We’ve passed a milestone in our partnership between AkzoNobel and global peace movement MasterPeace: we’ve created 95 Let’s Colour Walls of Connection! Launched in March, the joint Let’s Colour Walls of Connection campaign will aims to bring together artists and local communities to paint 100 walls in 40 cities.

As we get closer to achieving our goal, we spoke to Stephanie, Global Colour Training and Knowledge Manager, Decorative Paints Consumer Marketing, and Celine, Regional Director Europe – Global Partnerships MasterPeace to find out what the experience has been like and what they’ve learned so far.

"Although AkzoNobel and MasterPeace come from two different worlds, Walls of Connection brought us together with the common goal of adding color to people’s lives"

What has been your favorite moment of Let’s Colour Walls of Connection?

Stephanie: The Let’s Colour Walls of Connection kick-off event at the Albeda College in Rotterdam, the Netherlands was my favorite moment. The artists, students, our own AkzoNobel employees and people from the local community all enjoyed transforming a huge wall into a nice, colorful piece of art. You could feel the energy, mutual respect and pride among those involved.

Céline: My favorite moment was working in London together with AkzoNobel global team and the amazing local artist Siddiqa Juma. It was very crowded at the venue, but Siddiqa still managed to make time for an inspirational, professional art lesson in the heart of London. That’s capacity building in communities!

How did the project impact you personally, and what have you learned?

Stephanie: For me it was an eye opener that Walls of Connection really brings people together that would not normally get the opportunity to connect. So with a little bit of paint, we are able to change behavior and make a difference in people’s lives.

Working with a global grassroots non-profit organization like MasterPeace was a new experience for me. Although AkzoNobel and MasterPeace come from two different worlds, Walls of Connection brought us together with the common goal of adding color to people’s lives. Being part of that has been a great gift for me personally.

Céline: I also didn’t know that this project would have such an impact on my personal life. It has invited me to listen to people’s stories, see the resilience of the local people, be inspired by their hopes and make more meaningful connections.

What challenges did you face?

Stephanie: We are well on track to achieving our goal, but it hasn’t been easy. One of our main challenges (apart from the weather) was managing the local stakeholders. But working together with the global MasterPeace team, we managed to find a way to make the most of our strengths. With a global network of local partners, MasterPeace has experience in mobilizing communities. And AkzoNobel has paint expertise and global reach, as well as experience in implementing Let’s Colour community programs.

Céline: That’s a good point. What I think the world needs is more co-creation between creatives, policy-makers, civil society, local governments and businesses. But a true co-creation between a global corporate leader and a grassroots organization can be challenging to achieve. Nevertheless, my colleague Raghda El-Halawany and our global team created a solid foundation for this strategic, value-based partnership. I hope many more similar partnerships will follow.

How did Let’s Colour Walls of Connection impact the community?

Stephanie: Walls of Connection brought together people in diverse and complex communities around the world and helped them transform their neighborhoods into more colorful, livable and enjoyable places to live – places they feel proud of.

It also brought together two very different organizations with complementing expertise and networks. By forming such partnerships, these kind of projects help ensure a more sustainable and livable future and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Céline: What’s great is that the impact is all about local ownership. Once the community has participated in Walls of Connection, their world is more vibrant, livable and friendly. That’s the power of color.