How to Entrepreneur Peace

Changemakers's "Entrepreneuring Peace" Collaborative Competition invites and showcases projects with innovative, high-impact strategies for anticipating and managing intense group conflict and violence that afflicts societies throughout the world. The "Entrepreneuring Peace" Collaborative Competition accepted entries online until January 10, 2007. All entries are transparently displayed on the site so that this online community can view them, post their comments and questions, and help spread their impact.

A cash prize of US$5,000 for the top three winners.


Winner is Announced

January 9, 2007
  • Launch
    October 22, 2006
  • Entry Deadline
    January 9, 2007
  • Voting start
    October 22, 2006
  • Voting end
    January 9, 2007
  • Winner is Announced
    January 9, 2007

A Framework for Entrepreneuring Peace

Changemakers's "Entrepreneuring Peace" Collaborative Competition invites and showcases projects with innovative, high-impact strategies for anticipating and managing intense group conflict and violence that afflicts societies throughout the world.

The "Entrepreneuring Peace" Collaborative Competition accepts entries online until January 10, 2007. All entries are transparently displayed on the site so that this online community can view them, post their comments and questions, and help spread their impact.

The term "entrepreneuring" was chosen for this collaborative competition to challenge conventional frameworks for conflict resolution that can often be reactive and fragmented. "Entrepreneuring" refers to unique innovations that help conflict resolution organizations spot and act upon limited windows of opportunity before situations spiral out of control. Because conflict resolution organizations—unlike many other traditional development fields—operate with limited time to manage conflicts, they need support from a community that can provide resources with agility and flexibility.

The "Entrepreneuring Peace" collaborative competition is searching for committed, high-impact innovators that have strategies to create fundamental building blocks for enduring peace in multiple contexts so their work can be spread and scaled-up to different locations and situations. The Changemakers online community encourages these leading innovators to reach out and collaborate with partners that will help spread their work and impact. The community works to influence investors, policy makers, and other thought leaders to focus on supporting these innovators.

An Entrepreneuring Peace "mosaic" of insights serves as an intellectual framework that sets the context for each Changemakers Collaborative Competition. At a glance, the mosaic maps the most powerful emerging principles of innovation against the underlying factors that drive a problem (see descriptions in the next section). The mosaic provides a starting point for the community to build, uncover new insights, and take collective action. It helps social innovators see how their work fits into a larger picture and demonstrates that the collective impact of solutions is greater than the sum of the individual projects. The mosaic emphasizes that no single solution is the answer—those working on conflict resolution must work with others to create holistic communities of action.

The collaborative competition begins connecting innovators to a community resources through an "Entrepreneuring Peace" judges panel that includes representatives from Humanities United, Peace Direct, the European Centre for Conflict Prevention, and entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari. These judges will review the competition entries and select a group of finalists that will be announced and hosted at the Skoll World Forum in late March 2007. This event provides an opportunity for the peace entrepreneurs to spread their work and to connect with key resources and knowledge that will help them scale-up their operations.

The Changemakers community will select three overall competition winners from the finalists through an open online vote, and each winner will receive an award of US$5,000. All entries will be archived online, creating a resource bank of solutions that addresses each stage of group conflict. After the winners are announced, Changemakers will continue to host and connect an ongoing community of conflict resolution innovators, investors, and supporters.


Lack of empathy. Warring groups or gangs have no sense of their enemy as human, sentient, entitled to rights and happiness, as they consider themselves. This lack of basic compassion is also the root of prejudice and discrimination, the building blocks of many forms of conflict. This inability to see oneself in another hardens the heart to hearing another side of the story, a perspective outside one's own. This dehumanization of the other also allows groups to "justify" violence and killing.

Culture of violence. Societies torn by civil war, cities wracked by gang warfare all create "bunker" mentalities among a citizenry characterized by personal trauma, perpetual fear and belief that one is powerless to change the situation. Historical precedent of "solving" conflict through violence perpetuates an endless cycle of "justified" revenge.

Group-based inequities. Discrimination that becomes systemic leads to significant imbalances in rights, resources and the spoils of society. That unfairness lays the foundation for resentment both on the part of the oppressors, as well as a mentality of scarcity that encourages the dominant group to perpetuate the status quo.

Corrupt or inept government and public systems. Failures of the system to render justice, equal services or timely remediation lead citizens to take issues into their own hands or may shore up discriminatory beliefs and practices. In many cases, unscrupulous leaders exploit prejudices of the population to incite or perpetuate violence that serves their political or personal gain.


Humanize the "other." Getting warring factions to see their enemies as similar to themselves is the core component of peace, making true dialogue and collaboration possible. In some cases, that also means empowering disenfranchised groups to think of their own solutions.

Create alternate systems. Community based tribunals, alternative education programs; even a new system to document government abuses can counterbalance the failures of traditional systems. In some cases, reform of current systems is possible simultaneously.

Explore original wounds. Digging into individual traumas, historic ill-treatment of groups, dynamics of prejudice, and exposing injustice can all lead to a kind of healing that releases bitterness and long-held beliefs.

Create communities of peace/resistance. Communities trained with specific conflict-resolution tools, acquainted with the mutual benefit of cooperation and armed with tactics to defuse heated situations, are more likely to find ways to avoid violent conflict.

Build non-violent pathways to rights, equality and assets. Options must exist for bettering one's circumstances outside of violent means.

Participants in the Changemakers "Entrepreneuring Peace" Collaborative Competition are competing for the Innovation Award by submitting projects with innovative, high-impact strategies for anticipating and managing intense group conflict and violence. Finalists will be selected by a panel of judges, and the Changemakers online community will vote to select three winners who will each receive a $5,000 prize. All finalists will be hosted at the Skoll World Forum in late March 2007.

Collaborative Competition Guidelines
Entrepreneuring Peace: Innovation in Managing Group Conflict

Welcome to the Changemakers Collaborative Competitions for "Entrepreneuring Peace: Innovations in Managing Group Conflict." Whether you entered the competition or participate in the online discussion that reviews applications, please take a look at the competition criteria and timeline below. We look forward to surfacing and discussing innovative solutions that provide innovative, high impact solutions for managing group conflict. Before you share your comments on the entries in the discussion forum, please read the criteria below.

Eligibility Criteria

The competition is open to all types of organizations (charitable organizations, private companies, or public entities) from all countries. We consider all entries that:

  • Reflect the theme of the competition: Entrepreneuring Peace: Innovations in Managing Group Conflict. The scope of the competition is actual conflict resolution solutions for a significant number of people, and that can be replicated for not only the location of origin but also at the country, regional, or global level.

  • Are beyond the stage of idea, concept, or research, and, at a minimum, are at the demonstration stage and indicate success.

  • Are submitted in English, Spanish or Arabic, and are complete.

Assessment Criteria

The winners of this Changemakers Collaborative Competition will be those entries that best meet the following criteria:

  • Innovation: This is the knock-out test. Even if the application meets all the other criteria, it will be knocked out of the race if the entry does not clearly show a systemic innovation that it is focused on. For example, an entry that demonstrates innovation would be the one focused on how the Montessori education method will transform the entire field of learning, not about building another school. The innovation should be a unique model of change and ready for large-scale spread.

  • Social Impact: It is important that the innovation has begun to have an impact on the field it addresses. Some innovations will have proven success at a small level, while others will have scaled to engage millions of people. Regardless of the level of demonstrated impact, it is important to see that the innovation has the ability to affect the world and not just one village. This will be judged by considering the scale strategy, ability to be replicated, clear how-tos, and a map to reach the big goals.

  • Sustainability: For an innovation to be truly effective it must have a plan for how it will acquire financial and other bases of support for the long-term. Are strong partnerships in place for it to have a ripple effect? Is there a clear financial plan in place?

Competition Deadlines, Procedures, and Rules

Online competition submissions were accepted until January 10, 2007 at noon, U.S. Eastern Daylight Time. Any time before this deadline, competition participants could revise their entries based on questions and insights that they receive in the Changemakers discussion. Participation in the discussion enhances one's prospects in the competition and gives the community and the judges an opportunity to understand one's project more completely.

There are three main phases in the competition:

The Changemakers Collaborative Competition will include a cash prize of US$5,000 for the top three winners.

Participating in the competition provides the chance to get feedback on your model and to advise potential investors about how best to change funding/investing patterns for the sector and to maximize the strategic impact and effectiveness of their future investments. The competition will generate an Investor Advisory available to investors, foundations, and other funding agencies. Those participants whose contributions most help frame the contents of the advisory will be acknowledged and may be convened to advise investors at a global meeting

Disclaimer—Compliance with Legal Restrictions

Ashoka complies fully with all U.S. laws and regulations, including Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations, export control, and anti-money laundering laws. All grants will be awarded subject to compliance with such laws. Ashoka will not make any grant if it finds that to do so would be unlawful. This may prohibit awards in certain countries and/or to certain individuals or entities. All recipients will comply with these laws to the extent they are applicable to such recipients. No recipient will take any action that would cause Ashoka to violate any laws.

For more information, contact [email protected].

