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Rosie Chawla: Advancing Solutions to Promote Peace and Equality

Rosie Chawla: Advancing Solutions to Promote Peace and Equality

Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.

Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Rosie Chawla, the consulting director of global education and partnerships of UNESCO Center for Peace. Let’s learn what’s happening at UNESCO Center for Peace and how Rosie is making a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Rosie! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through UNESCO Center for Peace?

Rosie: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! There are many challenges in a given community or when we identify a primary need within a community. I want to explain this a little bit more. Many issues are a combination and intersection of other issues. For example, gender equality is also a poverty, race, quality education, health, and well-being issue. All of the SDGs are connected, and our interventions address intersectionality. A sample project below can explain my point deeply. I was approached by a hyper-local ngo called Pace-In in Isiolo County, Kenya, to help stop and reduce female genital mutilation. This specific intervention for this community first addressed poverty and partnerships to reduce female genital mutilation within a community.

Spiffy: What motivates you to do it?

Rosie: My motivations are designing solutions with a lot of constraints. I thrive on challenges, and overall, I like to be the person who shows up when there is a crisis. Problems can be solved with planning, consistency, and a working strategy. My advice to young people today is to be more self aware. Take inventory of all your learning and experiences and pay attention by making a list of things that excite you and the issues or sufferings of others that keep you up at night to cause outrage. One of my professional motivations in my work is to constantly learn the problems and stay updated on progress and challenges. I have to remind myself to keep learning and growing my knowledge.

Spiffy: What is the impact of your work?

Rosie: My work helps communities, youth, and at times upcoming leaders. My work involves advancing solutions, and educating on solutions, promoting peace and equality. For example, we work with youth to educate them on SDGs because we know we must prepare youth to take on upcoming challenges with a solution mindset. I design courses and workshops in communities on various global issues to hold constructive dialogues. I work with activists who may need exposure for their work and funding for citizen-level awareness and involvement. I work with local community leaders who may seek to understand an issue from a multi-layer perspective. I work with the private sector to encourage public and private partnerships to reduce inequalities.

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience/community?

Rosie: The most recent milestone I am most proud of is a project that funded another income revenue stream in Isiolo County, Africa. This project started as helping 20 women, and has grown to help more than 50 across many towns and villages. My project initially serves a group of women who are under domestic violence and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder because of female genital mutilation. My project intervention ended up addressing water issues, increasing girls' attendance in schools, while reducing female genital mutilation practices within a community.

Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?

Rosie: I want to tell young people that the world needs every one of you to bring your value and skills to the table. We need your skills, empathy, creativity, and curiosity to address complex challenges. But what career do you choose? My most vital advice is first to discover your strengths and how to build on those strengths. If your strength is public speaking, build on that passion by becoming a public speaker in front of small audiences. Your strengths must be practiced and refined before they serve and pay you well. Many young people today worry that their strengths or soft skills won't deliver them high incomes. This is not a fact, and your specific refined skills indeed carry you in tough economic times.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Rosie—it’s been an honor!

Rosie Chawla works as an advisor and consultant to the UNESCO Center for Peace as a director of global education and partnerships. In her role, she organizes conferences, builds partnerships that focus on peace, education, and social impact initiatives, supports activists locally and globally to raise awareness, and designs curriculums for programs and training. She is also an educator who works as an associate for Columbia University in the master's program in conflict resolution and negotiations. (First published on the Ladderworks website on September 05, 2023.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Shikha Tandon. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.