Alumni TIES Democracy Summit Small Grant Projects

Alumni TIES
8 min readJul 12, 2023

Congratulations to the awardees from the Alumni TIES Democracy Summit small grant competition! The grantees’ community projects focus on topics discussed during the November 2022 Alumni TIES seminar on “Youth and Opportunity: Defending Democracy and Advancing Human Rights” in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. These small grant projects will take place in countries around the world, with project activities concluding by May 2024.

Breaking the Fear to Defeat Backstreet Abortions “Mwasi Pe Elenge Boboya Yango” aims contribute to the improvement of the policy, the legal environment, and community engagement for equitable access to reproductive health care, including safe abortion in Kinshasa, DRC. Through capacity development trainings, the project team aims to improve the knowledge and strengthen the capacity commitment of women and young girls on Protocol to the African Charter on Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women (Maputo Protocol). Men, women, young girls, and boys will engage in intergenerational dialogues in the Commune of Masina in Kinshasa, DRC. The project team will also implement an advocacy campaign to endorse a bill at the provincial level to a Provincial Deputy for a “Provincial Edit,” a law at the provincial level which will give women and girls the right and access to safe abortion without any discrimination. The project will directly benefit 120 women and girls from the Commune of Masina in Kinshasa, DRC. Project Leader: Nora Ipanga Toakila, Democratic Republic of the Congo, YALI Regional Leadership Center, Senegal, 2018

Orienting Young Leaders on Democracy and Anti-Corruption focuses on orienting youth leaders on the issue of trust as an inherent underpin of Leadership in a Democracy, and as an Anti-Corruption tool. In a democracy, leadership is a position of trust held on behalf of the people. Leaders therefore have an obligation to involve their constituents in decision-making via participatory governance and to make decisions in the interest of the people rather than their own parochial interest. The project seeks to contribute towards reversing ‘democracy bashing’ and the culture of impunity-driven corruption in Ghana by targeting young leaders for training in democratic governance and anti-corruption via an already active online education platform (https://oylportal.com/) that is funded by the U.S. Government. This project also supports the addition of a module on “Accountable and Transparent Leadership” within the anti-corruption module suite on the program website: https://oylportal.com/. The beneficiaries of these activities will be youth leaders from schools, religious organizations, and communities across Ghana. The activities are intended to sensitize these leaders to inculcate the values of democratic governance (and anti-corruption) and exhibit these values in their stewardship of youth groups. The expected outcome is increased democratic governance traits and anti-corruption activities among youth leaders. Project Leader: Bright Kwadwo Sowu, Ghana, Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (YALI), 2017

Jèn Fanm Angaje Pou Ayiti 2023 (Young Women Engaged for Haiti — JFAA 2023) aims to provide civic and political education training, community project management training, and leadership sessions to 100 young Haitian women from 16 to 25 years old in Port-au-Prince. The civic and political education and the community project management training will be delivered as online courses available and accessible through an online portal for target beneficiaries to enroll in and complete. Three days of leadership sessions will take place, at the end of which the participants will collect their certificate of achievement. This project, considered a pilot implementation, will help improve civic education in Haiti and bolster the youth political participation index in the country. The implementation of the project will involve other U.S. exchange alumni who will serve as counselors, agents of liaison, and promoters of the project. This will be the first project of its kind to be implemented using recent technologic tools and a participatory approach. Providing civic and political education to young women in Haiti will both be an attempt to defend democracy and maintain its values while strengthening efforts to advance women’s rights in the country. Project Leader: Mathania Charles, Haiti, Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD), 2022

Supporting Local Early Career Journalists Working to Encourage Better Public Policies and Combating Corruption in Eastern Indonesia aims to strengthen the roles of independent media in Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara Province to play a role in encouraging good government; especially on the issues of better public policy and combating corruption. The project will provide a series of training sessions for early career journalists on various aspects of journalism in relation to promotion of good governance (transparency, accountability, and anti-corruption), followed by fellowship for field reportage and coaching for the participants. In managing this initiative, the applicants will work closely with Floresa.co (www.floresa.co), an independent local media group in East Nusa Tenggara. In delivering the trainings, the program will collaborate with experts from anticorruption NGO (ICW — Indonesian Corruption Watch), Tempo (leading Indonesian investigation-based media), Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (Anti-Corruption Body), Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (Indonesian Journalist Association). The participants are expected to finalize their reportage (under the support of Floresa.co) before the end of the program, and the reportage will be published in Floresa.co. At the end of the program, all participants, Floresa.co, and the applicants of this proposal will gather in Labuan Bajo, Flores, for a one-day public seminar and exhibition reflecting on the role of young journalists in promoting good governance in eastern Indonesia. By collaborating with actors at the national level, this project will also contribute to enhancing the network of local journalists and local media in Indonesia. Project Leader: Gregorius Afioma, Indonesia, International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), 2020

