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Hundreds of Little Rock’s most impassioned TEDx enthusiasts will come together on Friday, July 24th for a day of networking and dialogue around the theme Little Rocks Create Avalanches. The event will take place at the Ron Robinson Theater, in Little Rock, Arkansas and will feature an incredible line-up of speakers on topics ranging from innovations in education to health to technology and the arts. An art show will be held concurrently with the conference in the atrium of the Ron Robinson Theater. Attendees will also have an opportunity to network at an on-site lunch event and off-site dinner event. The event will be on live webcast as well. Also, people can watch from satellite locations set up in Little Rock.
“The combination of a diverse group of speakers and high calibre art show will form a mix that is sure to lead to exciting new ideas” said Salil Joshi, TEDxMarkhamSt founder and organizing committee member. “The event will offer the Little Rock community an opportunity to share its passion and ideas with communities in the United States and the world”.
The independently produced event, operated under a license from TED, was organized by community volunteers and is aimed at creating dialogue as well as giving people a forum to share their passions, ideas and experiences. Event sponsors will be officially released on a later date.
Speakers and performers include:
Tickets are $20 for students and $25 for general admission. Tickets will be sold at the door for $30. Those who wish to attend can purchase tickets at www.tedxlittlerock.org starting June 15th, 2015.
For more information about the event; how to volunteer; how your company can sponsor, visit www.tedxlittlerock.org.
Media Contact: Salil Joshi – firstname.lastname@example.org
Little Rocks Create Avalanches
LITTLE ROCK –
Facebook- Search: TEDxMarkhamSt, https://www.facebook.com/TEDxMarkhamSt
Class of 2014 graduate John Delurey proposed and designed the “solar mamas” training center for Barefoot College for his final Capstone project. The article below, originally featured on PRI’s website, talks extensively about the “solar mamas” program and how it helps rule families in Zanzibar.
Take a step back from Zanzibar’s white sand beaches and big hotels and you’re in a very different world. One where the island’s dusty, inland villages largely go dark once the sun sets. This is when the differences between people who have electricity and those who don’t are most pronounced.
Kasia Hassan is one of those without. The mother of nine lights her home in the village of Matemwe with tiny kerosene lamps. They’re barely brighter than a candle and fill her house with a thick black smoke. Hassan thanks God that one of her kids hasn’t knocked over a lamp and started a fire, something that happens a lot here in Tanzania.
But she says having electricity is something she’s never really considered. It’s a decision for men, she says, something for her husband to decide.
Just a few doors away it’s a very different picture. Instead of sitting in a dark, smoky room, Kanao Sharif Haji is weaving reed mats under bright LED lamps running off a battery charged by a small solar panel on the roof.
For this brighter, cleaner and safer system, Haji pays less than half of what her neighbor does for kerosene. But that’s only the beginning of her savings. Haji says the work she does at night has raised her family’s income by up to $15 a month — a huge sum in these parts.
The prospects for her eight children are also brighter, especially for her 14-year-old daughter, Nuru Sheha, who studies beside her. Haji says Nuru is doing well in school and dreams of someday becoming an English or math teacher.
Haji’s family has benefited from a simple fix to a vexing problem. In sub-Saharan Africa electricity is still a far off dream for most. With the lowest electrification rate in the world and less than 10 percent of the rural population having access, Africa has been called the “society in eternal darkness.”According to the International Energy Agency, closing that gap with conventional power would cost an estimated $19-billion a year in investments over several decades.
Even solar panels are out of reach for poor families like Haji’s, if they have to buy them outright. So instead, they hired a group of local solar engineers to install and maintain their new system, for about three dollars a month.
That by itself is a big change in this isolated and very traditional place. But who those solar engineers are represents an even bigger change. They’re Zanzibar’s 13 new “solar mamas” as they call themselves — all illiterate mothers from villages like Matemwe, who were quietly recruited and trained by an Indian NGO called Barefoot College.
So far these “solar mamas” have electrified more than 600 households on the island.
The system Mize Juma Othman was installing recently on a metal roof included the photovoltaic panels, a battery, an inverter, three LED lamps and a phone charger. It took half an hour to complete and once the power was switched on the owner of the house plugged in her phone, a new convenience she used to pay someone else to do.
