In the News

As tracked by Macalester College at

Find us on

deliciousfacebook linked in twitter twitter

Press Release

Barbara Laskin

Macalester Student Receives $10,000 to Improve
Irrigation in Zimbabwe this Summer

Davis Projects for Peace Initiative Renewed for Third Year

Projects for Peace Logo

St. Paul, Minn.Douglas Mapondera, a sophomore at Macalester College, has received $10,000 from the Davis Projects for Peace Initiative. Mapondera, a native of Zimbabwe, will use his award to refurbish the irrigation infrastructure in Vuka Resettlement Community of Zimbabwe, an eight-year-old village of about 700 people in Vuka, Centinary, Zimbabwe. His project will begin May 24 and will take approximately two months to complete.

Through a competition on over 85 campuses, including Macalester, 100 projects from all regions of the world were selected for funding at $10,000 each. Designed to encourage and support motivated youth to create and implement their ideas for building peace throughout the world in the 21st century, “100 Projects for Peace” is an initiative open to students at Davis United World College Scholars Program schools, such as Macalester. Students design their own grassroots projects for peace that they themselves will implement anywhere in the world during the summer of 2009.

Karin Trail-Johnson, Associate Dean of the Institute for Global Citizenship and Director of the Civic Engagement Center, was part of the Macalester selection committee. “Douglas’ project exemplifies creativity, feasibility and originality, with potential for a lasting community impact,” said Trail-Johnson. “It’s his vision and ability to solve real problems that exemplifies the kind of “global citizen-leader” that Macalester fosters.”

Project objectives
Mapondera’s project objectives are to provide a sustainable source of income to Vuka villagers with a reliable water supply so they can farm lucrative cash crops, improve local standards of life and foreign currency inflow. Other objectives include creating a Project Fund to which beneficiaries can make monthly contributions to protect and maintain the equipment, improving food security thereby providing ample food year-round and reducing the odds of malnutrition, and encouraging hard work and optimism as well as dispelling discontentment. 

“I plan to execute this project with my brother, (who is the project technical lead) and one of his colleagues,” said Mapondera. “They have worked together for the government for over five years in borehole and pump maintenance. My brother's expertise is in fitting and welding, his colleague is an expert electrician. Together they offer the technical knowledge critical to this project. The community head has also pledged support, mostly in manual labor.” Mapondera also said his brother has been working on the preparatory and logistical work for months.

Project Details
Mapondera chose Vuka because he lives there, knows the villagers, understands the village’s needs, and will spend little on his accommodation and food expenses. In 2000, the area was a successful commercial farm when it was invaded by former liberation war fighters who damaged the irrigation system and stole parts.  The land was divided into 70 family plots but now the villagers must carry water a significant distance to irrigate their crops.  Vuka also has two large dams, the smaller being 1800 cubic meters (1000 meters liters is enough to irrigate the entire farm). And it has an established electrical supply, existent structures to house irrigation water pumps, functional, permanent, underground pipes, brick tobacco curing and sorting buildings, and very fertile land.  This project will provide the resources for Mapondera to work with the family farmers to create a functional infrastructure for utilizing the water from the dams to water the crops.

Kathryn Wasserman Davis, on the occasion of her 100th birthday in 2007, launched and continues to fund the “100 Projects for Peace.” She has renewed her challenge to today’s generation of college students to undertake innovative and meaningful projects. She is the mother of Shelby M.C. Davis who funds the Davis UWC Scholars Program currently involving over 85 American colleges and universities, including Macalester.

“Kathryn Davis has been a lifelong internationalist and philanthropist, and has left her mark on a wide range of institutions and countless students,” said Executive Director of the Davis UWC Scholars Program Philip O. Geier. “The wisdom of her years has led her to look to young people for new ideas and fresh energy to improve the prospects for peace.”

At the end of the project, each student is required to submit a final report by September 14, 2009, limited to two pages of narrative with an accounting of the funds expended, and one page of digital photographs of the project. The narrative should include a brief restatement of the project’s purpose/plans, actual work completed, outcomes/achievements/failures, and long-term prospects of the initiative. Reports will be posted on the program’s website for all to see and learn from.

A complete list of the participating schools and projects, as well as a summary of the 2008 projects and a video interview with Davis from 2006, is available on the program’s Web site at

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,884 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism and civic engagement.