WHO IS JONAH AYODELE OBAJEUN?
Jonah Ayodele Obajeun is Chief Curator of Tolerance Academy, a Nigerian non-profit youth membership-based organization that he founded in 2010 with the aim of establishing peace-building and democratic systems that empower young people to make responsible decisions concerning their development.
In addition to his efforts with Tolerance Academy, Obajeun works as a Customer Service Operations Manager for the Nigeria operations of a multinational consumer goods company, and is a multi-award winning writer and blogger whose first book of fiction will be published later this year. He was named a Finalist in the 2011 Echoing Green Fellowship, and has studied in Portugal and Nigeria.
You can connect with Jonah here:
IN TOR 021 YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT:
- Jonah’s busy schedule and his part time commitment to Tolerance Academy, a highly mobile effort to collect and share experiences about conflict and violence.
- Jonah’s experience in gathering information about violence, and how the stakes of his involvement grew as he worked on a documentary, TA’s curricula and model, and now his fiction book.
- The struggles and challenges, and the successes in making communities embrace new thinking about violence and harmony.
OUR CONVERSATION INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING:
- Tolerance Academy (TA)
- UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC)
- Echoing Green
- Model UN
- Collection of memory and experiences
- Sustainable peacebuilding
- Political, ethnic and religious conflict and violence
- Knowledge transfer
- Curriculum development
- Lagos, Nigeria
- South Africa
EPISODE CRIB NOTES
Tolerance Academy (TA)
Experience gathering around political violence.
Lagos has an unfortunate record of violence, triggered by political, religious and ethnic conflict.
TA looks to collect experiences about peace building and share throughout actors.
TA is a mobile academy. Itinerant work around the country. Events.
Mobile came after they looked into existing model, saw gaps.
“People are naturally non-receptive to those kinds of programs“. Organizations struggle to make messages across.
Volunteers, ideas are celebrated and taken up by everyone.
Peacebuilding and democracy
Making people live in harmony is about making people coexist.
Give and take strategy.
There is no harmony without democracy. Fear of having the army around the corner affects political freedom.
Jonah joined after his first experience in a conflict area. He had done academic work.
Jonah worked on a documentary on ethnic conflict from the views of the families of tribes. During the course of the film the members of the family disappear one by one.
Jonah saw the value of video.
An internship allows people to work in communities through mosques about peace.
Participants have freedom to try new things with communities, transferring knowledge.
Partners with high schools.
Measuring impact and success
Academy participants collaborate on the right questions, approaches to identify good things.
Reach is an important metric, they keep track of the expansion in people and organizations like schools.
About 15,000 people reached, students mostly, involved in knowledge transfer.
Commitments for funding
First, UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC).
Then, individuals donations and partners, friends, Jonah himself.
Jonah works 36 to 40 hours a week, part-time. He has an actual job.
He would like for TA to achieve self-sustainability so he can commit full time.
“Build systems for sustainable peace.“
They use social and print media for reach.
Plans to expand beyond Nigeria. 2011 Echoing Green performance helped to raise buzz, get event sponsors.
Jonah has shown his work in South Africa and Ghana.
Jonah assisted Model UN, showed his model. Organizations were interested in replication in Bolivia, India, Argentina.
A strong curriculum on dialogue, forgiveness, democracy. Comprehensive, dynamic, feedback based.
6am up, prayers, reading and updating TA, scheduled activities for TA and his work. Work throughout the day with some breaks to check on TA. Then work on TA from 5 to 11pm.
Jonah moves around the country constantly.
Also working on his book on fiction. He’s used to being busy. “This is the normal me.“
“Don’t look up to anybody but yourself.“
If you want to keep doing it, without recognition, help, or a thank you, then you’re good to go.
Decide where to invest your energy and time better and better over time.
Please share, participate and leave feedback below!
If you have any feedback you’d like to share for me or Jonah, please leave your thoughts in the comment section below! I read all of them and will definitely take part in the conversation.
If you have any questions you’d like to ask me directly, head on over to the Ask Stephen section. Don’t be shy! Every question is important and I answer every single one.
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