March 2015 Newsletter

It's been a long winter, but we finally see hints of spring as the light changes ever so slightly. And each day we see more than a hint of our work making a difference in the communities we partner with.

Watch a brief video overview of this newsletter: 

New Community Leaders Taking Root

Participants in one of the Gulu ESPERE Workshops.

GULU, UGANDA – In January and February, two new workshops were conducted in Uganda, using the ESPERE Methodology first developed by our colleagues in Colombia. These workshops catered to the specific needs of the local participants and served teachers, former abductees, young mothers, street children and those directly impacted by regional conflict. A full report with photos chronicling the unique partners, setting and community members in Gulu can be found within the full story here.

With program co-creator Lissette Mateus Roa overseeing the work, and Global Associate Denis Okello coordinating on the ground from Uganda, ESPERE is in a great place to continue its growth in this region and Denis reports that there are two upcoming workshops which will "draw on the human spirt, connect those looking to build a better future and prove that ESPERE's cornerstone concepts of forgiveness and reconciliation rise above the legacy of hate."


[quote]Each successful attendee of the Workshops will carry forward the accomplishments and lessons learned from their participation to benefit their communities at large. We have several more Workshops already underway."[/quote]

- Denis Okello, Goldin Institute Uganda


Concern Worldwide Honors Mimi Frankel

GI Advisory Board member Mimi Frankel (far right).

CHICAGO, USA – We had the honor of seeing our long-time Advisory Board member, Mimi Frankel, accept a Humanitarian award from Concern Worldwide. Mimi's outstanding accomplishments reflecting justice, compassion and generosity in her work and daily life were officially recognized at a Chicago event attended by several hundred supporters to social causes around the world. For us, it was a confirmation of what we have long known about Mimi: she is a woman who will bring all her energy and devotion to raising awareness for the issues she believes in, especially ones which allow women to lead in solutions to benefit their communities.

Brave Leadership for Peace

Dr. Anayatin coordinates relief efforts in Mindanao.

MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES – We can't say enough about the ongoing work of our Global Associate in the Philippines, Dr. Susana Anayatin. Despite recent increases in violence in Mindanao, she continues the struggle for peace in Mindanao and Susana leads by example in her daily life as a teacher, environmentalist and organizer for the peace movement.

Already several times this year Susana has reported on the personal impact of the conflict and loss of lives to colleagues and friends, but this only makes her redouble her efforts to the cause of peace. While the story begins to get the attention it deserves from the established press here in the west, we have known how important it is to tell the story from Susana's perspective - and we will continue to do this while supporting the important work making a difference in Mindanao.

Promoting Gender Equality at the UN

Colleague Michael Di Maria (far right) at the UN gender equality conference

NEW YORK, USA – Recently, our newest Advisory Board Member, Akif Irfan was in attendance at a United Nations event exploring the issue of gender equity amongst young people in developing countries. Akif skillfully connected our ongoing work in places like Haiti with the conference's themes, while building relationships with colleagues interested in the same leadership initiatives, like Michael Di Maria of the Lions Clubs International Foundation.

Haitian-American Connections

Elsie Hernandez - Founder and CEO of the Haitian American Museum of Chicago

CHICAGO, USA – We continue to find inspirational leaders in our own backyard and last month we were excited to interview Elsie Hernandez - the founder and CEO of the Haitian American Museum of Chicago (HAMOC). Elsie put her dream of building a museum on hold for over ten years while raising a family, but her determination and vision have paid off with the launch of the Haitian American Museum in Chicago. An entire community now has a voice and the city at large has a new museum that helps all Chicagoans understand and celebrate Haitian art and culture. Elsie is just the type of local leader with an international reach that we love to partner with and feature for others to learn from.

Next Newsletter

Watch our next newsletter for an exciting progress update from our partners around the world. Can't wait until the next newsletter? Get your Goldin Institute fix by jumping onto our Facebook Page for the latest news as it happens.

Srilatha Lakkaraju - Newletter Coordinator

Water on our Mind

Water Crisis Declared in Mindanao

Officials of Butuan City in restive Mindanao have declared an unprecedented "state of water crisis" after more than a month of severe water shortage that has affected the lives of the more than 200,000 residents.

As the story reports, this crisis was brought on by the last natural disaster that struck the southern Philippines in December, the tropical storm "Seniang."

Our own Global Associate, Dr. Susana Anayatin continues to bring clean water to residents and school children in the same region, by maintaining the water wells restored by the Goldin Institute in recent years. We will continue to monitor the official announcement from Butuan City with Susana and post up-to-date developments on how she and her community is being impacted by the current crisis. The interactive map demonstrating our work with Susana in the region can be viewed here

Clean Water Not Just an Issue in the Philippines

In Zambia, this recent story points out their own crisis. Over 5 million people are thought to be without clean drinking water. Directly from the piece, WaterAid country representative Fatoumata Haidara commented on the how this impacts Zambia:


[quote]A lack of sanitation is a public health issue as people are affected by their neighbours and communities' sanitation status as well as their own. The implications of not improving access to clean water and good sanitation will have a spiral effect on all the other sectors such as health and education."[/quote]


In a related story, a public health consultant furthers the case that sanitation efforts would lead to cleaner water on the African continent and cites the serious challenges that need to be addressed:  

Africa has the lowest water supply and sanitation coverage of any other region in the world. It is estimated that one in three Africans has no access to improved water or to sanitation facilities and the number of people lacking those basic services is increasing. The majority of those lacking basic services live in informal or suburban areas and rural communities. Unless actions are taken now, the absolute number of people lacking basic services will increase from 200 million in 2000 to 400 million in 2020.

New Standards Being Set - New Breakthroughs Being Made

The Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation or (JMP), recent research published online, recommends a new standard for how "we measure progress toward universal access," said Jamie Bartram, the Don and Jennifer Holzworth Distinguished Professor of environmental sciences and engineering at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and director of the Water Institute. "Drinking-water and sanitation are essential for good human health and the benefits are maximized when delivered at home." See more on this story here.

And in this recent editorial by a former U.S. policymaker and physician, Bill Frist speaks to 'clean water as a currency for peace' and why we should legislate towards helping achieve clean and safe water around the world:


[quote]In my own experiences as a physician regularly leading medical mission trips, I am constantly struck that providing medical assistance and public health services to others is interpreted as a currency of peace and ultimately as an aspect of public diplomacy. Our assistance to other nations in these areas seems to accelerate in impact when it provides tangible benefits to everyday people. The Water for the Poor Act has been proven."[/quote]


Finally, we found this story about a Haitian-American janitor at Princeton working singlehandedly to help bring clean water to his home village. Here is an excerpt from the full piece

water shortageAs a young boy growing up in La Source, Lajeunesse and his brother Chrismedonne would make the treacherous three-hour climb up and down the side of a mountain to reach a spring. It was the only way they could get clean water for their family. They watched as their fellow villagers got sick from drinking contaminated water from the river below or injured themselves climbing the mountain trying to do the same ... it was after the 2010 Earthquake that he would take action, and Lajeunesse raised $38,000 with students at Princeton to build the pipeline that would bring clean water to La Source. Raising the money was only the beginning. Building the pipeline would prove immensely challenging and take the strength of the entire village to accomplish. Yet eventually, it came to be.

Pope Francis and the Philippines

Pope Francis Supports the Peace Process in Mindanao

Although scheduling constraints prevented a direct visit to the Southern Philippines, Pope Francis made it clear that he endorses the ongoing peace process between the government and the Philippines' largest organized armed group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).  

This came as very good news to our Global Associate Dr. Susana Anayatin, who has made it her work as one of the region's premiere peace activists to build and connect communities in Mindanao wishing to end the decades-long conflict. 

His Holiness Pope Francis gives the Apostolic Blessing during the General Audience of senior Government Officials and members of the Diplomatic Corps at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañan Palace for the State Visit and Apostolic Journey to the Republic of the Philippines.<br>Photo Credit: Benhur Arcayan / Malacañang Photo Bureau

Despite recognition of the accomplishments and hopes for an ultimate end to the conflict, in recent days there has been an uptick in violence between the National Police (PNP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. This new outbreak in the southern province of Maguindanao, threatens passage of the Bangsamoro law, which many leaders feel would aid in bringing an end to the conflict. More on the current violence and the details of the law at jeopardy can be found here.

As always, we will continue to monitor the situation and provide insight from Dr. Anayatin directly.


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.

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