LEWISBURG - A Bucknell University student group has received a $10,000 Projects for Peace grant from philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis.
The project, "A Better Transportation Decreases Poverty Gap," will provide a bicycle and cart distribution program to 33 families in Tchada community in Baleng village located in West Cameroon.
The students involved in the project are Leo Fotsing Fomba, Zwelani Ngwenya and Chanda Singoyi who plan to take the project live during the summer.
Fomba, who is from Baleng, is a sophomore majoring in global management and minoring in international relations with a concentration in sub-Saharan Africa. During his visit this January in Cameroon, Fomba established contact with the assistant of the King Tella Nengou.
In July, Fomba will meet with the local authorities and the King of Baleng to hold workshops explaining the project before distributing the bicycles, carts, repair tools and connection lockers. The team also will teach bicycle maintenance and repair skills and hold a seven-mile cycling celebration. In addition, the community will receive two pairs of grain grinders to allow free access to local processing of grains for home use or for sale.
Zwelani Ngwenya, who is from Zimbabwe, is a junior majoring in civil engineering; he has volunteered with Project Higher Life Foundation. Chanda Singoyi, who is from Zambia, is a first-year student majoring in biology; he has volunteered with Pestalozzi Education Center. Through those programs they have acquired skills such as project implementation, leadership development, website management and conflict resolution.
This project will provide a cost-effective means of transportation of goods for people in Tchada. A key problem is the lack of adequate transportation linked with other areas; head or backloading or general physical portage dominates each activity related to agriculture and daily chores. This project aims to empower the families to accumulate enough human, physical, financial and social assets to tackle problems including youth migration, illiteracy among children and economic struggles with reaching viable markets.
This is the eighth year Bucknell has participated in the Projects for Peace program. As a Davis United World College Scholars Program partner school, Bucknell is invited to nominate student projects for the program.
Bucknell students have worked on providing clean drinking water in South America; establishing a sewing co-op in Guatemala, designing a water pumping station in Nicaragua, making a documentary about the plight of banana workers in Nicaragua, establishing a bicycle co-op for two villages in northern Uganda, a project that has become Bicycles Against Poverty.
More recently, two groups received funding to raise awareness of social problems in Puerto Rico and a government-funded healthcare program in Sierra Leone. Last year, a student group received funding for a solar-powered lamp distribution in elementary schools in northwestern China, aimed at improving students' studying conditions in schools without electricity.
In its eighth year, the Projects for Peace program honors philanthropist Kathryn Wasserman Davis, who launched the initiative on her 100th birthday in 2007. Each of the 100 projects selected are designed to encourage and support motivated youth to create and implement their ideas for building peace throughout the world in the 21st century.
Projects for Peace invites all undergraduates at the 91 American colleges and universities, which are partners in the Davis United World College Scholars Program to compete for these grants. Other participating institutions include International Houses Worldwide, the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Future Generations Graduate School and the University of Maine.
"Competition is keen and we congratulate those students whose projects have been selected for funding in 2014," said Philip O. Geier, executive director of the Davis United World College Scholars Program which administers Projects for Peace. "We are pleased to once again help young people launch some initiatives that will bring new energy and ideas to improving the prospects for peace in the world."