It was a moment when everything changed for her family, something Othman says she relates to.
She recounts her own journey to becoming a solar engineer, a choice that cost her her marriage. Othman says when she decided to go to India for the six month training program her husband was supportive at first. But then other men convinced him that her new knowledge would make her promiscuous. So he divorced her.
Othman says she’s now remarried, to a man who isn’t bothered by her career. Her salary of $60 a month doesn’t hurt.
She says she knew money before she knew men and hopes to pass that strength and knowledge on to her young daughter, and to women from all over Africa, something she’s about to get a chance to do. Othman and Zanzibar’s 12 other female solar engineers will be sharing her skills with other local women at a new solar training center funded in large part by the government here.
The new center “will bring us to the reality that once women are empowered, they can do anything,” says Asha Abdallah, with Zanzibar’s Ministry of Empowerment, Social Welfare, Youth, Women and Children.
Abdallah adds that many solar projects failed here because they were run by outsiders who never trained local people to take care of the equipment. But she says this one’s different because it’s involving the communities themselves. The center will train two dozen women a year, each of whom will install and maintain 50 systems a year. It’s the first of six solar training sites Barefoot College plans to build in Africa, from South Sudan to Senegal.
And with prices for solar equipment falling fast, this community-led model is spreading quickly and changing minds in even the most traditional villages.
In Zanzibar’s Kandwe village, shopkeeper Pandu Matti Salum now stays open late because of his new solar system. Salum says his shop has become a gathering place for the village after dark, which also means more business for him. He says he now plans to expand his store, all thanks to the female solar engineers, who he says he supports 100 percent.
Salum acknowledges the changing role of women in this conservative Muslim society, but the changes the solar mamas are bringing to his life only go so far. He says he has two wives and eight children, and with the growing success of his shop, he hopes to marry a third wife and have more children.
The strength of tradition is evident after dark in Kandwe, when only village men gather to pray at a small Mosque, lit by kerosene lamps, and there are no women on the streets. It’s a reminder that change takes time.
But as one of the solar mama’s put it, “we are 13 now, and when we are old, we will be many, many more,” bringing light, and change, to Zanzibar and beyond.
This article was written by Clinton School alum Kellen Utecht, director of sustainability with Phigenics. This article originally appeared in EDF’s blog.
Famed economist Adam Smith once said, “Nothing is more useful than water; but it will purchase scarce anything; scarce anything can be had in exchange for it.”
With California facing its worst drought conditions in its history, toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie, and water costs rising 33 percent since 2010, water’s value — both its actual costs and our perception of it — has been transformed since Smith’s time.
Companies today have a vested business interest in managing their water consumption. Since 2011, businesses globally have invested $84 billion in water management projects.
Given that water for cooling makes up a significant portion of a building’s water use, adopting a portfolio approach to cooling water management program is one way companies can make meaningful impacts in reducing water consumption and improving energy efficiency.
In one powerful example, Walmart — with a portfolio of stores spread across the U.S. — made significant reductions in its water use and utility expense by implementing such a program.
In 2008, Walmart found an opportunity to improve the performance of its 180 water-cooled U.S. stores. These stores had no engineering support on-site and no remote monitoring of cooling system performance.
In addition, it had 15 water treatment service suppliers, each with their own vendor report forms, chemical strategies and proprietary equipment.
Assessing its portfolio of stores, Walmart found a lack of both vendor oversight and a standardized approach to cooling water management.
This resulted in excessive water consumption due to low reuse of water and slow response time to leaks, decreased energy efficiency and decreased useful life of assets. Furthermore, because of lack of a reporting system and access to real-time data, labor was being spent on maintenance issues as opposed to optimization.
In 2008, Walmart partnered with Phigenics to develop a new approach to cooling water management.
Recognizing that developing a strategy to reach water reduction and costs goals at each individual site would be both time and resource-intensive, Walmart took a portfolio-based approach. In an effort to create a company-wide impact and greatly improve the efficiency of water use across its water-cooled facilities.
For companies seeking to optimize the performance of its cooling tower operations, the below framework has been a winning approach for designing and implementing a portfolio cooling water management program.
“We understand water is intrinsic to our mission of helping our customers save money and live better,” said Walmart‘s Global Responsibility Report.
