the 2015 elections have paved the way for future development of disruptive apps that will continue to re-define governance and foster citizens participation in Nigeria.

Is the country's socio-political ecosystem ready to maximize the opportunity, beyond political rhetoric?

Read my take on tech and 2015 Nigeria elections:



Moving forward, Nigeria!


Friday, May 29, 2015

On Our Road To Change: Give Room For Others To Fail...Forward!

On my way to work the other day, I boarded one of the red BRT (Lagbus) to CMS. If you are familiar with this route, you will notice that there is a new development in their modus operandi. To cut the long story short, we now have new air-conditioned Lag buses. Commuters pay a few naira extra for the comfort (the fare for non air conditioned buses are cheaper).

Unlike the old lag buses, these new ones are of a different model-- and somewhat smaller too.

The first week they started operating, there was a lot of drama. I remember on one occasion some passengers started shouting at the driver for allowing the bus to jerk each time he changed the gear. It was so bad that a lady called the customer service to lay a complaint, "it is either your buses are bad or your drivers don't know how to drive them yet," she said to the other person on the line. I didn't dare look back to see the expression on her face as she made her call through.

Jerk, bump, change in motion, jerk.

"Driver I beg take am easy o." Some of us called out.

I am not sure why the passengers were so panicked. But in retrospect, it could just be that we were all responding to the change in the system differently.

Although the buses were brand new and quite comfortable, we didn't trust the drivers or authenticity of the system (the vehicles).

Some of the passengers were quick to propose that the driver in question be replaced immediately.

I travelled in more than one of these buses that week and realised that the technical difficulty we encountered the first day was not unique to the driver whom passengers complained about. Others faced the same challenge. They were not used to the way the buses worked and had to learn through the process. But us impatient passengers had expected immediate perfection.

Today, the buses still ply the route and the drivers have improved.

Change, as beautiful as it looks is sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes hard, sometimes bumpy.

Eventually, if we give ourselves enough room to fail, to jerk on the steering, to stagger through path while finding a solution-- if we are patient with ourselves to acknowledge the inadequacies of our team members and see how we each can provide support, complement one another as oppose to being quick to make a call through to the powers that be, then we will succeed.

Am I advocating for us to celebrate mediocrity? No.
Am I saying we should smile like everything is okay when those we entrust with the responsibility of driving us to safety and progress is pushing us overboard? No.
Of course we should raise our fist in protest. Of course we should speak up. Of course we should demand for accountability and request for a replacement if things don't improve for the better.

But-- before we raise our hands to cast the first stone-- before we launch that epic criticism, we should first make sure we are not being unrealistic with our demands. It is okay for the bus to jerk and make us uncomfortable on the first ride.

Let us not set ourself up for failure by expecting an overnight change. It takes process...

Happy Democracy Day Nigeria!

God bless Nigeria.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Satyagraha Institute: Summer Training For The Next Generation Of Global Leaders

Our world suffers for lack of leaders rooted in the traditions of nonviolence.
When conflicts arise, many leaders teach us to wield threats, coercion, and harm.When unfamiliar perspectives disturb, many leaders rally us to certainty and defensiveness. When decisions must be made, many leaders encourage us to value self-interest, immediacy, and possession. As we follow these guides, the fabric of our community weakens, and life becomes more difficult for ourselves and others.

Satyagraha Institute works to create a different future by training leaders in the traditions of nonviolence.


As August draws near, we are excited about the growing group of participants that will join together in the Black Hills in August! To make the Institute a success, we can use your help in three ways.

1. Please "like" the new Satyagraha Institute Facebook page. And help spread the word. Thanks!

2. Recommend the training to anyone in your community who would benefit from the opportunity to develop the skills, understanding, and heart of nonviolence. Encourage them to apply.

3. Donate to help us hit our budget milestone as all-volunteer administration devote more time to the final preparations for the program. See our website for ways to make a donation.

If you have any questions, or if you would like to chat about the possibility of attending the Institute, please email or call us.


