Our Stories

News from our young leader programmes

Mindanao and Indonesia

After the Indonesian and Mindanao Young Leader Programmes wound up recently in Auckland and Wellington respectively and everyone said their final farewells, preparations were already underway for the 2023 cohorts’ arrival. With three groups (2021-2023) each completing their programmes this year, Programme Managers Alex Hill and Caroline Novak have had their work cut out.

The respective stays at Ōrongomai marae outside Wellington and at Piritahi marae on Waiheke Island in Auckland were a highlight. Both groups said it was an exceptional learning experience, enhancing their understanding of indigenous rights, boosting pride in their own cultures and traditions and -importantly – hearing from our young people about their experiences of leadership and advocacy work in Aotearoa New Zealand. The joint hui which brought these Mindanao and Indonesian young leaders together in Wellington (see below) was also a fantastic opportunity to share learning, action project experiences – and fun!


Since the coup, 30 alumni action projects have been funded, 10 currently underway and 20 of which are completed.  These 20 projects have engaged 575 participants – providing skills training to youth, small business know-how for women, giving new knowledge and boosting livelihoods for marginalised people, many from camps for internally displaced people (IDP). Even more importantly, in the midst of uncertainty and conflict, many participants report feelings of confidence and hope.

A number of alumni have recently won scholarships to study in Thailand and overseas, focusing on topics with strong application to their country’s future prosperity. One alumna, Kathy Win graduated last year with an MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development Studies. She is now starting a PhD at the School of Law, University of East Anglia, on the Politics of Citizenship, Identity and Statelessness: A comparative study of Rohingya and Karen Muslim communities.

Currently underway – an ambitious alumnus project in the Dry Zone working with villagers to design and engineer a rain water collection system, irrigation channels and planting of 2000 seedlings for crops.

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