What does it mean to be a Feedback Fellow? It means putting people at the center of your work and listening to their needs. It means having a thirst to learn and grow, and a desire to bring your feedback practice to the next level. It means being ambitious, curious, and maybe even a little nervous.
This November, we had our first meeting with all of the 2019-2020 Feedback Fellows, and the call was buzzing with excitement. Fellows called in from all over the world – from Mali, Yemen, México, USA, Afghanistan, South Africa, Uganda, Bali, and Colombia.
Though all of the 2019-2020 Feedback Fellows represent different organizations with different goals in diverse locations across the globe, they all share the same underlying belief in feedback.
They work on issues spanning humanitarian disaster response to girls education to HIV/AIDS and many more. They have all proven their drive, ambition, and commitment to putting people at the center of their work, whether they are supporting young women in the juvenile justice system in Florida or promoting human rights and addressing ethnic conflict in Afghanistan. We are proud to introduce them today. Together, they are a powerful force to be reckoned with.
We are so excited to collaborate and learn with the Global Giving and Siegel Family Endowment Feedback Fellows in 2020. With their diverse backgrounds, interests and skills, they are on the fast track to meaningful connection and change. Please give them a warm welcome:
Accountability Lab Mali
As the head of the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning department at Accountability Lab Mali, Doussouba Konaté is catalyzing a new generation of active citizens and accountable leaders to develop and implement positive ideas for greater integrity. Mali has faced a multidimensional crisis since the 2012 coup d’état. The weakness of the government has allowed the occupation of terrorists and rebel groups in Northern Mali. In this kind of context, it is extremely important to return to the local populations and victims of this conflict, to give them a voice and allow them to contribute to the national dialogue.
The Accountability Lab Citizen Helpdesks program pioneers citizen feedback, dialogue, and community voice to ensure accountability in the development process. Accountability Lab collects the perceptions of Malian citizens on a specific subject and in a specific geographical area and then disseminates that information to the population and decision-makers at many levels to create policies that are better adapted to the needs of the population. As a Feedback Fellow, Doussouba Konaté is excited to share her learnings from the Citizen Helpdesk program. She is looking forward to learning from other fellows about useful tools and technology to make the feedback process simple.
Farah Fahd Abdulaziz Al-Wazeer
Communication, Partnership and Knowledge Officer
SMEPS (Small & Micro Enterprise Promotion Services)
Farah Fahd Abdulaziz Al-Wazeer, who hails from Yemen, works for The Small and Micro Enterprise Promotion Service (SMEPS). SMEPS is a young development agency established as a subsidiary of the Social Fund for Development (SFD) in Yemen in 2006. They seek to build and facilitate the economic and technical capacities of market-driven private-sector parties. The program has been a huge success: Though Yemen is in a conflict zone, and salaries have been stagnant, Farah is proud to say that SMEPS has created 75,000 jobs this year. She is excited to bring her skills to the Feedback Fellows group, including her communications abilities, her knowledge of M&E and feedback systems. She is looking forward to learning from all of the other fellows’ diverse experiences.
Ilse Berenice Garibay Dueñas
Organismo de Nutrición Infantil, A.C.
Ilse Garibay co-creates projects with indigenous communities at Organismo de Nutrición Infantil, A.C. (ONI) the oldest non-profit in Jalisco, México. Through their nutrition and educational programs, ONI has helped children between 6 months and 6 years old that suffer or are at risk of undernourishment or obesity for over 65 years. Ilse is proud of how the organization has progressed, and the fact that ONI now reaches pregnant women in order to improve prenatal nutrition.
Ilse’s work is focused on ensuring that ONI project proposals are created hand-in-hand with local indigenous communities. Before bringing any project to financial institutions or government agencies for funding, Ilse makes sure that it aligns with the community’s values and needs. Feedback is truly the core of her job! She is looking forward to sharing her advice and best practices for working with indigenous communities and learning from other Fellows best practices, past mistakes, and advice about how to best respond to emergencies.
