April 2016 saw Petra Peacebuilders in Cairo, Egypt with on-the-ground presence for our first field assignment as a brand-new NGO!
We received our 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS on April 5, and by April 19 we were already getting down to business with "boots on the ground" in the Middle East.
1st Field Assignment to Cairo
We sent Executive Director Bianca Neff for an intensive week of face-to-face coaching and support for the staff of one of our clients, Resource Exchange International (REI).
Petra has a 3-year relationship providing pro bono resilience coaching for REI's humanitarian workers. We've had the privilege of coaching their staff in Southeast Asia (Vietnam & Indonesia), the Horn of Africa (Djibouti), and now with a field visit to Cairo.
Just to explain our approach: Petra's outreach capacity is 3-fold:
- First, we have global reach through technology that allows us to connect with clients virtually anywhere in the world. (Petra's online coaching has been underway for many months now.)
- Second, we care for clients in Spain when they can come to our European base in Malaga.
- Third, Petra deploys to the field when clients have the need and when we have the staff and funding capacity to do so.
The Cairo trip was our first field deployment, marking an historic event in Petra's young but exciting history.
Why is Petra interested in Cairo? Think about it: The co-birthplace of the Arab Spring of 2011 is an epicenter where huge social challenges remain. Our client REI has staff in Cairo who are partnering with Aspire, an Egyptian consulting firm whose stated goals are to rebuild Egyptian society with stronger nonprofits and businesses by providing needed services in human capacity building. REI staff help represent Aspire in the area of conflict resolution, so that Egyptian companies and organizations learn these needed skills in order to conduct their work in a conflict-informed way, leading to more peaceful social transactions within Egypt's most influential business and social enterprises. Cool, right?!
Petra's behind-the-scenes support for REI peacebuilder staff makes Aspire's amazing work in Cairo even stronger. These are the kinds of strategic openings that we've been able to seize upon so far.
Back to the Middle East in 2017
We're looking forward to an expanded presence in the Middle East, in particular with a possible consulting project in 2017 in Jordan near the Syrian border with the aim of equipping Syrian refugee and local Jordanian youth with conflict transformation skills. AMAZING.
Stay posted as details about that potential Jordanian project emerge.
And thanks for rejoicing with us about our first successful field visit to Cairo!