Liz Prinz: "I love the &Peace button because it gives me a chance to support causes that I'm passionate about."

 Masa talked to Liz Prinz  from Network for Africa. They help the forgotten survivors of African conflicts left behind by the world after the fighting stops and the humanitarian aid moves on.

Donate here to help Network for Africa! 

(Photo credit: Guy Bell)  

(Photo credit: Guy Bell)

 

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do

 I'm originally from South Carolina and went to school at Boston University. Three years ago I decided to relocate to London for grad school (an MA in Human Rights from University College London) and have been here ever since. I have been at Network for Africa for about a year and a half. There are only three of us at Network for Africa -- Annabel Harris, our CEO; Sophie McCann, our executive director; and me (my official title is Programme and Research Officer). Because we're such a small staff, we all do a bit of everything. My main role is to support Sophie and Annabel, especially with grant proposals and grant management. I particularly enjoy the research and project development aspects of my role, which I do in conjunction with Annabel and Sophie. I am also in charge of social media, newsletters, administrative tasks, managing interns etc.

Tell us about Network for Africa and what it supports

Network for Africa was founded in 2008 and supports projects in northern Uganda and Rwanda. Specifically, we support communities as they rebuild after conflict (in northern Uganda, the 20+ year civil war between Joseph Kony's LRA and the Ugandan government; in Rwanda, the 1994 genocide). In Patongo, northern Uganda, where 98% of our beneficiaries lost family members during the civil war, we have helped the Patongo Counselling Community Outreach (PCCO) establish a trauma counselling network by training local people to provide counselling. There are now 28 outreach groups at PCCO, each made up of about 30 people and led by a counsellor. The groups meet once a week to discuss various problems in people's lives and in the community (lately, the two big issues have been sexual and gender based violence and alcoholism, which are rife in Patongo). We also support a few other, smaller projects in Patongo. Ribbe Aye Teko is a group of 53 vulnerable women (widows, orphans, women living with HIV, single mothers) to develop sustainable agricultural livelihoods. In addition to making money to support themselves, these women have formed a strong support network. We also support the Lioness Fund, which sponsors 9 former child soldiers (mostly girls) to finish their education. 

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In Rwanda, we are supporting Aspire, who provide a holistic three-year training programme for women. The original Aspire programme was started in Gisozi, one of the poorest sectors of the capital city, Kigali, and supports 50 of the poorest women in the district each year. The first year of Aspire is the most intensive and includes regular classes in income generating skills (in Gisozi, the women learn hairdressing and cookery, which are both sustainable skills that are easy for the women to do), literacy and numeracy, rights training (inheritance rights, laws against domestic violence), health training (hygiene, nutrition, HIV testing) and childcare (women bring their pre-school children to the childcare centre for free so that they can focus on their work). During the first year, the women form a cooperative and in the second and third year of Aspire, they work in that cooperative to support each other and earn money. This year, with a grant from the UK Department for International Development, Aspire replicated this project in rural Rutunga (about an hour's drive from Kigali). The project is the same as Aspire in Gisozi, except that 150 women are supported each year (rather than 50) and they learn sustainable agriculture rather than hairdressing and cookery (it's much more appropriate for the setting). 

We also support the Rwanda Multi Learning Centre, where genocide orphans can learn English and IT free of charge. The students also get psychosocial support from each other and staff. Students are offered music classes at the Learning Centre, and some have said they find these classes therapeutic when coping with their trauma and stress.

What do you like about &peace, and why did you start using it?

I love the &Peace button because it gives me a chance to support causes that I'm passionate about. Whenever I read an article about something I care about, whether it's genocide in Sudan or climate change affecting farmers in Bangladesh, I know that with the &Peace button I can make a tiny difference. Using the &Peace button leaves me feeling like I am part of a larger global community. 

How has &peace helped your organisation so far? 

We haven't made tons of money from &Peace; however I can say that using &Peace is an easy, labour-free way to make money for our charity, which is a great opportunity since we are so small and have no spare time.

Using &Peace is an easy, labour-free way to make money for our charity, which is a great opportunity since we are so small and have no spare time

Introducing the &peace team

From being just me, myself and I plugging away at the &peace concept, suddenly we have the makings of an &peace team! So, I thought I’d better introduce you to the people who are helping make my vision a reality, all with in-kind support! 

&peace team
Daniel Grahn - Developer
Daniel will bring to the project his years of experience in software development for web and mobile devices.