Happening this summer!
Satyagraha Institute provides leaders interested in nonviolent social change an opportunity to deepen their understanding, skills, commitment, and community. This year's institute will be held August 4-18 in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The total cost of this fourteen-day program is $700. This fee includes meals, lodging, and program. For those who cannot attend the entire program, early departure on August 14 is an option, with a reduced fee of $500.

Application deadline is June 28. Space is limited, so early application is encouraged. Please see our website for details.

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 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.


Please feel free to share! 

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.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

MSF Launches Global Women's Health Multimedia Feature

"Because Tomorrow Needs Her" Explores Multiple Health Challenges Affecting Women

[Press Release] - In advance of International Women's Day on March 8, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) today launched Because Tomorrow Needs Her, a multimedia initiative focused on improving access to women's health care worldwide.
In videos, photos, and stories of patients and medical workers, Because Tomorrow Needs Her, calls attention to the shocking loss of women's lives in many of the countries where MSF works.  Every day, approximately 800 women and girls die of preventable complications in pregnancy and childbirth.
"It is unconscionable that in many parts of the world today, women have no access to quality obstetric care, when providing it is not complicated," said Séverine Caluwaerts, an MSF obstetrician/gynecologist. "High impact, yet low-cost interventions by trained health staff can have a dramatic impact on maternal mortality."
To cite one example: In 2012, MSF initiated ambulance referral systems in parts of Burundi and Sierra Leone. These countries have some of the world's highest rates of maternal mortality and feature very few hospitals or qualified medical workers. However, once women experiencing complications in childbirth could take an ambulance to a hospital with trained staff, where services such as surgery and blood transfusions were available, the maternal mortality rate in the districts dropped by more than 60 percent.
Because Tomorrow Needs Her bears witness to the barriers that women and girls face in seeking essential medical care in many communities where MSF works, whether they are due to poverty, conflict or cultural norms.
Photographers Martina Bacigalupo, Patrick Farrell, Kate Geraghty and Sydelle Willow Smith captured images and videos of women in Burundi, Haiti, Malawi, and Papua New Guinea, working with MSF medical teams. Patients and medical workers wrote first-person reflections from the front lines of the crisis — such as villages and clinics in Afghanistan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone.
The specific health challenges that women face go far beyond childbirth. Because Tomorrow Needs Her also looks closely at MSF's experience with pre- and post-natal care, obstetric fistula, unsafe abortion, sexual violence, and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Obstetric fistula alone affects untold millions of women and girls and remains largely neglected. A consequence of prolonged, obstructed labor, an obstetric fistula is an opening between the vagina and the bladder or rectum, causing lifelong incontinence if left untreated.
Bacigalupo photographed women before, during and after surgery for obstetric fistula in Burundi, over the course of several months. Many of the women are isolated by society, forced to live separately or shunned by neighbors because of their incontinence.
"What struck me is the strength with which these women try to preserve their dignity, long before they meet any doctor who tells them it is possible to have a normal life," Bacigalupo said.
Because Tomorrow Needs Her also devotes a chapter to unsafe abortion, which is one of the top five causes of maternal mortality worldwide. Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Patrick Farrell documented the rise of abortions that are self-inflicted or performed by nonmedical personnel in Haiti, where laws prohibit the procedure and economic barriers prevent access to proper health care services. Such issues are not unique to Haiti, nor are the consequences.
"On a daily basis, MSF staff in hospitals and emergency rooms the world over see women and girls with complications from unsafe abortions …"  write Caluwaerts and Catrin Schulte-Hillen, who leads MSF's working group on reproductive health and sexual violence care. "They require immediate medical care, and sometimes surgical interventions and blood transfusions, to save their lives."
In total, MSF operates 131 projects worldwide that provide dedicated emergency obstetric services in areas where other health systems are nonexistent or are severely affected by conflict or neglect.
Bacigalupo and three MSF women's health experts — Caluwaerts, Schulte-Hillen and Africa Stewart (see bios below), will speak about the project in a March 4 panel discussion at Pace University in New York City. Journalist Nina Strochlic of The Daily Beast will moderate.  Admission is free but registration is required at www.pace.edu/tickets. The event, co-sponsored by Pace University's Student Government Association and the Pace University Rotaract Chapter, will also be webcast live at 7:30 p.m. EST, at doctorswithoutborders.org/tomorrowneedsherwebcast.
An exhibit of the photographers' work will be open to the public from March 4 to 10 at Pace University's Schimmel Center.
The full multimedia project, Because Tomorrow Needs Her, can be viewed online at womenshealth.msf.org.
Panelist bios:
Martina Bacigalupo studied photography at the London College of Communication. She lives in Burundi, where she works as a freelance photographer, often in collaboration with international NGOs. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Sunday Times Magazine, Le Monde, Vanity Fair, Esquire, Liberation, Internazionale, and has been shown in several international venues, including PARIS PHOTO 2013, UNSEEN, Amsterdam 2014, and AIPAD New York 2014. She won the Canon Female Photojournalist Award in 2010 and the Fnac Award for photographic creation in 2011.
Dr. Séverine Caluwaerts is a gynecologist-obstetrician and one of the referent gynecologists for MSF. Prior to joining MSF, she spent a year of her residency in South Africa where she cared for a large population of HIV-positive women. She has completed assignments for MSF in Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, Burundi, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. When she is not on mission, she works with HIV-positive pregnant women in Belgium and is involved in teaching medical students and midwives.
Catrin Schulte-Hillen has worked for MSF as a midwife, project coordinator and project manager in conflict and post-conflict contexts in Africa, Latin America, and the Balkans. She is the leader of MSF's reproductive health and sexual violence care working group. Prior to that, Schulte-Hillen was a program director for MSF-USA and worked for several years as a health advisor and consultant for MSF, the European Commission, and other NGOs. She is a licensed midwife and holds a Masters of Public Health, a license in applied epidemiology and statistics, and a degree in business administration.
Dr. Africa Stewart is a wife and mother of three who graduated with honors from The Johns Hopkins University. She completed her medical degree and residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Drexel University and Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia. Dr. Stewart joined MSF in 2011 and has completed assignments in Sudan, South Sudan and Nigeria. She is an outspoken supporter of women's rights and specializes in obstetric fistula prevention and repair.  She continues to serve her local communities with adolescent outreach and education.
###

