Anika Talent Show: Empowering Kenya's Youth for Environmental Education

Visual artists, dancers, poets, thespians, and vocalists between the ages of 14 and 25 were brought together in a lively event in Kenya promoting green skills and environmental justice, aligning with the International Youth Day 2023 theme.

This event was made possible by Nicholas Songora, 2021 Goldin Global Fellow from Kenya and Founding Director Manyatta Youth Entertainment, and his dedicated team behind organizing the Anika Talent Show in celebrating International Youth Day in Partnership with the Forum civ Eastern and Southern Africa hub under the Wajibu Wetu; Jumuika Sikika Program with collaboration from the private sector, religious leaders, persons with disabilities leadership, national and county governments.

Nicholas speaks more to the Goldin Institute about this activity and why it represents a movement that harnesses the power of art to drive change.

He believes that people together can create a sustainable world where everyone, through artivism, contributes to a brighter future. Already, he is leaving his mark on infusing positive change and possibilities among young people.

Nurturing the Youth as Change Agents for Environmental Issues

This gathering equipped young people with green skills and a profound understanding of environmental justice while utilizing the transformative potential of arts to foster sustainability in society.

Nicholas delves into how they incorporated sustainability and environmental justice in this event.

“The activity involved performances like dance and music that narrated stories of environmental struggles, resilience, and hope. These performances fostered empathy, understanding, and a sense of responsibility toward the planet. This was a powerful medium to raise awareness about environmental challenges.” - Nicholas Songora

He highlights that photographers pledged to vividly portray environmental issues, ecological beauty, and the consequences of unsustainable practices through art exhibitions.

From the interactive discussion, participants, including village elders, engaged in addressing climate change challenges. They shared personal experiences and ideas for climate action, including sustainable agriculture, waste management, and energy conservation.

Strengthening Community Work through Networking

Further, he expresses his gratitude to several collaborative partners who contributed to the success of the Anika Talent Show.

“As an organization, we prioritize a multi-sectorial approach in programs and project management. According to our strategic focus, one of our critical mandates is to create linkages and alliances with other like-minded organizations and institutions.”

Therefore, Nicholas adds building partnerships and collaborations places the organization at the center of decision-making tables at the county, regional, and national levels.

“This has fostered community ownership and has enhanced sustainability. We collaborate closely with the national and county governments, the private sector, and religious institutions. Also, we collaborate with youth, women, and persons with disabilities networks while forming part of the civil society leadership in Kenya's Coastal region.”

He sees collaboration as fostering cost efficiency and effectiveness, sustainability, and long-term impact accepted by the masses.

The Lasting Impact of the Goldin Institute Fellowship and Looking Forward

Nicholas acknowledges that he applied the key strategies learned from the Goldin Global Fellowship, from planning to executing the Anika Talent Show.

“Through design, we applied the concept of community asset mapping, which we learned during the Goldin Global Fellowship. In this step, we reflected on the available stakeholders at the grassroots and national levels.”

Further, he elaborates on how they divided into mapping the available resources and funding to support the initiative.

“Identifying potential collaborators was easy, including nominating young people to lead in the activity. Mapping of potential artists within the Anika Community Hub and inviting more from the community.”

Conclusively, drawing from his experience, Nicholas shares his advice with aspiring young people and how they can play a proactive role in their communities.

“The #YouthTribe is a powerful family with all it takes to change the existing narrative and achieve a green economy as a global identity.” he says.

“In most countries, youth form the largest percentage of the population; for example, in my country, Kenya, we are approximately 80% of the population but cannot make a difference if we keep working in isolation. We must unify our voices, be counted, and influence our way to the decision-making table through dialogue and collaboration.”

He draws our attention to the fact that youth cannot win by competing or fighting other stakeholders but by embracing the unity of purpose and fostering collaboration.

Nicholas calls youth to “rise and start building partnerships and networks with multi-stakeholders.”

Kenya-based GATHER Fellow Empowers Women

Kenya-based GATHER alumnus Mariam Ali Famau has a special activity planned for International Women’s Day on March 8. Mariam lives and works in Majengo, an impoverished but resilient community on the outskirts of Nairobi, where she has launched many innovative projects designed to empower women who are at risk for recruitment into violent foreign extremist organizations.