The operation of cooling towers involves many departments; without buy-in from a company’s leadership, getting support for a water management program may prove difficult. Corporate sustainability managers frequently cite two reasons to help build support for the design, investment and implementation of a program:
Once a team secures buy-in from management, the program champion assembles a cross-functional cooling water management team. A team should include oversight by an independent water management expert and coordination with the local water treatment service representatives and water testing laboratories.
Initially, the team develops an implementation plan based on the following steps and should meet quarterly to review progress. The program champion coordinates quarterly team meetings, monitors overall program progress and liaises with internal and external stakeholders.
The program team’s first task is to develop program objectives and key results (OKRs). Some examples of OKRs used in Walmart’s program and those of other leading companies are:
Once the program’s OKRs have been set, the team creates a corporate cooling water system performance specification, which entails setting engineering and operational requirements for your facilities personnel and contractors.
Developing the specification enables the team to standardize operating practices and water treatment services. Key sections of a performance specification include:
A key step in launching a successful water management program is the development of verification and validation strategies.
Verification is the evidence that the plan is implemented accurately. For instance, if an organization wants to free up staff from some routine tasks so they can focus on higher-value activities, it can install water meters on its cooling water make-up and blow-down lines, to enable automatic monitoring of water consumption, which will inform your team if the plan is being implemented accurately.
Validation provides quantitative evidence about the effectiveness of the program. For example, take an organization seeking a quarterly snapshot assessment of its cooling water treatment plan. A team wanting highly accurate data and a minimum impact on labor would hire a credible third-party laboratory to benchmark its KPIs by conducting tests for typical cooling system efficiency metrics, such as cycles of concentration.
At this point, companies need to evaluate whether to make the program “smart” (providing remotely accessible, real-time data). A smart program may include investment in:
By making the system smart, critical system sensor data is accessible and available to the team and other approved stakeholders through any Internet-connected device. The real-time data empowers the team to respond quickly to leaks and changes in water quality, while allowing it to use data analytics to enhance decision-making.
It also assists in helping the team track progress towards operational OKR’s. For these reasons, Walmart made one of the largest investments in real-time monitoring equipment and software for cooling water systems.
With the rise in awareness of water scarcity and the impact water has in people’s lives, an equally important step in this process is taking the time to engage with key internal and external stakeholders about the importance of managing water use.
Quarterly milestone meetings, your company’s blog and social media channels are great opportunities to let others know about successes from your cooling water management program as well as highlight other opportunities for them to conserve water.
Going back to our key example, Walmart, this portfolio approach represented a clear shift forward for cooling water management. Walmart is using data analytics to enhance its decision-making and drive accountability across its water-cooled facilities.
Through the development and implementation of the approach outlined above, Walmart reduced water consumption by 25 percent per cooling tower, which equates to 660 million gallons of water and $4.4 million in total water and sewer savings portfolio-wide over the six years of the program. In addition, this approach increased the energy efficiency and useful life of Walmart’s assets.
Other companies can apply this proven approach to more responsibly manage facility water use across their portfolio of properties.
This approach will help your company cut costs, reduce risk from shortages in water-stressed areas and further your company’s role as a water steward through communicating water and energy efficiency gains and best practices in smart cooling water management.
This article originally appeared in EDF’s blog.
University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service alum, Read Admire, is launching The Urban Food Loop, a new Little Rock-based startup focused on reducing residential and commercial food waste through a weekly urban composting service, education initiatives, and policy advocacy. The Urban Food Loop kicks off at Heifer International on May 30th.
The Urban Food Loop’s i-Compost! Service will recover local food waste by offering Little Rock residents a home composting bin in exchange for a monthly fee. Residents toss food scraps and leftovers into their i-Compost! bin weekly. The Urban Food Loop team will exchange full bins with clean ones and compost the food waste.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Americans are throwing away the equivalent of $168 billion each year by wasting 40% of food produced for human consumption. That translates to 34 million tons or 680 billion pounds of food wasted annually in the U.S. Every pound of food waste results in 3.8 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, and less than 3% of national food waste is recovered or composted.
