GSAA’s Inaugural Cohort

by Daniel Alexander

The Amizade team is excited to share that we’ve have chosen our first cohort for the Global Social Action Accelerator.

We received wonderful applications from all over the world. After much consideration, Amizade’s selection committee, comprised of board members, has selected the proposals below, which meet the following criteria:

  • Potential impact in the community
  • Reachable goals
  • Sustainability
  • Consistency

The first round of the GSAA just reinforced that the Amizade network is made up with inspiring people filled with brilliant ideas, and we couldn’t be prouder with that. Without further ado, let us introduce you to GSAA’s inaugural cohort.

David E. Natarén Oyuela (Appalachia Alum)

Title of the project: Collateral partners of entrepreneurial women.

We are trying to help 10 women who own small shops and who are members of the national association of workers of the informal sector. They are the only source of income to their families and manage some of the smallest shops owned by members of the association.

Honduras is a country where almost 70% of the population lives under poverty. According to figures of the International Labor Organization, 86% of the workforce is employed in the informal sector. Due to very low demand on the labor market, becoming a business owner in the informal sector is the only option for many Hondurans to look after their families. However, the access to credit is very limited by their lack of collaterals and credit history. Becoming a member of a credit union is a good option to bypass the latter but not the former. With no job and lack of collaterals, people in the informal sector are forced to subsist with very low incomes from their small businesses which cannot grow and thus they remain living in poverty.


Racquel Knight (Jamaica Alumna)

Title of the project: One Chair 4 One Child

One Chair 4 One Child (OC4OC) aims to create a comfortable learning environment for kids in rural Jamaica who struggle to find adequate seating in their classrooms. The lack of chairs and proper classroom environment is inhibiting learning in Jamaica schools. OC4OC wants to generate new jobs by training young people to design and manufacture quality classroom furniture and create positive and thriving learning environments for tens of thousands of schoolchildren.


Lisa Anakwenze (Ghana Alumna)

Title of the project: Solar Saves

This project will serve the rural Nigerian community of Abagana, Anambra State. The project will positively impact people of all ages and all socioeconomic backgrounds equally. Using solar energy helps to save the environment, literally will save lives through the prevention of crime and injury, and will allow extra time for people to be actively productive after the sunsets.


Tabo Wina (Community partner/Zambia)

Title project: Supporting women entrepreneurs to improve livelihoods.

WomanCONNECT will provide small business training and support to women entrepreneurs in an effort to improve skills among women. It will also provide marketing support intended to help beneficiaries better market their products. The overall goal of the project is to improve livelihoods for women entrepreneurs.


Luis Rodriguez (Puerto Rico Alum)

Title of the project: Disaster Relief Projects: Hurricane Maria, 12-20 months after

Puerto Rico universally suffered exorbitant damages after Hurricane Maria passed. The local communities of Puente Blanco and Juana Matos remain in a vulnerable position even after repairs, some of which are fundamental to the manner in which those communities came into existence. These concerns must be addressed so that the people of these communities can focus on increasing their capacity and reaching their maximum potential as contributing members of society while living at ease within their communities.


Nicole Silva (Brazil Alumna)

Title: Ironbound Initiative: Local and International Student Outreach

The Ironbound Initiative will strive to address New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) and the University Hospital (UH) responsibility to the Ironbound community by addressing and improving gaps in health care that have been noted by the community. The Ironbound community is a culturally rich area, with one of the highest Brazilian and Portuguese immigrant populations in the country. This patient population consists of documented and undocumented immigrants who have little access to health care and are challenged by language and cultural barriers.


Brandon Ziats (Community partner/Pittsburgh)

Title of Project: Youth-designed Programming Space in Clairton

As YOD serves youth in Clairton on a limited budget (YOD is now the only after-school and summer programming provider for males ages 8-14 in the area), a need has arisen for a new space to more effectively serve this population. YOD youth participants attend programming 4 days per week, which consists of homework help, a one-hour educational lesson, and recreational time. New space has been secured but YOD staff wants to incorporate more of the youth perspective in the design of this programming space. This project will allow the youth to incorporate their ideas and spearhead this process, making it more into a space that will accommodate more youth as well as become a space in which youth will be able to learn and have fun!


Joanna Keen (Tanzania Alumna)

Title of Project: Global Scribes Youth Hackathon

Across the world, youth are overlooked as a potential asset to solving social & global challenges despite being directly impacted & having opinions on how to solve them. They are oftentimes deprived of an enabling environment, 21st Century Skills & the platform to serve as catalysts for a healthier, more united & sustainable world. Global Scribes Youth Uniting Nations is striving to change that by providing youth with an enabling & creative (global) playground free from judgment & criticism to share meaningful experiences, engage in creative & educational activities and build friendships. The Global Scribes Hackathon will serve as an outreach event to bring together globally minded individuals within the community to network with each other, learn about the opportunities for further global collaboration in Global Scribes, and to innovate tangible ideas about issues they care about to be potentially implemented by the Global Scribes community.

Stay tuned for exciting updates on the next steps of the Global Social Action Accelerator.