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Jordan Aibel (’13) has accepted a position with Lotus Impact, a fund which actively invests in private enterprises which help address social and environmental problems with solutions that generate sustainable income and employment. The fund will invest in businesses in Vietnam, Mynamar, Laos and Cambodia, with a specific focus on enterprises providing clean water, sanitation, off-grid electrification and professional development. Jordan will be working in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam where the fund is based.
Second-year Clinton School of Public Service students spoke Monday, April 7th in the College of Public Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science to highlight their international health-related service projects completed during the summer of 2013.
The panel coincided with the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda and served as a reminder of how public health is inextricably tied to conflict across the globe. Don Simpson, Ph.D., MPH, the acting Director of the Office of Global Health at UAMS offered introductory remarks and a brief presentation regarding the current public health issues facing world citizens, including the ever-increasing threats of malaria and dengue.
Dr. Ellen Fitzpatrick, Associate Professor and Director of International Programs at the Clinton School of Public Service discussed highlights of the International Program Service Project (IPSP) at the Clinton School and then introduced the four student panelists to the audience. Nicole Maddox shared her experience evaluating the effectiveness of treatment and diagnosis guidelines with respect to patient outcomes for cancer at the Nairobi Women’s Hospital in Kenya. Angela Bukenya discussed her project identifying and recruiting educational nutrition related NGOs to build short or long term partnerships with the Nepal Nutrition Foundation. Alex Handfinger, a concurrent Master of Public Service and Master of Public Health student, explained his project developing an agronomic and nutrition food plan for 250 students at Hope North School in Uganda. Jenna Rhodes, also a concurrent Master of Public Service/Master of Public Health (MPS/MPH) student, worked with local residents and a medical NGO in a small town in Nicaragua to determine the current eating and cooking choices through interviews in order to develop a nutrition curriculum.
Questions from the audience for the panelists ranged from whether or not positive deviants were identified in the four countries represented to how influential Western diet and culture was impacting the rate of obesity. “It was great to hear more about the amazing things my classmates had accomplished,” said Marisa Nelson, a current Clinton School student and audience member. “Repeatedly the panelists discussed the need for community engagement and involvement in program development and evaluation. The ability to effectively do this is essential for any public servant, and discussions that further that capacity are appreciated – and necessary.”
The most interesting questions revolved around the biggest surprises and lessons learned in working with people from around the world. “My biggest revelation was that residents in my small rural town weren’t sad, miserable, starving people even though they live at a level that most anyone would consider impoverished. I went in to the experience with these ideas and expectations that were almost immediately shattered,” said Jenna Rhodes, presenter and current Clinton School student. “They had vibrant communities and simple homes full not of things, but relationships. By the time I left I was envious of the rich and peaceful lives that my newly made friends were living.”
A graduate student conducted research to help Imbuto Foundation implement the Early Childhood Development policy that was passed by the Rwanda government in September 2011.
University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service student Immaculee Kayitare of Kigali, Rwanda spent the past 3 months creating a data collection system of the pilot Early Childhood Development center in order to allow monitoring and future evaluations and as well as researching creative ways to make the center self-sustainable.
The student created indicators to assess the impact of the center to the 146 children and 100 parents that attend it and created several tools such as home visit files, children files, and report templates that will facilitate the collection of data and its analysis.
The outcome of the student’s work will be fundamental. ECD Kayonza is a reference center therefore the tools that the student developed will be replicated and scaled up throughout the country, said Gladys Mutavu, Early Childhood Development Project Officer.
Imbuto Foundation is an NGO presided by the first lady of Rwanda, her Excellency Mrs. Jeannette Kagame, to serve disadvantaged Rwandans mainly youth, women, and children. Imbuto fulfills its mission through advocacy, community outreach, mentorship, fostering partnerships and unleashing young talent.
Kayitare presented the results of her research to the Director General of Imbuto Foundation on January 6.
Kayitare completed the project as part of the Clinton School’s Capstone program, the last of the three field service projects in the Masters of Public Service degree program.
About Early Childhood Development Policy:
The Early Childhood Policy aims to have all children in Rwanda reach their full potential physically, mentally, socio-emotionally and cognitively. Mothers, fathers, guardians, caregivers and the entire community must assume their supportive, nurturing, stimulating and protective responsibilities for a child to be healthy, well nourished, safe, mentally alert, stable, sociable, and ready to learn.
