Climate change ought to be everyone’s priority: Meet Rexandria Benson, Liberia.

  1. Could you describe the first moment when you realized you wanted to do this work?

   As a young lady who has experienced the crippling effects of conflict in my country Liberia, in my early years I have always had keen interest in resolving issues. Within my own family I consider myself as a soft spoken person who is always there to calm things whenever there is a misunderstanding. I started volunteering with various organizations during my years in college and developed the passion for helping others and imparting knowledge. My passion to resolve issues and the quest in getting to the root cause of a problem in order to solve it is the driving force behind my advocacy in Peace Building. I envisage a world where people of different backgrounds, ethnic groups, religion and faith can coexist peacefully with violence or judgment. I envisage a world where people can be open minded to accept others as they are without looking at their outward appearances, where there are no stereotypes as to what a particular person looks like.

2. Could take us through a day of your work? Where do you put most of your time and energy?

Well, my schedule varies widely every day. I spend the majority of my week monitoring field supervisors, collecting and analyzing reports.  I coordinate workshops and write project proposals. I also do one on one training sessions, but I also run multiple group sessions. During a busy week I spend  few hours every day training, observing, and providing feedback for my team. So about 50% of my time is spent working directly with trainees, and 25% of my time is spent working with my team. Another 25% is spent working directly with steering the day to day  activity of the organization, attending meetings, compiling reports. The rest of my time is spent setting goals for the following week. I have always strive to go above and beyond when it comes to impacting knowledge and molding the young generation.

3. What are your key achievements in your work?

It has been my dream to organize clubs in various high schools around the country to create environmental awareness and through an organization of which I am associated  with  Youth for Climate Change  Initiatives (YCCI) , my dream is becoming a reality.

4. How does your organization promote inclusive participation of youth from diverse backgrounds?

Daughters of Bomi is an organization which promotes people of diverse background, ethnicity and faith. We have a commitment to equality and is open to change. We do not discriminate. We have a diverse group of  volunteers and have open dialogues about each other culture differences. Respect is a key value in our code of conduct. We encourage all and have a sense of inclusion when implementing all our projects and working with community dwellers.

5. What has been your hardest struggle so far, and how did you get over it?

My hardest struggle has been public speaking, but I have been able to work through it slowly. Being a Community Solutions Program (CSP) Fellow has greatly enabled master the art of what was once my greatest fear.

6. What is the biggest challenge you currently face?

Biggest challenge so far has been reaching out to people who have not had the opportunity to gain knowledge about Peace and Conflict Resolution. Hard to reach communities are difficult to get to because of the poor road network. In most areas you cannot even use radio or phone to get the message out there because there is no network and that is just sad.

7. What has been your biggest surprise on this journey so far?

My biggest surprise has been to be selected for the IDOVE (Interfaith Dialogue on Violence Extremism) training of which  I am a part. It came as a surprise because being the only person to be selected from your country where there are other great champions in this field really took me off my feet.

8. What keeps you going and give you inspiration in your work? What gives you hope?

My mom is my greatest inspiration, it is from her that I get my resilience to keep pressing on and doing what I do. I enjoy learning and sharing my knowledge with others, I am always willing to help  others and I am never tired of learning new things. I believe that everyday of my life I have to learn something new. I get hope from the fact that with all the evil that is going on in the world, there are still good people, so we should also focus on the positives in life. I see the glass half full.

9. If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give to your younger self?

Never make decisions when you are angry

10. What words of encouragement would you give to women, children, minorities, and other disempowered groups when they are facing rejection because of the prevailing cultural norm?

Don’t give up, keep your head up and be bold positive agents of change. Love yourself, do not feel inferior. all humans are equal. Be proud, walk proud with your head high

11. How can people interested to connect you reach you?( email, blog, website, linkedIn etc).

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