On Wednesday 27 April, the CSC Alumni Team unveiled the refreshed Development in Action webinar series, which will replace the Knowledge Hub webinar series going forward. The first webinar of the new series was ‘From Chennai to Coventry: A peace educator’s journey into policy’ delivered by Commonwealth Alumnus Kirthi Jayakumar. The webinar addressed the the CSC development theme, Strengthening global peace, security and governance.

The CSC’s Development in Action webinar series aims to highlight the work and research of Commonwealth Alumni across a variety of development impact areas.

About the speaker

Kirthi Jayakumar is a feminist researcher working in Women, Peace, and Security (WPS), Transitional Justice, and Feminist Foreign Policy. She founded and runs The Gender Security Project, which works at the cusp of gender, security, peace, and conflict through research, reportage, and documentation and is one of the few WPS centres in the Global South.

Kirthi is a self-taught coder and created a web and mobile app, Saahas, and a Facebook ChatBot to support survivors of gender-based violence. She formerly founded and ran the Red Elephant Foundation, a civilian peacebuilding initiative that works for gender equality through storytelling, advocacy, and digital intervention.

Kirthi is a 2018 Commonwealth Scholar from India. She completed her MA in Peace and Conflict Studies from Coventry University.

Becoming a gender, peace, and security practitioner

In this webinar, Kirthi shared her journey navigating a career as a lawyer, a peace educator, a feminist researcher, and a storyteller. She shared her experiences as a Commonwealth Scholar and how acquiring skills through her CSC funded study in the UK enabled her to enhance her work in gender and peace security in her home country of India and beyond.

Kirthi presented on her current and past projects, including the founding of The Red Elephant Foundation and The Gender Security Project. Kirthi also discussed the motivation behind developing a mobile app and a Facebook ChatBot which has enabled her to support around 40,000 survivors of gender-based violence across 196 countries, and train over 7,000 people on bystander intervention.

Through her webinar, Kirthi shared the challenges she has faced and how she overcame these, the need to be resilient whilst working on gender equality and peace issues, and the importance of working with stakeholders, including men.

The webinar presentation was followed by an interactive Q&A session with Commonwealth Scholars and Alumni.

You can watch all previous webinars in the series by visiting the CSC’s YouTube channel.

Join future Development in Action webinars

Webinars take place monthly and are open to all Commonwealth Scholars and Alumni.

To find out about upcoming webinars, please visit the CSC’s events page.