Success at the Clinton Global Initiative University Meeting (CGIU)
Celia Breuer shares her experience attending the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU), a meeting where students, university representatives, topic experts, and celebrities come together to discuss and develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges. Students create their own Commitments to Action that address issues on campus, in local communities, or around the world. Since 2008, students have made more than 6,250 commitments, and nearly $3 million in funding has been awarded to these commitment-makers through the Clinton Global Initiative University. Celia Breuer is one of the fine young students who received a fellowship from this prestigious event.
My commitment “Siku Njema Kesho” focuses on new approaches to community development in Nakuru, Kenya. I am working to tackle two problems faced by a community I have been working with for two years: the lack of means to store water and the disregard of the wishes of the community in development programs. Rather than working for the community, the project seeks to follow an agenda set by the community. We are committed to provide water tanks for each community member without creating long-term dependence on outside support. Thus, our commitment includes an income-generating jewelry program to fund part of the project. Water tanks for each individual household will ensure that infectious diseases are not spread easily through one collective water supply while enhancing farming and empowering our community economically.
I was awarded a fellowship by the Resolution Project. This includes long-term professional guidance, support for my commitment and access to a variety of resources. Most importantly, the fellowship connects young leaders with each other and with experts from all over the world, creating a community devoted to social impact.
Plan of Action
I am planning to return to Kenya this June to follow up with the project and conduct further research on project progress within the community. We are planning to move to the stage of our project process and actually start providing water tanks, as well as training on rain water harvesting. With this, I want to demonstrate that a community development project which is entirely based on the wishes and participation of beneficiaries, can be successful. Moving forward, I want to utilize this fellowship to connect with people who can provide me with guidance for the different projects I am involved in.
I absolutely loved Obiageli Ezekwesili, who spoke at the morning panel of the second day. She initiated the #BringBackOurGirls advocating for the 276 girls abducted in Nigeria two years ago. I was especially inspired by her because she encouraged us to take action, critiquing the fact that despite the popular hashtag campaign no progress has been made in actually getting the girls back and reminding us that we should follow up with challenges and not dismiss them as “old news”.
"I highly recommend people to attend CGIU because it will connect them with great resources and like-minded people!"
"Friendly reminder for everyone planning to apply: Do keep in mind that your commitment to action should not be developed just to attend CGIU, but rather should reflect your aspirations of a project in which you are committed. The purpose of these commitments is to encourage our generation to act against unfairness and to promote a cause we are devoted to, whether we attend this or any other conference or not. I think that passion is what ultimately resulted in my success at the conference."