October 23, 2019 – The Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) is proud to announce that the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation has donated $1.2 million to support programs that will strengthen and scale WPDI’s peacebuilding and development efforts in Mexico, Uganda, South Africa, South Sudan, and the United States.

These funds are critical and were donated at a juncture when WPDI is in the process of expanding the scope and number of its activities benefitting youths in areas affected by conflict and armed violence. There are currently 408 million of them across the world. Their needs are immense and yet largely unmet and known. Forest Whitaker created WPDI to help support them.

The vision behind our work is that young people from conflict-impacted places can be empowered as peacemakers and changemakers.  Our activities focus on providing young people from these places with resources, like skills-based trainings, access to information technology, and support for projects designed and implemented by youths, including small businesses. In particular, our programs aim to empower young women, in line with the objectives of the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation.

In its seven years of existence, WPDI has reached more than 400,000 people, helping contribute to the fostering of peace and sustainable development. The Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation’s donation is a recognition of both WPDI’s achievements and the need to invest in the future of communities that remain among the most vulnerable in the world.

In this respect, the foundation’s decision to support WPDI must be saluted as a demonstration that young people can be trusted with the future of their communities, even in the most difficult situations. This is a message that we hope will be heard by decisionmakers across governments, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.

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