As a native of Yei, South Sudan, Mr. Santino grew up in a culture where the education of women was not a highly valued notion. With this as his background, Santino accepted the idea and agreed that there was indeed no value in trying to educate a female. However, this acceptance was challenged when he studied abroad through the United World College in Costa Rica, where more than half of the school population was female. This experience helped him realize that educating women is a top priority for most of the world, and that it ought to be for South Sudan as well. It is this experience that gives Santino the motivation to go home and advocate for the support of female child education in an attempt to change the accepted notion that education of women is a wasted education. With this in mind, Santino immediately went home during summer 2008 and volunteered for Community Alternatives for Transformation (CAFT); a local community organization that implements different social justice projects, including advocacy for female child education. Because of the ties he has established and still maintain with CAFT and the fact that female child education is one of the organization's main goals, CAFT will, as the letter of commitment shows, be the partnering organization in this project. CAFT has agreed to provide volunteer staff that will coordinate programs between us, the communities, and the involved departments, as well as help to oversee the construction process.
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Coming from a neighboring country, Uganda, where there is a dynamic cultural interaction, Ayesiga faces the same circumstance Santino face. The wide spread reality of poverty forces most parents to marry off their daughters at young age in return for either cash or animal possession from the bride price dowry. This situation makes the education of their daughters less of a priority for most parents, who instead focus on the education of their sons. With this in mind and the experience she got in New Mexico, United States of America, as a United World College student, Ayesiga decided to major in international relations so that she will work in cross cultural dynamics worldwide in her attempt to advocate for women rights to education.
Unlike before, the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the over two decade's civil war between the Muslim dominated north and Southern Christians, security is one of the things that have improved significantly. This makes Yei a safe place for the implementation of this project.
Apart from the extensive civil war that has deprived many of education, there are numerous barriers to girls' completion of basic schooling. These include among others, financial difficulties, a preference for educating boys, social pressures for girls to drop out of school and get married once they reach reproductive age, and house work requirement. Although gender inequality manifests itself more in the mentioned cultural norms and practices, the effect of girl's menstruation cycle on school attendance and achievement has long been neglected. For those who are able to continue attending and participating in school, the widespread reality of poor sanitary facilities and ignorance about menstruating girls' needs and experiences can mean that the schooling experience is far from a positive one. In a short conversation with Yei education director as well as the head teachers of the few schools we visited in 2008, girls' attendance, achievement and participation in school are hindered by "girl-unfriendly" educational environments. This is chiefly attributed to the lack of adequate private latrines, water supplies, and private spaces for girls with menstrual discomfort to rest in most schools. Even so, girls lack effective menstrual management materials like sanitary pads. Given their surrounding culture of negative attitudes towards girls' education and the reality of poverty, these necessities must be provided by the girls, something that is problematic and unrealistic for most of the girls. According to a report published by the Sudan Vision in 2003, interventions, including constructing or renovating schools with girl-friendly facilities to promote girls' education have resulted in an increase in the enrollment of girls by 5.7 percent from 45.3 percent in 2000/01 to 45.6 percent in 2001/2002 most notably in schools that have been renovated by UNHCR  .
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The absence of private latrines as well as the lack of sanitary pads that could allow for menstrual hygiene may discourage girls from attending school during menstruation. The prospect of sitting for long periods of time - staining their clothes with blood and being noticed and teased by boys - makes adolescent girls feel anxious and uneasy. In effect, if a girl has no access to protective materials, or if the materials she has are unreliable and cause embarrassment, she may be forced to stay at home while menstruating. A research on "Menstruation and Education in Nepal" by Emily Oster and Rebecca Thornton (Page 2, 2009), basing on World Bank global monitoring report data points out that an absence of approximately four days every four weeks may result in the girl missing ten to twenty percent of her school days. Inevitably, it will be difficult for a girl who misses so much schoolwork to keep up  .
In some communities in Sudan, bodily changes like menstruation are treated as sensitive and are seldom openly discussed. To detach this notion, it will be of great importance to create an environment that allows for an open dialogue in which children feel free to talk about adolescence issues and hygiene in schools. With this in mind, we propose to conduct guided open discussions in the two schools and one radio talk show to help girls and the communities develop the understanding that these issues are not shameful to talk about but rather are normal part of life that can openly be discussed. Having an awareness of such bodily changes promotes proper hygiene practice and therefore the freedom to continually attend classes. To undertake this, we will identify competent student volunteers to get involved with us and representative(s) from the County Health Department (CHD) in conducting the radio talk show. Understanding the physiology of menstruation can help dispel misconceptions about it, help change taboos against it, and in some cases even help ease restrictions on women's lives around the time of menstruation.
Since providing the physical or material means for menstrual management does not necessarily empower girls who lack information about their own bodies, it's important and self-sustaining to include health education so that young girls have in depth understanding of menstruation and of proper hygiene practices. Such knowledge is critical if girls are to feel comfortable and confident about coping with the normal developmental changes they are experiencing, and be better prepared emotionally to take care of themselves. Besides constructing latrines and supplying sanitary pads, we will also focus on educating girls about menstruation as part of adolescent and reproductive health education.
These issues highlight the need and importance of providing girl-friendly environments with clean and private facilities for all women of menstruating age at primary and secondary schools as well as the need to educate girls, their parents, and the entire community. The purpose of this project is therefore to, 1) Construct one latrine the Yei girls' secondary school and another one in Mongo primary school. 2) Supply sanitary pads to the 370 girls of the menstruating age in those two schools. 3) Conduct one information session-in the form of open dialogue-in each school and conduct one general radio talk show in Spirit FM, the community radio station. To ensure that the radio talk show and these open dialogues are sustainable, CAFT has expressed willingness, as shown in the letter of commitment, to expand it to other schools in its "girl child education program." The provision of adequate sanitary facilities for girls, especially an appropriate number of separate latrines and sanitary pads, are of major importance. A study by Jackie Kirk and Marni Sommer (2006) on "Menstruation and body awareness: Linking girls' health with girls' education" found out that "providing separate latrines and sanitary facilities for girls is widely considered to contribute to increased enrollment and retention of girls in school. It is one of the factors believed to have helped countries like Bangladesh make significant progress in reducing gender gap in education" (10)  .
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We will travel to Southern Sudan where this project will be implemented to participate and oversee its implementation. We will be joined by CAFT members and the county health care providers in conducting the information sessions. To raise more finances, we will institute ways of raising additional funds for more support. One way is, once we have an initial starting amount, we will send a fundraising appeal letter to Kakwa Discussion Forum (KDF), a forum founded not only to foster exchange of information and ideas about a wide range of issues that people can collectively contribute to address, but also a means for mobilizing support for those in need, to raise $500. At the end of every year, the KDF regulatory committee compiles the various needs discussed in the forum and appropriately allocates the annual members financial contributions towards addressing those needs. As a prominent member of KDF, Santino have long been advocating for the need for girl-friendly facilities whose lack, to allow for convenience during menstruation period, is responsible for the rampant girl-child absenteeism, dismal performance, and alarming school dropout rates in south Sudan. Since this issue is one of those the forum have listed to mobilize funds for, we are optimistic that the issue of girl child education will be funded, serving as the additional funds needed to execute the project. Should funding turn out to be greater than the amount anticipated, we will be able to use the additional funding to construct a third latrine at another school, the construction of which would be under CAFT supervision should we not have enough time to allocate.
Additionally, we look to fundraise $500 or more through the county education department. Immediately after arriving home, we will go to the county education office to get an authorization letter which will permit us to lobby for both financial and material support from government institutions and area NGOs to raise additional resources, which could possibly even construct one more latrine in another school or can be used for purchasing more sanitary pads.