Defending Democracy and Advancing Human Rights Program promotes the idea of democracy and human rights, especially in rural areas of the Kyrgyz Republic and to have a strong civil society. The project’s target group of beneficiaries are high school and university students all over the country, approximately 200 direct beneficiaries. The main objective is to provide as many opportunities as possible, such as camps, workshops, virtual meetings, social media campaigns, to the youth, so that they become activists in their communities. The program’s activities will include four main activities: (1) one week-long, Defending Democracy and Advancing Human Rights Camp for 50 high school/university students from South Kyrgyzstan (Batken, Osh, and Zhalal-Abad); (2) four, two-day Defending Democracy and Advancing Human Rights Workshops for a total of about 160 high school/university students in each region in North Kyrgyzstan (Chui, Naryn, Talas, and IssykKul); (3) one-day Defending Democracy and Advancing Human Rights Networking Reception, including the U.S. Embassy Bishkek, USG alumni, and American Councils Kyrgyzstan, for about 60 representatives of civil society organizations, private sectors, and governmental agencies/ministries in Bishkek. After the training workshops, the students will conduct volunteer, community service activities to impart their knowledge and skills to community members. Project Leader: Erlanbek Matisaev, Kyrgyzstan, Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program, 2019

Maryada Leadership Academy which means “Dignity Leadership Academy” is designed with an aim to provide a platform for the minority youths of Nepal and empower them through intensive leadership programs and mentorship opportunities and engage based in action-based projects to create a meaningful contribution on the alarming issues of human rights and democracy. The project strives to prepare 12 youths from minority communities as well as from nonminority backgrounds to become leaders capable of promoting equality, social justice, and democratic values. The project aims to build twelve strong leaders equipped with information and knowledge on human rights and democracy and empowered with essential leadership skills that capacitate them to bring innovative changes in their communities. The program brings individuals from minority/underrepresented groups such as Dalit, Indigenous nationalities, Madheshis, LGBTIQ+, and from non-minority groups, together, to create a harmonious space where learning can be shared for a common cause. The project initially selects twelve aspiring young leaders from all over the country, and then empowers them in an intensive leadership boot camp, followed by mentorship sessions. These empowered individuals will then begin to implement creative and meaningful action projects which will be mentored, facilitated, and promoted through a web portal that will function as an e-library of actions implemented by leaders and activists. Project Leader: Chet Narayan Rasaili, Nepal, Professional Fellows Program, 2019

Democracy in Action (DIA) addresses the urgent need to ensure the practical engagement of young people in the democratic process as key drivers in strengthening democracy and peaceful effective advocacy. The project team will equip 90 to 120 participants from institutions of learning over a four-month period to engage in the practical process of law making (legislation), policy making and formulation, and advocacy to defend democracy and advance policies that address and accelerates local human rights issues, post the 2023 Nigerian elections and beyond. Over 120 participants residing in Oyo state will be selected for the project and this group will be reflective of the gender, geographical, and socioeconomic realities of Nigeria. Democracy in Action (DIA) is based on a firm belief that young people not only can make a positive difference in their communities, where they should be strongly encouraged to do so, without resulting in violence and destruction. DIA gives participants the practical skills and political knowledge to become effective advocates of democracy and human rights, in their communities and schools. Participants will engage in substantive debates about the public policy challenges facing the state and nation and interact with Lagos state’s political and civic leaders. Project Leader: Oluwatimilehin (Timi) Olagunju, Nigeria, Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (YALI), 2015

#AmplifyTanzania (Analytical Skills in Multiparty for Participation in Leadership and Inclusive Democracy for Youth) promotes cross-party youth-centric opinions in addressing the gap of meaningful youth participation in governance, democracy, leadership, and reforms of multiparty democracy in Tanzania. The project will apply two approaches to accomplish the main goals, one is to develop analytical mobile application platform to facilitate massive outreach to youth in political parties in conducting issue-based surveys on youth-centric opinions on topics of youth interests by July 2023; and the second goal is to collaborate with Tanzania Center for Democracy (TCD) in running cross-party youth wings virtual and in-person analytical skills training on application of mobile app of #AmplifyTanzania. In implementation of the project for activity one, on developing the #AmplifyTanzania mobile app, there shall be consultation with youth wing leaders from political parties. Cross-party youth wing leaders will be invited in a co-creation workshop to undertake the design thinking exercise in empathy, define, ideate, prototype, test, and evaluate. Project Leader: Frederick Eddie Fussi, Tanzania, Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (YALI), 2016

Promoting Election Promises Accountability Through Enhanced Community Voices will work to enhance community voices in holding elected officials accountable to their election promises through providing training in a phased approach. During phase one, the project team will train journalists in citizen-centered reporting. The training will result in content production that focuses on the needs of citizens and how these needs are being met by elected officials. In the second phase, the project team will train local community leaders on citizen journalism, spotting corruption, and becoming whistle blowers to poor service delivery, including lack of delivery. At the end of this project, the project team will have trained 20 journalists from community and commercial radio stations, 10 community leaders from ward development committees, and three chiefs in two districts in Northwestern Province, in two districts: Kalumbila and Solwezi. The overall goal of this project is to create resilient and self-sustaining communities in the Northwestern Province of Zambia (approximately 33 directly and 370,000 people indirectly) that have enough resources to promote their own development through enhanced participation in governance and increasing accountability of public resources. Project Leader: Besa Kyanamina, Zambia, Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (YALI), 2021 and YALI Regional Leadership Center, South Africa, 2018

Alumni TIES is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and supported in its implementation by World Learning, in partnership with the Office of Alumni Affairs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).

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Alumni TIES

Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminars (Alumni TIES) are regionally focused seminars for alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs.