Introducing Our New Global Alumni Coordinator, Yusuph Masanja

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By Yusuph Masanja
Global Alumni Coordinator

Dear Global Family of the Goldin Institute,

My name is Yusuph Masanja, a 2018 Goldin Institute Global Fellow from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I’m writing to introduce myself and extend my gratitude to the Goldin Institute’s leadership for offering me an opportunity to serve my fellow Alumni as the Global Alumni Coordinator.

Thanks to your ongoing support, the Goldin Institute has been able to connect and equip grassroots leaders like me around the over the past twenty years!

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Before this new role, I had served in humanitarian and environmental non-profits in various capacities for nearly 10 years –mostly as a volunteer and eventually as a full-time staff. My work at the Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Program, Nipe Fagio, Saving Africa’s Nature, Arigatou International (GNRC–Tanzania) and, Global Compassion has provided me with great community organizing experience. But it wasn't until 2015 at President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) when I became exposed to leadership tools that got me thinking about the social impact.

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The tipping point though, was during my lengthy GATHER course which opened me to a fresh paradigm of looking at and construing grassroots leadership. The GATHER experience, coupled with my long-standing belief adapted from one of Dr. Goodall’s quotes “Every individual matters, every individual has a role to play, and every individual can make a difference” led me to re-frame my approach to social work entirely –based on GATHER’s tools such as asset mapping, the community visioning summit, and systems thinking.

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Last year, in my attempt to push learning boundaries, I embarked on what seemed like an impossible quest, to fundraise USD 20,000 to journey to the North Pole in the Arctic Climate Change Expedition with Robert Swan (OBE, FRGS). After one year of hardworking and persistence, I had done it, with the help of many great people I was able to raise the required amount through crowdfunding, corporate sponsorships, and donations. As a consequence of that voyage, I am now honored by Robert Swan with the title of the ClimateForce Ambassador to Tanzania.

While witnessing first-hand the devastating impact of Climate Change was impactful to me in this expedition, the main takeaways of the storytelling and the leadership on edge coaching, as well as insights on the climate and energy dilemma, provided me with a context to apply the set of tools I had learned in GATHER. This experience deepened my life’s mission to address the climate crisis and other issues that affect all of us.

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In addition to serving as the Coordinator for the Goldin Institute’s growing global alumni network, I am inspired to start developing solutions at the local level to stop our mangrove’s degradation and promote reforestation of the islands around my city. I am also facilitating a design process of a holistic conservation model for the communities along Usambara mountains, as a consequence of what I learned as a GATHER Global Fellow.

My new appointment as the Global Alumni Coordinator at the Goldin Institute comes as a miraculous opportunity for me. I am super excited about the prospect of getting to work with Alumni all over the world to promote issues we all care about, like gender empowerment, conflict resolution, violence prevention, environmental sustainability, and tackling poverty. All these issues require us to focus on community-driven social change where no one is left out and the principles of equity and justice are at the center.

This opportunity will also help me realize the goal of approaching the climate challenge as a social justice concern that requires global cooperation. Our capacity to respond to the shared threats of global warming and climate change demand that we value local knowledge at the same time as we pursue global cooperation. Local leadership and international policymakers will need to learn to work together if we are to meet the goal of limiting global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius, a key goal of the Paris Agreement.

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In the months ahead, I will collaborate with the Global Fellows in framing the Alumni Network so that it meets Fellows’ aspirations – both collectively and individually. Based on our conversations and on the results of the survey that so many of them have completed, I will host relevant conversations and workshops monthly and routinely check in with individual fellows to provide the necessary support.

While my focus will be serving the Alumni of our training programs, I also hope to hear from all members of the Goldin Institute's global network of champions for community driven social change.  Your support makes our work possible, and on behalf of the whole team, we are grateful for you!

Sincerely,

Yusuph Masanja

 

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