In response these issues, the United Nations General Assembly recently declared 2015 the International Year of Soils. The IYS aims to be a platform for raising awareness of the importance of soils for food security and essential eco-system functions. Chris Hiryak, founder of the Southern Center for Agroecology and director of Little Rock Urban Farming believes that, “Access to high quality mature compost (stable humus) is key to the successful development of our food system.” Food waste is a valuable natural resource perfect for making stable humus.
By participating in The Urban Food Loop’s i-Comoost! Service, customers earn compost, which can be requested for drop off at their home gardens or donated, to community partners like Little Rock Urban Farming or The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance Gleaning Garden. Last year the Gleaning Garden grew and harvested over 8,000 lbs. of fresh local produce at Western Hills Park, all of which was donated to local food pantries in efforts to fight food insecurity in central Arkansas.
The Urban Food Loop is kicking off its urban composting services by ensuring Heifer International’s Feast in the Field is a zero waste event. This unique farm-to-fork gathering celebrates building local economies, family farming around the world, and raises funds to benefit Heifer projects in the United States. The Urban Food Loop will compost all food waste created at the event. “You can help close the food loop by composting your food waste into locally made fertilizer for local growers while also fighting climate change and food insecurity,” Admire said. Individuals and businesses can sign up to compost food waste at TheUrbanFoodLoop.com
About The Urban Food Loop
The mission of The Urban Food Loop is to advance local food culture by making communities compostable. The Urban Food Loop engages and educates citizens about local and sustainable food systems while advocating for sound public policies that foster accountable and responsive institutions. The Urban Food Loop offers central Arkansas residents and businesses urban-composting services as well as community food systems education programs.
About Heifer International
Heifer International’s mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. For 70 years, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. Heifer is currently working in more than 30 countries, including the United States, to help families and communities become more self-reliant.
For more information, visit www.heifer.org, read our blog, follow us on Facebookor Twitter, or call 1–888-5HUNGER (888–548-6437). For more information about Beyond Hunger: Feast in the Field 2015, visit http://www.heifer.org/beyond-hunger/feast-in-the-field.html
Dean Skip Rutherford will be honored by Arkansas Commitment at its 2015 Bow Tie Bash Wednesday, June 3. Founded in 1999, Arkansas Commitment assists in leadership development of academically talented African American high school students. The organization currently works with students from over 25 high schools across Central Arkansas and the achievements of the 2015 class will be highlighted at this year’s Bow Tie Bash.
Arkansas Commitment students have included National Merit and Gate Millennium Scholars and have received scholarships to the nation’s top colleges and universities. During the 2014-2015 school year, a team of Clinton School students completed a feasibility study for expansion into more Arkansas schools.
The event honoring Dean Rutherford and recognizing the 2015 graduates will be held on June 3 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Center. More information about Arkansas Commitment and the Bow Tie Bash is available at www.arkansascommitment.org
University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service Dean James L. “Skip” Rutherford will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters and will address the Class of 2015.
Rutherford is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he received the Journalism Department’s first Distinguished Alumnus Award.
A former administrative assistant to U.S. Senator David Pryor, he has been active in numerous local, state and federal campaigns and initiatives. He is the founder and organizer of the Political Animals Club, a non-partisan grassroots organization of community leaders and activists who meet regularly to discuss politics and issues, and he coordinated the 40th anniversary commemoration of the 1957 crisis at Little Rock Central High School.
He served as Founding President of the William J. Clinton Foundation and supervised the planning and construction of the Clinton Presidential Center and Park from 1997 until it opened in 2004.
Among his numerous civic honors, Rutherford was named Tourism Person of the Year at the Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism, the Arkansan of the Year by the Arkansas Broadcasters Association and by the Arkansas Times newspaper, and Headliner of the Year by the Arkansas Press Association.
Rutherford is the recipient of the William F. Rector Memorial Award for distinguished civic achievement in Little Rock; the Just Communities of Arkansas Humanitarian Award; the Men of Volunteer Achievement from the Retired Senior Volunteer Program; the Arkansas Community Service Award from the Arkansas Department of Volunteerism; the Martin Luther King Award from the Black Community Developers; the Community Service Award from the University of Arkansas Alumni Association; the Champion Award from the Home Instruction Program for Parents of Pre-School Youngsters (HIPPY); and the Clara Barton Distinguished Humanitarian of the Year by the American Red Cross of Greater Arkansas.
