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Sharing joy and exploring Ghana with PeaceJam: How TPG is giving back and how you can help

July 28, 2022
7 min read
TPG staff at PeaceJam
Sharing joy and exploring Ghana with PeaceJam: How TPG is giving back and how you can help
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Imagine the power of hundreds of children and teenagers surrounding you with pure, unconditional love. That's what TPG members experienced when we traveled to Accra, Ghana, with an organization called PeaceJam.

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Our PeaceJam experience

PeaceJam is a nonprofit we've been working with since 2014. Its mission is to foster young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities and the world. The organization encourages them with lessons and exercises inspired by the lives and work of Nobel Peace Prize laureates like the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.

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"I’m proud that The Points Guy and Red Ventures support this," said TPG founder Brian Kelly, "because it's not just the kids that benefit from this program. I firmly believe it makes TPG employees more mindful of the world and that our business can be strong and also that the more we give the more we get back." Red Ventures is the parent company of TPG.

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

In fact, we've been on a yearslong mission to help the next generation of leaders in many countries, including Ghana.

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Each PeaceJam conference features leadership training, group activities and usually a visit from a Nobel laureate.

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Related: An African adventure with the guided tour company Elsewhere

This year it was Tawakkol Karman, a pro-democracy journalist who stood up to an authoritarian ruler in Yemen. She eventually won the Nobel Peace Prize, and she co-founded the organization Women Journalists Without Chains.

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

TPG and PeaceJam also support and mentor exceptional young leaders. Back in 2018, we launched the Global Impact Youth Fellowship.

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So far, we've sponsored more than 20 young leaders as “TPG fellows” who are chosen to receive financial support for higher education. Not only do they receive help paying their tuition and living costs, but each fellow is also matched with a TPG employee from whom they can get advice and guidance. They each have a mentor in the U.S. or the United Kingdom. When we visited Ghana, many of us met our mentees for the first time. I got to meet David Karmon, whom I've been mentoring virtually since 2020.

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Related: How to visit West Africa on points and miles

"I would say PeaceJam means hope for the future," Karmon told me on the University of Ghana campus in Accra. "PeaceJam brings together young people, and transforms them, helping them to become change makers, helping the community to become better."

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Karmon wants to take the leadership skills he's learned and someday give back to his native Liberia, perhaps by working at an organization like the World Bank.

TPG also helps fund and organize annual PeaceJam conferences in other countries such as Liberia, Guatemala and South Africa.

This conference wasn't just TPG fellows meeting their mentors for the first time face-to-face. It was also the first big gathering for many of the students at a PeaceJam event since the COVID-19 pandemic began. It was a joyous opportunity for a large gathering to celebrate the future.

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

"I know it means a lot to them," said Lauren Coffaro, who directs the PeaceJam program. "For a lot of these students, they've never had this experience in their young lives."

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

There were more than 750 students in attendance who were able to share their service projects and learn new skills related to peace and conflict resolution, human rights, teamwork and leadership. It was an incredible way to spend a few days learning about the next generation's struggles and victories.

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

These are incredibly driven kids who can share stories of personal struggles — whether against poverty, discrimination or sexual abuse — through eye-opening tales of survival and resilience. "One thing that guided me in my life is your determination would determine your destination," said Wisdom Addo, who runs the PeaceJam Ghana program. He described the PeaceJam gatherings as a way to give light to a whole lot of people.

"I’m just blown away by the level of talent that we see here with the PeaceJammers ... This program really is crucial because the educational system in Ghana, in many of these poor communities, fails students," Kelly said. "While PeaceJam isn’t meant to replace any education system, a little goes a long way. The program is relatively inexpensive to operate, and we have a huge impact. And this isn't just what we think; this is what we know because, throughout the conference, the youth have a chance to speak."

How you can help

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

"There's a lot of ways to help support PeaceJam," Coffaro said. "We have chapters in 15 countries around the world with programming in over 40. There might be a PeaceJam in your community that you could support as a volunteer. Of course, we're also a nonprofit ... most of our funding comes through charitable donations. So if anyone is motivated to work with their employer or with a community foundation, or even individually to help fundraise money with PeaceJam, to give back, that's a huge support."

If you would like to support the PeaceJam Foundation, you can sponsor a young person or school to be part of PeaceJam at peacejam.org/donate.

In the past, we've also teamed with United Airlines' Miles on a Mission program, which allows consumers to donate unused miles which are then dispersed to various charities. This is how we got Tawakkol Karman to Accra. (We'll have more on that later this year.)

"There are a lot of young people, especially in Africa, who are going through a lot," Addo said. "I think this program has been an icon for them. My goal is to be able to expand it to the whole of Ghana."

There's so much need. You can help.

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)
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Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
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  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees