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Empowering girls through education and health – 2021

Dates May 24 - July 16
Program Focus

Empowering underprivileged girls in rural Kenya through improvements in education and health; preventing teen pregnancies and child marriages by supporting adolescent girls in academic and sexual and reproductive health educational programs; providing opportunities to develop leadership skills so girls can drive change in their communities; creating opportunities for youth to practice English in preparation for national exams in English that determine access to further education; developing STEM entrepreneurs; leaning about non-profit communications and development.

Dates subject to change

Program Leaders
Program Themes
  • Education
  • Women

Participants in the Kenya-WISER program will have the option to live on campus during the majority of the program. Please note while DukeEngage will not pay for housing, students may use their award money to cover the cost.


Muhuru Bay, Kenya, is a rural village of about 25,000 spread out over a peninsula in Lake Victoria. The community relies predominantly on fishing and subsistence farming with some small businesses. Most of the community lacks electricity, clean water, or access to sanitation and has the highest HIV, malaria, and infant mortality rates in Kenya.

Dr. Broverman has worked in Kenya for 18 years, researching the role gender played in creating the elevated HIV infection rate in girls in East Africa and how educational systems could be used as powerful intervention points to reduce risk. To develop and assess interventions, Dr. Broverman started the NGO WISER in Kenya and WISER International in the US. Together these organizations have created a highly successful model for reducing HIV risk in girls and producing high achieving leaders from a poor, traditionally low-performing community.

While working for eight weeks students will assist WISER to create environments that produce exceptional young women that can drive change in their communities. WISER accomplishes this by a range of interventions that include health, education, STEM entrepreneurship, and leadership development. Partners will include high school girls enrolled in the WISER secondary school in Kenya, their teachers, and marketing and communications staff in the US.

Engagement Opportunities (Virtual)

  • Analyzing data on a clean water system
  • Helping design a solar powered water heating system with the engineering club
  • Teaching girls in a computer science/robotics club how to program drones and edit aerial video of the community, including extent of our clean water system, how far people have to walk to access water, overviews of campus, the paths girls take during daily lives off campus for water and wood, etc
  • Running a debate, poetry and public speaking club
  • Helping identify new funding opportunities for improving girls’ education and health
  • Production of short videos and communication pieces using existing footage
  • Literature reviews on the social determinants of health and educational success for girls to support grant writing
  • Possibly developing new sexual and reproductive health curricula for out-of-school young mothers

Keep in mind when applying that the program will be run on on Eastern Time.


Language Requirements: None

Coursework: Specific courses are not required; however, students taking courses relevant to global health, women’s issues, engineering, computer science, entrepreneurship, English, Education, or international development might be given priority.

 Skills: Students involved in research will be given training. Documentary/writing skills and programming skills welcomed.

Personal Qualities:

  • Ability to be a self-starter and stay engaged even if working distantly.
  • Ability to see situations from different perspectives, even ones you disagree with. To be curious and open without judgement.
  • Ability to work in a community where the male-female dynamic can be very different from in the U.S.
  • High degree of flexibility. Being able to reach a goal even when the path keeps changing.
  • Aware of your emotional needs with a mixture of optimism and realism. Able to work in a group to process challenging situations.

DukeEngage Alumni Are Now On Staff at WISER

Zack Fowler (’16) and Leah Catotti (’15) are working at WISER International.

Read Their Story