Pace Center for Girls, Inc.
Lymari Benitez moved from Puerto Rico to the USA 19 years ago. She currently lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband and two boys, and cares deeply about the 3,000 girls that her organization, Pace Center for Girls, serves annually. As Senior Director of Research and Program Evaluation, she uses data as her superpower to make a difference. She is proud that this year, Pace expanded beyond their 21 locations in Florida to Georgia as well.
Pace Center for Girls changes the trajectory of girls that are at high risk of involvement with the juvenile justice system. Pace applies a set of gender-responsive, trauma-informed and strength-based prevention and early intervention practices, including academic and social services, for girls with the purpose of strengthening their systems of care. Pace believes in providing every girl the opportunity to find her voice and use it to change her life trajectory. Thus, collecting feedback is mission-critical for the work that Lymari does to make Pace accountable for girls’ experiences in the program. Lymari is excited to offer her knowledge of community participatory processes with the Fellows group and is hoping to develop her practice, develop herself, and develop meaningful connections.
Mohammad Jawad Zawulistani
As the Managing Director of Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization, Mohammad Jawad Zawulistani is interested in initiatives that promote youth-led peace, foster dialogue and understanding and empower both youth and war victims to make meaningful societal contributions. He wants to prioritize protecting human rights in conflict-affected contexts and promoting inclusive conflict transformation policies & approaches. He serves as a member of the executive board of Bamyan Foundation, and responsible for coordinating projects with local partners in Afghanistan.
Muhammad Rayhaan Ismail Sooliman
Waqful Waqifin Foundation (Gift of the Givers Foundation)
At the Gift of the Givers Foundation in South Africa, Muhammad Sooliman is focused on disaster response and management, search and rescue, and humanitarian relief. Gift of the Givers has a permanent presence in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, and Palestine, and Muhammad is proud to report that they responded to all four disasters in sub-Saharan Africa last year.
Since Gift of the Givers was founded by Muhammad’s family 27 years ago, it has expanded to offer a myriad of programs, and Muhammad, now a father of 3, is happy to hold a permanent position in the organization. He is excited to share with the Fellows group how he builds relationships with communities and tips for reacting to good or bad situations.
Dr Pasquine Ogunsanya
Alive Medical Services
A Medical Doctor and Public Health Specialist by training, Pasquine N. Ogunsanya (MD,MPH) has vast experience in tropical medicine and comprehensive HIV/AIDS care. She is an advocate for inclusive HIV/AIDS and sexual-reproductive health and rights for all, especially vulnerable and marginalized communities. She is also a mother to two children, aged 21 and 17.
In 2007, she and her husband co-founded Alive Medical Services (AMS), a highly-awarded and recognized nonprofit organization that envisions a world in which those in need of medical care have access to state-of-the-art medical services provided with love and dignity. AMS offers free comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, care, treatment and psychosocial support to its clients. In the last 12 years AMS has registered tremendous growth and tested over 95,000 people for HIV and served more than 17,000 people living with HIV. Since the year 2013, AMS has eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV with over 1000 HIV Negative babies born to HIV-positive mothers in care. Dr Ogunsanya has also tailored services to most-at-risk populations and served over 45,000 orphans and vulnerable children, women and girls, fisherfolks and key populations. Their high-quality HIV/AIDS care is integrated with socio-economic empowerment.
Pasquine is excited to share her experiences working in the unique communities she serves, and is looking forward to learning from other Fellows about how to best involve people and get feedback from them in order to learn from them.
Piter Harry Panjaitan
Yayasan Bukit Kehidupan Ungasan
Piter Panjaitan is a father of two and the Director of BaliLife Foundation/ Yayasan Bukit Kehidupan Ungasan in Bali-Indonesia alongside his wife Lyna. He likes boxing, surfing and guitars, and helping people reach their maximum potential. BaliLife is focused on educational empowerment for underprivileged children, and giving hope, dignity and purpose to families. Piter is proud of BaliLife’s work and their ability to respond to disasters – after the tsunami, they were able to help 2,000 in partnership with GlobalGiving.
