At six months into the Trustbuilding Program, it is a great time to look back at what has been achieved over the last months and to look forward to what’s ahead. The ebb and flow in activity has varied between the different projects, allowing for the teams to live into what it means to build trust. We’re encouraged by their adaptability and forward momentum! Here’s a look at the highlights from the Program in general as well as from the ongoing projects in Kenya, Canada and France.
Signed agreement with the Fetzer Institute and recruitment of the Trustbuilding team began.
Four-day training of team members from the selected and potential Trustbuilding Program project countries, plus some international trainers from IofC, was held in Caux, Switzerland. The Trustbuilding Program Training Manual was drafted and collaborated on, led by Program Design Consultant, Rob Corcoran.
Five positions for the Trustbuilding Program team were filled: Program Manager, Talia Smith; Program Assistant, Alena Vasilyeva; Communications Officer, Manon Michelle Monhemius; Design Consultant, Rob Corcoran; and Evaluation Manager, Roxann Allen.
Roxann Allen conducted a training for the project teams in Kenya, Canada and France on how to implement effective evaluation plans. This is to help set-up mechanisms by which to gain critical data for the next phase (year 2) of the Program.
On 26 October the first interfaith dialogue and outreach activity was held in Garissa (North East Kenya, on the border of Somalia) with 33 local participants (16 Muslims, 17 Christians). Canada
Three staff members were hired in the Canadian team: Project Manager, Project Coordinator and Communications Officer.
The first public event, the Information Session, was held in Montreal on 8 October, which included a presentation by Rob Corcoran and Ebony Walden on the trustbuilding experience in Richmond, and a working session with Roxann Allen and Louise Dufresne (IofC Canada facilitator), looking at the roots of distrust in Québec. A diverse group of 40 people attended the event, coming from interfaith and peacebuilding organizations, academia, government, business and the arts. Simultaneous translation into French and English was provided.
The team simultaneously delivered weekly workshops in schools and began reaching out to new schools to invite further participation. They also began reaching out to school inspectors for endorsement and support of their project.
On the Program level
There have been several international visits to support the project teams:
Trustbuilding Program Manager, Talia Smith, visited Kenya 13 – 21 October to provide support to the team. Her time was divided between Nairobi, working with the team on different project functions, and Mombasa where she met with project stakeholders.
Matthew Freeman, a trainer for the Program, visited Kenya to co-facilitate with Kenya’s Project Manager, Dan Mugera, a four-day capacity building and trustbuilding workshop for 16 members of the wider team. They also worked on contextualizing the Trustbuilding Program Training Manual for the Kenyan context.
Rob Corcoran and Ebony Walden delivered a trustbuilding and dialogue facilitation training, and Roxann Kioko delivered an evaluation workshop. Each spent three days supporting the team and meeting project stakeholders.
A Knowledge Management Officer was hired for IofC International. Ritu Kumar, from Florida, USA will initially focus on supporting the Trustbuilding Program.
On 8 November, there was an outreach activity at Mombasa Baptist High School with 36 participants.
An interfaith dialogue was held at Royal Castle Hotel on 9 November with participants from Mombasa. The faith ratio was almost equal having slightly more Muslims than Christians, given that the Coastal region is majority Muslim.
On 3 – 9 December, Talia Smith, visited the team to provide support.
The Roundtable, held on 7 December, demonstrated the strength the team has in getting together diverse participants. An eclectic group of 47 people attended the event, representing the human rights legal sector, arts (literature), indigenous groups, immigrants, academics, and activists.
The OUI ACT project started workshops at a second school, ,th two classes confirmed through a partnership with a School Association.
On the Program level
Trustbuilding Program hired a new Development Officer, Amy Lambrecht.
On 13 January, the Trustbuilding Program team organized a communications skills workshop for the wider IofC Kenyan team, getting professionals to join in and pass along their knowledge.
Each project team has been building small but important counter narratives to hate and segregation on the ground in their local contexts which brings hope in the current world.
On 1 – 2 February a Trustbuilding workshops took place in Garissa and the team conducted the first ever history walk at Garissa University.
The Project Managers from France and Kenya spoke at the Trustbuilding plenary of 'Towards a Humane World' international conference at Asia Plateau, India, on 11 February.
Program Manager, Talia Smith, ran a workshop on Trustbuilding and numerous team meetings took place during the international conference at Asia Plateau.
Expressions of Interest letter to be part of year 2 of the Trustbuilding Program will go out to the global network.
Trustbuilding workshops in Mombasa (5 – 7 March).
Trustbuilding Training during two weekends (6 – 8 March and 27 – 29 March).
The team will continue reaching out to new schools to collaborate with whilst following up with the student’s citizen outreach initiatives from previous classes.
April – August
The Imam & the Pastor will visit Garissa, Kenya in April to conduct outreaches and a workshop around the anniversary of the Al-Shabab massacre in Garissa University.
Ongoing application process for participating project countries to be a part of the Trustbuilding Program Year 2.
The new participating project countries for year 2 of the Trustbuilding Program will be confirmed by end September. The projects for year 2 will start in December.
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The Trustbuilding Program is aimed at addressing divisive issues at the international and national levels, on the premise that only those who have undergone the internal process of becoming trustworthy themselves can close gaps across the globe. The Program was launched by Initiatives of Change International in 2019 with projects in Kenya, Canada and France.