How "Empower Women for Peace" project will promote peace
Whether we let our women remain in school or allow them continue uneducated, lack of their sufficient contribution and the misery of their illiteracy profoundly affects us and society as a whole. Through supporting girl child education, the "Empower women for peace" project would provide the economically and socially marginalized young girls the means not only to lift themselves out of poverty but also obtain the means to fully participate in their communities in all areas including peace building. Even more important, obtaining the necessary education to fight poverty would reduce the need to engage in or be victims of violent acts.
History has it that, women are active in brokering peace and ending conflicts while offering an inestimable source of inspiration and knowledge to those who will follow in their paths. More accurately, entire societies develop and stay at peace when women are enabled to be fully contributing members. For instance, in their efforts to bring to an end tribal conflicts in Sudan, South Sudan women recently convened a meeting which resulted in the forming of "Sudanese Women Network (SWN)," a permanent body created to empower women to have meaningful influence in their communities by participating in dialogues and peace initiatives aimed at bringing lasting solutions to their communities (Report Sudan Tribune)  . This very useful body can only be maintained and enhanced by educated women.
Without our action now, a girl child not attending school contributes to a vicious cycle, eventually preventing her from giving her own family a good start in life and slowing economic growth and social development of Southern Sudan as a whole. Therefore, constructing the two latrines and providing sanitary pads would help the poverty stricken to remain in school, perform well and gain the necessary skills needed to fully contribute in the society. Additionally, since educated women have a voice in society, once they obtain the needed education, they will be able to use that voice to influence their parents to denounce their negative practices of not giving girls' education a priority as well as marrying them off at an early age.
The project proposal incorporates estimated impact on all parties pertinent to the project
As a note of personal significance, this project means a lot to us. It will give us the means to promote and experience community service stipulated in Wartburg's mission. While the successful implementation of this project will give us an insight into what practical real life situations will look like, and how one could get prepared for such after education, it also prepares us with new ideas and attitudes in approaching challenges that require independent decisions involving critical thinking and the capacity to be able to break complicated reality into pieces that can easily be figured out from different perspectives. We will use this project as a means of experiencing what real life situations hold. A future filled with professional dedication aimed at helping communities around the world.
As this project puts heavy emphasis on social health, there is a substantial amount of health-related issues which fall within Santino's area of expertise-chemistry and biology. Santino want to be a pharmacist. As Santino envisions opening up a clinic in the area, he believes that it will be of great importance to bring health services and facilities closer to the community where they can easily be accessed. In addition, Santino has always wished to dedicate his life to community service and direct work with grass roots efforts. Having a vast knowledge of the barriers hindering girls' education in South Sudan, he will use this knowledge to advocate for the support of organizations that work with health issues of global concern, such as the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and Save the Children. Being an international relations student, Ayesiga envisions undertaking a study comparing the level of women education and its relation to how much of an impact their participation and representation in the peace building process across the world can bring. She also hopes to be an activist for women's rights across the world. Having volunteered for UNICEF-Uganda, Ayesiga still maintains strong ties with UNICEF which she hopes to work for upon graduating from Wartburg College.
Being a college of the church and a liberal arts college that has a tradition and emphasis on community service, seeing students like us promoting the tradition of community service in another part of the world would instill pride in Wartburg College. Upon arrival back to Wartburg College, we will hold a Power Point presentation about the experiences we had implementing this project and particularly how we think this project will contribute to fostering peace in the world. Ayesiga is an active member of Habitat for Humanity, one of the students' organizations here at Wartburg College. They help the disadvantaged in and around Waverly escape the misery of living under unfavorable conditions to live in peace by renovating their dilapidated houses as well as doing general restrooms maintenance for them. Santino is currently involved with Students for Peace and Justice (SPJ) whose main goal is to advocate for lasting peace in some of the troubled parts of the world. As active members of these organizations and being actively involved with student life at Wartburg College, we hope to generate an understanding of the importance of projects such as this, as well as potentially create long-term support for this project as it develops further in the future.
