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Steering Committee Spotlight: Naveed Somani

Sunday 22nd August 2010

Over the last three months I have had a crash course in environmental peace-building, learnt about Rwanda’s turbulent yet ultimately successful road to peace, and most importantly had my eyes opened to the powerful and integral role young people can play in creating peaceful societies. So aren’t I glad I decided to apply to be on the Nkabom 2010 Steering Committee!?

Just to introduce myself, my name is Naveed, or Nav for short, and I am the Finance, Fundraising and Sustainability Officer for Nkabom. When I applied to be on the committee all those months ago, peace-building was an area I only had a cursory knowledge of, but my family background provided sufficient motivation for me to submit my application. My childhood was riven with stories of political turmoil and social conflict. My father was one of the thousands of Ugandan Asians expelled from the country: A young man told to leave his home because his ethnicity, the colour of his skin, was seen to be the source of all society’s ills. My mother grew up in Pakistan, part of the first generation to have been born in the fledgling nation after it emerged from centuries of British rule and the violent partition from India. So while I have been fortunate enough to have grown up in a relatively stable society here in the UK, I am acutely aware of what conflict can mean, and the consequent need to perpetuate peace wherever possible. I have approached my role with this in mind, and as a result I have been inspired by the admirable ideals Nkabom is trying to instil in all of us involved in the programme and beyond.

So what do I actually do, I hear you cry? Well, I make sure the programme is properly costed and comes within budget – not an easy task with such an international bunch! To assist with this, I have also helped Claire and Meera with fundraising. It has been really encouraging to see the number of different donors, all with differing priorities, who have been willing to donate money in recognition of the potential Nkabom has to act as a catalyst for peace all around the world.

The sustainability aspect of my role is two-fold. First is environmental sustainability. I hope some of you have had a chance to look at the green page on the Nkabom website. If so, you will have read about some of the efforts we have been making in reducing the environmental impact of the programme. If not, go check it out now! This year we have decided to offset the carbon costs of all the flights by investing in conservation initiatives in Rwanda, and there will be an opportunity for you to plant trees during the programme.

The second aspect of sustainability is concerned with network building and creating an alumni association for the programme. It is really important that all of us are involved with sharing the knowledge we learn in Rwanda after the ten days and I am currently in the process of putting together a plan with ideas of how we can do this. You will be receive further info on this during the programme, including a jazzy membership card. I also drew up the Memorandum of Understanding drawing upon my legal skills, and I have done a risk assessment on the programme to make sure all you future leaders stay safe while we are in Rwanda!

Most recently I have been involved in peace-building through sports…well actually I beat my fellow committee members at the local bowling alley last week! In a cruel twist of fate though, I sprained my wrist, which just goes to show it is not always about being victorious, but more about forming long-lasting friendships with those around you. After reading your applications, I am really looking forward to meeting you guys, and forming new friendships with all of you!

One Comment leave one →
  1. satang permalink
    Wednesday 25th August 2010 7:31 pm

    looking forward to meeting you…..and doing our own little bit towards working together beyond Rwanda

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