“The international public service project is one of the most unique experiences we offer at the Clinton School,” said Skip Rutherford, dean of the Clinton School. “It gives students an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom related to conflict resolution, decision analysis, and leadership and apply that knowledge to real problems in communities around the world.”
Seven students will be completing projects in six new countries – Croatia; Ecuador; Ireland; Liberia; Nigeria, and Senegal – for the Clinton School, which will bring the total to 77 countries where students have served since the school opened in 2005. This represents about 40% of the world’s countries.
The international public service project is one of three public service projects that make up a significant portion of the MPS degree program. Students also complete a team-based project in Arkansas and a final individual project that culminates their degree.
The international work exposes the students to unique challenges around the globe and provides immediate and long-term impact for the students and their organizational partners.
Work sites and host organizations are selected collaboratively by Clinton School students and faculty.
2015 International Public Service Projects:
Olajumoke Joyce Ajayi – Lagos State Waste Management Authority (Lagos, Nigeria) - Ajayi will create an evaluation plan that will serve as a framework for an evaluation of LAWMA’s recycling project in Makoko, Lagos, fostering the organization’s goal of an environment free from susceptibility to waste pollution.
Joyce Akidi – Heifer International (Mchinji, Malawi) - Akidi will focus on assessing the sustainability of social capital several years after the Heifer’s Small Holder’s Dairy Initiative Project has been completed in Mchinji, Malawi. This report will help Heifer determine the impact of its work in this area and how to improve it in other areas with a similar project.
Nouroudine Alassane – Heifer International (Thies, Senegal) - Alassane will collect and analyze data that will inform Heifer’s monitoring and evaluation team. He will carry out surveys and focus groups and analyze data to show the effectiveness of Heifer’s program in mitigating children malnutrition and poverty among women.
Berkeley Anderson – Barefoot College (Rajasthan, India) - Anderson will create an evaluation toolkit that measures the impact of several educational programs within the organization. She will incorporate input from teachers, students, and community members to facilitate evaluations that reflect the community’s definitions of program success.
Kathryn Baxter – Village Life Outreach Project (Shirati, Tanzania) - Baxter will collect narratives from participants in the Mama Maisha maternal health program. This research will help the program understand how its Maternal Health Advocates are supporting local women in navigating the health system.
Abigail Bi – Walmart/Walton Foundation (Bentonville, Arkansas, USA) - Bi will help evaluate outcomes of completed philanthropic grants in the developing countries where Walmart sponsored funds on women’s economic empowerment, monitor active philanthropic grants in those countries, and work out strategic solutions on local relationship development for the three new women’s economic empowerment projects in Asia and Africa.
Romerse Biddle – Southern Arkansas University (Magnolia, Arkansas, USA) - Biddle will conduct a feasibility study that will include program strengthening with SAU international partner universities that could lead to the creation of an international public service student exchange program.
Katherine Brown – World Wildlife Fund (Ankara, Turkey) - Brown will create a series of asset maps and educational materials detailing the significant ecological and industrial features of the Büyük Menderes River Basin. The materials will be used by WWF staff to engage with basin stakeholders about the implementation of the Büyük Menderes River Basin Water Stewardship Strategy.
Jordan Butler – Village Life Outreach Project (Shirati, Tanzania) - Butler will work with community members to create a strategic plan designed to ensure that the Nutrition Project has a safe and sustainable water supply program necessary to provide daily school meals. She will also design a health education pilot program for the three primary schools where the Nutrition Project operates.
Melvin Clayton – Beacon School East Africa (Kampala, Uganda) - Clayton will assist the school in developing sustainable partnerships for funding streams and accreditation. He will document the standards request and provide recommendations for the Beacon School to reach these standards.
Amanda Cullen – Senhoa (Siem Reap, Cambodia) - Cullen, along with fellow student Jennifer Guzman, will conduct an evaluation of Senhoa’s Lotus Kids’ Club, a program that links early childhood education with family development in order to prevent future cases of human trafficking and exploitation. She will use the data she collects to help determine whether the program is meeting its intended mission and goals.