Imbuto Foundation developed and implemented an integrated community-based Early Childhood Development model center addressing cognitive stimulation and school readiness of 0-3 year olds and 4-6. This initiative was financial supported by One UN. UNICEF collaborated with Imbuto Foundation to set up the first facility for integrated early childhood development services in the district of Kayonza (Eastern Province) and elaborated a design for the physical structure of this model.
Second year graduate student, Kathleen Brophy of Ellicott City, Md. completed a seven-month term as interim Extractive Industries Program Officer for Transparency International-Uganda working to strengthen civil society capacity in the country regarding issues of transparency and accountability in Uganda’s emerging oil and gas sector.
To fulfill her final University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service project requirements, Brophy worked for the Transparency-International Uganda Secretariat office to complete civil society needs analysis research and undertake a capacity building project for the organization.
In this position, Brophy observed and analyzed the civil society organizations and coalitions in Uganda working to ensure good governance in the country’s oil sector projected to commence production of its 3.5 billion barrels of crude oil in 2018.
The research focused on deficiencies and weaknesses in civil society activity that could strategically be addressed by Transparency International-Uganda. This research helped guide the organization’s involvement in civil society advocacy particularly promoting due diligence tracking of resource revenues and mechanisms to prevent high-level oil sector corruption.
After completing over thirty stakeholder interviews and conducting a robust information gathering process, Brophy found many important limitations to civil society activity that were impeding the influence of civil society activity and leaving certain key issues neglected.
This work is particularly important in Uganda considering the potential for “resource curse” effects of the oil that could lead to destabilization and even future conflict if the resource is not properly managed. The risk for mismanagement is high in the case of Uganda due to the country’s endemic struggle with government corruption and a lack of political commitment to oil sector transparency thus far.
As part of her capstone project, Brophy both worked to develop the internal capacity of Transparency International-Uganda and actively participated in civil society activity representing the organization in numerous coalitions and partnership projects. Alongside her capacity development work, Brophy met with affected communities in the oil producing region, presented legislative recommendations to the Parliament of Uganda, and led civil society efforts for increased resource revenue transparency within the oil revenue chain.
“Indeed Kathleen has been a great asset to the Organization. In fact TI-Uganda currently is in discussion with different donors to try secure some funding for the project. If it all goes well, Kathleen will be retained as extractive industry program officer after her graduation,” said Padde Gerald, Program Officer for Transparency International-Uganda. “As her supervisor, I am really proud of Kathleen and looking forward to continue working with her.”
This work helped address the key vectors for corruption and malfeasance in the country’s extractive industries including the embezzlement of oil revenues and elite capture of the oil benefits. Considering a 2012 scandal in the Office of the Prime Minister wherein the minister was indicted with embezzling $12.7 million in aid money, the possibility for oil sector corruption is high. Brophy plans to return to the country and continue this work following graduation.
Life for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) people living in Africa is difficult. Recently countries such as Uganda, Nigeria, and Malawi have created laws that more severely persecute these people. In response, South Africa has committed to aid persecuted people in LGBTI communities. Clinton School student Gregg Potter (’14) partnered with the Legal Resource Center (LRC) of South Africa to assess how the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) can better meet this commitment.
Potter arrived at the LRC Cape Town, South Africa office in early November 2013 to meet with asylum seekers rejected by the DHA. Refugees seek LRC assistance to appeal their rejections from DHA. First, consultations with asylum applicants established discrepancies between why DHA rejected them and what their individual stories were. Then, appeal arguments, or affidavits, were created for each refugee describing the lack of compliance DHA has with international and South African refugee law.
Potter compiled research for these arguments to create tools that assist the appeal process. The first tool was an intake form that properly captures the necessary information to argue a rejection from DHA. The second tool was a guide that addresses steps and correlating laws for an argument to appeal a DHA rejection. These tools will be used by LRC and other agencies assisting LGBTI individuals seeking asylum in South Africa.
The final piece to Gregg Potter’s work in South Africa was an assessment of all rejection letters collected during his time at the LRC. These letters, once assessed into categories where DHA does and does not comply with refugee law, were written into a report. This LRC published report will acknowledge the journey of LGBTI refugees in Africa, the importance of South Africa in the journey, and how South Africa can respond better. Potter combined his assessment with two similar assessments to create the final chapter of this report. This LRC report will be published and distributed in late April.
