Fellowship Alumni and Reciprocal Exchange Participants Awarded 2021 CDAF Grants
The CDAF competition provides small grants of up to $10,000 to teams to carry out public service projects using the skills and knowledge they gained during their exchange experiences. For this round of the competition, U.S. exchange program alumni from across the United States and the globe submitted proposals for public service projects that addressed the themes of media literacy education, protecting the environment, bolstering alumni network engagement, bolstering outreach to underserved communities, and building community through arts, sports, language, and technology.
CDAF is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and Office of Alumni Affairs and implemented by Partners of the Americas, a non-profit, non-partisan organization. Learn more about CDAF.
The Fellowship Community’s 2021 recipients and projects include:
- Butanuka Preschool Phase 4: Community Involvement, organized by Janvier Manirakiza, 2017 Alumnus of Burundi, and Constance Green, 2020 Reciprocal Exchange Participant of North Carolina, will continue a previous phase funded by CDAF, and is aimed to build thriving communities, prospering families, and children who are healthy and well-nourished and ready to learn. The project plans to accomplish this goal by conducting health screenings and teaching families about health and nutrition, strengthening food security by establishing kitchen gardens for families and building a demonstration kitchen with a modern stove, and extending early learning concepts from the preschool classroom into children’s homes to support the whole family.
- Corruption and Mental Health in Rural Guinea, led by Ibrahima Kalil Gueye, 2018 Alumnus of Guinea, and Paul Sachs, 2016 and 2021 Reciprocal Exchange Participant of Pennsylvania, will attempt to demonstrate the impact of corruption and mental health and a proposed intervention. The project will include an assessment of mental health status of a sample of community members, community education program and mental health resilience training, and preparation of a final community report.
- Entrepreneurs Educators Program, organized by Inota Cheta, 2018 Alumna of Zambia, and Tiffany Young, 2019 Reciprocal Exchange Participant of Nevada, will have a direct impact on 200 women-headed households that have had a disruption in their economic activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. This project will help the women shift their work to virtual platforms to promote resilience and help them provide for their families, filling a gap by meeting the needs of these women by giving them the tools that they need, practical knowledge, information, and resources.
- Influencing Leaders to Promote Education for Girls, led by Juweria Ibrahim, 2021 Alumna of Ethiopia, and Brian MacHarg, 2017 and 2019 Reciprocal Exchange Participant of North Carolina, aims to influence religious and community leaders in Jijiga, Somali Regional State, Ethiopia to make commitments towards increasing the enrollment of girls in school in the Somali Regional State. The objective is to see at least 50% of designated stakeholders in Jijiga make commitments to encourage girls’ education in the coming year and a subsequent increase of 15% of girls enrolled in school from 2021 numbers.
- Juba Digital Storytelling for Peace and Unity, led by Gail Prensky, 2019 Reciprocal Exchange Participant of Washington, DC, and Sean McLaughlin, 2019 Reciprocal Exchange Participant of New Jersey, will support filmmakers and secondary school students in South Sudan in sharpening their film production skills. They will work with the emerging filmmakers on editing schools, using computers and software provided by Juba Film Festival’s “Moving Forward,” empowering South Sudan’s talented youth to help their communities and encouraging them to share common problems to help bring people together, heal, and find solutions through art.
- KARAKANA: The Birth of STEM Role Model Avatars, led by Akinyi Awora, 2017 Alumna of Kenya, and Elizabeth Gamarra, Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, will address the United Nations SDG goal 5 of “achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.” In this project, girls from several rural towns in Kenya will create their own avatars in digital and virtual workshop spaces, empowering and helping them interact with science and technology in a fun, creative environment and visualize themselves in STEM careers.
- REAL Richmond History – Monumental Conversations, led by Grady Hart, 2017 Reciprocal Exchange Participant of Virginia, and Julia Beabout, Critical Language Scholarship Program, will develop a community-driven Augmented Reality experience to contextualize and shine a spotlight on the positive contributions of Richmond’s Black community, especially in the historic Jackson Ward neighborhood. By working alongside students, residents, community leaders, and institutional partners, the team aims to leverage a Human-Centered Design Thinking methodology to enhance the voices of the most vulnerable communities who too often go unheard.
- ThinkTogether, led by Cat Lindroth, 2019 Reciprocal Exchange Participant of Delaware, and Whitney Wideman, 2021 Reciprocal Exchange Participant of Delaware, represents a collaborative movement driving progress on youth-centric educational and mental health initiatives. Their project aims to move the needle on in-school restorative justice, increasing youth civic engagement and entrepreneurship, building an innovative and collaborative partnership with youth agency and entrepreneurship programs.
- Vocational Skills Training for Peace, led by Joel Duah Afi, 2019 Alumnus of Ghana, and Adam Zahn, 2019 Reciprocal Exchange Participant of Pennsylvania, seeks to equip at least 100 young unemployed women in the Nkoranza North district of Ghana with sustainable and self-employable vocational skills training to serve as peace agents in the community while running social businesses. Throughout this training, arts and culture will act as tools for peace building and conflict resolution for sustainable community development.
- Whose Stories Will We Hear: Stories from Kenya, led by Mpho Seipubi, 2019 Alumna of South Africa, and Kathi Seiden-Thomas, Peace Corps, aims to challenge the perpetuated stereotypes of the African continent by publishing first-person video stories of Kenyan emerging leaders and distributing them to a global audience. At the heart of this project lies its intention to share first-person stories as a tool of self-expression to build community through mutual understanding, use storytelling as an educational tool, and promote Pan-African collaborations.
You can see the full list of 2021 CDAF recipients in this press release from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educaitonal and Cultural Affairs. Congratulations to all grant recipients!