Rowan Woxneryd - Copywriter
Rowan will work with us on the project to communicate our offering in the clearest way possible!

&peace contributors 
We also have several designers and artists contributing to the project (keep an eye out for future blog post on their work):

Emmy Lincoln: http://itchysoul.se/
Kristina Gordon: http://www.kristinagordon.dk/
Mother Volcano: http://mothervolcano.com/
Tobias Andersson: https://twitter.com/tobiwanSWE
Billy Morén: http://www.billymoren.se/
Jay Chan: http://www.jaychan.co.uk/
Markus Magnusson: http://cargocollective.com/markus

/ Masa

How to change the world in 5 seconds : A smarter way to help good causes

&peace in brief: &peace lets you help the causes you care about, whatever time or resources you have. Just like Pinterest, a button (simply labeled ‘Peace’) can be accessed from any webpage. When clicked, a cause related to the content of the page pops up. With another click a sponsor makes a donation. Log in to the &peace site to connect with friends and share donating activity.

Like it? Signup here to be notified when the service is launched. Please help make this service fly by spreading the word on Facebook and Twitter!

The problem

Stories of tragedy constantly filter into our day-to-day through the web - natural disaster, war, terrorism, abuse, climate change, etc, etc. Despite often having a desire to help, we’re not always able to react and make a difference. The main reason? We’re just too busy, too stretched. Our lives have become so overloaded with information, choices, work, family, social-life, etc that the issues that move us can get demoted on the to-do list.

&peace: the solution

I realised that there is a way to help without having to adjust our priorities or give what we don't have. A solution that works with, not against, the realities of our everyday lives.

So, in my spare time over a couple of years, I developed a concept for an online service that I call &peace. It's simple, yet powerful. Here's how it works:

Say you're on the Guardian website reading about a young boy killed in Gaza. You're struck by the story, an innocent boy and his family destroyed by a war they didn't choose to be part of. You want to reach out, to do something. The service &peace lets you take action there and then on the webpage.

You can access the 'Peace' button from any webpage

Working in a similar way to Pinterest, the ‘Peace’ button is installed in your browser's bookmarksbar or can be directly embedded in any webpage. When clicked, a charity related to the page’s content is auto-selected. By clicking on the popup that appears, a sponsor then donates a predetermined sum on your behalf.

A charity is selected within seconds of clicking the ‘Peace’ button

A sponsor donates to the charity on your behalf

It’s not just ‘tragic’ stories that you can take action on, &peace can be applied to almost any type of news story or webpage. Here are some examples of news stories matched to charities & sponsors:

  • Hurricane Sandy article / disaster relief charity / Dunkin' Donuts sponsor
  • Overfishing article / environmental charity / Starbucks sponsor
  • Football article / kids football charity / Adidas sponsor

Unlike standard ‘click-to-donate’ services, &peace takes just seconds, works on any website and you don't have to leave the page you're on to participate. You can still make a difference however busy you are, whatever your resources.

Connected through causes

There will be a dedicated &peace website, where you'll be able to sign in with your Facebook details to connect with friends, see what issues they support and share your own donating activity. The site will also host information about the &peace sponsors, how much they have given and where.  

Log in to the &peace site using Facebook details to see friends’ activity

What's in it for the sponsors?

  • Any company, big/small, local/global can become an &peace sponsor
  • Companies get to select the causes they want to give to, matching their concerns to the right issues
  • &peace acts as a platform for companies to communicate their corporate social responsibility (CSR). Every click on the ‘Peace’ button is added to a counter on the company’s &peace profile page. 
  • On the &peace site, users can check CSR profiles to see which companies align with their own concerns. They can then make informed decisions about what brands they want to buy and support.

Each sponsor has its own profile page

What can you do now?

The concept outlined is just the bare bones. There are many other paths to explore. However, I first need to figure out if this is something you really want. In other words, do you believe in what I believe in?

If you do, I’d very much appreciate if you could:

  • Signup to be notified when the service is launched at http://www.andpeace.com/
  • Spread the word using social media, shout from a megaphone, etc 
  • Let me know if you'd like to help in any way, or just get in contact to share your thoughts at: feedback(at)andpeace.com

Thanks for reading this.

Peace to you!

/ Masa

N.B. All brand names mentioned in this article are for the purpose of example only and are not necessarily part of the project at this point.