Mosaic of Innovative Solutions: Entrepreneuring Peace
On-the-ground innovations for managing conflict

 Principles Emerging
Innovative Solutions:
Main Barriers:
Lack of Empathy Culture of Violence Group-Based Inequities Corrupt/Inept Gov't/Public Systems
Humanize the "Other"
Show battling groups the mutual benefit of collaboration
Mahmood Fadal, South Africa*
Use the arts and sport to engage conflicting groups collaboratively
Bongani Linda, South Africa*
Teach parties about the tyranny of the majority
Myrna Wajsman Lewis, South Africa*
Let ex-gang members design conflict resolution curriculum
Magdaleno Rose-Avila, El Salvador*
Let ex-convicts design their own re-entry programs
Lesley Ann van Selm, South Africa*
Work with multiracial groups to promote tolerance
João Marcos Romão, Brazil*
Educate society about history/contribution of a persecuted group
Eliane Lima dos Santos, Brazil*
Promote teaching of African history to dispel prejudice
Adúlcio (Abdu) Ferraz, Brazil
Create integrated educations programs to reduce deep-seated prejudice
Dr. Sofyan Tan, Indonesia*
Create Alternative Systems Document exploitation, abuse, and violence photographically
João Roberto Ripper Barbosa Cordeiro, Brazil
Educate and train communities to resolve their own conflicts locally
Babloo Loitongbam, India
Use online dispute resolution and other technology tools to aid dialogue
Info-Share, Sri Lanka
Supplement poor public services for groups targeted by prejudice
Helena Balabanova, Czech Republic*
Shift power to communities by establishing local tribunals
Edgar Ardila, Colombia
Fight gov't corruption by teaching citizenship
Selim Mawad, Lebanon
Empower citizens to hold police and courts accountable
Mandira Sharma, Nepal*
Explore Original Wounds
Teach skill of compromise to communities
Onecimo Hidalgo, Mexico*
Recruit religious leaders to promote peaceful coexistence
James Wuye/Imam Mohammed Ashafa, Nigeria
Train people to cultivate peace by exorcising individual trauma
Constanza Ardila Galvis, Colombia
Expose individuals traumatized by conflict to healing environments
Paul Hogan, Sri Lanka*
Remove gang members from the violent environment
Glen Steyn, South Africa*
Convene parties in dialogue about socioeconomic factors that led to conflict
Sushobha Barve, India*
Help individuals come to terms with past discrimination/ violence
Haidy Duque Cuesta, Colombia*
Expose government abuse and violence using the media
Shakil Ahmed, India*
Create Communities of Peace Builders
End cycle of violence by teaching children to manage their emotions
Mary Gordon, Canada*
Use economic incentive to get warring groups to see benefit of cooperation
Terri Valle de Aquino, Brazil*
Enlist young people in interfaith cooperation to highlight shared values
Eboo Patel, U.S.*
Train young leaders to recognize and defuse "mob mentality."
Andreas D'Souza, India*
Unify existing peace advocacy groups to achieve scale
Ana Teresa Bernal Montañés, Colombia*
Teach problem-solving skills to communities
Ricardo Hernández Arellano, Mexico*
Create simulations that teach the complexity of negotiation and human rights
The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, Global
Create awareness and training around workplace violence
Susan Marais-Steinman, South Africa*
Train journalists to mediate conflict through their writing
Hannes Siebert, South Africa*
Build Nonviolent Paths to Rights, Access, & Assets Sensitize general population to struggle of indigenous peoples
Márcio José Brando Santilli, Brazil*
Teach dispute resolution to teens to steer them away from gangs
Nelsa Curbelo, Ecuador*
Recruit ex-vigilantes as volunteer conflict resolvers
Hernando Roldán, Colombia*
Address the education needs of historically underserved, persecuted groups
Ferene Orsos, Hungary*
Help landless poor assert legal rights without resorting to violence
Gita Ramaswamy, India*
* Ashoka Fellows

Discuss   • Read the Overall Framework of the Competition

  1. Principles represent new standards emerging from practical applications that are meant to inspire and guide the innovation process. Note that although the best solutions probably involve more than one principle, we have chosen to emphasize one specific innovative aspect. If you would like to learn about the multiple innovations behind each solution, please click on each name for a fuller description of each case.

Short Descriptions of Mosaic Cases
  1. Show battling groups the mutual benefit of collaboration
  2. Project Leader: Mahmood Fadal
    Organization: Mediation and Conciliation Centre
    Location: South Africa
    Mosaic principle: Humanize the "Other"
    Mosaic barrier: Lack of Empathy

    Mahmood Fadal is a trade union leader and an Ashoka Fellow. His Mediation and Conciliation Centre is transforming South Africa's informal and small businesses sector from a violent battlefield to an equal-opportunity, growth-promoting environment. Its business plans—founded on cooperation, conflict resolution, and human rights—have replaced the existing survival-at-any-cost operating strategies. By highlighting the commonality of situations and goals and the power of collaboration in achieving these ends, the center is altering the dynamics of this sector, causing it to change course from a self-destructive path to that of economic and social progress.

    The lifting of economic apartheid in the small business sector in the 1980s triggered an explosion of informal business activity among black South Africans. The numbers entering the sector as street vendors, cab drivers, and other small business and service providers have continued to climb while resources and services remain limited. The absence of credible commercial standards, ineffective law enforcement, and lack of access to conflict-resolution mechanisms have left disputants with few nonviolent options.

    The center's approach is designed to demonstrate that mediation and legal and human rights education offer compelling, practical alternatives to violence as a method of conflict resolution. Training is provided both in using relevant laws and institutions like the Labour Relations Act and mediation agencies and in negotiating with various government bodies. Mediation services involve participants in debate and role-playing to help them identify common goals, diagnose causes of conflict, and find lasting solutions to deeply rooted problems. Participants are stimulated to design institutional mechanisms that address the underlying causes of conflict and to unionize into worker collectives committed to cooperation. The center's substantial bank of resource material and experience lends considerable support to these efforts. The center markets its services through joint ventures with civic, legal aid, and worker organizations. It has also connected with national organizations like the South African National Civic Association.

    Go back to the mosaic

  3. Use the arts and sport to engage conflicting groups collaboratively
  4. Project Leader: Bongani Linda
    Organization: Victory Sonqoba Theater Company
    Location: South Africa
    Mosaic principle: Humanize the "Other"
    Mosaic barrier: Lack of Empathy

    Ashoka Fellow Bongani Linda is building trust between historically divided communities in South Africa through joint participation in music, dance, theater, and sports that enables members of conflicting groups to discover commonalities and accept each other. His program leverages the central role of culture and sports in South African townships and uses these activities as dynamic points of contact between groups, thus replacing traditional barriers of hostility and suspicion with bridges founded on mutual respect and tolerance.

    The townships of South Africa continue to suffer the effects of state-promoted injustices and instability of the apartheid era. The White government followed a plan aimed at neutralizing potential Black unity by implementing policies calculated to cause divisiveness in the latter. The government strategically segregated rural Black migrants for unskilled work on the basis of language groups, packing them into inhospitable hostels situated at the edge of townships. This policy kept rural groups separated from each other and from the urban community and fostered a climate of suspicion between everyone. As townships grew and jobs became scarce, enmities deepened. By the time apartheid was lifted and Black enfranchisement realized, the stage was set for the various groups to unleash their mutual hatreds through unending violent, bloody acts in the name of politics.

    Linda's model facilitates engagement between the two communities—township residents and migrants—that promote understanding, appreciation, and dialogue. They are empowered to conceptualize the possibility of peace and their role as its architects. Delegates from both communities form task teams to put together sports or cultural activities. They are given training in leadership and conflict management. Prizes are awarded at the events for cultural development of the winning teams' local areas. Workshops designed to mobilize the communities in reconciliation and peace efforts follow the awards events.

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  5. Teach parties about the tyranny of the majority
  6. Project Leader: Myrna Wajsman Lewis
    Organization: Dharma Partners
    Location: South Africa
    Mosaic principle: Humanize the "Other"
    Mosaic barrier: Lack of Empathy

    Ashoka Fellow Myrna Wajsman Lewis has developed a new model through which the decision-making process of "deep democracy"—a concept in process-oriented psychology—is made accessible to all citizens. The concept, introduced into public-school curricula, enables learners to gain experience in decision-making and group dynamics, while also reducing the rampant prejudice-driven conflict among South Africans. The idea is for people to recognize and appreciate other viewpoints and acknowledge the deeper issues and subtleties when faced with difficult choices.

    In post-apartheid South Africa schools are obliged to enroll pupils regardless of race, culture, or ethnicity. Though the new curriculum advocates human rights and mutual respect and the need for life skills, these values and skills are alien for a fledgling democracy burdened by a violent past based on discrimination. Classroom integration, the adoption of the new education system, and civil unrest have often led to intense conflict among students, teachers, and administrators.

    Deep Democracy is a psychological concept based on the inherent flaw of traditional majority democracy that allows 51 percent of any population to make decisions for the other 49 percent. It recognizes the wisdom of all viewpoints and fosters the "buy in" to decisions. Responsive to the reality that any decision-making process is at the mercy of deeper, often unstated, views or emotions, and that progress is often liable to be sabotaged by the minority, Lewis's model incorporates conflict resolution and facilitation skills in response to this tendency.

    The model is designed for the use of teachers and students to address the unconscious forces and stereotypes that inform or bias decision-making. The technique shows all parties in school how to deal with those feelings in a way that promotes, rather than paralyzes, the decision-making process. Lewis conducts training with a select group of students and teachers who later facilitate the process in classrooms.

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  7. Let ex-gang members design conflict resolution curriculum
  8. Project Leader: Magdaleno Rose-Avila
    Organization: Homies Unidos (Homeboys United)
    Location: El Salvador
    Mosaic principle: Humanize the "Other"
    Mosaic barrier: Culture of Violence

    Ashoka Fellow Magdaleno Rose-Avila's Homies Unidos is fighting the gang violence ravaging El Salvador by enlisting gang members themselves to lead and shape the battle to establish peace in the country. Appreciating the fact that gangs fulfill the need in its members to "belong," Rose-Avila has chosen a unique route: his is a gang-led grassroots movement that attempts to transform gangs into entities that build civil society, rather than destroy it.

