Fall 2014 Newsletter

It has been several weeks since we've given you an update on what we have been up to. Locally and abroad, much is moving forward and we are excited to share this newsletter with you!

Watch a brief video overview of this newsletter: 


As usual, there is much activity and progress in the Philippines. Access to safe drinking water continues to be a priority for our Global Associate Dr. Susana Anayatin as she and her team install safe water wells in the Mindanao region. We are excited about their progress and would like to share with you our new interactive map which illustrates completed and planned projects. Click on each completed project to get a snapshot of the many individuals who now have access to safe-water. This map dynamically changes as Susana and her team update the data and make plans to service new schools.

  The Goldin Institute Philippines have provided safe drinking water to over 24,000 students throughout Mindanao.  

As in many countries, one step forward can be met with many challenges to our progress. Recently, Cotabato City and the Maguindanao Province experienced severe storms that resulted in flooding. Over 15 villages are under-water and schools are faced with adversity as books, classrooms and facilities are damaged. Despite the flooding and difficult learning environment, students are motivated to learn and teachers are able to work around the challenges and teach strategically. To help provide direct support to the flooded region, please click here. All donations in the month of September will be dedicated to flood relief and are fully tax-deductible.

In addition to flood relief, Dr. Anayatin and her team remain focused on safe drinking water access and are motivated to keep the community united.On Sept. 12, 2014, J. Marquez Elementary School in partnership with the Department of Education, the Philippine Army and the Goldin Institute Philippines launched the Peace Consciousness Month and International Day of Peace with the theme "Nagkakaisang Bayan para sa Kapayapaan," translated to United People for Peace. The activity symbolically paralleled the recent peace process occurring between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Philippine Government. The activity promoted peace amidst a diverse student population and the Mindanao community. Students were instilled with the value of peace by engaging in various activities such as a peace poster contest and a peace jingle contest.


Go Grassroots!

Goldin Institute is excited to announce GoGrassroots, a Tumblr site created as an online forum for those working at the grassroots level. The site supports grassroots movements across the globe. Regardless of their involvement with the Goldin Institute, organizations are able to share ideas, peer review each other's work and learn from each other as grassroots movements continue to positively impact communities in need. Take a look at the site to learn about innovative grassroots work and the skilled leaders who are directing the initiatives.

gograssroots teaser

One innovative leader you may have recently seen on GoGrassroots is Brian Concannon, Executive Director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. The Goldin Institute partnered with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs to host a discussion featuring Brian and Fran Quigley, author of the new book How Human Rights Can Build Haiti. A key message Brian conveyed during the event was that effective change in Haiti begins with the work of those struggling within the country.


[quote]Invest from the bottom-up; those experiencing Haiti on the ground are the voices that know what is needed to help themselves and the country."[/quote]

- Brian Concannon, human rights attorney



GoGrassroots was the brainchild of our intern Alexis Smyser. Alexis has recently completed her 10-month internship with the Goldin Institute. Please join us in congratulating her on a successful completion of her internship. We thank Alexis for all the good work she has done for the Goldin Institute and wish her well on her next endeavor!


Co-founder Diane Goldin and Advisory Board member Mimi Frankel at the Chicago Council for Global Affairs

Next Newsletter

Keep an eye out for our next newsletter where we will highlight the continued work of the National Platform in Uganda.

As always, if you have suggestions of individuals who may want to receive this e-newsletter or stories you think we should tell, contact us at news@goldininstitute.org.

Spring 2014 Newsletter

Spring is making its way slowly toward the Goldin Institute's headquarters in Chicago. While seasonal change is in the air locally, systemic social change is underway at our global offices abroad. In this issue of the e-newsletter, we document the important work of our Global Associates. We are pleased to share these success stories from the field highlighting the positive, long-term changes underway, particularly in the Philippines and Colombia.

We invite you to take a look back at the first quarter of 2014 by viewing this short video overview of the newsletter.


The Goldin Institute's efforts to provide access to clean water in the Philippines have continued to develop through the hard work of our Global Associate Dr. Susana Anayatin and her team. As part of her ongoing efforts, the team completed the installation of a 20 cubic meter water depository at J Marquez Elementary School located in the armed conflict area near Cotabato City on February 5, 2014. While conservative in size, its impact on the 1,875 students, 50 teachers and immediate community of about 1,000 families is immeasurable.

philippinessplash2014.pngWorking in collaboration with school administrators, the military and community members, Dr. Anayatin deftly leveraged the unique strengths of each group to respond to the water needs of J. Marquez Elementary School. In the planning stages, Dr. Anayatin partnered with the residents and educational officials to cultivate community ownership and promote the water resource as an incentive for students to attend school. Considering the location of J Marquez Elementary School within the armed conflict area in Cotabato City, Dr. Anayatin also engaged in dialogue with all sides of the conflict, including the military, to utilize everyone's skills and resources. In a symbolic ceremony commemorating the installation, students participated in a water ceremony wherein they were sprinkled with water. Water scarcity has always caused the community to purchase water and use it sparingly. Viewed as a limited and expensive commodity, the students enjoyed the rare experience of using water for play and enjoyment.

kids impacted by stormAmidst the work to provide access to safe drinking water, a storm surge hit Dr. Anayatin’s home province of Maguindanao on January 18th and 19th. Responding to this local emergency, the Goldin Institute Philippines organized a relief operation known as Alay Pagamamahal, which translates to Love Offering. Within days after the storm, Dr. Anayatin and her team coordinated meal distribution, provided counseling and activities to children, clothing and other supplies for immediate relief. While the team utilized funds from an anonymous Goldin Institute donor, they also worked closely with local parishes, churches, regional government and the military to coordinate the distribution of scarce supplies. Currently, three months later, the team continues to restore what was lost by the powerful storm.


In Colombia, where ongoing civil conflict is a part of life, the Goldin Institute’s Global Associate, Lissette Mateus Roa and her team are working to create a peaceful coexistence between community members by leveraging Colombia's vast education system. Governmental changes every four years brings with it new educational priorities that public schools often struggle to adopt. Teachers and administrators drop current initiatives and quickly shift focus, resulting in a disjointed educational curriculum. These professional issues are often further complicated by the stress of working in a conflict zone. Struggling to deal with the personal and professional challenges, teachers and administrators often have conflict-laced interactions with each other and students. Observing the weak educational opportunities provided to students and the stark need for child soldier reintegration, Lissette developed a pilot project to help use curriculum and counseling to turn schools into centers for reintegration. The Pedagogy of Care and Reconciliation (PCR) project is currently running in three schools in Colombia in addition to ones in Mexico, Peru and the Dominican Republic.

IMG 0394The project utilizes the ESPERE methodology which focuses on forgiveness and reconciliation. Teachers participate in a 6-day workshop where 3 days are dedicated to forgiveness and 3 days are dedicated to reconciliation. Following the workshop, teachers engage in dialogue sessions for 6 months; discussing topics such as school rules, priorities in student education, current problems and alternative student punishments. The dialogue portion in particular provides a rare opportunity for teachers to voice their concerns and be heard. As changes are made at the top, the positive effects of peaceful coexistence and alternative solutions are visible at the bottom as evidenced in a recent encounter in the Dominican Republic. An older student in the Dominican Republic was bounced around to several schools; known as a troublemaker, his reputation preceded him, resulting in teachers unwilling to welcome him into their classroom. After getting to a school utilizing the ESPERE methodology, a teacher asked him to repay his past misdeeds by teaching primary school students. Teaching younger students as an alternative to going to the principal’s office brought out his compassion and self-control, which had not surfaced before.

Looking Forward

As the ESPERE methodology proves successful in the field sites, Lissette is preparing to extend the school-based training to our partners in Uganda this May, 2014. The team in Gulu is excited to adapt this model to work with former child soldiers and the community as they grapple with forgiveness and reconciliation.

Keep an eye out for more information about this project in the next newsletter.

Also watch the next e-newsletter for the latest news from the Grassroots Leadership Development project. The team is hard at work with our colleague Bliss Browne of Imagine Chicago to develop a course that will inform and inspire grassroots activists in leading community-driven initiatives worldwide.

If you have suggestions of individuals who may want to receive this e-newsletter or stories you think we should tell, please contact us at news@goldininstitute.org.