Heading for the Global South - the 2019 Fellows
This report is being sent to friends of The Advocacy Project who have generously supported our Fellowship program through GlobalGiving. Since we launched this appeal in 2016, 129 donors have given $15,379. This has helped us to send 35 talented Peace Fellows out to work with partner organizations in 11 countries. Thank you!
As we explained in our last report in March, our fellowship program is all about matching the talents of graduate students with the needs of community-based advocates. Five more Fellows are now testing out the model in difficult assignments. This message will describe their work.
Spencer (George Mason University) is working with Patrick Ojok, director of the Gulu Disabled Persons Union (GDPU) in Uganda to install accessible toilets at the Abaka School. When AP visited the school in December, enrollment stood at 386 students. Over 100 students have since dropped out because of the terrible state of the toilets. Working with funds from the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Dublin Ohio, Patrick and Spencer have hired a contractor and mobilized over 60 parents to dig a new latrine pit. We hope to have new toilets and handwashing in place by mid-August. This program is described on our website.
Boroka (Graduate Institute in Geneva) is in west Nepal, helping a team from the Centre for Agro Ecology and Development (CAED) to investigate the menstrual banishment of women and girls (chhaupadi). The practice is extremely dangerous to women and girls but it will not be easy to reverse centuries of custom. We have asked Boroka to test out a number of new approaches, including the initiation of a legal test case and a Facebook page to connect girls during menstruation. We await her findings with interest!
Mia (University of Maryland) is helping the Association for the Empowerment of Persons with Disability (AEPD) in Vietnam to design a revolving fund for families affected by Agent Orange. AP has raised over $15,000 for 11 individual families (much of it through GlobalGiving). We have asked Mia to visit them and find out if they have made good use of our investments. If the answer is yes, as we expect, we hope to design a new facility that can make small loans to many more families and show that Agent Orange need not be a death sentence. Meet the families here.
McLane (Fletcher School, Tufts University) is hard at work in Zimbabwe on child marriage, which feeds on poverty, ignorance and cultural practices that – among other things - allow parents to repay debts by marrying off their daughters. McLane's host, the Women Advocacy Project (WAP), has trained four girls to serve as "ambassadors" against child marriage and manage several clubs where girls learn about reproductive health. Of the 150 girls who have participated since December 2018, not one has married. McLane is off to a quick start. She has met with the ambassadors and redesigned WAP’s website.
Ben (Fletcher School, Tufts University) has already made a field trip to Northern Kenya where his host, the Children Peace Initiative Kenya (CPIK), is working to broker peace between the Turkana and Samburu – two tribes that have fought over cows for years. CPIK’s model is described in these pages. The program is funded this year by the German Foreign Ministry. Ben’s talent for evaluation and reporting will be put to good use!
The five Fellows have started to post blogs and photos, and most of them will launch appeals for their hosts on GlobalGiving in July. They are supported from Washington by five hard-working interns - Abby (University of Texas, Austin); Rachel (University of Kentucky); Emily (Wheaton College); Nathan (Pomona College); and Sam (University of Maryland).
We are exceptionally fortunate to be working with such a talented team. It would not have been possible without your help!
Once again, our thanks.
Iain and the AP team.
McLane will work on child marriage in Zimbabwe
Ben will support peace-making in Northwest Kenya
Boroka will research menstrual banishment in Nepal
Spencer will build accessible toilets in Uganda
Mia is on the track of Agent Orange in Vietnam