Being a part of the 2014 Impact Conference was a great experience on many levels. It gave me an opportunity to meet with other young people and professionals interested in public service and creating positive social change, as well as hearing stories of individuals who have taken their passion and made it their career. It also gave me a chance to share with undergraduate students across the country my experiences at the Clinton School and as a research assistant at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).
While at IMPACT, I facilitated a workshop on conducting research with marginalized populations within a community. I presented “Social Determinants of Health and Survey Assessment of Rural At-Risk Citizens in Four Arkansas Communities”, a research project I’ve been involved in with Clinton School classmate Angela Bukenya and lead researcher Dr. Greer-Williams at UAMS. This project involved conducting focus groups with African Americans, Hmong, Marshallese, Latino, and impoverished Whites in Arkansas about the socioeconomic, psychosocial and biological factors that influence their health. I shared my graduate perspective on planning, organizing, and conducting this type of primary research, and described methods of recruitment and engagement that promote inclusion and build trust and agency within the community.
The IMPACT conference featured over 90 workshops spanning all levels beginning, intermediate and advanced. Workshop categories included everything from alternative breaks and service learning to leadership and professional development and faith in service. The conference drew more than 700 students, administrators, national service organizations and non-profit leaders.
The IMPACT Conference is historically the largest annual conference focused on the civic engagement of college students in community service, service-learning, community-based research, advocacy and other forms of social action. Building on the rich 28-year tradition of the COOL Conference and the Idealist Campus Conference, IMPACT is the one time during the year when students, administrators, faculty, AmeriCorps members and VISTAs, and nonprofit professionals gather together to learn and share effective practices, improve personal skills and organizational strategies, discover opportunities and resources, exchange stories, be inspired and challenged to sustain our efforts.
The following blog post was written by students Haylee Fletcher, Traci Johnson, Tshering Yudon, and Brad Cameron about their experience at CGIU.
While sitting in an auditorium surrounded by 1500 people coming together to make the world a better place, we were so inspired and called to action March 21-23, 2014, at the Clinton Global Initiative University Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. Here is what we felt was most compelling about the CGI U Meeting:
Haylee Fletcher (Prescott Valley, Ariz.) – One of the most moving experiences at CGI U was seeing former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords defying the odds and walking unassisted on stage, waving and welcoming the crowd of commitment makers, pro athletes, refugees, and veterans on our Day of Action. Her dedication to success was inspiring, coupled with being surrounded by fellow commitment makers from around the world. This experience has only strengthened my devotion to TogetherNet. As commitment makers, we will encounter struggles and challenges as we work to make the world a better place. Because of CGI U, we now have the strength and inspirations from our fellow commitment makers, incredible panelists, and the Clinton Foundation to encourage, support, and motivate us through our challenges and successes.
Traci Johnson (Beech Grove, Ind.) – Looking back at the CGI U experience, the most memorable moment was when we shared TogetherNet with fellow commitment makers and received such empowering support and feedback. I met students doing projects so similar that I became reinvigorated to not only continue with the goals of TogetherNet, but also make it a stronger project through partnerships. I will never forget the drive, passion, and strength of the attendees. I cannot wait to further develop these relationships into long-lasting collaboration.
Tshering Yudon (Thimphu, Bhutan) – It was the second day of continuous mingling, conversing, and being swept by a feeling of awe and exhaustion all at once. I had endless thoughts running through my head as I entered the room to attend the session on fundraising. Although I was eager to talk about my project Shingira, a children’s book that uses a community-based learning approach, I was more excited to learn about other projects. I realized that I had the potential to partner and be a resource to many of the commitment makers. One of themes at CGI U was the importance of measuring impact, and I noticed how many of the students were not familiar with evaluation skills and tools. As I handed out my business card to a gentleman from Nepal, I wrote down program evaluation by my name so that I could send him some resources and possibly partner with him.
Brad Cameron (Conway, Ark.) – My commitment is to improve computer science education, which was categorized as a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education commitment. My STEM mentor is a software engineer developing computer science education programs for students in California. He is incredibly knowledgeable about what I want to do and has committed to assisting and pushing me and the other 60 STEM commitment makers toward accomplishing our visions of change in education. Thanks to CGI U, I am able to learn from and share with my mentor and the network of fellow STEM commitment makers. Together, we are dedicated to ensuring that students are prepared for careers that drive innovation forward.