In recent months, Mariam worked closely with Arigatou International, a longtime partner of the Goldin Institute, to recruit more than 110 women and girls for “Women of Faith in Action: Building Family Resilience.” Hosted by Arigatou International and the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, “Women of Faith in Action” provided participants in Nairobi and Mombasa with practical training in entrepreneurship and the other aspects of business development. Women in Majengo and similar communities face dire poverty and a lack of opportunity that leave them vulnerable to enticements from foreign terrorists based in nearby Somalia. Christians as well as Muslims are at risk for radicalization because of their economic desperation.

Mariam is a single mother with limited resources, but she is deeply committed to changing the lives of the young women she works with. Her efforts are always inter-generational, reaching both children and adults, and she regularly draws large groups to her gatherings.

“We want to have an impact on our community,” she said in a recent phone interview.

To support the women who have already completed the training programs and are starting their businesses, Mariam is launching an open consultancy that will provide advanced guidance and other services. One group of former graduates are opening a car wash, and Mariam has already helped them open bank accounts, and write a business plan.

“Women washing cars – it’s unique,” she said. “It hasn’t been seen in the whole country.”

As the first enterprise of this kind to be created by women, Mariam is certain the car wash will make a big impact. But three other groups have opened accounts, and two others have written business plans. The consultancy will grow along with these businesses and as more women are inspired to try to realize their financial dreams.

“Our first priority will be transparency,” she explained.

Mariam has big plans for International Women’s Day on March 8, when she and other volunteers will visit an area orphanage. The orphanage houses both Christian and Muslim children who have lost their parents through a variety of circumstances, and Mariam plans on donating clothing and hosting a sizeable feast. As always, the need is greater than the funds she has available, but Mariam trusts that she will find what she needs.

“Instead of celebrating, we will do a visit to the nearby orphans,” she said.

Global Fellows Meet in Kenya

By Geoffrey Waringa, Goldin Global Fellow, Kenya

On Feb 3rd, 4th and 5th, GATHER global alumni from Uganda Miss Diana Alaroker and Geoffrey Omony of Youth Leaders for Restoration and Development (YOLRED), the first organization designed and run by former child soldiers, attended an Anti-Slavery Knowledge Network workshop in Nairobi, Kenya.

During the workshop, they made time to link up with me, GATHER Global alumni from Kenya Mr. Jeff Waringa, and it was a very joyful meet-up for people who have virtually know each other for more than a year but never met physically.

The three of us had very fruitful discussions centered on the possibility of working together on a regional scale. We noted the challenges of real time communication with all GATHER fellows from the East African region due to engagements and access to online communications amongst them. However, we made a commitment to start the conversation and get something going that the rest of the East African fellows could join later.

They made arrangements for a further meeting the next day which was the Ugandans’ day of departing. They made time to meet in between other meetings and on the ride to the airport. On the last day, they visited Goldin institute’s partners Arigatou Kenya offices in Nairobi, where they also had very pleasant discussions with Dr. Dorcas Kiplagat about the YOLRED projects in Uganda. Dorcas and I also had a pleasant meeting, and I updated her on my work in Kenya and the challenges I’m facing in combating the wave of violent extremist radicalization on the Kenyan coast.

The meetings ended well and commitments were made to remain in constant communication towards further collaborations.

Youth Leaders from East Africa Tackle Violent Extremist Recruitment

East African communities have been struggling to respond to the rise in the recruitment of children into armed conflict by a range of violent extremist groups. In Kenya, the September 2013 attack on the Westgate mall by Al-Shabaab left over 67 dead and 175 injured echoed the terror of the bombing of the U.S. Embassy on Nairobi by Al-Qaeda-aligned terrorists in 1998.  Between 2012-2014, Kenyan National Police tallied 312 people killed and 779 wounded in terrorist attacks according to Human Rights Watch. Extremist violence has increasingly become a security priority for the Kenya goverment and a deepening concern in Kenya’s civil society, especially as extremist groups are actively recruiting vulnerable youth for missions inside East Africa, in conflicts like Syria and even further abroad.

To address the issue of countering violent extremism and minimizing the risk of youth being radicalized, the “Regional Youth Forum on Countering Violent Extremism: Deepening Cooperation in Combatting Violent Extremism” (CVE) occurred from August 29-31, in Nairobi, Kenya. The training was part of a five-year “Regional Peace Programme” to foster unity and collaboration with regional youth and a wide variety of youth-focused organizations. Along with Arigatou International, the Goldin Institute hosted the gathering with Norwegian Church Aid, the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC), the National Counter Terrorism Centre, Somali Family Services, icco Cooperation, and BRAVE in mobilizing young people to engage in a shared dialogue toward finding concrete steps to achieve lasting solutions.