    Despite the 1992 Peace Accord, widespread poverty and lack of income-earning opportunities plague El Salvador. Salvadoran youth, traumatized by years of war and social polarization, find few legitimate earning options or understanding of their situation within society. They are driven to join gangs, which offer a sense of belonging and security. A survey by Rose-Avila revealed that 85 percent of gang members wanted to abandon their dangerous lifestyle—peppered by drug dealing, gang warfare, and murder—but saw no alternative.

    Rejecting the common approach of "rehabilitating" the youth through state-imposed services, Homies Unidos guides the antisocial young to design their own response to the challenge of breaking away from violent lifestyles and developing constructive social and economic alternatives. The idea is to work within the existing structure of gangs and capitalize on the feeling of community among members.

    A core, founding group of gang members who had renounced violence and were committed to helping others do the same were enlisted. These peer educators, trained in nonviolent conflict resolution, peer counseling, and personal motivation, build training teams to spread the work across the country and help gang members work out their own solutions to make the transition from violence to peace. Homies Unidos is creating employment and income opportunities for gang members who previously saw violence as their only skill and theft as their only source of income.

    Contacts in the business world are actively cultivated to identify livelihood opportunities. The media have been energetically brought on board to provide positive publicity. Homies Unidos persistently networks with police, municipal offices, and schools to position itself as partner, offering their services in bringing about peaceful resolution to gang-related issues. Homies Unidos has spread its efforts to Los Angeles and other U.S. cities and is preparing to work with gangs in neighboring Central American countries.

    The model is designed for the use of teachers and students to address the unconscious forces and stereotypes that inform or bias decision-making. The technique shows all parties in school how to deal with those feelings in a way that promotes, rather than paralyzes, the decision-making process. Lewis conducts training with a select group of students and teachers who later facilitate the process in classrooms.

    Go back to the mosaic

  9. Let ex-convicts design their own re-entry programs
  10. Project Leader: Lesley Ann van Selm
    Organization: Khulisa ("to nuture" in Nguni)
    Location: South Africa
    Mosaic principle: Humanize the "Other"
    Mosaic barrier: Culture of Violence

    Ashoka Fellow Lesley Ann van Selm is decreasing the risk of recidivism among juvenile prisoners in South Africa by reintegrating them into society. By raising the emotional intelligence of the young inmates on the one hand, and by creating support and employment networks for them upon their release on the other, she helps both the community and the young offenders break away from the cycle of mutual suspicion, hostility, and rejection.

    In South Africa the rate of recidivism is exceptionally high, reaching 80 percent within six months of leaving prison. Upon their release ex-convicts face familial and societal distrust and find it tough to get employment or lead a meaningful community life. Ironically, it is their prison gangs who accord them the security they desire, and it is prison life—complete with three meals a day—that seems safer than the outside world. Inevitably, these young people fall into a pattern of criminal activity.

    Van Selm reintegrates offenders into society by simultaneously bringing the community into the prison and the prison into the community. She uses values-based storytelling and the performing arts as a lead-in to life skills activities geared at restoring the young people's self-respect and sense of responsibility. Self-study modules are facilitated by group discussions. Inculcating a sense of community in the prisoners is a strong component of her program.

    To motivate the community to take responsibility for their young offenders, van Selm engages ex-offenders in setting up entrepreneurial initiatives that employ newly released prisoners. Ex-offenders also spread the message of their employability and trustworthiness through meetings with the general public and with the corporate sector in particular. The entrepreneurial success of the ex-offenders and the life stories of these young people have made a huge impression on citizens and corporations alike who today support van Selm's initiative.

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  11. Work with multiracial groups to promote tolerance
  12. Project Leader: João Marcos Romão
    Organization: SOS Racism
    Location: Brazil
    Mosaic principle: Humanize the "Other"
    Mosaic barrier: Group-Based Inequities

    Ashoka Fellow João Marcos Aurore Romão is mobilizing Brazilians to overcome common prejudices—like caste, class, ethnicity, education—in order to stamp out violence arising from such intolerance.

    Even though the concept of racial equality is deeply rooted in Brazilian society, violence based on discrimination touched a new high as a dramatic consequence of the economic crisis that hit the country in the 1980s. Race and gender inequality reared their ugly heads and jobs went to those in the privileged class who were not necessarily the best qualified.

    Romão's response to the ensuing mayhem was to spawn multiracial self-help groups to defend human rights and promote racial equality. The idea behind the effort was to demonstrate how people of different ethnicities and social class can successfully live and work together for a common goal. His strategy is simple. Through his organization SOS Racism, he works on concrete cases of people affected by human rights violations. These people, in turn, "give back" to the organization by getting involved in changing people's mindsets through courses, seminars, and popular media campaigns. The result: today, Brazil has a strong, active antiracial and anticlass movement run by neighborhood associations that boast of multiethnic members.

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  13. Promote teaching of African history to dispel prejudice
  14. Project Leader: Adúlcio (Abdu) Ferraz
    Organization: Program for Ethnic and Cultural Links (PLEC)
    Location: Brazil
    Mosaic principle: Humanize the "Other"
    Mosaic barrier: Group-based Inequities

    The identity of the Afro-Brazilian has been linked to the history of slavery and the notion of inferiority of the black race, causing social and economic discrimination against Afro-Brazilians. The educational system in Brazil reinforces these concepts in its teaching of African history despite a legal requirement for teaching African history in a less Euro-centric fashion.

    Abdu Ferraz is working on improving African-Brazilian relations by deconstructing the stereotypes that typically hinder African-Brazilian cooperation. Ferraz strikes out against racial misconceptions in Brazilian society and calls attention to Africa's contribution to the construction of the Brazilian state.

    Ferraz's Program for Ethnic and Cultural Links (PLEC) aims to change the mindset of both teacher and student through workshops that reformulates how teachers are trained to present African history. It also offers four-part after-school courses for young people and their grandparents so that each generation reinforces the break of down negative stereotypes. PLEC also reaches out to the business sector, seeking to increase the underdeveloped commercial and cultural relations between the two continents.

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  15. Educate society about history/contribution of a persecuted group
  16. Project Leader: Eliane Lima dos Santos (Eliane Potiguara)
    Organization: Group of Indigenous Women Educators (GRUMIN)
    Location: Brazil
    Mosaic principle: Humanize the "Other"
    Mosaic barrier: Group-based Inequities

    For decades, Brazil's indigenous community, the Indians, were patronized and discriminated against by the government. They were legally considered wards of the state, prohibited from making decisions for themselves.

    However, this was not always the case. Prior to the arrival of the Portuguese invaders in 1500, indigenous women enjoyed decision-making power within their communities, but that changed when the colonizers forced many Indians to work on plantations under slave-like conditions. Traditional social structures and family roles suffered badly even where groups of Indians survived.

    Official assistance programs—rather than encouraging indigenous groups to continue their traditional economic activities like farming, hunting, and fishing—doled out food and medicine, creating a dependency culture. The new Brazilian constitution of 1988 did away with that tutelage, guaranteed Indians their rights, and asked for the demarcation of all Indian lands. However, few of these provisions were implemented, and even fewer Indian groups were organized enough to take advantage of these newly gained rights.

    Ashoka Fellow Eliane Lima Dos Santos, herself a member of the Potiguara tribe, is putting history in perspective for the Indians and is educating them about their contributions to Brazil, even as a persecuted group. Through her Group of Indigenous Women Educators (GRUMIN), she is educating and raising the consciousness among women in hundreds of villages across the country. This is done through specially published books and videos and through encouraging oral history raconteurs. The bottom line: to give a sense of their worth to native Brazilians and to ensure that they are not discriminated against economically and socially. The flip side of this coin is that this engenders the Indians' participation in building today's Brazil on a more egalitarian plane.

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  17. Create integrated educations programs to reduce deep-seated prejudice
  18. Project Leader: Dr. Sofyan Tan
    Organization: Yayasan Sultan Iskandar Muda
    Location: Indonesia
    Mosaic principle: Humanize the "Other"
    Mosaic barrier: Corrupt/Inept Gov't/Public Systems

    Ashoka Fellow Sofyan Tan is attacking one of Indonesia's most corrosive problems, the deep chasm of mutual incomprehension and disrespect that often acts as the trigger for ethnic violence between indigenous Indonesians—the majority population—and those of Chinese descent.

    The island country of Indonesia includes a rich mixture of ethnic, racial, and religious groups brought together by their struggle to gain independence from their Dutch colonists and Japanese occupation. Although the national motto is "Unity in Diversity," the frequency of violent ethnic and religious conflicts suggests that the country has yet to embrace a pluralistic society. This is fueled by restrictions placed on the Chinese community that prohibits them from entering the military and civil services.

    Dr. Sofyan's model of integrated education brings together ethnic groups that have been in conflict for generations. These "integrated" schools take in an equal proportion of Chinese and non-Chinese children and provide high quality education with an explicit focus on integration. Group activities and goal-oriented teamwork subtly influence the students' thinking and ability to learn to recognize each other as individuals and to bear mutual respect for others. The idea is that children who grow up tolerant and respecting differences and who are open and empathetic in their attitude will teach the next generation the same lessons of inclusion.

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  19. Document exploitation, abuse and violence photographically
  20. Project Leader: João Roberto Ripper Barbosa Cordeiro
    Organization: Center for Documentation and Images of the Worker
    Location: Brazil
    Mosaic principle: Create Alternative Systems
    Mosaic barrier: Lack of Empathy

    Through his Center for Documentation and Images of the Worker, João Ripper, a photojournalist, is exposing the exploitation and abuse suffered by Brazilian workers. The idea behind the center—which has archived thousands of photographs and written and oral records of workers—was simple: visual denunciations of violence and destruction are often pivotal in halting such practices.