Andrew Forsman – Peacework and the Belize Ministry of Education (Belize City, Belize) - Forsman will create evaluation plans for two youth financial literacy and entrepreneurship initiatives. His work will help the Ministry and partnering staff from PricewaterhouseCoopers strengthen their teacher training and entrepreneurial service learning efforts across Belize.
Sarah Fuchs – Lifesong for Orphans (Mirebalais, Haiti) - Fuchs will be designing and implementing an interview-based research plan evaluating current needs and best practices in the Haitian education system. After detailed data analysis, she will present the organization with recommendations for school development and partnerships.
Georgia Genoway – Liberian Ministry (Monrovia, Liberia) - Genoway will develop an impact assessment report by conducting interviews and focus group discussions with stakeholders. The report will help the ministry secure more funds for program improvement.
Jennifer Guzman – Senhoa (Siem Reap, Cambodia) - Guzman, along with fellow student Amanda Cullen, will conduct an evaluation of Senhoa’s Lotus Kids’ Club, a program that links early childhood education with family development in order to prevent future cases of human trafficking and exploitation. She will use the data she collects to help determine whether the program is meeting its intended mission and goals.
Anne Haley – Community and Family Services International (Manila, Philippines) - Haley will create a comprehensive marketing and communications plan with an emphasis on digital and social media to be implemented by the existing staff of the organization. She will assess the current marketing efforts and tailor a plan to fit the specific needs of the organization.
Austin Hall – Peacework (Magaliesburg, South Africa) - Hall will design and implement an impact evaluation for an undergraduate internship program between Siena College and Peacework in the Botshabelo community. He will conduct asset mapping in the community to identify other leaders and organizations to further support a positive global learning environment.
Austin Harrison – United States Department of State (Zagreb, Croatia) - Harrison will work in the Economic Office for the United States Embassy in Croatia focusing on U.S.-Croatian relations and Croatia’s relationship with the European Union. He will develop weekly reports highlighting issues of U.S. national importance and create daily briefings, which will be used to inform the staff of Department of State about the current political and economic climate in Croatia.
Amber Jackson – Heifer International (Pinukpuk, Kalinga, Philippines) - In an effort to assess women’s empowerment, Jackson will examine such indicators as decision-making, control and use of income, and labor time allocation of women who participate in Heifer’s agri-business program. She will build case studies and a labor supply schedule for the organization.
Akaylah Jones – Beacon School East Africa (Kampala, Uganda) - Jones will use a community-centered research approach to assess Beacon School East Africa’s current curriculum, implementation procedures, and resources. She will then develop a recommendation plan the school can use to achieve its improvement goals.
Henry Karlin – Circle of Health International (Waspam, Nicaragua) - Karlin will be providing logistical support and capacity building to provide his organization with the capability of delivering programmatic material in the indigenous Autonomous Region of the Atlantic North. Circle of Health International provides maternal and newborn health to women in crisis.
Helen Grace King – Virtual Dinner Guest Dinner Project (The Hague, Netherlands) - King will develop curriculum that encourages dialogue through video-conferencing technology between people from diverse backgrounds through facilitated dinner conversations, focusing on conflict transformation and collaborative deconstruction of media stereotypes, King’s project will center on the relations between Muslim and Non-Muslim groups of Europe and the Middle East.
Alex Lanis – Fundación Paraguaya (Asuncion, Paraguay) - Lanis will be developing a long-term plan to continuously monitor and evaluate the efficacy of a rural agrarian secondary school. In addition, Lanis will be implementing an alumni network that will enable the organization to track its graduates for evaluation.
Coby MacMaster – Give and Surf (Bocas del Toro, Panama) - MacMaster will create an adult education program to serve an indigenous community in Panama. He will conduct surveys targeting specific educational needs in the area to lay the foundation for the program. Also, MacMaster will be building partnerships and diversifying funding avenues for the organization.
Amanda Mathies – Heifer International (Ecuador) - Mathies will perform a social network analysis to determine the effectiveness of cornerstone training in facilitating social capital. She will document the mechanisms used to catalyze social capital through site visits and interviews.
Emma McAuley – Peacework and the Belize Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (Belize City, Belize) - McAuley will evaluate school gardens for the purpose of developing a teacher’s manual on ways to better incorporate the garden into daily school life. She will provide an evaluation of the use of existing gardens and a best practice framework to assist with curriculum integration.
