Earlier in the week Nigerian Women Diary caught up with Precious Ajunwa, founder of the Galaxy4Peace … we had a good chat and she was nice enough to tell us about Galaxy4Peace foundation and her hopes for the future in terms of Peace resolution and stability in the world .
Tell us the story of Galaxy4Peace. The motivation behind the initiative
My journey into the peacebuilding world all started when my understanding as a child widens as I ponder why my father is addressed as a ‘Peaceful Man’ by his friends, extended family, co-workers and everyone who come across him. It helped widen my horizon and I began studying closely what it meant for one to live a peaceful life, with my father’s lifestyle being handy in shaping this process.
It was not surprising that in life I found myself studying Peace & Conflict Resolution at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria, spurred primarily by my tenacity to acquire new skills and knowledge in that particular field. I continued from where my late father stopped, taking over the title of lady peace ; I started practicing the knowledge I gained in classroom, settling conflicts between peers and within my environment during my course work in the college. I championed numerous school mediation, negotiation, and reconciliation activities, in addition to peace outreaches in the cause of my study.
Professionally, what birthed Galaxy4Peace was inspired in 2012 by Mahatma Gandhi’s quote, “It is through the youths that we see the future, and “If we are to have real peace in the world, we must begin with our children”. This quote spurred my zeal and interest to contribute my quota as a young person towards achieving sustainable peace in my society. In addition, studying my father’s lifestyle as a peaceful man shaped and inspired my love for peacebuilding, hence the inspiration led to my pursuit of a degree in peace and development studies, and the birth idea of Galaxy4Peace.
What are the set goals of Galaxy4Peace and how have you worked to actualize them so far?
The core area of our work is focused on youths and culture, culminating in peace. Our major goal is to make peace a practical reality on earth and building platforms to empower youths to be peace actors’ one community at a time. We recognize that sustainable peace is a collective responsibility, hence we execute programs providing tools for youths to create a healthy relationship among themselves, focusing on character building and inspiring youths to be peace agents rather than violent actors. We see young people as key partners in addressing causes of violent extremism that is why we have dedicated our time passing a deep message of love, unity, tolerance, forgiveness and peace to young people in communities, so as to foster and cultivate sustainable peace in Nigeria.
We equally provide innovative ideas, great teaching aids during our peace education learning in classroom for young people, with a combination of both formal and informal class learning settings which enables us to be flexible in our teaching methodology! At G4P, we empower community peacebuilding, support comprehensive activities and strategies in communities working to address challenges as crime, violence, and bad gangs. Teaching peace in schools, thereby bringing into the school system conflict resolution curricula with tools such as communication skills, social-emotional learning, mindfulness, empathy and other proven skills using United Institute of Peace Peace-building Tool Kit, Global Peace Education Toolkit, and ours also.
We aim mainly to transform violence, bullying, and other challenges facing youths in schools and communities, into what they can combat. It is our paramount concern to achieve all these through our Teach Peace Early Campaign. Cultivating personal peace, integrating peace in our own lives, taking it through our everyday life through our approach to activism, compassionate communication, mindfulness, empathy, and stress reduction championed via ‘Peace at Work Places’ programmes.
What are some of the major issue(s) you have encountered while embarking on various projects for Galaxy4Peace
I could say the challenges running Galaxy4Peace are the major issues; hence permit me to focus on the challenges here.
I try as much as possible not to allow the challenges I have encountered weigh me down because I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. These challenges have been turned to strengths.
These three Ps have been my key to overcoming challenges Perseverance, Passion and Patience. Perseverance – Bearing in mind, nothing good comes easily. Passion – the love I have for peace-building keeps me triumphant over every challenge. Rather than coming out broken from challenges we encounter, I come out stronger because peace-building is like my first love cause. Patience – Doing what I have huge passion for, persevering and hoping that one day things will come out more beautiful than before. The patience of believing one day our communities will be more peaceful. In order to handle these challenges, we keep trying to find out the organizations and companies that funds the kind of work we are involved in, we also network with other organizations that we are in the same field of work as, so that we can carry out some joint activities.
Another major issues is fund for project execution.
How do you fund your projects?Hmmmm let’s take a long breath…Securing adequate funding and mobilizing adequate resources to successfully implement planned project activities is vital but we are yet to taste that part of pudding. Hence our funds so far comes primarily from family, friends who believe in the work we do at Galaxy4Peace and my savings from work I do as development expert.
Do you have an upcoming events that’s partners can key into in any capacity
Yes, we do.
