- PhD student at the University of Kansas
- World traveler in training (this was taken at the Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia)
- Scuba diver (when I have the chance; there isn't much diveable water in Kansas)
- Rock climber (it's a good way to take a break from studying)
- a hard-working GTA/Graduate Affairs Director/freelance writer/editor trying to raise money for my research project in Senegal
This project is about complicating our ideas of community outreach, social entrepreneurship, and women’s economic empowerment. I will share first-hand accounts, interviews, and photos detailing the work that goes into promoting social change in non-Western democracies.
In January, I am traveling to Senegal, West Africa to conduct international ethnographic research for my dissertation. The purpose of this project is to examine the transnational flows of policies, professionals, technologies and resources devoted to promoting gender equity, health initiatives, and environmental outreach in Senegal. When I return, I will write an 18-20 page scholarly journal article about my experiences and research, as well as use that information as the basis for my dissertation.
My preliminary research and writing process for this project has been intriguing. As I have searched online, scanned pages of United Nations documents, and read scholarly articles and books about West Africa, I see how little we know about the status of women's rights in Senegal. This gap in our knowledge and understanding is part of my determination to conduct on-the-ground research through this program.
Though my initial research is far from over, I see threads of hope in political gains like the Gender Parity Law (GPL) of 2010 that required political parties to field equal numbers of men and women candidates in elections. I have also learned more about the work of the Association of Senegalese Women Jurists, who I will have the opportunity to work with once I arrive in Senegal. Their advocacy on the national level was part of what led to the passing of the GPL, and their work on the local level to educate women about their civil rights is remarkable.
While in Senegal, I will be writing a daily journal and posting it to a blog, as well as taking photos and video footage of my experience. The blog will function as my field notes when I return to compile research for my dissertation. This information will also be revised into a multimedia presentation that I will give to students at KU to encourage them to engage in transnational research. The video footage I take will also be included in the presentation, and will contain interviews that I will transcribe and code for my dissertation research.
My initial funding goal covers the cost of travel and a video camera to document interviews and day-to-day experiences as part of the research for my dissertation.
Every donation brings me one step closer to engaging with rights activists in Senegal and writing about their progress first-hand. Thank you for investing in "Our Senegal Story."
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