Author: Rachel MarKowitz

Friendly Competition: Petty Traders on the Border between Rwanda and DRC

Running a small business across any national border can be tricky, and especially between Gisenyi and Goma. The women who buy and sell goods here have spent their lives caught up in the chaos on the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). But they have more in common than conflict –  they are all mothers, they are all business women, and many of them are now also Ultimate Frisbee players. On July 31st, Search for Common Ground (Search) brought together 100 women, half from Gisenyi and half from Goma, to build trust and cooperation...

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Building Trust with a Frisbee

Justine* looked puzzled when she picked up the plastic disc. How were you supposed to play sports with this hard, flat thing? It didn’t look anything like a ball. After a few moments of hesitation, she and the other women at the youth center in Gisenyi, Rwanda had figured it out. They forgot all about the conflict at the border nearby as they giggled and threw the Frisbee to one another. Using sports for peacebuilding and development projects isn’t a new idea, but using games of Ultimate Frisbee to encourage cooperation and dialogue is. Because many people aren’t familiar...

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Realizing the Team

I’ve had a lot of internships. I’ve had a lot of jobs. I’ve also done a lot of volunteer work. One thing I’ve learned is that organizational culture matters. There are settings where the team is supported, motivated, and inspired, and then there are those competitive, difficult settings where you can’t wait to leave. Most organizations probably fall in the middle of those two extremes. At Search for Common Ground (Search or SFCG), the organizational culture is on the positive extreme. From my experience with various staff from the Great Lakes region, and in the office I’m working from...

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Innovating for Peace

This summer the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law is thrilled to be funding seven Crook Fellows, who will be interning at non-profit organizations devoted to development work all over the globe. The fellows will be blogging about their experiences in the field over the next few months, so be sure to check back for more posts. Within International Development (and pretty much every other field), “innovation” has become something of a buzzword. In response to the critics who claim development does little to improve peoples’ lives, do-gooders are under tremendous pressure to come up with something new and...

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