Justin

Seeds of Peace Fellow, 2016

IMPACT: SOCIAL

Using tech to help NGOs build stronger communities across lines of conflict.

How are you impacting your community?

My work promoting peaceful and inclusive societies has led to the rescue of over 100 people from violence in the Middle East and North Africa. In March of 2015, I co-led a successful operation to rescue an interfaith activist from the civil war in Yemen, and I continue to assist those who bravely advance human rights around the world.

I am the founder and CEO of Bandura, a company I created with Israeli and Palestinian partners, which develops social networking technology to help NGOs connect people from diverse backgrounds and encourage intercultural cooperation. Prior to starting Bandura, I worked for several years as a management consultant with the Avascent Group in Washington, D.C., helping develop business strategy for Fortune 500 companies that operate at the intersection of government and technology. I am a graduate of Stanford University.

Through my GATHER Fellowship project, I am leveraging the Bandura social network to help NGOs build stronger communities, and better engage cross-conflict audiences. Through our fun quizzes and matching algorithm, Bandura pairs people based on their overlapping interests (e.g., soccer), and develops friendships regardless of background. New friends can continue building their relationships through games, quizzes, and chat.

NGOs and networks can continue to reach their audiences through a custom newsfeed; as members have fun playing and chatting, they are also consuming meaningful content. NGOs are further able to analyze the data and metrics about how people use the social network so that they can a) better address members’ needs and b) show donors exact metrics about how many people they are engaging and how many relationships are developing across conflict zones. In this way, NGOs working for peace are able to engage their audience on a daily basis, reach more people, and build more empathy.

Over the course of the Fellowship, Bandura presented its work to audiences across the United States and has closed contracts with nonprofit organizations across the Middle East looking to purchase Bandura’s services.

“The value was the fellowship, the inspiration, and the more valuable personal lessons I gained from interacting with this incredibly diverse group of peace entrepreneurs. I was reminded of the important things in life and was bolstered personally by my affiliation with people like me around the world.”