Saturday, February 07, 2015

Opportunity For Young Leaders: Satyagraha Institute Announces Nonviolence Training Program

Training Leaders in the Traditions of Nonviolence

Satyagraha Institute ( 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, Contact: Carl Kline, Program Coordinator Satyagraha Institute (605) 692-8465

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)


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

Monday, January 05, 2015

Activism In Nigeria And The Movie "Into The Woods"

Activism ac·tiv·ism\ˈak-ti-ˌvi-zəm\
: 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.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I Wish Us Well

It has been a great year of learning,
and dreaming.

there is room for growth.

I praise God for His faithfulness towards me and my family. For it is by His Mercy and Grace that we are still standing.

Dear friends,
May this Christmas be merry for you & your family.
And may the New Year usher in good tidings and joy, indescribable.
Ni agbara Jesu! Amin.

I appreciate everyone,
for the role you played in my life this year.
I appreciate me for still believing,
even when it rained on my parade.
My faith is strengthened,
I have a Wonderful Counsellor.

Is there any sick among us?
May you find complete healing this season.
May your oil of gladness not dry up.
May the hurting be restored,
and made whole.
May the lost come to themselves
like the prodigal son did,
and remember the way home.
May the cursed draw to Jesus Christ,
the original curse breaker.
Nothing is unredeemable, with Him.

Heaven wants to see a smile upon your face,
Every thing else matters not at all.


Live love!


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Edo Girls Who Rock: Isimeme Ejodame

With a passionate vision to build a society where there is effective communication between parents and daughters and help young girls know their rights, Isimeme Ejodame a graduate of Micro-biology at the University of Benin joined forces with her friend to set up the Young Girls' foundation (YGF), Nigeria in 2004. This young lady from Edo State who has been stereotyped by people who have the notion that young people from Edo state are either involved in Advanced fee fraud, popularly known as 419, Sex trafficking and drugs was one of the twenty youths selected by the British council to participate in the Belongings Project.

Perhaps, it was the desire to change the wrong perspective about Edo state that motivated Isimeme to participate in the British Council's Belongings Project, which brings together young people from different culture to broaden their international views and enable them to promote and communicate the relevance of their cultural experiences to others.

On how she heard about the programme, she said "I saw the advert in the newspaper and applied". Her application was short listed and she was afterwards invited for interview. The Belongings project brought together young people from different parts of Nigeria and U.K to live with for two weeks in Nigeria and another two weeks in U.K. This was to help the participants develop leadership skills while exploring culture and identity to promote intercultural dialogue and generate shared understanding between individuals and communities where they come from.

For Isimeme, not only has her leadership and networking skills been improved, the project has enabled her meet other young persons working for a positive change. She says she has been inspired by the experience. She commended the organisers of the programme, British Council and urged them to involve the government for sustainability. She also advised other Nigerian youths to discover their potentials and look for opportunities to bring out their best, "dream big, set goals and seek possibility". She added that young people need to read newspapers and shun the attitude of underestimating opportunities they find.

One of her British counterparts on the Belongings project, Bridget who works with Jump, a charity organisation in the U.K also said that the programme has helped her learn more things about herself. She explained that her time in Nigeria has given her boldness while watching her Nigerian counterparts' passionate commitment to strive towards leadership. However, she confessed that the way of life in Nigeria is not similar to what she is used to. Lack of electricity and water are some of the problems she faced during her stay in Nigeria. "Everyone in Lagos is so security conscious" she noted.

Steven Oguntoyinbo, another Nigerian participant from Ogun State went to the United Kingdom with a chewing stick and Adire material which were part of the items he displayed as unique things from his culture. For him, the project has ignited in him a desire to learn more about his heritage, culture and identity. "The experience has cleared the wrong perspective I use to have about British culture" he said.

Belongings is one of British council's five regional projects that together constitute Africa 2007, a three-year regional programme in East, West and Southern Africa. The Programme aims to explore notions of culture and identity to generate fresh ideas and create new understandings between individuals and communities in Africa and the U.K.

Category:Advocacy | Date:2007-12-30
Belongings Project empowers youths as change agents
By Jennifer Ehidiamen