    The visuals and written and taped materials document the lives and struggles of Brazilian laborers and provide national and international human rights organizations with the necessary evidence to highlight and fight cases. Ripper's idea of leveraging the center as a tool to help strengthen and transform labor has encouraged workers' unions as well, which, seeing value in it for themselves, are adding to the center's written and taped records.

    With the visual image being a primary source of information that holds a mirror to society, the images produced and dispersed by communications systems—television, newspapers, magazines—usually provide the population with information on problems and issues. Today, the center, with its exhaustive collection of photographs and accompanying dossiers of workers, acts as a clearinghouse of information for CSOs, the press, and syndicates that are fighting human rights violations in Brazil and abroad.

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  21. Educate and train communities to resolve their own conflicts locally
  22. Project Leader: Babloo Loitongbam
    Organization: Human Rights Alert (HRA)
    Location: India
    Mosaic principle: Create Alternative Systems
    Mosaic barrier: Culture of Violence

    Lawyer, activist Babloo Loingtongbam is educating and training communities in violence-torn Manipur to resolve their own conflicts locally. For decades, India's northeastern states have been plagued by insurgency and endemic ethnic violence that has left deep socioeconomic scars. For Loingtongbam, the real solution lay in a movement that spiraled up from local solutions rather than trickled down from bureaucratic procedures.

    In a climate of conflicting claims and movements, through his unique human rights curriculum, Loingtongbam is giving grassroots communities the information and tools they need—historical, legal, social—to first recognize their real human rights issues. And second, create quick systems of domestic redress, thus carving a space for positive local action.

    Simultaneously, he is internationalizing grassroots responses to the issue by opening up citizen's access to international human rights movements. By building this local-global bridge, he aims to create a new human rights environment in Manipur that is transparent, quick-response, and decentralized.

    The Human Rights Alerts curriculum is rooted in the local context and trains communities to resolve local conflicts independently before they spiral into violent abrogation; awaken and access sleeping government agencies; invite the scrutiny and procedures of the international human rights movement and, over time, organize in advocacy campaigns that challenge national and state policies and assert citizen's alternatives to existing conflict resolution systems.

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  23. Use online dispute resolution and other technology tools to aid dialogue
  24. Organization: Info-Share
    Location: Sri Lanka
    Mosaic principle: Create Alternative Systems
    Mosaic barrier: Culture of Violence

    Info-Share, a nonprofit technical organization, was set up to bridge the deep ethnic and political chasms in Sri Lanka by leveraging technology for conflict transformation. A marriage between virtual information-sharing and real-world change, the organization uses online dispute resolution and other technology tools to aid dialogue. It was created with the belief that ICT and a committed media can help bridge the communication gaps between the main stakeholders in the Sri Lankan peace process, and also enable public participation in the process.

    Cutting-edge technology has been used to create processes and methods in peace building and conflict transformation that, they believe, are otherwise impossible in the physical world. Info-Share provides a software platform—Groove Workspace—readily adoptable by all stakeholders in the peace process for engendering a process of information sharing, thus enabling an inclusive and participatory approach to conflict transformation. By supporting the creation of "shared spaces," Info-Share is the only example of its kind in the world where ICT is actually being used in the design and implementation of not only ICT4D, but as an on-going peace process.

    To this end, Info-Share custom built a "Forms" tool that worked as a virtual negotiations table, a "One-Text" space for high-level negotiations for the negotiators to come together and create a single text that incorporates all points of view for distillation and action.

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  25. Supplement poor public services for groups targeted by prejudice
  26. Project Leader: Helena Balabánová
    Organization: Církevní Skola Pøemysla Pittra
    Location: Czech Republic
    Mosaic principle: Create Alternative Systems
    Mosaic barrier: Group-Based Inequities

    Ashoka Fellow Helena Balabánová has designed an education model for Roma children and adults that positively impacts race relations in the Czech Republic by reinforcing the values of an integrated and diverse society. For the Roma to emerge from their severely marginalized status, Balabánová is constructing bridges between them and non-Roma through effective education and related social services that help parents, students, and teachers.

    The rights of the Roma are regularly violated across Eastern and Central Europe but in the Czech Republic, their situation is especially critical. Though they are the largest ethnic minority in the country, pervasive marginalization and persistent racism make them a disenfranchised group, living "ghetto" existences. A key reason behind the Roma inability to organize themselves effectively to fight for their rights has been their lack of education, which is a direct outcome of the Czech education system's failure to be responsive to Roma culture and needs. The Roma find state schools impersonal and culturally insensitive; teachers label Roma children mentally retarded and hostile and dump them into schools for the mentally challenged. The end result: high dropout rates and an education system that undermines democracy.

    Balabánová's approach is aimed at promoting multicultural values, and thus democracy, in the classroom and community. In predominantly Roma schools, she has expanded the curriculum to include Roma history, music, and culture and developed relevant textbooks and teaching materials. She has introduced the concept of Roma teaching assistants for the non-Roma class teachers. They play a mentoring role for children and become an effective communication channel between parents and school staff. Outside school environs, the Information and Education Centers target the entire community, providing capacity building services like job counseling and training and high school equivalency certification that enable the Roma to join the mainstream. Regular cultural programs educate Roma and non-Roma to recognize, respect, and give positive public visibility to gypsy culture.

    Balabánová's Romanology course is now part of the teacher training curriculum at Prague's premiere Charles University, and the education ministry has agreed to implement her program in elementary schools nationally.

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  27. Shift power to communities by establishing local tribunals
  28. Project Leader: Edgar Ardila
    Location: Colombia
    Mosaic principle: Create Alternative Systems
    Mosaic barrier: Corrupt/Inept Gov't/Public Systems

    In Colombia, a country torn apart by social conflict and violence, Edgar Ardila is fostering a new culture of peaceful coexistence by developing a community-based alternative to the state judicial system. He works with local communities to empower their own institutions to resolve internal conflicts. Ardila's approach recognizes that conflicts in a community often result from external forces outside local control and their solutions, therefore, must reflect this. Ardila has created mechanisms called "communal justice" designed to reduce violence at both micro- and macro-levels. At the village or local level, he mediates between different communities to help them identify common objectives and articulate collective efforts. Simultaneously, the macro-level analysis examines the relationship between local communities and entities including government institutions like the police and global markets like the United States as a factor in Colombia's drug trade. His approach is winning support from intellectuals, government officials, and businesspersons—all of whom are desperately seeking ways to address the violence that engulfs Colombia.

    The brutal impact on Colombian society of both the flourishing drug trade and the ongoing conflict between government and guerrilla forces is well known. Criminal violence, too, is rampant and a growing number of crimes relate to unresolved social conflicts. Other contributing factors to this culture of conflict include a weak governmental apparatus for controlling violent factions or resolving conflicts, social inequality and escalating poverty, and a fragile social fabric with no reliable instruments for resolving conflict peaceably.

    Ardila is constructing a network designed to function at local, national, and global levels. At the community level, the network will provide instruments for community-based conflict resolution. Ardila is training conciliators and peace judges to act as operators of "communal justice." As these mechanisms gain experience in alternative conflict resolution, they will also play an educational and community-building role at the local level by facilitating learning and discussion about global alternatives for the resolution of conflicts experienced locally.

    As this local action focus builds and consolidates, Edgar is tying these increasingly experienced, informed, and articulate local actors—the operators of communal justice and local citizens' organizations—into existing public fora addressing the violence question. He is also creating new platforms for discussion in an effort to forge a growing movement against violence rooted in local alternative conflict resolution.

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  29. Fight gov't corruption by teaching citizenship
  30. Project Leader: Selim Mawad
    Organization: Sustainable Democracy Center (SDC)
    Location: Lebanon
    Mosaic principle: Create Alternative Systems
    Mosaic barrier: Corrupt/Inept Gov't/Public Systems

    The Sustainable Democracy Center (SDC) in Lebanon is helping to build a new generation of citizens in the Arab region (Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, and Iraq) that believes in transparency, accountability, and democratic processes. Here, youths are also exposed to issues of identity, coexistence, and enhancement of the knowledge of the "other."

    The world is increasingly polarized along lines of religion, ethnicity, and economic differences. In the Arab Region, repressive and unrepresentative corrupt governments have disillusioned citizens, and the general feeling of mistrust of the state has resulted in clan or religious loyalty instead. If not addressed, this problem may further widen the gap between the people and the state, thus sustaining the anarchy in the political life of the citizenry.

    SDC's founder Selim Mawad is trying to build among youth a faith in peaceful co-existence and a respect for others who are "different" from them. To reach this goal, Mawad has created cadres of youth whom he calls "agents of change." The idea is to integrate the marginalized educated and uneducated youths in public life by providing them with the necessary skills and information on how to be active and complete citizens. By creating an enabling environment and open platforms, the center makes space for youth to express themselves on issues ranging from reconciliation to corruption, and to seek participation in the decision making process.

    To realize its goal, the center uses different and complementary tools from seminars, workshops, training of trainers and even board games that Mawad has developed.

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  31. Empower citizens hold police and courts accountable
  32. Project Leader: Mandira Sharma
    Organization: Advocacy Forum
    Location: Nepal
    Mosaic principle: Create Alternative Systems
    Mosaic barrier: Corrupt/Inept Gov't/Public Systems

    Ashoka Fellow Mandira Sharma is documenting police violations on detainees and using this to advocate for large-scale changes in Nepal's flawed justice system. Her organization—Advocacy Forum—adopts a top-down approach working with the very people who are in charge of the system to force them to confront its dysfunctionality and spurring them to adopt procedures that dramatically improve their own and their subordinates' compliance with the law. The forum has secured both broad parliamentary support for more extensive legal aid and concrete policy steps that will make it mandatory for police to demonstrate that they are following the rules. Advocacy Forum is also installing community-level monitoring of the justice system to ensure it adheres to its obligation to protect human rights.

    In 2006 Human Rights Watch's acknowledged her unceasing campaign for justice by bestowing its highest honor upon her.

    Nepal has good laws but these are poorly implemented, if at all. The treatment meted out to those detained but not yet formally charged, particularly, demonstrates rampant disregard of their legal and human rights. The violations are a result of willful commission and omission; and also of ignorance. The result: citizens have totally lost faith in the police and the judicial system. As the number of detainees has escalated in the last decade, partly in response to the Maoist insurgency and the intensified security concerns it has precipitated, now, more than ever, there is an urgent need to overhaul the justice system.

    Advocacy Forum's approach has been first to document the human rights violations; second, share these with key decision-makers in Nepal's justice system; and third, through sustained persuasion, win them over as active partners and secure their agreement to design and implement critical changes. Simultaneously Advocacy Forum itself files lawsuits on behalf of victims of torture by government forces, investigates cases of deaths in government custody, and files habeas corpus petitions to free prisoners illegally detained by the government.

    The forum is educating lawyers about their obligations to clients and plugging holes in the Legal Aid Act to make it more effective in protecting the rights of both detainees and charged prisoners. To maintain the momentum of change, Advocacy Forum works with international groups like UNHCR that can exert pressure when required.

    The forum also works with international groups to develop programs for those incarcerated for petty offenses. These groups have started paralegal classes in three districts and are working to support groups of citizens who can serve as watchdogs. The forum is the executive member of Collective Campaign for Peace, an all-Nepal network of 40 national organizations working to secure the rule of law and justice.

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  33. Teach skill of compromise to communities
  34. Project Leader: Onecimo Hidalgo
    Location: Mexico
    Mosaic principle: Explore Original Wounds
    Mosaic barrier: Lack of Empathy

    In the conflict-torn Mexican State of Chiapas, Ashoka Fellow Onecimo Hidalgo is building the foundation for a lasting peace by bringing together the several parties involved in the conflict to engage in dialogue based on tolerance and mutual respect. Focusing on the concept of compromise, Hidalgo has succeeded in generating discussion about common problems of diverse groups. His approach is enabling citizens to be the architects of peace rather than political leaders and outsiders who broker pacts that seldom last.

    The social and historical isolation of the Chiapas region has made it a breeding ground for religious, economic, and political conflicts that have existed for decades. A few families own almost all the land in the state. Half the population does not speak Spanish, and 30 percent of this group are indigenous people and the rest are mestizos or poor peasants. Literacy levels are abysmal, and there is a chronic shortage of trained medical personnel. The main perpetuators the current violence and division among the Chiapas communities are the paramilitary groups who represent an armed, mobilized network that intimidates civilian population. Their activities have led to large-scale displacement, loss of harvest, and the closure of community institutions like churches. Moreover, the spiraling violence threatens to morph into a full-blown civil war.

    To reach out to a wide swathe of citizen bases, Hidalgo works with an ecumenical, pacifist organization that dedicates time to visit diverse communities including supporters of paramilitary groups. He conducts workshops about nonviolence, passive resistance, and the development of democratic practices. Hidalgo's methodology includes identifying actors who have moral authority and networks among the citizenry—e.g., priests and ministers of different religious denominations, professors, federal deputies, and local indigenous authorities—who he then recruits into his cause.

    Since establishing direct links with the clandestine paramilitary groups is impossible, Hidalgo initiates dialogue with citizens who support them and whose communities function as paramilitary bases. He uses economics as an effective entry point to these discussions, since the conflict has impoverished the region and led to widespread hunger. Hidalgo also meets with populations who have been forced to leave their communities because of the paramilitary groups and identifies the barriers preventing then from returning home. Finally, he finds ways to bring the different groups together around common interests identified in the preparatory talks.

    His participation in national negotiation organizations permits Hidalgo to exercise influence and dialogue to give more visibility to the solutions that his methodology is generating. Eventually, he hopes to apply it to social conflicts of a similar nature in other parts of Mexico and Central America.

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  35. Recruit religious leaders to promote peaceful co-existence
  36. Project Leader: James Wuye/Imam Mohammed Ashafa
    Organization: Interfaith Mediation Centre
    Location: Nigeria
    Mosaic principle: Explore Original Wounds
    Mosaic barrier: Lack of Empathy

    Imam Ashafa, a Muslim cleric, and Pastor Wuye, a Christian minister, have founded the first interfaith initiative for resolving the frequent, violent clashes between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria. Once arch rivals leading warring factions in Kaduna state, Ashafa and Wuye's surprising collaboration has had resounding success, motivating many by example. Their Interfaith Mediation Centers promote awareness of the psychology behind religious violence and address its root causes, drawing on the power of spirituality and the peaceful interpretation and application of religious texts. Ashafa and Wuye focus both preventative outreach and conflict resolution throughout Nigeria—and increasingly beyond its borders—around their message of peaceful coexistence.

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  37. Train people to cultivate peace by exorcising individual trauma
  38. Project Leader: Constanza Ardila Galvis
    Organization: CEDAVIDA
    Location: Colombia
    Mosaic principle: Explore Original Wounds
    Mosaic barrier: Culture of Violence

    Constanza Ardila Galvis's organization CEDAVIDA is halting Colombia's cycle of violence through a therapeutic process that equips victims of violence to resist the inevitability of becoming programmed for aggression themselves. Through an initiative called Community Builders of Peace that helps people come to terms with personal traumas and comprehend the effects of violence, CEDAVIDA is creating a citizenry invested in fostering a culture of peace and empowered to say "no" to violence.

    In Colombia continuous armed conflict has created a society driven by brutal survivalist principles. In the last decade fighting has displaced over a million people, with a majority of them under 25 years of age. Statistics tell a grim tale of their early induction into violence, and most eventually sign up with the very forces that had displaced them, in order simply to survive. Social values reinforce this culture. Children are taught to obey authority without question, eschew weakness, and respond to intimidation with aggression or submission. This process of socialization blunts sensibilities, and kids grow up blocking out their own pain and losing their capacity to understand another's. Damaged themselves, they grow up to damage others, perpetuating cross-generational violence .

    CEDAVIDA's approach guides individuals along a process of emotional healing where, by confronting and resolving past traumas, they regain the capacity to feel and empathize. In accepting and exploring their own pain, they reclaim their right to feel, and learn to be especially sensitive to the destructive effect of violent acts. CEDAVIDA operates through a growing network of trained "social therapists" who typically have become change agents after having undergone the therapy themselves. CEDAVIDA works with teachers, community workers, conflict negotiators, police, and the military in its effort to propel Colombian society from war to peace.

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  39. Expose individuals traumatized by conflict to healing environments
  40. Project Leader: Paul Hogan
    Organization: Butterfly Peace Garden
    Location: Sri Lanka
    Mosaic principle: Explore Original Wounds
    Mosaic barrier: Culture of Violence

    Through his organization Butterfly Peace Garden (BPG), Ashoka Fellow Paul Hogan is providing a haven in which traumatized children in war-torn Sri Lanka can address the damage within themselves, and from which they can take the lead in directing the larger society on a path of reconciliation and healing, thus breaking down manmade barriers to peace.

    Civil war in Sri Lanka has left almost 60,000 dead, and citizens have been constantly exposed to a relentless cycle of terror tactics and attacks. As communities found themselves under unprecedented strain, relations between different ethnic and religious groups broke down. Children particularly have been targets for much of the violence, e.g., as recruits, spies, and suspected enemies, and thousands of them have been displaced.

    Hogan set up BPG as a short-term physical space for child victims of war in Sri Lanka. It brings together children from warring communities and, under the expert guidance of trained facilitators, encourages them to build trusting relationships, and to share their feelings with others. This is done through everyday activities such as caring for animals and the garden, singing, playing, and painting. The children embark upon journeys of self-exploration, steered by their counselors who guide them through their emotions in privacy. Over time the children become the garden's agents for healing the wider society in which they live, including parents, teachers, religious leaders, and soldiers.

    Started off as a healing center for kids, today it is the kids themselves who are the primary bearers of healing. As the lessons learned in the garden go beyond its walls, the change within leads to change in everyone. The model has been an inspiration for social entrepreneurs, therapists, citizen sector organizations, mental health professionals, and others the world over.

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  41. Remove gang members from the violent environment
  42. Project Leader: Glen Steyn
    Organization: Conquest for Life
    Location: South Africa
    Mosaic principle: Explore Original Wounds
    Mosaic barrier: Culture of Violence

    Through his organization Conquest for Life (CFL), Ashoka Fellow Glen Steyn is helping young people escape from gangs and establish a new environment that supports and demands a commitment to life-giving change. He is helping youths transform hopelessness into hope and break the cycle of endemic "lumpenism" that tyrannizes the community.

    During apartheid, non-whites were relegated to townships remote from city centers. Poverty, unemployment, and the resultant frustration drove the youths to an extractive life of crime and bullying, thereby multiplying drug gangs and thuggery and spreading terror in communities. Westbury Township, where CFL started off, provides a unique case: gangs there effectively "own" the children born to their members' families and indoctrinate them into the gangster life. A gang's power derives partly from its ability to function as a family substitute, where gangsters bestow favors on the latter, and a family-like bond discourages members from breaking free of the gang. Further, leaving a gang may reduce a household's income.

    To break out of gang influence and begin the hard work of building alternative trust relationships, CFL holds outdoor camps for 14-to-25-year-olds away from their regular environment and the peer pressure that comes with it. A second program provides a safe after-school self-esteem and life-skills course for children in which peacemaking skills are taught. Another arm of the initiative is an income-generation project to make the youths self-sufficient enough to break from their economic dependence on the gangs. To ensure that the young people get a head start, CFL negotiates contracts with companies and organizations. An important aspect of the program is bringing families and other community members together into the process of assisting youth, a process in which the adults are offered job-skills training as well. Recognizing that healing the victims of gang life is just as important, CFL has skilled community mediators who show traumatized youths that an alternative life is possible.

    CFL's methodology has spread to Northern Ireland, Ethiopia, and the United States.

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  43. Convene parties in dialogue about socioeconomic factors that led to conflict
  44. Project Leader: Sushobha Barve
    Organization: Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation
    Location: India
    Mosaic principle: Explore Original Wounds
    Mosaic barrier: Group-Based Inequities

    Ashoka Fellow Sushobha Sushobha Barve's Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation (CDR) is bridging different divides in some of India's most violence-torn conflict zones by creating a culture of dialogue and trust building. CDR aims to build preventive mechanisms so that episodes of violence are not repeated in the future, and also work toward resolving conflicts and repairing relationships between communities, regions, and across borders.

    In the past two decades, India has witnessed a rapid escalation in communal and caste violence and insurgency. For almost 60 years, India and Pakistan have been fighting over India's northernmost state of Jammu and Kashmir that has a Muslim majority. This dispute has spawned a number of insurgent outfits and since the 1990s the conflict has become increasingly violent, resulting in huge costs, both in terms of lives lost and social disruption. Elsewhere in the country, activities of Hindu and Muslim fundamentalist groups have triggered unending cycles of reprisal and revenge, and recent global events like 9/11 have exacerbated the situation. Tensions between these religious groups are running high, and even the most isolated event has the potential to be a flash point for igniting nationwide riots.

    Barve's approach is rooted in the conviction that conflict can be addressed through dialogue. She engineers conversations that involve all parties in an exploration of the social and economic factors that led to their clash, and guides then toward practical solutions. Her interventions specifically target each phase of conflict. Before violence erupts, she creates peace committees to advocate for basic needs and resolve underlying tensions that could erupt. In the midst of conflict, she recruits citizen leaders to cooperate with state agencies to bring situations under control. And in the aftermath of conflict, she creates opportunities for broad public conversation.

    Barve has been working in some of most communally tense areas of Mumbai and in the brutalized state of Jammu and Kashmir. In the latter, besides the dialogue modules, the CDR has developed a peace curriculum that is being enthusiastically received by teachers of government schools.

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  45. Help individuals come to terms with past discrimination/ violence
  46. Project Leader: Haidy Duque Cuesta
    Organization: Taller de Vida
    Location: Colombia
    Mosaic principle: Explore Original Wounds
    Mosaic barrier: Group-based Inequities

    Colombians have been facing internal instability and displacement as a direct offshoot of guerrilla and paramilitary violence, compounded by drug cartels, all of which have contributed to mass insecurity and loss of livelihoods. Racial tension and discrimination have made the Afro-Colombians—a sizeable chunk of the population—doubly insecure.

    Having herself been forced to relocate because of the country's internal conflict, Ashoka Fellow Haidy Duque Cuesta has created an integrated set of psychosocial interventions to help those displaced by violence to get back their lives, increase their self-esteem and reintegrate themselves into society through productive means.

    Cuesta's model helps individuals come to terms with—and overcome—past discrimination and violence. She has developed a methodology that leads the displaced through a recounting and analysis of their experience, from which vantage they then begin to reinvent themselves, beginning with the search for income-generating activity. The process is group oriented and accessible to even the poorest client.

    The strategy brings together community leaders, students, citizens' organizations, churches, and community groups to recruit and train members, forming local teams that will carry out her methodology in their towns. To go to scale and maximize impact, and to help link clients with other sources of institutional support as they rebuild their lives, the organization engages with local church and civil society organizations as replicators of her methodology across the population. The ensuring of economic security is tackled through handicrafts production, with the marketing arm taken care of.

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  47. Expose government abuse and violence using the media
  48. Project Leader: Shakil Ahmed
    Organization: Nirbhay Bano Andolan (NBA)
    Location: India
    Mosaic principle: Explore Original Wounds
    Mosaic barrier: Corrupt/Inept Gov't/Public Systems

    Shakil Ahmed is a human rights lawyer and an Ashoka Fellow. He is spearheading a community education and watchdog movement to make the Indian government more accountable to even its poorest citizens. The common man, already reeling under poverty and harassment from all quarters, is too afraid to approach any system that exists for him, let alone apply pressure on the system to provide results.

    In the face of government apathy and nondeliverance, Ahmed's andolan or movement is empowering citizens with knowledge about their rights and enabling them to fight for them, taking on the state machinery without fear of coercion, violence, and marginalization.

    NBA's strategy is to investigate and document cases of human rights violations, and then highlight them effectively by using the media. His group of volunteers visit the scene of crime, collect eyewitnesses, and take down accounts of the event from a cross-section of people. They then set out to build consensus around the issue through roadside meetings and seek community support for action. NBA's network comprises resource people that include retired police commissioners, judges, government officials, and members of the press. Under the onslaught of peoples' pressure, the government is petitioned, questioned, and held accountable to its citizenry. Interest in the issue is never allowed to flag until some action is taken.

    The broader agenda is to build capacities within communities. Local leaders are identified who in turn educate their neighborhoods on rights and powers and on how to form pressure groups able to deal with the concerned authorities.

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  49. End cycle of violence by teaching children to manage their emotions
  50. Project Leader: Mary Gordon
    Organization: Roots of Empathy (ROE)
    Location: Canada
    Mosaic principle: Create Communities of Peace Builders
    Mosaic barrier: Lack of Empathy

    Ashoka Fellow Mary Gordon's program Roots of Empathy (ROE) is reducing childhood aggression in Canada by teaching emotional literacy to students and fostering in them feelings of empathy. Through a classroom program that encourages young victims of childhood violence to recognize and manage their own emotions and correctly interpret and responds to others', ROE is mitigating the damaging, emotion-deadening impact of childhood trauma that often leads to an abusive, antisocial personality.

    Over the past decades Canada has experienced a sharp increase in domestic violence, child abuse, and youth violence. While a complex set of socioeconomic factors is driving this alarming phenomenon, one fundamental factor perpetuating this trend is that risk of abuse grows exponentially for victims of violence: they are most likely to become perpetuators themselves. Children who suffer parental neglect or abuse are left with an impaired ability to be sensitive to others' emotions or to be in tune with their own. Misreading the emotional cues of others, they typically respond with hostility and aggression. Existing educational programs aimed at deterring violence fail because they focus on the consequences rather than equipping individuals with the emotional literacy needed to reconnect with their feelings and to empathize with those of others.

    The ROE program counters the emotional damage that children have suffered by teaching 3 to 14-year-olds the affective side of parenting. Each class "adopts" a baby for the year. With the help of a parent and trained ROE instructors, the students learn to interpret and verbalize the baby's emotions and needs from its sounds and movements. As they explore, analyze, and articulate the baby's behavior in order to form the appropriate responses, their emotional literacy develops, and they gain proficiency in identifying their own states of mind, the feelings of others, thus realizing how their actions affect others. Each school year brings a new baby and a reinforcement and expansion of this emotional healing and positive social skills, while demonstrably improving students' chances of forming "good" relationships as adults.

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  51. Use economic incentive to get warring groups to see benefit of cooperation
  52. Project Leader: Terri Valle de Aquino
    Organization: Pro-Indian Commission
    Location: Brazil
    Mosaic principle: Create Communities of Peace Builders
    Mosaic barrier: Lack of Empathy

    In Brazil's Amazon Basin, Ashoka Fellow Terri Valle de Aquino is creating economic alliances between traditionally bitter enemies—the indigenous peoples and the rubber tappers—to get the two warring groups to reap the benefits of cooperation. This collaboration, critical for the preservation of the rainforests, also ensures the survival of both groups.

    Threats to the Amazon Basin are multiplying. New highway projects are plowing through. Large corporations are flattening virtually untouched rainforest—originally divided into seringais (rubber plantations)—into pasture land and attracting waves of landless immigrant labor seeking to settle here.

    Yet despite mounting international concern and pressure, the destruction continues. The solution lies in those who now live in and depend on the forest banding together. If the inhabitants can obtain a decent living from the forest, it will be in their interest to defend it against the cattle ranchers and others who would destroy it.

    The two largest single groups in much of the Amazon are the indigenous peoples and the rubber tappers. Unfortunately, the historical relationship has been adversarial. Although both have suffered at the hands of the few families who had been granted massive holdings in the late nineteenth century, the Indians have been the most affected. Their lot was prejudice, often enslavement, and death—often in the hands of migrants turned rubber tappers.

    De Aquino realized that for them to become effective defenders, they must first become aware of the complexities of the problem, learn how to organize and press their interests, and work together—despite distances, prejudices, cultural gaps, and a violent history.

    His organization is focused on identifying and demonstrating concrete, easily replicable ways of building the myriad relationships of trust and mutual benefit between the area's Indians and its newer immigrants. One example: he has helped a group of rubber tappers organize into a rubber cooperative in an area adjacent to the lands of five local Indian tribes. The cooperative involves Indians from the tribes in production, rewarding them with a portion of the profits. The project is yielding more efficient production with greater income to both groups than was possible before.

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  53. Enlist young people in interfaith cooperation to highlight shared values
  54. Project Leader: Eboo Patel
    Organization: Interfaith Youth Core
    Location: U.S.
    Mosaic principle: Create Communities of Peace Builders
    Mosaic barrier: Lack of Empathy

    In the U.S., Ashoka Fellow Dr. Ebrahim "Eboo" Patel is engaging young people from different religions around interfaith community service. His work aligns the deeply held principles and shared values of public service, religious freedom, and pluralism to enrich society and reduce the ignorance that has made religiously motivated attacks the second-most common form of hate crime.

    Since September 11, felonies motivated by religious bias have risen by 19 percent of all reported incidents in the U.S., with Sikhs and anyone else who "looked Muslim" being in danger of violent attack. Long before these attacks, Patel recognized that citizens had little appreciation of the merits of any other religion but their own, in spite of living in a multicultural, multiracial society. He also recognized the precedent set by communities at the height of the racial conflict of the civil rights era, when those that had managed to build strong relationships across the lines of diversity were less prone to collapse during times of public stress.

    His organization, Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), is the first to use a service learning methodology to engage young people from different religions in community service that teaches them to live in understanding and cooperation with others. IFYC highlights the shared values between different faith communities and invites members to focus on what religions have in common by articulating how their religions "speak to" those shared values. Members also work together on public action projects—building housing, cleaning rivers—that put these values into practice.

    IFYC's local and national youth programs and activities involve thousands of young people in outreach, education, and service projects in partnership with their congregations and faith communities. College students are encouraged to act as mentors and facilitators on their own campuses. IFYC is reaching out internationally as well, to interfaith projects in South Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.

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  55. Train young leaders to recognize and defuse "mob mentality."
  56. Project Leader: Andreas D'Souza
    Organization: Henry Martyn Institute
    Location: India
    Mosaic principle: Create Communities of Peace Builders
    Mosaic barrier: Culture of Violence

    Ashoka Fellow Father Andreas D'Souza is demonstrating methods to enable a national movement of organized grassroots reconciliation between India's religions—especially Hinduism and Islam—to take hold.

    India's independence was scarred by a cataclysm of religious hatred, killing, and the two-way flight of millions of refugees. Periodically, this fever recurs on a large scale, most recently in 2004 in Godhra, Gujarat state. Each eruption destroys countless lives, deepens hatred, and further tears at the social fabric of the country.

    D'Souza's program is designed to build community antidotes to such contagions when they sweep across the country. Neighborhood youth leaders are invited to a joint training in which they learn to spot and shoot down inflammatory rumors before they can cause further damage. Beyond tactics teaching, leaders of different faiths study different religions, distill the values in each, and learn to respect the tenets of every religion. Stereotypes, bigotry, and suspicion are tackled head on, and the common sources of misunderstanding put into perspective for the leaders.

    D'Souza is aware that antidotes are not enough and that effective prevention is vitally important. Recognizing that most people want an end to community strife and are looking for their role in accomplishing this, he engages citizens in community development projects, from improving housing to cleaning drains to training youths in marketable skills. Interfaith dialogue is promoted through these initiatives. As local leaders succeed together on these projects, they are building the trust that will later help them deal with crisis.

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  57. Unify existing peace advocacy groups to achieve scale
  58. Project Leader: Ana Teresa Bernal Montañés
    Organization: REDEPAZ (National Network of Citizen Initiatives for Peace)
    Location: Colombia
    Mosaic principle: Create Communities of Peace Builders
    Mosaic barrier: Culture of Violence

    Ashoka Fellow Ana Teresa Bernal's organization REDEPAZ is strengthening the peace movement in Colombia by bringing together peace organizations of youths, women, and indigenous groups to form a strong and cohesive voice. United, these organizations are setting a common agenda and creating their own solutions to Colombia's problems instead of waiting for actors of the armed conflict to do so.

    For nearly four decades, Colombia has been in the throes of armed conflict, with guerilla groups, the army, paramilitary groups, and drug cartels waging war with each other. For young people, survival often means enlisting with armed groups, thereby swelling their ranks and ensuring the continuity of conflict. As frustration grows with the unceasing turmoil, growing numbers are favoring violent options, making it increasingly urgent for concentrated efforts to keep the focus on nonviolent resolutions. But citizen peace initiatives have been solitary, scattered, low-impact efforts, and civil society has been excluded from negotiations and general discussions on the conflict.

    REDEPAZ provides the critical missing piece in the search for peaceful solutions to Colombia's problems: a vehicle to engage the citizen sector. It has facilitated crucial linkages allowing a mass movement demanding peace and resisting violence, and forcing politicians and armed groups to pay attention. It has held public referenda where children and adults have had a chance to officially vote for peace, compelling political parties to include the peace mandate in their agendas, stimulating negotiations between warring factions, and moving the corporate sector to take a stand against violence.

    REDEPAZ has enabled the citizen sector to establish its presence at the negotiation table. To promote the culture of peace in concrete terms it has established peace territories—civic areas that declare themselves "at peace" and adopt measures to prevent the intrusion of violence from armed conflict.

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  59. Teach problem-solving skills to communities
  60. Project Leader: Ricardo Hernández Arellano
    Organization: Alliance of Civic Organizations for Democracy
    Location: Mexico
    Mosaic principle: Create Communities of Peace Builders
    Mosaic barrier: Group-based Inequities

    Ashoka Fellow Ricardo Hernández Arellano's Alliance of Civic Organizations for Democracy is erasing the pervasive culture of conflict in Mexico by equipping indigenous and other communities with the ability to develop their own peaceful solutions to social conflicts. By reorienting a strife-torn society into the values of reconciliation, dialogue, and respect for differences, the alliance is establishing enduring communal harmony in multicultural Mexico.

    Mexico's ethnically diverse society has a long history of communal conflicts. The persistence of these hostilities stems from problems left to fester instead of being definitively solved. Violence is used as both a response and a solution to conflict, putting in motion an endlessly repeating cycle of hostile action and reaction. Even the government opts for force as a solution, putting down opposition, conflicts, and social unrest with brutal acts of state-endorsed violence.

    The alliance's approach is based on a multidisciplinary understanding of opposing views. A two-part strategy is employed: first, gain a deep understanding of opposing views; and second, provide this information, together with conflict resolution techniques, to the groups and communities involved so that they can resolve their differences and live in harmony. The conflict resolution techniques, composed of management and problem-solving know-how, draw on successful conflict resolution experiences of indigenous peoples.

    The alliance works in several states in Mexico, spreading its work through workshops for local, regional, and national citizen groups. In addition, it collaborates not only with civil and religious organizations but also with government agencies working on human rights, children's issues, indigenous problems, and student rights. The alliance's efforts are creating an ever-expanding national network of peace promoters committed to establishing and defending peace in Mexico. To spread its model internationally, the alliance is reaching out to like-minded partners in England, Spain, the United States, and Central and South America.

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  61. Create simulations that teach the complexity of negotiation and human rights
  62. Project Leader: A Force More Powerful, Global
    Organization: International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC)
    Mosaic principle: Create Communities of Peace Builders
    Mosaic barrier: Group-Based Inequities

    After the tremendous response to the Emmy-nominated PBS television series, A Force More Powerful, the creative team behind it teamed up on other projects concerning nonviolent action. The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) was born from this collaboration, co-founded by Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall.

    This educational foundation is developing materials and globally disseminating knowledge related to nonviolent conflict and its practice. Its materials encourage the study and use of civilian-based, nonmilitary strategies to establish and defend human rights, democracy and justice worldwide, and in aiding policy change. ICNC reaches out to citizens and activists living under conditions of repression, injustice and corruption, and also educators, CSOs, media professionals, and policy makers.

    To this end, the center creates simulations that teach the complexity of negotiation and human rights. It uses television broadcast networks, the Internet, and off-air and off-line media to disseminate video programming and books, as well as learning materials for schools and universities. All these resources help promote the history and ideas of nonviolent conflict in open or closed societies where rights or self-determination are at issue.

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  63. Create awareness and training around workplace violence
  64. Project Leader: Susan Marais-Steinman
    Organization: Workplace Dignity Foundation
    Location: South Africa
    Link: http://
    Mosaic principle: Create Communities of Peace Builders
    Mosaic barrier: Corrupt/Inept Gov't/Public Systems

    Ashoka Fellow Susan Steinman is making South African workplaces equitable, trauma-free environments by establishing a work culture of dignity and respect. By exposing the extent and far-reaching damage of workplace abuse on the one hand, and building pressure groups composed of stakeholders to lobby for appropriate policy and legislation on the other, Steinman is effectively combating the neglected evil of victimization at work.

    Globally, workplace violence has been spiraling, but the lack of data has meant few alarm bells going off. Victimization is typically characterized by a person being consistently persecuted physically or mentally by an individual or group against whom the "prey" cannot offer defense. Steinman's pioneering research revealed that 35 percent of South Africans have experienced workplace hostility, but few speak up because in an economic climate where unemployment is high, no one wants to risk retrenchment. Yet, the effects are widely manifest in poor worker motivation and absenteeism. Families suffer as abused wage earners go into depression, often venting their frustration on spouses and children through emotional and physical cruelty. Their children are more likely to develop into abusive adults, thereby perpetuating the cycle of violence.

    Steinman has designed a three-pronged spoke to jam this destructive wheel. First: engage a cross-section of stakeholders—management, workers, unions, government—by collecting data and effectively presenting it in publications, workshops, and conferences. This provides incontrovertible evidence of the scale of abuse and its impact on both the bottom line and home fronts. Second: advocate for policy and legislative changes that provide legal recourse for victims. Third: develop and implement conflict resolution mechanisms for the workplace. Major milestones include: developing a Code of Conduct designed to eliminate workplace violence. This code has been incorporated by the labor department and by diamond blue-chip company De Beers. Steinman is now lobbying for inclusion of the code in national legislation.