Molly Miller – Peacework and the Belize Family Life Association (Belize City, Belize) - Miller will conduct an impact assessment of the organization’s peer helper program at Edward P. Yorke High School. She will also complete a curriculum review to ensure that the program is utilizing best practices and meeting the needs of program participants.
Ashley-Brooke Moses – Peacework and Project Esperanza (Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic) - Moses will create and conduct an evaluation to measure outcomes for youth participating in an English language immersion summer camp. Data from the evaluation will be used to improve program activities, leverage program support, and provide recommendations for future programing.
Florence Mueni – Rwandan Orphans Project (Kigali, Rwanda) - Mueni will develop a child protection policy. The policy will set standards and guidelines for safeguarding the rights of children being rehabilitated by the organization.
Dariane Mull – Biblioteca Interactiva Fundación Arte del Mundo (Banos, Ecuador) - Mull will be assisting Fundación Arte del Mundo to further improve and strengthen its volunteer program. She will develop a comprehensive volunteer guide and a proposal of potential university partnerships to facilitate more volunteer opportunities.
Michelle Perez – Fundación Paraguaya (Asuncion, Paraguay) - Perez will conduct an evaluation of Fundación Paraguaya’s Microfranchise Project to determine whether microfranchising is an effective tool to lift women out of poverty in Paraguay. Perez will collect and analyze data as well as conduct market research for future micro franchises in the region.
Shanell Ransom – Peacework and the Belize Ministry of Education (Belize City, Belize) - Ransom will evaluate the health and fitness curriculum to strengthen and expand it. She will also develop a manual and partner with new schools for curriculum implementation.
Jessica DeLoach Sabin – Accademia dell’Arte (Arezzo, Italy) - Sabin will create an organizational toolkit of resources that will serve to measure the success and effectiveness of the organization’s programming as well as promote its mission. Her efforts will serve as a resource to expand programming and outreach.
Jeremy Ratcliff – Beacon School East Africa (Kampala, Uganda) - Ratcliff will create a strategic plan that will serve as the foundation for future school expansion. He will design a model to identify school assets to promote development.
Maddy Salzman – Barefoot College (Tilonia, India) - Salzman will create an environmental impact assessment tool for the organization’s Barefoot Solar Initiative, which works to provide clean electricity to rural villages around the world. She will identify environmental indicators and develop measures to assess ecosystem and climactic impacts.
Eddie Savala – Dar es Salaam Voluntary Association (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) - will develop a strategic plan that will help the organization improve on its capacity and performance providing means to deal with its operational challenges. He will also establish an implementation and monitoring schedule that will help foster accountability and programming.
Kat Short – Community and Family Services International (Manila, Philippines) - Short will conduct a mid-implementation evaluation of the organization’s Livelihood Initiative. She will use data collection processes in order to suggest recommendations for program development.
Dustin Smith – Barefoot College (Zanzibar, Tanzania) - Smith will create an asset mapping toolkit to be used by Barefoot College staff, ground partners, and other stakeholders in the creation of location-specific livelihood training curricula for newly-opened and planned vocational training centers across Africa. This toolkit will be piloted for Barefoot College’s new vocational training center in Zanzibar.
Becky Twamley – Village Life Outreach Project (Shirati, Tanzania) - Twamley will work on women’s health issues and will create an asset map of health services available to village women in Shirati, Tanzania. The community resource will include a catalogue of a wide range of health services and how to access them.
Nathan Watson – Lucey Fund (Dublin, Ireland) - Watson will be working with the Lucey Fund to assist startup companies by creating an organizational capacity assessment tool. This tool will be used to help startup companies identify organizational strengths and weaknesses and how to address them.
Brandon Wayerski – Sun Hot Sauce (St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands) - Wayerski will be facilitating the organization’s entrance into the U.S. hot sauce industry while establishing a socially responsible initiative for the organization to allocate some of its U.S.-based proceeds.
Nic Williams – Habitat for Humanity International (Bratislava, Slovakia) - Williams will create a legal compliance and audit manual to be used by Habitat’s legal team for internal legal audits. The team will use the manual for legal work conducted in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
LaKaija Wood-Johnson – Peacework (Belize City, Belize) - Johnson will develop a health education service-learning program guide for Belize. This organizing plan will include an analysis of public health needs in Belize and identify ways Peacework can support community health promotion and disease prevention activities across the country through academic service-learning partnerships.