The project demonstrates commitment, creativity, innovation and/or entrepreneurship. Your project should address the concept of commitment (what are you willing to invest in the project) and at least one of the following questions
After the successful implementation of this project, we envision doing the following to sustain the initiative for the long term: 1) Together with the community based organizations as a collective voice, we will advocate for this initiative in an effort to make it an integral part of any school construction plan, be it by the government, NGOs, the community based organizations or any individuals willing to construct a school. 2) We plan to contact the county education office and Spirit FM management over the possibility of incorporating the campaign, "Empower Women for Peace" into Spirit FM's radio programs at least once every month in Arabic, the national language that is widely spoken and understood by many, to ensure that every community is educated on the importance of educating women. In the long run, through CAFT, we hope to transform this initiative into a national network by bringing in volunteers from other community based organizations across the country to join in conducting the talk shows in various local languages that can easily be understood by many people.
Being an issue whose effects have been ignored by many, including the government, this project is entrepreneurial in and of itself, in that initiating this project will work to solve a problem affecting the entire society in an area that has been terribly deprived of education by an over two decade's civil war. The education campaigns will send a clear signal to the young people who, sooner or later, will assume the responsibility for the welfare of their communities, government, and fellow citizens.
In this project, we will dedicate our time, efforts, and ideas for the cause in its planning and implementation. To ensure its long term existence and sustainability, we will continue working together with CAFT to maintain and expand the current initiative to other schools through advocacy and initiating ways of fundraising.
The project proposal demonstrates cultural competence defined as a set of behaviors, attitudes, and policies that allow people to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.
Sudan is a complex and diverse country with over one hundred different tribes each speaking its own language. This project will take into account the dynamics of the interactions of these multiple cultures that exist in Sudan, as well as the cultural background of Ayesiga, who is from Uganda. Through interacting with the Sudanese refugees in Uganda, Ayesiga was able to gain perspective into these multiple cultural backgrounds. This has enabled her to learn some Arabic which has provided her a glimpse of how these cultures interact. To see Ayesiga, a Ugandan, standing in front of her peers of Sudan and telling them how Ugandans view adolescence issues like menstruation, will give it more value. Her presence alone as an outsider gives a completely different perspective that will help young girls in Sudan realize that they are not different from other young girls from any other part of the world.
Despite the existence of these numerous tribes with various languages spoken, they are linked together by the Arabic language, the most commonly spoken and national language of Sudan. Even though the students are of different cultural backgrounds with different views on issues like menstruation, the Sudanese laws grant freedom of speech and expression. It becomes something of a disagreement when the discussion of these issues points accusing fingers to a particular tribe. That is why our aim is to hold the information sessions in the form of guided, open dialogues and to discuss these issues in a general context that does not cause humiliation to others of a particular race, religion or tribe.
Besides, Sudan is also a country of many religions. Cultures develop within the religious context. From my experience, Muslims and Christians coexist and do not live in isolation. However, years ago when the Sharia Law was more practical, dialogues were sometimes violent when issues regarding women were brought to the fore. This project, therefore, aims to promote dialogues that seek to promote women's rights in a more educative and peaceful way by supporting the education of anyone, irrespective of their religion, because we believe that educating women gives them the confidence to stand for their rights. This is evident in what Lubna Ahmed al Hussien, a Sudanese woman journalist who was deemed guilty for wearing a trouser, did. Those arrested with her were each given ten lashes. However, educated and courageous as she is, Hussien decided to challenge the charge and started a public campaign in an attempt to change the law, banning women from wearing trousers  .
The project proposal identifies a plan for executing the project with a timeline
Establish contacts with the county education director or county education office, the head teachers of Yei Girls' secondary school and Mongo primary school.
At the same time, we will have contacts with CAFT about planning and any ways forward.
Arrange travel plans and acquire appropriate travel documents
First Week of June, 2010
Travel to Sudan.
Second week of June to mid-August, 2010
During this period, project implementation is at its highest peak.