Apart from Sweat4Peace which we executed on 17th September, as part of our 2016 action for peace, our biggest “Peace Meal With Precious” will be hosting over 30 young peace influencers at a pop-dinner slated for 18th October September, 2016.
We have upcoming series of high level seminars on peacebuilding for youths in tertiary institutions in Nigeria and annual trauma healing and giving exercise tagged WAITT for IDPs in north east Nigeria.
Apart from upcoming events, we have series of on-going programs which spans through the year and where partners can key into. Teach Peace Early (TPE) is a peace education campaign program executed in and outside Nigerian schools. At Galaxy4Peace, we recognize that peace education is a vital tool in helping children find peaceful solutions to problems—and in raising a new generation committed to creating a culture of peace. TPE teachings specifically promotes respect, empathy, mutual understanding, and conflict management skills.
Peace At Work Places (PAWP) – Workplaces are naturally stressful environments, and personal conflicts between co-workers can be both a source and product of this stress. Allowing them to build and intensify will only further impair the work environment, hence PAWP provides conflict management training at work places for companies – equipping co-workers with necessary conflict management skills to avoid and be able to manage conflicts when it arises at work places.
Peace Meal With Precious and Flash It For Peace are the softer side of peacebuilding. While the first is set to strategically get the attention of our focus groups who are youths to discuss peace over a pop-dinner or lunch, FlashItForPeace brought to Nigeria in partnership with PeaceworksTV from Canada is an exciting photos of people flashing the peace sign project set up towards raising awareness on the need to create safer world.
As a school we welcome invitation to execute peace education program in your schools, and very well open to companies, establishments and organization who wants to empower their staff with conflict management trainings.
You recently has the Sweat4Peace walk; can you shed more light & what do you hope to achieve with the walk
The brand Sweat4Peace signify our collective efforts pursuing peace emphatically by every individual, corporate organization and religion. This efforts can come in different forms but for the past two years and 2016 we are tied it to a walk in honour of international day of peace.
The International Day of Peace has been set aside, to have a unique moment to celebrate a day of peace across the globe.
“Sweat4Peace2016” is a peace walk bringing hundreds of people to commemorate Peace Day in Lagos and Kano – enlightening participants and the public on the need to be more proactive in sustaining a peaceful environment and achieving a culture of peace.
Little drops of water makes a mighty ocean they say, I believe with changing one heart at a time, one family, one community our hard work to support peacebuilding efforts thereby attaining sustainable peace in communities.
Who is Precious Ajunwa
I am a social entrepreneur a peace advocate, an educator, public health promoter, sexual and reproductive health trainer, with extensive experience in creating and managing youth-led projects.
I Studied English Language and Peace and Development Studies from Abia State University and University of Ilorin respectively.
Apart from my work at Galaxy4Peace, I run Pacific Practice Africa – a consulting firm I founded in 2015 geared towards corporate trainings focused on conflict management training, emotional intelligence & learning, team bonding, and mindfulness training.
I am a great lover of God, fun to be with and love giving back…
Would you like to share any stories of success?
Sure!! Action is the key. Dreaming isn’t enough. One must decide what he/she wants to do, and take action to make it real. Having dreamt of starting a peace-building organization, presently pursuing this personal passion is a success story which keeps me going! As we envision and work towards achieving a world in which peace eliminates hatred, violence, bullying, gender based violence; it resonates so strongly with the many people whose lives Galaxy4Peace touch. This makes my work all the more rewarding and there lies my success. In all the challenges we encounter as a team, we have been able to find a pathway through all the obstacles in order to achieve a success that takes our work higher.
All these have helped me visualize my dream and understanding why it is important to me and my society. It has made us set goals and map out plans on how to achieve our dream. This has been a huge measure of success to me. Through our various programmes every year, each goals we had set and carrying it out with enormous impact, have all been a success story for Galaxy4Peace. Another striking success story I am most proud of is when I get “thank you” calls from couples whom I have helped reconcile their differences through counseling PET programmes under my peacebuilding consulting firm.
We also get feedbacks from our ‘Peace Meal With Precious’ programme from peacemealers writing us the kind of peace meal they made to settle dispute between their spouses, friends, relatives. My final words on this interview is that I would love to see peace education change the world one day, but for now, I want it to change a life, (Inner peace) – a community (outer peace) and – world (global peace).
Thank you so much Adeola for this great chat with you. Love to all the strong ladies out there changing our world one day at a time.
You can keep up with Galaxy4Peace on
To connect with us on social media – look us up as @galaxy4peace on twitter, Instagram and facebook.