Bellwether

About

Everyone can be a bellwether, a leader, in their sphere of influence and community to stop genocide.

Origin Story

In 2019, after working with the Yazidis in Iraq, Rachel observed the humanitarian gap for religious minority groups that have experienced genocide, particularly in communities where freedom of religion or belief is violated, ignored, or deemed unimportant. Rachel founded Bellwether International in London, UK to respond to pre- and post- genocide communities who have experienced severe human rights violations.

Our model is to recruit locally and implement sustainably. As such, we rely on local partners and community project leaders to collaborate on holistic solutions that ensure peace and stability for years to come.

Mission

Bellwether International’s mission is to disrupt the cycle of genocide and create genocide-resistant societies.

Vision

Our vision is to create a world where government can prevent genocide (top-down), and individuals resist genocide (bottom-up) to create peaceful and plural societies.

Facts & Figures

  • Founded in December 2019
  • Helped over 36,000 individuals
  • Focused on building genocide-resistant societies
  • Locally implemented projects
  • Empowerment of local leaders
  • Avoid colonial practices and assumptions

Our Team

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Oluwasegun Ogunsakin

Oluwasegun Ogunsakin has been the Project Manager with Bellwether International since 2022. In this role, he oversees the development and project implementation of Bellwether International’s freedom of religion or beliefs and peacebuilding work in Nigeria.

Oluwasegun first joined Bellwether International in 2021 as an ambassador, where he built capacity through collaborative and intentional projects that will benefit diverse communities in Nigeria. Before joining Bellwether, he was a fellow of Teach For Nigeria, where he taught children living in an underserved community and promoted the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria.

Oluwasegun is an expert on designing and implementing interreligious and genocide-resistant programming that builds collaboration across communities and promotes peacebuilding. He is a certified humanitarian negotiator and facilitator by the Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation, Geneva, Switzerland. He has over 30 academic publications, both in local and international journals.

Originally from Ekiti State, Nigeria, Oluwasegun holds a BSc. in Psychology, an MSc. in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution, and a Certificate in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies from Lagos State University, National Open University of Nigeria and the University of Oxford’s Centre for Refugee Studies respectively. He is an alumnus of the 2022 Religious Literacy Summer Institute for Educators of the Harvard Divinity School. He speaks English and Yoruba.

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Nishtiman Khalaf

Nishtiman was born and raised in Sinjar, Iraq. She is passionate about gender equality and human rights. She has graduated from American University of Iraq-Sulaymaniyah, majoring in civil engineering and minoring in gender studies. For the past four years, Nishtiman has worked with different local NGOs in Sinjar and has conducted internships in her university, specifically with the Center for Gender and Development Studies (CGDS), where she has worked as a textbook reviewer. Nishtiman utilizes her fluency in English, Arabic, and Kurmanji and brings her background in and passion for gender quality and protection and management to work as Bellwether International’s project manager. At Bellwether International , Nishtiman oversees and manages the organization’s projects focused on support to Yazidi community in Iraq with mental health, education and freedom of religious and beliefs.

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Miriam Shearer

Miriam Shearer, based in Northern Ireland, is the Project Manager for the Bellwether International Ambassadors Program. With a BA in International Politics, an MA in International Relations, and a PGDip in Operations and Supply Chain Management, she possesses a robust academic background. Miriam is passionate about advocating for freedom, particularly the freedom of religion and belief, and she has a keen interest in global interactions and infrastructure. With experience as an academic editor focusing on human security, climate change, military spending, and political issues, Miriam brings a wealth of knowledge to her role, coordinating initiatives to foster understanding and cooperation in a globalized world. Miriam’s commitment to building a more just and tolerant society drives her work, as she seeks to make a positive impact locally and internationally.

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Fatima Njoku

Fatima Njoku is a human rights advocate, a mother, an entrepreneur and a lover of God. Currently a doctorate candidate at the University of Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria, Fatima is currently the Advocacy Manager at Stefanos Foundation where she works with victims of violence, advocating for minority ethnic people who are vulnerable and suffer multiple human rights violations and conducting human rights trainings, awareness and sensitization and capacity strengthening activities. She also advocates for young ladies who have been abducted, converted and subjected to forceful marriage. She mainstreams the plight of minority ethnic people in Nigeria locally and internationally on different forums like the United Nations Headquarters in New York (where several parallel events were hosted in collaboration with Jubilee Campaign USA for several years before the onset of Covid 19), Capitol Hill in Washington DC, United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Paris Swiss Club, UK House of Lords, House of Assembly in Nigeria, and other such engagements.

In her free time, she impacts her community through volunteer activities with the Big Ocean Women helping local Nigerian women strengthen their faith, belief in family and motherhood. In her Church, and together with her husband, they have headed the teenagers’ fellowship department for seven years. She founded a personal ministry and with support from concerned organizations, some orphans received school fees support, widows received funds for their business, teenagers are infused with right values during conferences/workshops/camp and outreaches to schools.

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Khalidah Bakr Khalaf

From 2018 after graduating from high school until now I’ve been an activist and working in peacebuilding, Promoting freedom of religion or belief and women rights. And now being a project manager with BW is a big opportunity to help women and vulnerable communities more and more through a lot of great projects like Cognitive and Behavioural Sessions that we are providing to the Yezidi community in Iraq and many other supporting projects.

I always strived for peacebuilding and wanted to help others and that is what I am doing now after the support I have got from Bellwether International.

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