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  65. Train journalists to mediate conflict through their writing
  66. Project Leader: Hannes Siebert
    Organization: Longkloof Studios; Mediation and Conflict Management Training Project
    Location: South Africa
    Mosaic principle: Create Communities of Peace Builders
    Mosaic barrier: Corrupt/Inept Gov't/Public Systems

    Ashoka Fellow Hannes Siebert believes that journalistic writing has the power to perform the role of mediation. Himself a journalist and a self-confessed mediator, his Media-as-Mediator program is training journalists to understand the underpinnings of conflict and to reflect that through their writing.

    The training is geared at making journalists aware of the deeper responsibilities and constructive possibilities in reporting on conflict in society, and dismisses the very notion of "objective" journalism. Through workshops, externships, and publications, the program is building a critical mass of journalist-mediators who might then catalyze a paradigm shift in their profession. It educates them about the dynamics of conflict and the importance of delving beyond the stated positions of political parties, for example, to their underlying, often unstated interests. The next step is to deepen journalists' self-awareness as they intervene to report on conflicts.

    From there it is a small step to begin to look at the practical ways that reporters can promote conflict resolution.

    More recently, Siebert is working in Nepal in setting up a Peace Secretariat with the government.

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  67. Sensitize general population to struggle of indigenous peoples
  68. Project Leader: Márcio José Brando Santilli
    Organization: Nucleus of Indigenous Rights
    Location: Brazil
    Mosaic principle: Build Nonviolent Paths to Rights, Access, & Assets
    Mosaic barrier: Lack of Empathy

    In Brazil, Ashoka Fellow Márcio José Brando Santilli's Nucleus of Indigenous Rights, a national coalition of Indian rights group, functions as a political and legal consultant to the several organizations under its umbrella to secure crucial legislation for protecting the rights of indigenous peoples. It also builds public support for their cause by creating awareness about the issues confronting the indigenous groups. Santilli's activism and legislative contributions have helped Brazil's remaining Indians gain more constitutional rights to their culture, land, and resources than they have had in 500 years of white domination.

    Brazil's indigenous populations originally numbered some 5 million. Since the Spanish Conquest, an unrelenting process of extermination and assimilation has decimated the populations to about 250,000 covering 180 different ethnic groups. In the last decade economic incentives to mining and timber groups to stimulate migration to the Amazon region have put pressure on indigenous lands and created conflicts of interests between the Indians and the outsiders. Assassinations of indigenous leaders and massacres of indigenous groups have increased dramatically. In the face of economic crisis and the failure of the state to act on their behalf, Indians sometimes have no alternative but to sell wood and minerals in their territory without consciousness of the medium- and long-range consequences.

    The Nucleus for Indigenous Rights acts as a bridge between Indian rights organizations, national CSOs that work with indigenous issues and government entities and representatives to ensure that issues concerning Indians are addressed in an appropriate and timely fashion. Its efforts have resulted in securing Senate approval of critical regulatory laws. Simultaneously, the group works to strengthen activism and expand public awareness of the issues facing indigenous peoples.

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  69. Teach dispute resolution to teens to steer them away from gangs
  70. Project Leader: Nelsa Curbelo
    Organization: Ser Paz
    Location: Ecuador
    Mosaic principle: Build Nonviolent Paths to Rights, Access, & Assets
    Mosaic barrier: Culture of Violence

    In war-torn Ecuador, Ashoka Fellow Nelsa Curbelo's organization Ser Paz has launched a peace offensive led by an ever-expanding army of youth who reject violence as a solution to problems, opting instead for nonconfrontational tactics based on mutual respect and understanding. Ser Paz leverages the tremendous potential of the country's young to lead social change by encouraging them to imagine a different world and putting them in charge of making it real.

    Almost half of Ecuador's population is under 21. This represents a substantial resource for the country, yet Ecuadorian youth have no voice in national forums and no decision-making roles in shaping their country's future. Even student unions have been co-opted by political parties, leaving a vacuum in youth leadership. Young people's marginalization is exacerbated by widespread poverty and lack of options that force many into the violent cultures of street gangs.

    Ser Paz's strategies are founded on leveraging young people's penchant for creativity and questioning to find alternatives to the pervasive violence. Mediation workshops and community development projects provide young people game-based trainings in state-of-the-art dispute resolution methods and project planning. By ensuring that the workshop brings young people of different backgrounds together to work on action plans to being peace to their respective communities, Ser Paz breaks down traditional barriers, replacing hostility and suspicion with respect and cooperation. To facilitate youths' access to the national forum, Ser Paz is planning a national Youth Congress. It has also launched a news network, bringing together students and young journalists. Ser Paz is lobbying with the military conscription department to have its program offered as an alternative to armed service—a strategy that would bring in many new volunteers and introduce alternative conflict resolution methods into a sector that could benefit from them.

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  71. Recruit ex-vigilantes as volunteer conflict resolvers
  72. Project Leader: Hernando Roldán
    Organization: Conflict Resolution Center
    Location: Colombia
    Mosaic principle: Build Nonviolent Paths to Rights, Access, & Assets
    Mosaic barrier: Culture of Violence

    Ashoka Fellow Hernando Roldán is combating urban violence in Colombia by training ex-vigilante youths in the skills of nonviolent, voluntary community-based conflict resolution. Since much of the violence is an attempt to solve problems by a society unequipped with any other means of solution, by providing effective nonviolent alternatives, Roldán is enabling communities to use peace to build peace.

    Decades of armed conflict waged by multiple groups—including the military, guerilla forces, and the drug militia—have made violence a way of life in Colombia. And ensuring waves of displaced rural populations flow into urban centers placing massive stress on public service systems that cannot cope with the load. For the new immigrants, whose numbers keep swelling, survival is a live-or-die contest for food, shelter, and livelihood. Most resort to violence to secure their rights or participate in society. Recent state-organized conflict resolution exercises have had little impact, mainly because they are imposed from the outside, have no local ownership, and fail to utilize social, cultural, and familial traditions.

    Roldán's model paves the way for the community's youth leaders to participate in well-structured, nonviolent conflict resolution activities. The first center was started with ex-vigilante youth; subsequent centers emerged from training programs reaching out through sports clubs, women's groups, and church organizations.

    The young volunteers are trained in civil, inclusive, and respectful mediation. They help opposing parties see each other's points of view, respect boundaries, and formulate fair alternatives. The disputes cover issues ranging from domestic violence to property conflicts.

    Disputing parties appear at their own volition. With violent community members like drug dealers, conflict resolvers take proactive roles, counseling them individually and charting out plans both for their return to peaceful lives and for restitution for their victims. The volunteers also provide citizenship education to diverse community organizations. Active networking with authorities has resulted in support from police, military, and municipal bodies.

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  73. Address the education needs of historically underserved, persecuted groups
  74. Project Leader: Ferene Orsos
    Organization: Roma Social and Cultural Methodological Center
    Location: Hungary
    Mosaic principle: Build Nonviolent Paths to Rights, Access, & Assets
    Mosaic barrier: Group-based Inequities

    Ashoka Fellow Ferenc Orsos is enabling the young people of this severely marginalized community in Hungary secure their place in the country's educational system and the society-at-large without sacrificing their own cultural identity. Orsos has introduced a Roma-centric curriculum designed to instill a sense of pride and dignity in the Roma children of Central and Eastern Europe.

    The continuous and overt efforts of the Hungarian government to assimilate the Roma minority have had a devastating effect on Roma children. Many lack any sense of their identity and refuse to speak their language, because they are so ashamed of their heritage. Poverty, large families, and chronic unemployment put the vast majority of Roma children at risk for poor academic performance. Very few reach university levels. Moreover, during Hungary's transition period to a market economy, the Roma have been one of the hardest hit groups in the region. In some areas Roma unemployment peaks at 100 percent. In response to the problem of Roma education, the Hungarian parliament has passed legislation that mandates schools to provide minority education programs. But neither the necessary teacher training nor curriculum development has accompanied this legislation, thereby rendering it ineffectual.

    Taking advantage of this legislation, Orsos has launched a program to train teachers in techniques that he developed, over a seven-year period, to teach Roma children. The program does not focus on improving test scores alone. Orsos has also developed an after-school program that uses members of a Roma student's extended family as mentors who teach them about their cultural heritage, music, dance, and mythology. All of this builds awareness, self-confidence, and pride. Orsos has found that these qualities directly improve the children's academic success. Orsos's model's success has spurred schools to invite him to implement his program so that they can fulfill the requirements under the minority education law.

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  75. Help landless poor assert legal rights without resorting to violence
  76. Project Leader: Gita Ramaswamy
    Organization: Ibrahimpatnam Vyavasaya Coolie Sangham
    Location: India
    Mosaic principle: Create Communities of Peace Builders
    Mosaic barrier: Corrupt/Inept Gov't/Public Systems

    Ashoka Fellow Gita Ramaswamy's work with disenfranchised communities saw its beginnings in then-Naxalite-ravaged Andhra Pradesh state, where the ideological civil war was dividing much of the Andhra countryside. The sangham (coalition) came into being to lead the way in helping the rural landless poor assert their constitutional and legal rights successfully, without ripping apart the social fabric.

    India's civil rights laws have always been progressive and lay out, for example, minimum wages, abolish bonded labor, and spell out land reforms including landholding ceilings. However, implementation is where the country and its people take a beating.

    Ramaswamy's coalition informs and empowers the rural poor to negotiate with the government in ways that lessen the mutual fear and subsequent miscalculation and violence that could occur across what should be the negotiating table. She also brings a grassroots organizing dimension to her work that includes not only the villagers but also committed officials, CSOs and activists.

    Ramaswamy follows the middle-course ideology by which her model allows and invites people to use the law and the administrative system—instead of using confrontational methods—to redress villagers' land tenure and other core rural issues.

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Total value:
15 000
A cash prize of US$5,000 for the top three winners.