ICGLR Youth Forum Coaching for Peace Makers and Future Leaders

ICF Foundation believes that equipping coaches to make an impact with their communities will amplify and accelerate social impact. This includes not only providing tools to support coaches, but also guiding them to find the best insertion points within a social change organization to make the largest impact. In 2021, pro bono coaching was provided to members of a team at the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region. Coach and researcher Karen Finn met Kennedy Walusala, President Emeritus, International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Youth Forum, Kenya in 2021 on an ICF Foundation and Climate Coaching Alliance Zoom call. Kennedy’s interest in coaching was inspired by ICF Ignite video on coaching for SDGs.

Inspired by the peace-making role of ICGLR Youth Forum and the potential for coaching, they agreed to a pro bono team coaching engagement for ICGLR Youth Forum Kenya team. Kennedy shares about his role, my team works with youth leaders, government leaders, and officials across the 12 Member States of ICGLR. He states, “My team works with youth leaders, government leaders, and officials across the 12 Member States of ICGLR. Having experienced the power of coaching with our team, my vision, our vision is to equip youth leaders and peacemakers with coaching experience and coaching skills to reduce conflict and to make a better future”.

Kennedy has worked as a leader in the ICGLR Youth Forum community for over 11 years. His team works to identify and understand the conflicts within the region and to understand where and how peace can prevail. Youth will play a defining role in stabilizing the future peace of the ICGLR Member States. For some youth leaders, peace-making is a calling.  With the experience in coaching, the Youth Forum toolkit is expanded, and they are now asking: Who can make a difference and how can coaching, and coaching skills amplify their impact?

About ICGLR: International Conference on the Great Lakes Region Youth Forum

12 Member States: Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Republic of South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia.

420,000,000 Population            75% Youth

ICGLR Youth Forum – Education for Employment, Peace, Development

ICGLR Youth Forum UN at 75 The Future We Want

$14.4 Trillion Cost of armed conflict in 2019 – World Economic Forum. That’s about $5 a day for every person on the planet. To give some context, 689 million people – more than 9% of the world’s population – live on less than $1.90 a day, according to World Bank figures, underscoring the potential impact peace-building activities could have.

The Role of Youth Leadership in Peace

Youth in the Great Lakes Region are both actors and victims in conflict regionally. ICGLR Youth Forum focuses to understand youth. Its goal is to touch influence points and dissolve old patterns of conflict to stabilize the region. Kennedy’s Kenya-based team coordinates the Youth Forums of 12 Member States to focus on peace and security. The work of the ICGLR Youth Forum aims to work with young people to promote their empowerment and employment, for the achievement of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Their work is to find positive solutions to the conflict.  Kennedy and the team now want to bring coaching support to peacemakers in their often-exhausting daily work.

Reflecting on her experience as the coach, Karen Finn reports:

Kennedy was interested in how coaching could be of benefit to the ICGLR Youth Forum organization. He was keen for leaders within the YF organization to benefit from coaching. I suggested team coaching to allow more leaders to benefit at the same time while simultaneously learning from each other.

Four members of the leadership team were invited to join the group coaching alongside Kennedy. I was curious as to how the experience could progress. I gained incredible personal insight and valuable professional experience. One of the team members reflected on her experience, ‘I’ve become a better version of myself: confident, I don’t care about failing – if you fail you just get up and move on. You have to fail so that you know what to do right and what to do differently…What we’re working for in ICGLR Youth Forum, it’s not about me or my colleagues, it’s about teamwork. The message here for ICGLR Youth Forum is “How are we going to ensure that the young people of the Member States can become a better version of themselves?’

After the group coaching, the team attended a larger ICGLR Youth Forum conference, and the Kenya team was noted by colleagues as standing out as the most cohesive group. One of the key members, Faith was able to understand her full power to contribute to the team and has become instrumental in contributing to the team’s greater impact. Karen found the experience to be visceral for herself as the coach, realizing the depth of the impact coaching can have for not only the group participating, but the ripple effect it will bring the region and beyond. She reflects, “It gives me goosebumps thinking about the positive impact coaching can have on important issues”

Meeting coach Karen Finn made the coaching experience possible.  According to Kennedy Walusala, “Coaching builds our soft diplomacy skills, our experience of shared humanity as a team, as peacemakers, as current and future leaders.  Coaching shows that everyone has more potential than we realize to help overcome obstacles. Coaching is for all, there is no age limit.” Walusala goes on to share, “The coaching experience showed the importance of all team members impacting on the organization goals. It increased the capacity of the team, creating efficiencies and stronger teamwork. The provision of coaching would make a great difference in this conflict area. Coaching brings light and hopes to those who are experiencing conflict. By creating strong teams through using coaching, those who are affected in conflict areas can be better supported to change their circumstances.

Building Peace one (coaching) conversation at a time

ICF Foundation equips coaches to accelerate and amplify social impact in their communities. The Foundation provides tools to find the best “insertion points” within a social change organization to make the greatest impact.

Sometimes coaching finds its way to leaders doing extraordinary work and well-positioned for impact. When coaching is “inserted” into a peace-making organization like ICGLR Youth Forum, the impact and ripple effect has great potential. When peacemakers take a coaching mindset to their daily work, new possibilities are created. Each peacemaker and leader equipped with a coaching mindset is a pebble-making ripple. A pebble making ripples moving pebbles to make ripples. The challenge for ICF Foundation and for coaches is: “When peace-makers and future leaders are ready for coaching, will they find the coaches to assist?”