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It is widely understood, and recognized, that generally young people comprise the population most vulnerable to extremist recruitment due to factors such as unemployment, housing instability and insecurity, hunger, low educational opportunities, social disconnection, as well as individualized, internal factors including trauma. Consequently, the primary drivers of the forum were fifty young people from Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Ethiopia supported by members of regional and international NGOs (non-governmental organizations) who attended.

DORCASCRAVE2016“One of the take-aways from the youth participants was that women and children are quite involved in the radicalization,” notes Dr. Dorcas Kiplagat, Network and Programs Manager for GNRC and former Goldin Institute Global Associate. “The understanding of violent extremism needs to be deepened with more people actually knowing about the process of radicalization. The Kenyan government is doing much, but people are complaining that the government isn't doing enough. There needs to be organization and education on what’s happening. The partnerships between government and civil stakeholders needs to be deepened, as well.”

A worry for Dr. Kiplagat is that too often conversations about countering violent extremism don’t occur strategically, nor with regularity. For the most part, they’re high-level conversations which rarely engage the grassroots community which isn’t given the opportunity share thee on-the-ground perspective. This meeting in September was an important step in embedding these conversations within a credible, regional strategy.

“There needs to be greater opportunity for dialogue,” she notes. ‘We identify those involved in the extremist campaigns, but many times we don't empower them with knowledge and skills to resist. There is no one answer. It is the marginalized regions that are behind in terms of economic development. Young people in those situations feel excluded, and vulnerable. We can say religion is a main drive, but it's not. Christians have been attacked here in Kenya, but then we see Muslims coming to the defense of Christians, so it can't be blamed on that.”

By the forum’s end, youth participants and host organizations developed solid commitments and concrete plans of action for work in their home communities throughout East Africa. These included, among others: consistent engagement with youth; keeping a gender-lens on the radicalization of young people; identifying and working with the appropriate government section(s) addressing violent extremism; increasing employment opportunities and sustainability for individuals at-risk of recruitment; and, interfaith dialogue and mobilization being activated on the programmatic level.

ICCO Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation) representative Angeline Nguedjeu made the closing remarks on the final day of the forum, recognizing that its realization was for indeed a “vision,” but that short and long-term goals to achieve were important to establish as soon as possible.

Download the full report

East Africa Update

Our Leadership Team Makes New Alliances and Reaffirms Existing Ones in our Work to End the Use of Child Soldiers in East Africa

This Fall provided ideal timing for our co-founders to shore-up important project work in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

In late September, Travis and Diane journeyed to East Africa for several important regional events – allowing for follow-up to our ongoing child soldier reintegration efforts, while making inroads to support new initiatives.

Along the way, Travis and Diane were able to meet-up with some old friends of the Institute, re-establishing ties with some of the folks who took part in our earliest 'grassroots partnerships.'

What Took our Leadership Team to Kenya and Rwanda

Beginning with our work in Colombia in 2007, the Goldin Institute has spent several years working on the issue of Child Soldier Reintegration. What started as a National Partnership in that same year to engage Colombia's social, private and public sector agencies to prevent the victimization of vulnerable young people in armed conflict, has expanded in most recent years to include the ESPERE project throughout Latin America and the successful sharing of the methodology with our newest partners in Eastern Africa.

An Opportunity to Stop the Recruitment and Abduction of Child Combatants

As our work in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda has been focused on helping young people avoid recruitment into violent extremist groups, particularly Al-Shabab, Diane and Travis traveled to Africa for an important opportunity to stop the recruitment (and in some cases abduction) from happening in the first place. This new project has two primary elements – a youth leadership development component named the Youth Peace Ambassadors and the public solidarity element named CRAVE: Community Resistance to Violent Extremism. The Goldin Institute is partnering with an established organization already on the ground, known as Peaceful Innovation. Through this partnership we are focusing on the areas from which local extremist group Al-Shabab has done heavy recruiting – the Mombasa Coast, "slum" areas in Kenya and the refugee and IDP camps in Rwanda. Peaceful Innovation offers the youth who are being targeted by Al-Shabab an effective mixture of counseling, peer groups, and job training with the end goal of reducing the number of viable recruits for Al-Shabab, thus, reducing their size and acts of extreme violence.

