We are so proud of Sandhya Acharya, a graduate of our Global Peace Women Leadership Academy! In January she shared her inspiring leadership journey at a global forum on peacebuilding and development.
The webinar, “Youth Social Enterprise Forum in Community Development,” was co-hosted by Global Peace Foundation, Global Peace Women, the Global Peace and Development Service Alliance and Blincventures. Hundreds of youth, educators, and partners from 16 countries joined the online forum on January 27.
The panel was a powerful cross-section of peacebuilding and youth enterprise stakeholders, including speakers from Brazil, Mongolia, the Philippines, Nepal, Kenya, and the United States who contributed to an energizing webinar full of hope and practical tools to encourage local action for global change.
Sandhya began her community engagement as a participant of GPW’s Leadership Academy in 2017. Her capstone project was the Family Values Campaign. Through public theater and open discussion, she created a non-violent, safe platform for women, families and communities to address hard issues like domestic violence, conflict mediation, and communication. The Family Values Forum Theater has raised awareness, facilitated education and encouraged change in attitudes and behaviors.
To date, the Forum Theatre project has reached more than 7,500 people and has trained around 35 women who have hosted 50 programs of their own in local communities. The program is continuing to train women leaders. Sandhya herself has taken the skills and confidence garnered through GPWLA to establish her own independent non-profit, Mahila Pahila, providing underserved women and girls with literacy and income generation training.
Other innovative models of community development and peacebuilding were highlighted on the panel. From Mongolia, Ganbat Gonchigsuren, President of GPF Mongolia, shared an initiative that has engaged local residents and young volunteers in joint projects to improve infrastructure, beautification, and community safety. Jocelyn Remigio, Director for Community Development for GPF Philippines, showcased the All Lights Village project, a program that encourages and supports locally-driven development starting with solar lights, community facilities, and livelihood projects, but has expanded to education access, sanitation and economic development. “Each member of the community becomes an agent for change,” said Ms. Remigio. From Kenya, Japheth Odhiambo Ouda, Environment Regional Coordinator for GPDSA, shared a case study of how community service has helped bring a divided community together and has supported local enterprise, including a collective community cooker to address waste and sanitation.
“We need to work with a collective mentality,” said Massimo Trombin, Director of Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Brazil. In Brazil they have worked as part of a national youth council body, Conjuve, to support youth enterprise and engagement. The collaborative efforts have supported the development of nearly 4,000 businesses.
We look forward to continuing to support and empower women in their leadership development as they turn their ideas into action. The creative, impactful initiatives of our graduates have truly inspired us and strengthens our commitment to women leadership development.
Special thanks goes to the forum organizers: Thryza Dow, moderator; Ingil Ra, President of GPY Korea and co-chair of GPDSA; and Nicholas Lee, Secretary General of GPDSA.