Sophomores Caroline Davis and Laura Gault Awarded Davis Peace Project Grant

Caroline Davis '11 and Laura Gault '11 have been awarded a Davis Peace Project Fellowship program grant of $10,000. Their joint project is titled "Empowering the Hadzabe as Agents of Peace: Health for Cultural Preservation." 

In its third year, Davis Projects for Peace invites undergraduates at the American colleges and universities in the Davis United World College Scholars Program to design grassroots projects that they will implement during the summer of 2009. The objective is to encourage and support today's motivated youth to create and try out their own ideas for building peace.

Davis and Gault intend to work to improve access to healthcare in a Hadzabe community in the Mbulu District of Tanzania. They will develop a sustainable beadwork project with the Hadzabe to help them cover necessary healthcare expenses. The Hadzabe are a semi-nomadic group of approximately 1,500 indigenous people in the southern section of the Western Rift Block of Tanzania. They live completely off of the land away from mainstream Tanzanian society.

In their proposal, Davis and Gault explained, "The purpose of our project is to work alongside the Hadzabe to meet their most pressing need, access to healthcare. As subsistence hunter-gatherers, they lack a stable income. In order to provide funding for healthcare costs, the Hadzabe women currently attempt to sell jewelry to make money. However, for the Hadzabe, cash currency is not a daily part of their lives. 

"Instead, they largely use trade to obtain any materials which are not readily available in their environment. Although this works relatively well for most aspects of their lives, the Hadzabe need cash currency when they visit the local hospital. The Hadzabe women hope to improve their profit margins through a greater understanding of the basics of business. Together with the Hadzabe women, we will expand their jewelry project, run workshops on money management, and build connections with gift shops in Karatu, a town filled with Safari-going tourists, to market their products. "

The students will work with Nyayo, an organization that advocates for indigenous rights in Tanzania and has garnered great trust within the Hadzabe community. They wrote, "Nyayo recognizes the pressing need to expand healthcare, has given pre-approval for all aspects of this project, and plans to carry on these projects after we have left."

Davis and Gault will travel to Tanzania in May as part of a Hamilton College Field Study through which they will learn about indigenous rights and live with the Hadzabe, Maasai and Barabaig communities. They will formally meet their Tanzanian partners and begin work on the project. After that, they will remain in the Hadzabe community to continue their work.

Davis is majoring in an interdisciplinary concentration on social justice, peace, and development. She works with Habitat for Humanity and is a Project Shine volunteer. Davis is actively involved with Students for International Public Health Awareness and volunteers with Hope House. She studied abroad in Costa Rica during the fall 2007 semester.

Gault is double-majoring in French and world politics with a concentration in Africa. She is a member of Hamilton's chapter of One Heart with Africa, which raises money for college tuitions in Kenya. Gault is a volunteer with Project Shine and is a member of the Alpine Ski team. She will spend the fall semester participating in Boston University's International Development Program in Niamey, Niger.

The Davis Projects for Peace is made possible by Kathryn Wasserman Davis, an accomplished internationalist and philanthropist. Upon the occasion of her 100th birthday in February 2007, Mrs. Davis, mother of Shelby M.C. Davis who funds the Davis UWC Scholars Program, chose to celebrate by committing $1 million for 100  Projects for Peace.

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