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Opportunity For Young Leaders: Satyagraha Institute Announces Nonviolence Training Program

Training Leaders in the Traditions of Nonviolence

Satyagraha Institute (satyagrahainstitute.org) announces its first summer institute, to be held August 2 -22, 2015 in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The program will provide leaders interested in nonviolent social change an opportunity to deepen their understanding, skills, commitment, and community.

Mohandas Gandhi, who famously experimented with the possibilities of nonviolence, coined the Sanskrit term satyagraha, or truth-force, to identify a method of social change. 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.

The summer learning experience will be rooted in a course of study, the arts, community life, and the inner life. Resident faculty and a variety of visiting resource people will guide the exploration of nonviolence in the traditions of Mohandas Gandhi, indigenous spirituality and culture, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement, Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement, and various spiritual traditions. Training will also be provided in conflict prevention and tools for conflict resolution.

Faculty include: M.P. Mathai, a well-known Gandhian scholar from India; Darlene Pipeboy, a Dakota elder and pipe keeper; Amelia Parker, Executive Director of Peace Brigades International; Priscilla Prutzman, Executive Director of Creative Response to Conflict; Clare Hanrahan, an author and organizer with the New South Network of War Resisters; and Fernando Ferrara, founder Mesa de Paz in Mexico.

The institute is designed for leaders of groups, organizations, movements, and communities. The program also welcomes promising young people who are likely to be future leaders.