The Official Launch of Alone and Frightened - Former Child Soldiers Get to Tell Their Own Story

Over the years, the Goldin Institute has worked with Arigatou International and the Global Network of Religions for Children to research, document, and analyze the experiences and challenges of former child soldiers to develop appropriate programs for their reintegration. The culmination of the research was released in the report Alone and Frightened: Experiential Stories of Former Child Soldiers on Improving Reintegration. While the report was published in 2014, the official launch occurred while Travis and Diane were in Kenya. Our colleague and former Global Associate Dr. Dorcas Kiplagat, was instrumental in both the research done in bringing together the child soldiers to tell their stories in Alone and Frightened and in bringing it to print, so it was fitting that Dr. Kiplagat was so involved in the official launch ceremony. To that end, Dorcas has shared this full report of September's Events.

We remain encouraged to see that with the expansion of our child soldier work into new regions and with new partners, we get closer to participating in an effort that ends the recruitment of child soldiers. To learn more and become more involved, please follow this link.  

Poignant Child Soldier Stories Connect with Wider Audience

In our own efforts to try and get the word out about the plight of child soldiers, and the progress that is being made towards former young combatants we work with in returning to civil society – we're always interested in new ways to connect with those who wish to help.

Visiting our website, you will find the personal stories of those involved in bringing attention to the issue, while they also work on sustainable and proven ways to create positive change in their communities, so that fomer child soldiers have opportunites for positive change in their own lives. Whether bringing you the ongoing project work we are doing in Colombia and Latin America with our two associates Lissette and Fr. Leonel, or updating you on the expansion of the successful national platform we helped develop with our colleagues on the ground in Uganda, we continue to explore ways to make a difficult story to tell, more compelling and personal to those who wish to make a difference by knowing the stories.    

With that in mind, we are excited about a 'retelling' and fresh way of letting you know about our work in child soldier reintegration. In coming weeks, we'll look at ways to adapt a more personal approach to feature some of the key voices that have inspired us to stay committed to the issue.

Until then, we invite you to view the work by someone who is already telling the ordeal of the child soldier in a new way. With interactive storytelling, Marc Ellison and his graphic novel style communicates the plight of several former female child soldiers, but still conveys the hopefullness of those having the courage to tell their story. Ellison's work is featured in this profile story. A link depicting the story of one of the former child soldiers (Christine) is at Ellison's site

Image from Christine's Story.<br>Photo Credit: Marc Ellison


Colombia Brings Reconciliation Methods to Uganda

In the tradition of the Goldin Institute's Forgiveness and Reconciliation Project, and utilizing the ESPERE methodology developed with our colleagues in Colombia, our efforts towards building child soldier reintegration continues throughout Northern Uganda. 

As our Global Associate on the ground in Uganda (Denis Okello) recently reported to us in this summary paper, both Kitgum and Amuru districts have suffered greatly from armed violence and conflict. The instability in the area results in the ongoing recruitment and coercion of countless adults and children into the rebel forces. As Denis tells it, "in some way or capacity, each and every household in Northern Uganda has suffered the direct effects of the conflict in terms of abduction, death, displacement, poverty or illness." Against this backdrop, both districts serve as ideal communities to workshop the methods of ESPERE, bringing effective training to those within the community wishing to cope with the effects of war – and also those hoping to better their lives.

group photo workshopIn the Kitgum District, Denis' report focused on a workshop conducted specifically for secondary and vocational school teachers. Here, educators could be equipped with the knowledge and skills on the process of forgiveness and reconciliation in order for them to effectively respond to the needs of their students who have been directly impacted by the civil war that they have grown up in.

In the Amuru District, Denis overviewed the specific training to former child combatants, young mothers, and orphaned young adults of the conflict who have been left to become the 'heads' of their households. Denis provided the history and background, and explained that within Amuru, the sub-county of Pabbo was one of the first and largest camps for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) during the LRA War between 1986 and 2006. After the end of hostilities in 2006, the displaced persons, former combatants, victims of atrocities and children born from captivity within the LRA, flooded back to many parts of Pabbo. It is important to point out that Denis and his own family have been impacted by the conflict's history and because of his training directly from our Global Associate Lissette Mateus Roa, was uniquely qualified to be one of the three facilitators of Amuru Workshop.

