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Today's Highlights

An amazing Day #2 at #VVLead with the savvy fellows offering specific, thoughtful, actionable advice. Very impressive to see power of the peer-to-peer connection activated to lead social change. Thanks POND’S!

Check out today’s Q&A with Devi Asmarani Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Magdalene:

Q: Devi:
Shaili, what was the most inspiring part from the peer presentation today for you?

A: Shaili Chopra, India, SheThePeople:
I thought that for me it was very relevant to know that a lot of the women who are in the room presenting have shared problems. And it was also good to see how they were taking a go at the solution, because often we get a very top down approach. It really makes a big difference to know that somebody who is trying to do what you’re doing in a different space was dealing with certain challenges and to know how they overcame that. Also the other thing that was very useful was looking at how women from different fields try to find solutions to funding. We all came here with that one big question: how do we leverage this network and other networks and find those common areas to get answers to our funding problems. It’s interesting to see where all of us look for answers in either one way or the other, but there are people who actually try to find legit and different ways rather than just waiting for that one magical day when they would find a pot of gold. I think maybe a little bit of recalibrating is what I would do when I go back from here.

Q: Devi:
Prossy, Can you talk about the peer-to-peer collaboration you are setting up?

A: Prossy Kawala, Uganda, Center for Media Literacy and Community Development (CEMCOD):
This afternoon I started to talk about collaboration with Shirley Otube (founder and editor-in-chief of online platform SECURE). She has come up with a conflict and peace curriculum. I think this really speaks with the work that we do because we work with a lot of young people who are facing conflicts everyday within their lives. When we talk about conflicts, some people think it’s about war, but conflicts begin within the person, within the family that we live. We think that it is important for us to work on the curriculum together because we’ve been speaking about training the young people that we work with in conflict reporting. And that’s where we find the commonality between what Shirley was doing and what we are doing. We think it’s going to improve the way young people report about the issue within the communities, so that they don’t fuel more conflicts. Because these young people report about issues as they happen, where they live. So when we bring in the aspect of peace, when they understand what it means to report about conflicts, then we think we can build more good communities. We are empowering them to speak from an informed position, where they actually help their communities to grow stronger, rather than pulling them apart.

Q: Devi:
Achenyo, did you find any possible solution to your technological challenges from the peer presentation today?

A: Achenyo Idachaba, Nigeria, Mitimeth:
Yes, I did. The presentation was fantastic. Jessica (Hubley from Annie Cannons) did an amazing job in terms of breaking it down and helping us to understand what the possibilities were and what we could use to make our job easier. For me it was a good reminder. I have a technical background, but sometimes it gets lost in the weeds and you forget that technology can actually help facilitate what you do and buy you more time. So sitting there and going through the different applications that could be used was good in the sense that it brought me back to evaluating the work that I do and the small things that I have put on hold in terms of applying technology to make our jobs easier as a manufacturing outfit. We had a conversation afterward and she’s planning to get me more information on an application that would be suitable for a small business like mine: looking at how I can get an enterprise resource planning system that would help our production outfit operating in an optimal fashion and other logistics concerns. I’m looking forward to Jessica’s feedback and recommendation.

Q: Devi:
Maria, were there any particular tools or ideas from today that you think can be used to elevate your work?

A: Maria Vertkin, USA, Found in Translation:
There’s actually an idea that stuck with me when Anne (Githuku) was presenting, she talked about Coca-Cola in Africa and a little known fun fact that it took them 12 years to break even – 12 years where they lost money every single year – and about patient capital. I think a big difference between non-profits and for-profits is that people think that non-profits don’t have to profit, while for-profits do. It’s actually the other way around. For-profits can operate in the red for 12 years and it’s acceptable, nonprofits have to be profitable from Day 1. For me that’s a big thing because a lot of time, we would be asked, “why don’t nonprofits scale?” Well, it’s because you don’t let us operate in the red! So I think that’s something I’m going to take back home and figure out how to gently infuse it into conversations with funders.

Fascinating stuff! More coming tomorrow from Day #3!

Devi Asmarani
Editor-in-Chief, Magdalene

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