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i-ACT and the U.S. Army?

Driving home yesterday I reflected back on the morning we had at our new i-ACT office. It was the first official meeting we had in the new space, and with such an unlikely partner, members of the Army Reserve.

These four amazing individuals had more than 30 years combined experience in the Army and several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan each. They all currently work in Civil Affairs which implements community oriented projects and infrastructure that will better the community. Sometimes it’s projects they initiate, and sometimes it’s projects handed to them from previous Army Battalions. They got in touch with i-ACT to see if they could learn more about how we operate in eastern Chad and how we work with and for the Darfuri refugees.

In the usual spirit of i-ACT, it was not so much a “training” for these leaders of the Army Reserve as it was a conversation. We started with what we both do and how we do it. Before too long the conversation moved back and forth with all sorts of ideas from measuring impact to micro-financing. It was supposed to be two hours, and including lunch it was three. By the end they understood and believed in the work of i-ACT and in our emphasis on building tools for peace for the future generations of leaders in places like Darfur, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

We must be doing something right if a group who has so much collective experience implementing projects all across the United States and the world asks us to train their leaders in community involvement. I’m proud of the work we do at i-ACT. It’s days like this that remind me that we are making an impact not only on the way people respond to mass atrocities, but how NGOs, nonprofits, and government groups interact with the communities benefiting from their support. We can always improve. But right now I’m just so proud of what we do, and how we do it.


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