Workshops Follow Ongoing Committment to the Issue of Child Soldiers

The trainings held by Denis and his team on the ground in both Kitgum and Amuru Districts, would not have been possible without prior research conducted in Northern Uganda with former child soldiers. Released late last year, we published the guide, Alone and Frightened, to provide first-hand accounts and experiential stories of former child soldiers affected by the brutal war pitting the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) against the Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF). Our extensive research with our partners in the region (including our former Global Associate from Kenya, Dr. Dorcas Kipligat, who served as the Project Coordinator to the report), provides an ongoing resource guide to all new workshops being conducted in Africa. 

Readers familiar with the origins of the ESPERE methodology, will remember that it is made up several modules reinforcing the two phases of forgiveness and reconciliation. A link to an early version of what this looked liked as it was piloted in Colombia can be found here. The slideshow that we have put together at the end of this story is remarkable in the consistencies between the exercises in Latin America and those taking place to make up the workshops in Uganda.

We are excited to see from the expansion of the project from Latin America to East Africa, how in spite of the cultural, ethnic and societal differences between two unique continents and their people, the methods being shared for forgiveness and reconciliation are held in common. What we are learning in facilitating these trainings is the universal nature of how most all people impacted by conflict have the capacity to embrace these methods. Please follow along in the narrative slideshow below to see this happening in Kitgum and Amuru. 

Arigatou Fights Child Poverty

GI Partner organization Arigatou International offers real-life solutions to fighting child poverty

We are proud of our history working on behalf of children with the organization Arigatou International. Our longtime partner and director of Arigatou, Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali, is excited to share the latest yearbook chronicling their work in bringing communities together to eradicate childhood poverty in regions of the world where it often doesn't get the attention it deserves. For Mustafa, this work continues his mission to build better futures for children as an internationally recognized peace activist. 

Arigatou's model for addressing the issue, lies in combating child poverty through interfaith-advocacy and lobbying efforts. In 2012, they began the campaign End Child Poverty, which focuses on a multi-faith, child-centered initiative mobilizing faith-inspired resources to end child poverty. Since that time, religious leaders, international organizations and grassroots child rights workers have adopted the framework developed by Arigatou.

This 2014-15 year book, details the principles, initiatives, success stories and campaign activities in places like Colombia, the DRCongo, Kenya and India. Download the full report, which includes photos and highlights of the past year and the goals for the future, as Arigatou and its partners expand to reach more children in need.  


[quote]It is unlikely that governments alone, even while acting through bilateral and multilateral arrangements, can match the mission of the broad-based effort that is required to eradicate poverty. Any effort to stamp out poverty must re- sult in a broad coalition between governments, multilateral organizations, civil society and faith-inspired organizations."[/quote]

- Prof. Abdulghafur El-Busaidy, the Chairperson of Arigatou International Nairobi


-Above banner image: Children directly impacted by the work of Arigatou International and the ongoing End Child Poverty campaign.
Photo Credit: Arigatou International

Conflict Minerals: Impact and Hope

This week we turn our attention to stories that our project work has us personally vested in: the human rights toll of 'conflict minerals' in the DRCongo and how best to reintegrate child soldiers into civil society after they have paid the price in the name of these minerals. 

Here in Chicago, not far from our offices, we were able to take in this exhibit featuring the work of photographer Marcus Bleasdale. In this show, Bleasdale has used his powerful skills behind the camera to document the human costs of protecting mines for the corporate-interests of their owners, in the provinces of eastern Congo.  

As we learned at the exhibit, this part of the Congo is especially rich in gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten essential to manufacturing cell phones, laptops, digital cameras and other electronics in high demand by world markets. In the early 2000s, militias took advantage of the soaring mineral prices and staked out profits from their extraction - often by violent means. Bleasdale's work tells the story in photos and if you are in the Chicago area, we highly recommend seeing it for yourself. Short of that, this link will take you to the photographs featured in the exhibit. 

Related, and offering hope to the many caught up in the violence fueled by the minerals, are plans like this being implemented in the DRC. The kind of real training to former child soldiers outlined in the report, goes beyond just putting the issue in the news - the government's pledge and partnerships with international stakeholders takes a long view towards both ending the use of child soldiers and making sure that former combatants have skills and societal acceptance once they retire their firearms once and for all.

Viewing Bleasdale's exhibit and hearing the news of forward-thinking programs addressing the issue of child soldiers in this part of the world, reminds us that change is possible from the kind of long-term partnerships between local and international organizations. We are proud that our own work in Uganda and Kenya in helping establish National protocols and platforms, has proven to be mirrored by others working towards the same end. 