Gathering of construction materials like sand, gravels/stones by the community
Purchase of construction materials like iron sheets, cement, wood for both roofing and frames, nails, tightening belts, bricks, wire mesh, Damp Proof Coarse (DPC), doors, and so on
Construction work begins as soon as all the required construction materials are ready
Purchasing sanitary pads to be distributed to the girls
Keeping in touch with the faculty advisor working with us
Monitoring and evaluating project implementation-one assessment and evaluation meeting for each location
Compiling of a report and working on it throughout the duration of our stay. This will ultimately be worked upon and turned in as the final report
Contact the county health department to send us some health care providers to help conduct a menstruation information session
Send out invitation letters to some schools to send at least five women representatives for the information sessions.
Conducting open dialogue information sessions on what menstruation is and is not
During these information sessions, distribution of sanitary pads takes place
Establishing contact and making in person meetings with the county health department, the local government and Spirit FM management about the possibility of including this initiative as part of Spirit FM's programs.
Final evaluation meeting
Third/last week of August
Preparations for our return documents under way and around August 28th depart from Entebbe airport in Uganda.
Last week of September through December
Upon arrival back to Wartburg college, we will hold a power point presentation about the experiences we had implementing this project and particularly how we think this project will contribute to fostering peace in the world. These presentations will take place with Students for Peace and Justice and Habitat for Humanity, as these are the two organizations we are most heavily involved in and organizations that would be able to learn from the presentation. Additionally, presentations could be held in other locations, such as the Wartburg Philosophical and Literary Society, or for a broader audience in the Lyceum. We would also make ourselves available to classes where our presentation would be related to the topics of the course (most likely, political science, education, or entrepreneurship courses).
The project proposal addresses the question of sustainability and the potential impact of the project over time
Although, no single approach will resolve everything, a focused intervention at a root problem and budget allocation are necessary for even the smallest change. A variety of interventions and initiatives are needed to improve education for girls so that they achieve success in both primary and secondary schools. Even though the funds from Davis will not address every need and are given once or twice, we have two plans in place to ensure the sustainability of this project. The first one comes from our belief that we have a responsibility to continue advocating for the change we aim to achieve through community education, a belief that will manifest itself in lobbying for funds from donors who might be willing to help support girl child education. One such donor is UNICEF which underlines child protection as a key objective of its mission and has an office in several parts of South Sudan including Yei. Secondly, since one of CAFT's main objectives is to promote girl child education, we believe that together we can join efforts in the service of our communities to transform this initiative into a national network in the long run. Besides, we strongly believe that educating the communities now will ensure that both the girls and their parents-who in turn can also continue educating others-remain informed of the importance of educating girls. This way, it becomes a continuous process rather than merely a onetime project.
We also believe that it is our responsibility to undertake a variety of interventions that focus on process and bring these interventions together within one plan for the education sector. We also believe that all development and government workers, at different levels of the aid system beginning with us, need to allocate their thinking, time, and money required to promote girls' education. CAFT has already pledged to use its own funds and other donors' support as well as fundraising to expand this initiative to other schools. Ayesiga and Santino will not sit back and leave everything to CAFT, they will also be advocating through proposal writing to other donor organizations and through various fundraising ways to secure additional funds needed for the further continuation and expansion of this initiative.
Commitment to the long-term goal of increasing girls' participation at all levels of the education system will not only require adjustments to policies but also changes in attitudes, such as encouraging communities to rethink how much domestic work should be expected of school-age girls. We will also seek the involvement of the local government and the management of Spirit FM about the possibility of including girl child education programs as part of the radio talk show programs at least once or twice each month to ensure that the cultural adjustment element of the program will continue running.
The project proposal identifies objectives and outcomes that are measurable and subject to assessment
There are four main goals/outcomes of this project
To increase girl's school attendance and performance by reducing absenteeism caused by lack of sanitary facilities and private latrines for menstruating young girls in Southern Sudan.
To effectively educate the young generation about what menstruation is and isn't and to encourage the entire community to feel free to openly discuss such bodily changes and learn to value the importance of educating women.
