everyday gandhis is a non-profit organization registered in Liberia and the United States, with offices in Monrovia and Voinjama, Liberia and in Mendocino, California.
What is needed – in Liberia and globally – is a viable, sustainable culture of peace that people at all levels of society can understand and be part of, and that includes community reconciliation, trauma healing, ecological restoration, peace with the natural world, cultivation of future leaders, sustainable food sources, drought protection, revitalization of traditional cultures and preservation of the wild. We seek to create a model of peacebuilding that replicates the function of natural systems in which there is a vital role for every living being, based on reciprocity and mutual accountability. Since 2004, everyday gandhis has been working with traditional communities and former fighters in Voinjama, Lofa County, beginning in 2004 with the first traditional post-war mourning feasts, bringing dramatic reconciliation to over 5,000 participants. Since that time, our work has grown to include:
- Traditional Community Reconciliation ceremonies, councils & workshops;
- Permaculture, a form of sustainable agriculture that increases food production, drought protection, soil and forest restoration, and safely recycles human and vegetable waste;
- Ecological Restoration, including a 50-acre of forest preserve in Voinjama that serves as a source of medicinal plants, a research/educational site, and enhances production in nearby farms;
- Future Guardians of Peace, our scholarship and rehabilitation program for former child soldiers and war-affected youth. In exchange for community service as peacebuilders, these students receive schooling, room and board, and training that includes photography, peacebuilding, permaculture, HIV/AIDS/STD/pregnancy prevention and soccer games for peace among ex-combatants;
- Storytelling & Media, sharing stories and ideas with local communities in Liberia and the US; as well as documentary films, publications, photographs, and websites.
How We Work
We think in terms of long-term relationships, pairing ecological restoration with the healing of human communities. In the field we seek to form deep and genuine relationships with elders, community leaders, zos, women, and ex-combatants. We see our role primarily as that of mirror and catalyst, looking for reserves of unrecognized or untapped creative energy within the community that can be mobilized for peace and reconciliation.
Outcomes and Results
- First traditional mourning feast in Liberia since the civil war, with over 5,000 people of differing traditions coming together to honor the dead and reconcile with each other;
- First traditional ceremonies to reconcile the relationship between humans and elephants;
- Construction of school addition to serve 250 children in Kuluka village;
- Still photograph albums and DVDs given to local individuals, communities and villages.
- Completion of first documentary, “The Dead Will Guide Us: teachings from Liberia’s Civil War,” in Winter, 2008
- Completion of documentary film: “Portrait of a Peacekeeper” – 2010 – about legendary UNMIL officer Col. Raza Malik of Pakistan
- Completion of documentary film: “The Fight to Forgive” – 2012- documenting the healing journey of 5 former child soldiers and 1 refugee youth
- Quarterly newsletters distributed in U.S. and Africa Letter and photographs included in
- “Water Voices from Around the World”, published by the United Nations for the Decade of Water (Voted 1st Place in the world’s largest international book competition as: Most Likely to Save the Planet”)
- Photography exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery annex, Washington DC of photographs by seven former child soldiers working with everyday gandhis
- 7 minute egp video selected as model for YouTube competition and for PBS series ‘International FX’ with support from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting
- Increased acceptance of former child soldiers working with everyday gandhis
- Increased food production & drought protection at permaculture demonstration sites
- Revitalization of traditional culture and increased respect for differing cultural traditions
- A small pool of youth leaders and peacemakers
- Innovative models of mutual accountability for NGO’s and communities
- Conferences, publications, exhibits and works of art that will communicate these experiences and possibilities throughout Liberia and beyond
i. Cynthia Travis, Founder & President
ii. Ana Brush, Media Coordinator
i. William Jacobs, everyday gandhis Liberia Coordinator
ii. Lassana Kamara, Field Supervisor and Community Reconciliation