Graduating students fly the coop for international project
By Hollie Knapp-Fisher, Communications Intern
With the end of their undergraduate careers in sight, Gabrielle Armstrong (Artsci’14) and Hasina Daya (Artsci’14) chose to follow their passion and commitment to international development. They came together to form Team Impact with the goal of creating a co-operative chicken farm in Piave, a small rural village in Kenya. Their proposal recently earned them the support of the Pathy Family Foundation (PFF) Community Leadership Fellowship to implement their project.
“We are going into this endeavor with an idea but not a plan,” says Ms. Armstrong. “Plans can be very rigid and often affect our ability to see what the real problem is. We want to listen to the needs of the people and adjust our plan to fit those needs.”
They will live in Kenya for 10 months and work on the “Co-operative coop,” that is being built with the intention of generating income and financial support for the local residents.
“We are both very excited to see the money being generated from this coop and our project put to community growth and development,” says Ms. Daya. “The money will be allocated in three ways. First, the money will be reinvested in to the farm, to support its growth and sustainability. Second, the local laborers will receive a stipend which will enable them with purchasing power. Lastly, the money will be used to support people living with HIV/AIDS and orphans and vulnerable children in Piave. We’re looking to break the cycle of poverty in a sustainable manner”
“No idea is too small to start change,” Ms. Armstrong adds. “In a rural village like Piave developing a chicken farm will significantly change their way of living. The community will have the opportunity to develop new skills and make money which gives them stability.”
Ms. Armstrong and Ms. Daya, graduates of the global development studies program, have a previous connection to Kenya. Ms. Armstrong travelled to the country last summer with the Reach Out to Humanity (ROTH), a non-governmental organization that works to improve the capacity of existing community groups in several different developing countries. Ms. Daya’s mother and brother were both born Kenya and witnessed the impact of international aid. Their professors have been a driving force in the development of this project, and they are grateful for the support they have received.
During their stay in Kenya, they will write a blog to keep friends, family and the university informed about developments with the project.
The program is funded by the Pathy Family Foundation, a private foundation that invests in leadership and education initiative, and administered by the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC). Established in 2010, the program supports undergraduate and graduate students as they carry out an international project over an eight to 12-month period. More information about the PFF Community Leadership Program is available on the QUIC website.