Davis Projects for Peace is meant to encourage creative ideas and entrepreneurial actions and to support motivated youth to create and implement their ideas for building peace throughout the world in the 21st century.
Kathryn Wasserman Davis launched the Projects for Peace initiative on the occasion of her 100th birthday in 2007. She is the mother of Shelby M.C. Davis who funds the Davis UWC Scholars Program currently involving over 90 American colleges and universities, including Macalester; the competition involves students from those colleges.
Selamawit Gebremariam ’13
Green Lake Water Project: Sustainability, Safe Water for All
Selam worked with the Green Lake community in Ethiopia to help provide reliable access to safe water for their community and clinic. Together they repaired the existing water line, installed a new septic tank, and provided water filter and water safety lessons to families. The community water sanitation educational program ensures the project’s stability. Also, providing safe water and new equipment at the clinic as improved residents’ health.
Charlotte Fagan ’12
The Bike Library for Carishinas Quito,
Charlotte worked with Quito women to create an infrastructure that would lend bicycles, helmets, locks and reflective vests to women through a Bike Library. The Bike Library’s goals are to assist low-income women in learning how to use a bike as transportation and to help them purchase their own bikes, thus giving them increased independence. She also organized an urban cyclist mentoring program connecting experienced and inexperienced female riders.
Rayanatou Laouali ’12
Peanut Processing and Women: Women’s Enterprise and Community Development
Rayanatou worked with women in her home community in Niger to develop a thriving cooperative that benefited the whole community. She helped the women expand their peanut processing business by teaching them organizational skills, fair pricing, and the importance of hygiene, and provide them with their own peanut stock and other work materials. They registered their cooperative with the major’s office as “Self-Sufficient Women,” which exemplifies the intention of the project. Profits support the cooperative while providing for their families. She also encouraged school attendance and provided needed school supplies.
Michael Manansala ‘12 and Cecelia Martinez-Miranda ’13
Building Walls and Breaking Barriers
Michael and Cecilia collaborated to install a vertical vegetable garden, rainwater collection system, and compost bin for a school that serves children whose families survive by scavenging in a gigantic garbage dump. Called “Smokey Mountain,” the 2 million ton garbage heap is the waste disposal facility for metropolitan Manila. A large squatter community collects glass, metal, paper, and plastic each day, selling to middlemen who in turn sell to recycling factories. Because about 700 families depend on their children to help generate income, thousands of children don’t attend school. A new school, run by the Philippine Christian Foundation, offers free education to students from the Smokey Mountain area, along with free lunch, uniforms, shoes, and school supplies. The school is constructed from shipping containers. Students and teachers were trained to maintain the systems, creating a sustainable source of food for the community and opportunities for the children to remain in school.
Douglas Mapondera ’11
Empowering Vuka Resettlement Community
Douglas refurbished the irrigation infrastructure in Vuka Resettlement Community, his home village in Zimbabwe. A former commercial farm community with an irrigation system damaged by war, the village currently holds 70 family sites. Without irrigation, the 700 villagers must carry water far to nourish their crops. Douglas set out to provide a reliable water supply, a key step in creating sustainable income and cash crops. The project required buying new pump sets and repairing existing equipment. Concerned about security, the village also gave land to a man in exchange for him guarding the pump sets. The project also helped villagers secure their own food supply, thereby reducing the odds of malnutrition. In Douglas’s own words: “When the water started pumping, the feeling of hope and success was evident in the village and dispelled doubts that their situation was insurmountable … It was a thrill to share their joy and for them to not be disappointed again by unfilled promises of outside groups. Hope was revived.”
Leah Roth-Howe '08
Ending the Silence
Chicago, Illinois and Cambodia
The Khmer Rouge genocide is not included in the formal Cambodian education system. Leah initiated a series of workshops that provided a safe space for Cambodian students to confront their country’s history of violence, ask questions, and creatively express their reactions. Her project began in Chicago: Working with the Cambodian Association of Illinois, she organized intergenerational dialogues among survivors, their descendants, and other students. She next traveled to Cambodia to work with Youth for Peace (YFP), creating additional workshops. Workshop participants, including students, Khmer Rouge survivors, and former Khmer Rouge soldiers, were better able to express themselves through visual imagery than through words. Leah connected with galleries in the United States interested in exhibiting the artwork and at the request of YFP, led subsequent workshops at its International Youth Peace Conference.
Zainab Mansaray ’09 & Arthur Sillah ’10
Sierra Leone Muslim Brotherhood School
Arthur and Zainab set out to rehabilitate the Sierra Leone Muslim Brotherhood Primary School and organize workshops that encouraged the students to unite in collective community service. The idea of collaborative service for the public good was a new concept for the children. The workshops motivated students to create different projects to help others, such as cleaning the local hospital and distributing malaria nets. A major effort included building a two-classroom structure—furnished with desks, chairs, blackboards, and 900 government-approved books—that continues to house most of this school’s classes. Every student received school supplies and 10 were given scholarships for a full year of tuition, books, and supplies. Students now study within a classroom rather than under trees.
Dara Hoppe ’10
Project for Sustainable Development
Dara created and facilitated a jewelry-making workshop for people living in the Brazilian Amazon. The workshop taught community members— primarily subsistence farmers—to generate an environmentally sustainable, alternate source of income using seeds to create jewelry. The project brought to the community sewing machines, as well as a computer and a small law library to help support local farmers in complex land-rights cases. Prior to the workshop, women had few opportunities to gather. Making and marketing the jewelry united women in continuing relationships. Trading and collecting seeds raised consciousness about ways to benefit from local natural resources. Dara continues to establish markets for the jewelry in the United States.
Fiorella Ormeño Incio ’09
Peace Building Workshops
Fiorella organized a series of Peace Building Workshops in public and private schools throughout Peru, which were aimed at defusing racial and gender discrimination issues in high schools. These workshops trained teacher-leaders from local schools to identify discrimination and support their students’ conflict resolution skills. The teachers stepped beyond the workshops to develop a book of strategies for teachers and students in affected communities, and students established Peace Clubs in their schools, helping ensure the ongoing effect of the project.
A complete list of the participating schools, summary of projects, and a video interview with Davis from 2006, is available on the program’s web site: davisprojectsforpeace.org.