Session 2: 11:45 AM - 1:15 PM

Panel B: HERstory: Increasing, Understanding and Promoting Female Dignity

C103 Hesburgh Center

Moderated by Holly Rivers

Health and education play a unique role in ensuring the development of women as leaders in society. Recognizing the dignity of each person, especially in females, is crucial in revealing these narratives. This panel explores the complexities of health, human rights, and gender roles through the lens of women across different societies. 

It takes a village: rights-based approach to development in Malawi

Youth, Development NGOs and the Use of Media and Technology in the Chilumba Area
Hannah Donovan​​​​​​, University of Dayton

Safe Spaces for Girl’s Extended and Informal Learning: Curriculum Assessment for Determined to Develop
Lauren Breitenstein, University of Dayton

Exploring Formal Technical Education and the Benefits to Youth in the Chilumba Area: An in-depth Analysis of Market and Opportunity
Maggie Cadman, University of Dayton

Girls' Economic Empowerment Initiatives: Determined to Develop - Case Study
Morgan Langford, University of Dayton

The Role of Men and Boys Girls and Women’s Empowerment in the Chilumba Area
Elizabeth Mazza, University of Dayton

Abstract: Poverty in northern Malawi, Chilumba Catchment area specifically, continues to be chronic and widespread hindering children’s basic rights to survival, health, nutrition and education. The University of Dayton Malawi Research Practicum students draw on applied participatory development insights to conduct research each summer with Determined to Develop, a community-based non-profit organization, and provide the community with much needed analytics and transdisciplinary research to support their programming. Lauren Breitenstein conducted a curriculum evaluation for Determined to Develop’s informal education Girls Club; Morgan Langford assessed best practices for adolescent girls’ economic empowerment through income generating activities; Maggie Cadman surveyed formal technical education and its need in the region; Hannah Donovan conducted research on youth’s use of social media and technology; and Betsy Mazza examined the role men and boys play in the empowerment of women and girls. A mixed-methodology approach was utilized by each researcher ranging from quantitative questionnaires and interviews to focus groups and participatory analysis techniques. The practicum research is framed in light of the sustainable development goals and a right-based approach to development working with community members from the ground-up to maximize impact and assist in the development of Chilumba in a responsible and positive way. This panel of five students will introduce the practicum and its approach in conducting development research, as well as present each research question and in-depth findings.

Bio(s): Hannah has majors in International Studies, Global Migration and Economic Development and a minor in Sociology. She is a proud member of the Determined to Develop Club, and African Refugee Tutoring. Hannah’s research focuses on social media and technology use in context of development. In the field, one of Hannah’s favorite parts of my research was learning how others use technology in order to communicate and enhance their lives. She would ask participants what types of groups they were in and it allowed an opportunity to see what is important to them and how they connect with others with similar interests online. While sometimes being interviewed for research can be a bit uncomfortable or touchy at times, the tone of the conversation always lightened when people were able to share what they love and what is important to them. To this day, Hannah still talks to many of my friends she made in Malawi sharing music, stories about our lives, and discussing school.      Finally, Hannah thanks her Malawian research counterparts, Thandie Kumwenda and Lughano Manda, who made the entire process fun and much easier than if she were to brave it all alone! 


Job Training as a Tool to Empower Socioeconomically Vulnerable Women: An Evaluation of Proyecto VIVE in Mexico

Adriana Rueda Barrios, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, campus Puebla

Abstract: From 2017 to 2018, Proyecto VIVE, an initiative between The Trust for the Americas, the Organization of American States (OAS), Walmart Foundation and local partners, aimed to train 45,000 Mexican women from vulnerable backgrounds in retail, sales and personal development and empowerment to increase their possibilities of finding employment or becoming entrepreneurs. In order to assess whether the program effectively reached its target population and to evaluate its impacts for vulnerable women, this study conducted an analysis at both the national level and a case study of the Veracruz office. At the national level, researchers analyzed Proyecto VIVE’s database with the information of 43,651 program beneficiaries and conducted online surveys with approximately 70% of current staff across the country. Fieldwork in Veracruz included in-depth interviews with the two staff members and 94 telephone surveys with randomly selected beneficiaries identified as economically vulnerable using database information. Results indicate that the program has a positive impact on the lives of women in terms of personal development and some success in terms of improving job opportunities; however, it has not necessarily reached the most vulnerable populations. Proyecto VIVE and similar future programs should consider other strategies to reach women from low socioeconomic backgrounds, such as joining efforts with governmental programs focused on this population. Additionally, due to the low wages and poor quality of formal sales jobs in Mexico, focusing on entrepreneurship as a tool to combat poverty and vulnerability may provide more opportunities and better results for this target population.



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