To increase access to sanitary facilities and promote privacy during menstruation.
Most importantly in the long run, this will increase female participation and representation in the peace building process not only in South Sudan but also in any part of the world.
To be able to meet these goals, we will work towards meeting the following objectives:
Construct two latrines, one in Yei Girls Secondary school and the other in Mongo primary school.
Provide sanitary pads for menstrual management
Conduct one information session-in the form of open dialogue-in each school and conduct one radio talk show in Spirit FM, the community radio station.
In addition, this initiative will not only act as a motivation for those interested but hindered by social barriers, but it will also challenge those who take such barriers as an excuse for not attending school to begin going to school.
These objectives and outcomes will be measured in the following ways:
As the letter of commitment points out, CAFT has agreed to tour these two schools including those not part of the initial program every term/semester to collect data on girls' enrollment, changes in level of absenteeism, and academic performance and report this to us.
While here and away from Sudan, by phone or email communication with the head teachers of Yei Girls secondary school and Mongo primary school, as well as the county education director, we will collect data on girls' enrollment, academic performance, and changes in the level of absenteeism on term basis after the construction of the latrines and supply of the sanitary pads. We will monitor to see if the level of absenteeism, school enrollment, dropout rates, and girl's academic performance in the two schools is decreasing or increasing. We will evaluate the data and monitor how the level of absenteeism, girl's enrollment, dropout rates, and academic performance brought about by the construction of the latrines, supply of sanitary pads, and education on menstruation care have changed over time. We will also compare this to schools lacking these facilities to exactly determine how much of an impact this project has caused and use this as prove of evidence to support any future proposal on this project.
We will conduct a survey both before and throughout the project. It is very important that prior to the start of the project, we understand how much girls and the general community know about adolescence issues and it is equally important to see what both the girls and the community members want to do to continue the project after we have initiated it.
The project budget demonstrates a commitment to the project and offers a realistic assessment of what it will take to complete it efficiently and effectively
In addition to the project funds from Davis, the attached letter of commitment makes it clear that the community has agreed to offer manual labor and contribute material resources, such as gravels/stones, sand, and water needed for the construction, whose cost is estimated to be $1,000. Because transport is a major problem to the people of the community, the transportation of materials which is to be covered by the project budget is estimated to be $897.26.
As we have already mentioned in the section "The project," we look to fundraise an additional $1,000 from KDF, individuals willing to donate to the project, and lobby from NGOs as well as government institution in Yei. We will work together with CAFT through advocacy and fundraising from individuals, KDF, and NGOs to expand this initiative into other schools. We also seek the involvement of the local government and the management of Spirit FM about the possibility of including girl child education programs as part of the radio talk show programs.
Faculty or staff members who can serve as mentors and/or advisors in the preparation of the proposal to the project
Our faculty advisor is Dr. Judith Grifith, Ph.D. She has been working with us throughout the preparation of the project and is willing to continue on as the project advisor and mentor. Apart from helping make the connections and arrangements already made and will make in the future, Dr Grifith has worked tirelessly on researching potential donors who would be willing to support the project in terms of supplies or finance needed for the expansion or sustainability of the project. Most notably was her effort to link us with Mary Fredrick who is as well starting a latrine construction project in Nicaragua through Self-Help International. Dr. Grifith has numerous experiences working with project proposals.
Unit cost (SDG)
Total cost (SDG)
Amount in USD
Airfare to and from Uganda
For two people
-Ayesiga & Santino contribution towards airfare
-Bus from Uganda to Sudan and back
For two people (Ayesiga & Santino)
1 set (12 pcs)
Nails (assorted inches)
Damp Proof Course (DPC)
Steel woodworking chisel
Self locking bolts
Construction labor (Un/Skilled)
-Cost of labor for water needed
For 370 girls
For estimated 10 trips
Grand Total (including expected contribution of $1,000 from KDF and other sources)
1 USD = 2.22900 Sudanese Pounds (SDG)