SESSION 3: 2:15 PM - 3:45 PM

Panel C: From School Buses to School Lunches: Education in Developing Contexts

C100 Hesburgh Center Auditorium

Moderator: Grace Munene

Voices of Venezuelan Migrants: Family and Education as a Means for Migration

Irla Atanda, University of Notre Dame

Throughout the 20th century, Venezuela was once a country that enjoyed democratic stability and economic growth. However, it is now overrun by hyperinflation, increasing violence, and food and medical supply shortages that have devastated the country’s economic, political and social structure. This turmoil has led to the mass migration of over 4 million Venezuelans, and Colombia has received almost half of these displaced Venezuelans. Through in-depth semi-structured interviews and focus groups with Venezuelans migrants (n=59)  in Cali, Colombia, my research attempts to shed light on how this migration crisis has shifted family structures and behavior and affected the educational attainment for migrant children (school enrollment). According to my findings so far, familial migration inspired perceived positive changes in parent-child relationships and in spite of the efforts the Cali Ministry of Education has made in providing educational opportunities for migrant children, some parents still encountered social, cultural, and political (documentation) barriers in school enrollment. Because the Venezuelan crisis is an ongoing phenomenon, the research and literature on various facets of the crisis is constantly evolving. My research attempts to fill a gap in raising awareness on the humanitarian crisis that is affecting the second largest group of displaced people. 


From Austen to Achebe: How education can influence power in global development

Monica VanBerkum, University of Notre Dame

Because knowledge production today is centered in the West, non-Western countries find themselves with no voice within the hegemony of development present in our world. Development initiatives often become entwined with political or economic agendas in which the more powerful country almost always has the final say. My research explores how this power imbalance in development is approached through the field of education. Through ethnographic observations of primary schools in Jinja, Uganda, and the efficacy of the schools’ curriculum, I have developed the research question: How can education work to shift the center of knowledge production, thus lessening the ingrained Western hegemony? This question has inspired further independent research in the United States to look at the prevalence and availability of more diverse, multicultural school curriculums that give voice to non-Western knowledge production. By consulting local educators and written resources, I have found programs that seek to increase students’ global awareness while also nurturing a respect for other cultures. These findings offer alternatives to Western-focused school curriculums that can begin to change the mindset that knowledge production is “inherent” to the West and add balance to the power dynamic within development.


The Effects of Primary Education on Fertility on Child Mortality

Claire O’Brien, University of Notre Dame

Despite its growing wealth, India still struggles with high maternal and child mortality rates (Drèze and Sen 2015).  Increasing years of education for girls is a solution that is often proposed. However, the effects of education on health are not widely agreed upon (Galama et al. 2018).  Additionally, there is limited research on how increasing a woman’s education at the primary school level affects health outcomes for her and her children (Breierova and Duflo 2004).  In my senior thesis, I explore the effects of primary education on fertility and child mortality.  The District Primary Education Project (DPEP) was a primary school expansion program in India, beginning in 1994.  I use a difference in difference regression method exploiting whether or not the district received DPEP funding and if the woman was still in primary school when the funding was allocated to test the effects on fertility and child mortality rates. My data comes from the DHS 2015-16 survey.  Note: This is an ongoing project.  I will have the final results by the conference.


Dietary diversity and qualitative evaluation of a nutrition education program in rural Senegal

Hannah Sanders, Wheaton College

Though Senegal has the second most well-nourished population in West Africa based on prevalence of undernourishment, child stunting, and child wasting, its rural villages still face high rates of macro- and micro-nutrient deficiency (GHI 2019). For example, in the Louga region, only 32.6% of children under five received adequate diet diversity and 70.1% are anemic (Senegal DHS 2017). We conducted a non-randomized community comparison program evaluation of a nutrition program realized by Soins de Santé Primaire (SSP), an NGO working in villages of the Louga region. Mothers participated in a one-time nutrition education program that includes a presentation on the connections between nutrition, child growth, and non-communicable diseases as well as the presentation of a new, balanced meal with assessible ingredients. The study uses mixed methods to determine program impact on household diet diversity and nutritional knowledge of participants in order to improve the session. Dependent variables are measured through a dietary diversity analysis of 24-hour recalls, controlling for food security using the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES), and a nutrition knowledge true or false test. Impact was determined by comparing program participants (n=20) to those who have not yet participated (n=20). Women who attended the nutrition education session scored higher on the nutrition knowledge test by an average of 10 percentage points. Interview participants (n=15) remembered specific messages presented and testified to making lasting changes in food preparation and hygiene, such as eliminating their use of bouillon cubes and reducing oil usage, after the education session.