Peace and Security

Women in Peacekeeping

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

— John F. Kennedy

Today, May 29, is Kennedy’s birthday. It’s also International Peacekeepers Day. The latter is an annual commemoration, and this year’s theme celebrates the unique role women play in building peace and security.

The photo above was taken while I was in Malawi, reporting on a Food For Progress international development program.

When, or if, someone is hungry and unable to feed their families, that could cause unrest — as well it should.

In a world with so much abundance and wealth, no one should be comfortable with another human lacking basic necessities, such as:

  • access to healthy food and clean drinking water;
  • shelter in which to store, clean, cook, and eat said food; and
  • educational programs about retaining the food’s nutritional value.

Here’s an opportunity to learn from each other: Because folks who specialize in developing and running such programs aren’t necessarily skilled in the strategic outreach efforts needed to get information about these programs to key stakeholders, the importance of leveraging pop culture, digital media, and marketing communications cannot be overstated.

In this particular photo, I am sharing time with a farmer in Malawi in order to learn more about the effects of poverty and hunger on communities in Africa — as well as his insights about U.S., China, and others nations’ attempts to solve it.

If you’re interested in this kinds of work, read the cover story I wrote, The Ripple Effect Co-op uses USDA-funded program to improve education for Pakistani girls, for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) magazine Rural Cooperatives, with photos by Danial Shah.

We must listen to, and we learn from, the people who have direct experience working on the problems we are trying to solve. Once we’ve done that, then — and only then — can we begin working in partnership to create the kinds of positive change in the world that we’d like to see happen.