Piter is excited to share his specific expertise about disaster response in archipelago landscapes and is looking forward to learning from other Fellows about how BaliLife can go beyond disaster relief and into disaster recovery.
Sanjay Fernandes is from Bogotá, Colombia. He is the father of 2 beautiful boys, an economist, interaction designer, educator and electronic musician. His work at SOLE (Self-Organised Learning Environments) Colombia seeks to create a simple powerful solution to transform the future of education. SOLE is a disruptive education methodology developed by TED Prize winner Sugata Mitra. It empowers communities to develop: autonomy, collaboration, deep learning, and most important of all: it helps them solve real-life problems! Since 2014, Sanjay has scaled the methodology to reach more than 417,000 people of all ages in more than 800 schools, 1,400 public libraries and hundreds of public spaces with connectivity, in collaboration with the government, private companies, the social sector, and citizens. Due to their work, SOLE Colombia was nominated for the 2017 Best Leaders of Colombia Award from the Leadership and Democracy Foundation, Semana Magazine and Telefónica.
Sanjay is excited to share everything he has learned so far working on SOLE, as well his obsession with changing the world. In the Fellows group, he hopes to find like-minded changemakers who want to have deep conversations about the future we envision.
Doorways of NWFL
As the Director of Doorways of North West Florida, Yvonne Petrasovits is focused on ending homelessness in a six-county area of rural Northwest Florida. Yvonne is proud of her work coordinating a Community Recovery Center, but knows that there is lots more to be done following Hurricane Michael – as a result of the storm, 22,000 residents were displaced. Doorways collaborated with seven other nonprofits to assist survivors in putting their lives back together through rebuild efforts, shelter, relocation, counseling and whatever they might need to move forward.
Yvonne is also a parent and grandparent and she enjoys visiting with family and traveling to new places. She is thrilled to be part of the 2019-2020 class of Feedback Fellows and is excited to share her knowledge on involving people in their own recovery and incorporating people’s needs into their action plans. She is hoping to learn from all of the other Fellows, and foster meaningful conversations outside of the daily grind.
What is the Feedback Fellows Program?
In 2017 we asked our Summit community: what changes did we as Feedback Labs need to make for feedback practices to become the norm?
We heard the feedback loud and clear: new voices. Our annual conference was a place where feedback trailblazers came every year to push their practice forward. Those trailblazers were the same ones asking us to break from the usual suspects and highlight the work of practitioners from organizations that are not often heard at international gatherings.
In response, we piloted a Disaster Feedback Fellows program with GlobalGiving for the 2018 Feedback Summit. The Fellows gathered together for a week of learning in DC, and then attended the 5th annual Feedback Summit. These ten practitioners shared their stories on collecting and acting on feedback in disaster affected regions. Unsurprisingly, they were the superstars of the conference.
Shondra Muhammad, a 2018 Feedback Fellow, emphasizes that the most powerful part of the experience last year was the connections she made with other incredible change-makers. They were all on their feedback journey together and were able to support each other professionally, and personally, throughout the process. The program helped create a community of practice, where practitioners could connect and learn from each other.
Following last year’s success, we’ve partnered with GlobalGiving and the Siegel Family Endowment. This year we received over 230 applications from a very diverse and passionate group of applicants and are pleased to offer ten fellowships to feedback practitioners from across the globe. These fellows will not only attend and present at the Feedback+San Juan event, but will learn from each other and share their stories with the wider feedback community throughout the course of 2020.
We are excited to see where this cohort takes us!
Thank you to GlobalGiving and Siegel Family Endowment for supporting this cohort of Feedback Fellows.
How can I become a Feedback Fellow?
The Feedback Fellows applications open for six weeks in July/August and the cohort is selected in September/October. Check out the Feedback Fellows page for the 2020 dates to be announced, or sign up to get announcements on the program here.