Enhancing health and education programs for girls and young women in Muhuru Bay, Kenya.
, Ph.D., Associate Professor of the Practice, Biology Department and Duke Global Health Institute; President, WISER International
The Women in Secondary Education and Research (WISER) is a Kenyan NGO that works in collaboration with Duke University. WISER is a community development organization with a focus on the social empowerment of underprivileged girls through improved education and health. Participants in the DukeEngage program will be able to participate in WISER’s programs that provide health education; conduct health research depending on project availability; improve the academic performance of primary or secondary school students; increase entrepreneurship and business opportunities of community partners such as youth or women’s groups; and provide educational and recreational activities for boys and girls to enhance teamwork, leadership and an understanding of gender and adolescent health issues.
• WISER School: working with the WISER school community to enrich education, technology, and health initiatives.
• WISERBridge: working with primary school students and teachers to improve education for both boys and girls. Options include developing and leading health education modules and after school clubs.
• Literacy Projects: using photography, writing and art to increase English skills in adolescents.
• Watch Me Grow –Kenya; research on the impact of school gardens on nutrition and cognition in primary school students.
Program Requirements & Logistics
Language/Other Prerequisites: None
Course Requirements: Specific courses are not required; however, students taking courses relevant to HIV/AIDS, global health, women's issues, or international development will be given priority.
Other Technical Skills & Requirements: Students involved in research will be given pre-departure training. Documentary and writing skills welcomed.
Reflection Sessions: Your site coordinator will lead regular reflection sessions in which you’ll be expected to participate. More details will be shared with students once they arrive on site.
Neighborhood: Students will live in Muhuru Bay, Kenya.
Housing and Accommodations: All students will live together on the on the seven-acre WISER campus overlooking Lake Victoria. Students may on occasion not have access to showers or toilets and may have to use water buckets and pit latrines. Housing on campus will be bunk beds in a common mixed gender dormitory.
Meals: Meals will be provided by the WISER cafeteria though students will also have options for cooking food themselves using a propane burner and buying food in town.
Communication: Wireless internet is available on campus. Cell phones will be made available for all students.
Transportation: Most transportation within Muhuru Bay will be by motorcycle taxi with vetted drivers. Transportation outside of Muhuru will be provided by a trusted driver who has worked with WISER for seven years.
Volunteer Placement Logistics: Students will be placed into programs depending on their own interests and the community’s needs.
Opportunities for Autonomy / Private Space: While most projects end at 5 pm, many students find they enjoy interacting with community partners in the evening for dinner. Muhuru Bay is very safe and many students enjoy jogging or walking along Lake Victoria, visiting local caves, or spending time in town to get a cold soda. Living quarters are tight, and finding personal space can be a challenge. Kenyan culture as doesn’t recognize the need for ‘down time’ and being alone.
Books: Half the Sky; Its Our Turn to Eat.
Suggested Coursework: Women and International Development House Course, AIDS and Other Emerging Diseases, Global Health Ethics. Fundamentals of Global Health. Development and Africa, Medical Anthropology
Miscellaneous: This project is fully immersed in the community so every day is a cultural experience. Two days will be spent in Nairobi on either end of the trip to experience urban Kenyan life as well as attend the Nairobi National Museum, Nairobi National Park, the Giraffe Center or Maasai markets.