This profile was prepared when Austin Onuoha was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001.
The New Idea
Understanding that violence often results from the conditions of poverty, Austin uses conflict situations as the entry point into communities to improve existing institutions' capacity for economic and social development. Where police and courts have failed to resolve conflict, Austin restructures and formalizes local, democratic institutions to serve as dispute mediators and foster community-building. The end result is a stronger sense of solidarity and a mobilized corps of engaged citizens, ready to advocate for positive change and implement new systems toward a better future.