Words for the world we want.
In Liberia, Sierra Leone, Timor Leste, Nepal, Palestine, and San Quentin Prison, I saw how people’s words and stories reveal simple solutions that generate measurable improvements in lives and institutions. Listening to them, in speakers’ own voices and languages, also generates empathy and empowerment. Empathy, empowerment, and practical, proven solutions: this is what peace and progress require.
So I devoted myself to helping to ensure that the voices of the people that the UN serves informs what the UN does for them. How can the ideas and experiences of illiterate people in rural areas influence projects typically designed by highly-educated experts in national capitals? How to engage youth and women in collecting the data used to design and monitor policies intended to benefit them? How to promote these people-centered approaches, despite limited resources, and willingness to surrender influence over initiatives, and the narrative on their impact?
These questions motivate my work to help engage project ‘beneficiaries’ also as sources of the expertise we need for the world we want.