We would like to express our gratitude for all the support the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service has provided us to transform our ideas into real-world action. Like the commitment makers, phenomenal speakers, and the Clinton Family at CGI U, we have 100 passionate people dedicated to public service who have come together at the Clinton School to develop the skills and knowledge to affect positive social change.
Clinton School alum Nancy Mancilla will return to Little Rock to teach a two-day sustainability reporting training course. The course is free to Clinton School students and alum, but others are encouraged to register for this opportunity. The training covers the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) reporting process and highlights best practices for managing an sustainability reporting project.
In today’s “report or explain” business environment, organizations of all types and sizes are expected to publicly disclose their social, environmental and economic impacts through regularly published sustainability reports. We all know how the world’s largest retailer has influenced sustainability in the global market. Now learn how others, such as Coca-Cola, Tyson, Mattel, Heinz, L’Oreal, Dell, ConAgra, UN agencies, the U.S. Government, non-profit organizations, municipalities, industry associations, and academic institutions are leading the way in shaping a new operating environment.
The two-day certified training walks new and experienced sustainability practitioners through the GRI reporting process and the key pillars of the GRI Reporting Framework: stakeholder engagement, the materiality assessment process (deciding what to talk about) and principles for ensuring credibility, transparency and balance in triple bottom line reporting. Lessons throughout the course are aimed at equipping participants with the know-how to manage the reporting process. It is not necessary to have worked on a report previously.
The course is taught by sustainability reporting professionals who use a combination of GRI certified course content, case reports and professional reporting experience to make the course engaging and lively. Each day features classroom instruction, hands-on application, guest presentations from sustainability leaders, including Mayor of Little Rock Mark Stodola, and a glimpse of what’s ahead for sustainability reporting.
The training details
When: April 11-12, 2014 8:30am – 5:00pm daily.
Location: University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service (1200 President Clinton Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72201)
Registration: Scholarships are provided to UACS students and alumni on a first serve basis. Seating is limited so register as soon as possible at http://isosgroup.com/gri-certified-reporting/trainings/little-rock/ Registration includes GRI Certified Training material, supplemental application manual, catered meals and refreshments, carbon offsets for participant travel, and a no-host evening mixer. At the end of the training, participants will receive their certificate of completion directly from GRI.
Visit isosgroup.com for more information.
Three students from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service conducted research for Crossroads Coalition, an 8-county economic development organization, exploring initiatives to advance small businesses in eastern Arkansas.
Clinton School students Danielle Folks of Austin, Texas, David Ford of Cleveland, Ohio and Thato Masire of Botswana completed a comprehensive five-state study of leading entrepreneurial development organizations, developing an innovative framework to meet the specific needs of the Arkansas Delta region.
The team will present their findings at Mid South Community College in the Marion Berry Renewable Energy Center on Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 3:00 p.m.
Over the past eight months students visited twelve existing business support organizations, interviewing experts in the field and examining key attributes, procedures and practices. Additionally, the team conducted a series of meetings with community members and elected officials to determine the assets and needs of Crittenden County.
“This project embodies the very mission of the Crossroads Coalition to promote broad-based development through education, leadership, community and economic development,” said Heather Maxwell, executive director of the Crossroads Coalition. “Creating a culture across our region that supports small business and entrepreneurship is critical for our communities to sustain and grow. We can best cultivate that culture through employing proven practices, collaboration, community engagement and strong leadership. I think this Blueprint has the potential to bring people and resources together to do just that.”
At the public presentation students will speak about the innovative and educational strategies that distinguish successful small business development organizations. At its fruition, this program has the potential to create jobs, retain local talent and provide access to entrepreneurial education.
For more information, contact Danielle Folks at firstname.lastname@example.org
About Crossroads Coalition
The Crossroads Coalition is a regional economic development partnership of local economic developers, five award-winning community colleges, workforce investment boards, community development organizations, utility providers, elected officials, and many other local, state and regional partners all working together to attract, retain and grow business and industry and build strong communities. Crossroads Coalition counties include Crittenden, Cross, Lee, Monroe, Phillips, Poinsett, St. Francis and Woodruff. The Crossroads Coalition is working to implement strategies identified in the Regional Strategic Blueprint (May 2009) and Regional Marketing Plan (2014) to create a more competitive economic environment in East Arkansas. For more information about Crossroads Coalition, visit www.crossroadscoalition.org.