Associate Alexis Smyser attends the Conflict Mineral Exhibit in Chicago

June 2015 Newsletter

Inspiration in the face of adversity is the common thread weaving throughout this month's newsletter as we share with you updates from around the globe including stories of heroic work by strong female leaders, breaking boundaries to strengthen societies and the dynamic possibilities of leveraging technology to promote grassroots partnerships for global change.

Watch a brief video overview of this newsletter: 


We recently caught up with Global Associate Malya Villard, although not in Haiti running KOFAVIV as you would normally expect to see her, but in Philadelphia. Due to death threats against her for her public role in fighting for justice for victims of sexual and gender-based violence, Malya has been forced to temporarily continue her important work from the US while she applies for asylum. We are excited to share this interview with Malya where she speaks passionately and courageously about her work.

A quick update of KOFAVIV's work over the past two months reveals that twenty-five trained male agents continue to work in high risk areas to prevent violence and provide support when women are attacked. In addition, the organization's call center is up and running. As a testament to its importance, within the 15 day period of April 15 to April 30 the center received 153 calls, two from victims of sexual violence, 104 calls for information and 47 calls for advice. Malya and the KOFAVIV staff will continue despite constant threats to ensure the safety of those in their community and a brighter future for Haiti.

Community Leadership Course

Inspiration and an update on the work in Haiti was only one piece of our conversation with Malya. We were pleased to continue the interview with Malya to hear her experience, wisdom and knowledge of strategic community organizing when resources are scarce and the work can be dangerous.

Through our interview, we took the lessons and insights Malya shared with us and are working to shape them into a case study for a new pilot Community Leadership course we are developing. Over the past several months the Goldin Institute has been working with the Danish Design School KaosPilots and a growing network of partners to develop a course designed to support global community driven social change.

In early May, the Goldin Institute hosted the KaosPilots team at our offices as they helped design and develop this virtual classroom, workshop and think tank. Structured as a series of modules to explore community-driven social change, a set of participants from around the globe will take a 12 week course together online. The term "together" is crucial as participants will explore topics such as leading adaptive change, asset based engagement and mobilizing community resources through a curriculum that values shared learning and the local knowledge of each course member. Participants take what is learned from the module, implement it in their own community and reconvene through the app to discuss their lessons learned and share best practices and principles. Look for an announcement on how to apply for this groundbreaking course in upcoming newsletters!


Adversity takes the form of growing violent unrest in the Philippines. The Mindanao region where our global Associate Dr. Susana Anayatin is located has suffered from ongoing conflict for many years but the violence and displacement has increased greatly since January when Philippines Special Forces conducted a raid in Tukanalipao. Sadly, the aftermath of the raid has combined with clashes between local groups leading to a dramatic increase in violence as well as tens of thousands of displaced families. Further, tensions with the Government of the Philippines as well as disagreements within the negotiating partners are threatening to derail the ongoing peace process aimed at solving the crisis in Mindanao through a negotiated settlement granting greater autonomy and development to the region.

Despite the conflict, Susana and her team are moving forward and have brought the number of schools in the region with newly installed access to safe drinking water up to 98. As part of her continuing work to promote sustainability and ecological preservation, Susana led a series of trainings on Environmental Protection and Cultural Sensitivity to over 129 soldiers of the 61D Division Training School in the Philippine Army in honor of Earth Day celebrations.

Susana's partnership with the local communities throughout Mindanao has made possible a fragile but significant collaboration between the Philippine army and rebel groups which continues to bring clean water to schools and communities across the Mindanao region despite the increased tensions in the region. Both rebel and military leaders have declared that bringing life-saving clean water access to the schools in the region through this project is a way to "win the peace" rather than fight the war.


Time and time again we have been exposed to the disturbing reality of youth participation in militant violence. Parents in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Somalia have called for assistance in addressing the growing threat of their children being recruited or forced to join Al-Shabaab and other armed militant groups.

The Goldin Institute and Arigatou International are expanding our partnership to address this problem of child recruitment. On January 14 and 15, twenty-four leaders from local grassroots initiatives gathered together for a workshop to discuss strategies for Countering Violent Extremism. The discussion was robust and varied, beginning with an identification of what makes communities vulnerable to violent extremism and ending with a commitment to support a youth-led peace ambassadors program. For more information, you can read the full report Countering Violent Extremism workshops here.

Watch our next newsletter for more information on the Community Leadership Course as well as some exciting additions to our growing team from Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar!

Until next time, remember that you can get the latest news as it happens by joining our online community at Facebook and Twitter.