The application deadline is May 31, 2015. Space is limited, so early application is suggested. In order for this program to remain affordable, it relies heavily on donor contributions. Satyagraha Institute welcomes contributions via its website, satyagrahainstitute.org. Contact: Carl Kline, Program Coordinator Satyagraha Institute (605) 692-8465 carlek@mchsi.com info@satyagrahainstitute.org satyagrahainstitute.org




Sunday, February 01, 2015

How To Change The World...

"When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world."

- Unknown Monk (1100AD)

#Selah

Sunday, January 18, 2015

On Ideas Whose Time Has Come & Feminine Leadership - Jess Rimington

Here is to a productive week ahead!!

I hope you are inspired by these words of a beautiful leader and friend:


Jess, Ashima and Jen-- OWYP team- Disney World, Florida USA 2007

"Our dream came true and we proved something very important: independent of who you are or where you come from, independent of the world being in economic crisis, if you never give up, have a business plan that works, stick to your ethics, and have a strong culture, then a community, together, can birth an idea whose time has come." Jess Rimington, founder One World Youth Project.

"I have come to believe that at this particular moment in human history the world needs more feminine leadership, embodied in and demonstrated by both women and men. The art of feminine leadership is to give space so that the flame burns brighter, to witness so that there is safe space, to trust so that others trust themselves, to give power so that power multiplies, and to leave when the time to leave has come." Jess Rimington, Founder One World Youth Project.


Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Organizations In Nigeria: Host A Fellow For Short-term Africa-based Internship Program

Last year, the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, part of President Obama's Young African Leaders Initiative, brought 500 young leaders from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa to the U.S. for 6 weeks of leadership training, including 44 leaders from Nigeria.  USAID is supporting these Fellows after they return to Africa with one year of professional development opportunities, including an Africa-based internship program. 

IREX, a non-profit organization working with the U.S. State Department and USAID to implement the Mandela Washington Fellowship, is looking to identify hosts for short-term professional internships for these young leaders, who are between 25-35 years of age and come from diverse backgrounds.  Internships last between 2-6 months, and companies/organizations should commit to engaging Fellows on a substantive project for a mid-career professional during the internship.  If your organization is interested in hosting a Fellow for a professional internship, please email WFAlumni@irex.org.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Activism In Nigeria And The Movie "Into The Woods"

Activism ac·tiv·ism\ˈak-ti-ˌvi-zəm\
noun
: a doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue. (SOURCE: Merriam-Webster).

In Nigeria, I have seen a certain pattern of activistm- fist-pounding standing on the pedestal- screaming for change long enough until the change comes. But the change comes in form of a government appointment. And the activist's voice is blown into silence as he/she soon starts frolicking with the ideologies and acts that he/she once strongly fought against.

Activism is not for everyone. Infact, some people that like to label themselves as activists are not even one. Like me. I am not an activist. But I've been in the past labeled so because of my active participation in development sector. It sounded sexy at the time. But the older I get and the more it seems that the issues real activists have been strongly opposing are not even bulging. Or maybe they are, albeit in trickles.

We must give way and let the activists be activists.

Activism is not a game. If pursuing government appointment is the sole reason for wearing the badge of activism, then please get into the government and change things. Don't just get in and become praise-singers.

Should activists be partisans in the first place? Hunger and poverty is too much in Nigeria.

The movie, "Into the Woods," is a good one. It is a really funny movie (musicals) but somehow I managed to see Nigeria in it.

Two scenes stood out: The part where a woman and her blind daughters opted to run off and hide while others chose to stay and fight the giant. If I recall her words correctly, "Some people are cut out to fight giants...," she said and asked that they call her when the "war" was over... the other scene that stood out was the "the blame-game." This is very common in Nigeria. How did the giant come down? Who planted the seed that grew into a gigantic tree into the sky? Even though some benefitted from the circumstances that led to the event, everyone shared in the blame-game as they tried to find the culprit.

Oh well. It is a new year. In a few weeks, we'll be electing a new set of government leaders.

The world awaits.

Happy New Year Nigerians and fellow global citizens!

May our joy be full.