BBC Journalist, Mussarrat Abbasi visited Bradford College to find out more about Lecturer, Kate Breeze’s involvement in ‘Global Xchange’ – a partnership programme managed and delivered by the British Council, VSO and a number of local partners around the world.
The vision behind Global Xchange’ is to build a world where active global citizens create positive change and build mutual understanding and respect. Youth & Community Development Lecturer, Kate Breeze invited Maji Peterx from the D'Amietta Peace Initiative in Nigeria to Bradford College, so they could learn from each others experiences - and put that learning into action. The D'Amietta Peace Initiative welcomes people of all faiths to sow the seeds of non-violence and peace throughout Africa.
Kate Breeze explained: “Maji and I are both part of a Global Xchange’, which has been set up as a joint project between the British Council and Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO). The programme links up workers from Jos in Nigeria and Bradford. Workers who are all involved in active citizenship work with young people.”
Kate continued: “There are 15 people from Bradford taking part in the exchange from various backgrounds and organisations including: youth workers, play workers, sexual health workers, education and voluntary sector organisations… so there is a really lovely mix of people. We’re sharing skills and ideas between ourselves and our 15 counterparts from Nigeria.”
Maji added: “We’ve flown in from Nigeria for a three week community exchange programme. This will be followed by a visit to Nigeria from the Bradford delegation. The international volunteer exchange will help to create active global citizens who value volunteering, diversity, community development and social action.”
Following the trip to the UK from Peace Initiative worker Maji Peterx, Kate jetted out to Jos. Kate was keen to learn more about the community based conflict resolution work that Maji is involved in. Over the last decade there has been violent conflict between the Muslim and Christian communities in Jos, Nigeria.
Kate elaborated further: “I’ve just returned from a 3 week visit to Jos, Nigeria, where I worked alongside Maji Peterx and the D'Amietta Peace Initiative. They’re involved in community-based conflict resolution work, which covers a range of settings in Jos, including local communities and women’s groups, schools, colleges, a remand home and a prison. The area’s experienced violent conflict between the Muslim and
Christian communities, most recently in November 2008. Peace is still very fragile and is constantly threatened by high levels of poverty.”
Kate continued: “I found the experience really important on a number of levels. Its provided me with the opportunity to consider community development work from the perspective of a different global community; I’ve been given the opportunity to explore methods of conflict resolution and consider issues of inter-religious conflict. The Global Xchange programme has also helped to strengthen professional networks in Bradford, build working links with other colleges, schools and professionals and creating links between workers in Nigeria and students here.”
With passion, Maji concluded: “I’ve found the experience really interesting, interacting with the students and sharing my experience and nature of work. This fits into a lot of the areas, especially for those working in Social Work, Early Years and Youth & Community Development… it has been a worthwhile trip. I’ve really enjoyed the experience as its created new relationships and networks.” During Maji’s trip, he also forged links with Education Bradford and the Peace Studies Department at the University of Bradford.
Kate concluded: “The experience has been brilliant. Maji is extremely skilled and I’ve learnt a lot. Its been good to have another pair of eyes from which to see my work through and gain another perspective. Its also revealed a whole new dimension to student thinking.”
Journalist, Mussarrat Abbasi, explained why the Global Xchange programme had captured the interest of BBC, she said: “We were interested because we wanted to know what the connection was between Nigeria, Jos and Bradford. What was the thing that tied the two countries together, what were the similarities? What were both parties going to learn from each other and how were the students going to benefit? I’ve spoke to some of the students and they sounded very geared up and interested in what they were hearing from the Maji and his experience.”
The Global Xchange programme proved extremely successful, providing a unique opportunity to work together to develop and share valuable skills and make practical contributions where needed in local communities.