Second-year student Tshering Yudon spent four months at Vital Voices Global Partnership as a McLarty Global Fellow. Yudon spent an additional three months compiling and enhancing her research on the structure, characteristics, dynamics, and value of women’s business networks. She led the first iteration of mapping business connections for Vital Voices, which will supplement the limited literature on women-led small and medium-sized enterprises and their networks.
Research shows that women face disproportionate barriers in accessing markets, finance, training, and networks despite operating 25-33% of all businesses around the world. Vital Voices Global Partnership addresses these needs through programs like the VV GROW fellowship, a yearlong tailored training program that helps bring women together from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). In 2013, the program brought together 83 women from 32 countries that made three business fellow-to-fellow business connections on average.
In collaboration with the VV GROW Fellowship and the Impact Evaluation and Research teams, Yudon developed a comprehensive study that reviews and applies social network analysis (SNA), an upcoming field of study, which allows the mapping and measuring of relationships and transactions between two connected entities. She crafted 21 dynamic network maps to visualize and explain the complexities of business connections amongst women leaders. In addition, she defined five categories of business connections as follows: foreign market expansion, resource exchange, advising, network building, and partnerships for social impact. These categories are key to streamlining the monitoring and evaluation systems for future network data.
“Tshering has mapped networks of women leaders in our programs for the first time,” said Marguerite Berger, Vice President for Impact Evaluation at Vital Voices Global Partnership. “Her innovative work is enabling us to better understand network dynamics among the women we serve so that we can strengthen the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network as a whole, a major component of our organizational strategy.”
Yudon completed her network research as part of her final Capstone, the culminating field service project at the Clinton School of Public Service. She will continue to consult with Vital Voices as they implement the recommendations from her findings.
About Vital Voices Global Partnership
Vital Voices Global Partnership is a leading international women’s organization that seeks to identify, invest in, and bring visibility to extraordinary women from all around the world to build peaceful and prosperous communities.Their international staff and team of over 1,000 partners, pro bono experts and leaders have trained and mentored more than 14,000 emerging women leaders from over 144 countries.
For more information on Vital Voices Global Partnership: http://www.vitalvoices.org/
About VV GROW Fellowship
The fellowship is offered yearly to women business owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The fellowship program offers a unique blend of online learning, in-person training, and tailored support services to help elevate the women and their businesses to the next level.
For more information on VV GROW: http://www.vitalvoices.org/what-we-do/issues/economic-empowerment/vv-grow-fellowship
For the past seven months, four students from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service worked with Literacy Action of Central Arkansas (LACA) to gather perceptions on the need for English as a Second Language (ESL) programming in the region.
Jennifer Guzman of Hialeah, Fla., Amanda Mathies of Newport Beach, Calif., Michelle Perez of Maracaibo, Venezuela, and Nic Williams of Judsonia, Ark., administered questionnaires targeted toward local business and community leaders to determine the level of English proficiency needed from potential employees. The study revealed that 78% of local business and community leaders surveyed considered ESL services as “very important” to Central Arkansas.
The research also included conversations with non-native English speakers to determine their ESL needs, highlighting an overwhelming sentiment that a lack of English skills negatively affects their job prospects, access to healthcare, and involvement in the community.
According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Arkansas is one of the six states with the highest growing rates for adults with limited English proficiency. Central Arkansas has experienced an increased demand in ESL services, and Literacy Action plans to develop an ESL curriculum based on the needs of business leaders, community leaders, and non-native English speakers in the area.
“An ESL program would not only benefit the non-English speaking community but would also benefit the central Arkansas society as a whole,” said Sara Drew, executive director of Literacy Action. “We know how critical it is to provide literacy training for both community leaders and immigrants in the workforce.”
About Literacy Action of Central Arkansas
Literacy Action of Central Arkansas is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the mission of building a community of empowered adults by teaching reading and writing skills. Resources and revenue, generated through fundraisers, community partnerships, and grants are used to fund these critical programs for Arkansas.
More information about LACA as is available at www.literacylittlerock.org