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Global Partners in East Africa
2005 Travel Grant Recipients

 

The Global Partners East Africa Task Force awarded 15 travel grants to 17 faculty members representing 11 institutions . Seven recipients were from GLCA member schools, eight were from ACM member schools, and two were from ACS member schools.

Heather Brady, Monmouth College
Christopher Connelly, Grinnell College
Annie Dandavati, Hope College
Sonja Darlington, Beloit College
John Greenler, Beloit College
Cherie Maiden, Furman University
Joseph Mbele, St. Olaf College
Andrew Musila, Monmouth College
Savita Nair, Furman University
Shenita Piper, Earlham College
Randolph Quay,e College of Wooster
Louise Smith, Eric Miller, & Chris Hill, Antioch College
Janet Wagner, Earlham College
John Watkins, Colorado College
Karl Wirth, Macalester College

Heather Brady, Assistant Professor of French, Monmouth College
Dr. Brady’s grant will enable her to cultivate partnerships with writers, publishers, and scholars at the East African and International Studies at the University of Nairobi. During her stay, she will continue to collect material for an anthology of previously unpublished short fiction called From the Postcolony: New African Writing, which she has begun to compile and edit this collection with her colleagues (see below call for submissions). A travel grant for this project, to be carried out for two weeks during summer 2005, will help to foster connections in Kenya and meet writers who, though they reside in Kenya, come from Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia. Through this work, we will be able to more fully represent the variety of East African voices (especially ones that have not yet been translated into English).

Christopher Connelly, Assistant Professor, Grinnell College
Professor Connelly plans to use the travel grant to return to Kenya and spend more time researching and working with the Peoples Popular Theatre, members of which he met on a previous trips there. He has stayed in regular communication with two of the company’s members about theatre training, scripts, and performance techniques. The Peoples Popular Theatre was founded by graduates of the University of Nairobi several years ago. Its stated mission is to use theatre as a teaching methodology and awareness tool on issues affecting the community by employing African artistic modes as its central theatrical form to achieve cultural self-assertion. Central to this mission has been raising awareness about the issues of AIDS, gender inequity, and related educational topics.

The Peoples Popular Theatre usually performs in non-traditional theatre space such as churches, schools, and public spaces in poorer communities in and around Nairobi. Connelly will return to enrich and deepen his previous relationship with them by observing rehearsals and performances, conducting interviews, and conducting a workshop with members of the company. Upon returning to the United States it is his goal to develop and write an article discussing formation, practices, performances, and goals of The Peoples Popular Theatre as an example of theatre for development. Also, while in Kenya he hopes to meet other theatre artists and attend other theatre productions when not working with the Peoples Popular Theatre.

Annie Dandavati, Associate Professor of Political Science, Hope College
Dr. Dandavati’s project is a comparative study of Chilean and Ugandan women and their quest for political legitimacy within the state. The study essentially explores the relationship between women and the state. How do women engender democracy within the state and how does the state respond to women’s endeavors to make the state more gender responsive and pass legislation or public policy that is responsive to women’s goals.

Sonja Darlington, Assistant Professor, Beloit College
Dr. Darlington will be working on three collaborative projects. The first in collaboration with Dr. Hamza Njozi (Department of Literature, University Dar es Salaam, UDSM ) will be to publish a second volume of collected works (folk tales,dramas, short stories and/or poetry) in English by Tanzanian students. This second publication will build on the first volume, Tell Me Friends the Riddle of the Ages: A Collection of poems and short stories, edited by Hamza Njozi and Sonja Darlington.

The second project in collaboration with Dr. Aldin Mutembei (Kiswahili Institute, UDSM) will be to publish a second volume of collected works (dramas and/or short stories) in Kiswahili by Tanzanian students. Another publication increases the series of three dramas already produced by Machume Publisher and edited by Alden Mutembei and Sonja Darlington. The three dramas were authored by Tanzanian students who had won a creative writing contest; their awards were financed by a Global Partners Grant.

The third project in collaboration with Elieshi Lema (author and co-publisher) of L & D Publishers, Dar es Salaam, will be to support a third collaboration for the first collection of Tanzanian women’s short stories in English. In preparation, Dr. Darlington met with Lema several times while in Dar (in spring 2004), and they agreed on a process of getting short stories published, which include a writing contest administered by the Guardian Newspaper.

John Greenler, Assistant Professor, Beloit College
The focus of Dr. Greenler’s proposal for travel to Kenya is on the integration of information systems and technologies into undergraduate education. He will travel to Kenya for a two-week period in July 2005 to work at two of the Egerton University campuses (http://www.egerton.ac.ke/). The concept for this project came from Wanjiku Chiuri at the Laikipia Campus during her 2003-2004 academic-year Fulbright Fellow stay at Beloit.

Dr Greenler would also be working with Rose Ogwang at the Njoro campus. The Principals from each of these campuses as well as the University’s Vice Chancellor (Prof. E. K. Maritim) are all aware of his plans and are enthusiastic about the potential to increase and deepen the utilization of their computer resources. To maximize the impact of his visit, he would "train the trainers" whenever possible. This would mean working with Faculty who would train other colleagues as well as teachers who would directly deploy information systems tools in their classrooms and courses. Finally, he would be assessing the potential for follow-up on this visit with a longer-term project that might involve one or more additional trips by a faculty/staff team from the States.

Cherie Maiden, Professor, Furman University
Dr. Maiden will be meeting Kenyan women writers, scholars and, if possible, a few community leaders. Although her primary focus is on women writers, she hopes to gain some knowledge of the ways in which Kenyan women are impacting change in the society. Summaries of the various conversations will be used to put together a series of brief personal histories, which could provide evidence of the importance of self-actualization for Kenyan women, and of their dynamic presence in their professions and community.

Joseph Mbele, Associate Professor, St. Olaf College
Dr. Mbele will be continuing his fieldwork in Tanzania on the folklore about Osale Otango, an outlaw who operated there in the nineteen fifties against the European settlers. Starting in 2002, with Global Partners funding, Dr Mbele’s work on Osale Otango is a phase in a longstanding research project on African epic heroes, outlaws and tricksters which he began in 1975. He has studied famous African figures such as Sundiata, Chaka, Mwindo and Liyongo, investigating African concepts of heroism. He has determined that heroes are complex, incorporating aspects of the villain and the trickster. Dr. Mbele picked Osale Otango because he had not been studied and thus offered the clear prospect of a significant contribution to knowledge.

Eric Miller, Associate Professor, Cooperative Education Program, Antioch College
Dr. Miller’s visit to Kenya and Maseno University will be aimed at two objectives. First, it will allow him to meet with Monica Ayieko and colleagues in Maseno’s Extension Studies program, which closely parallels Antioch’s cooperative education program, to coordinate efforts to implement the co-op aspects outlined in the Antioch – Maseno Exchange Program Agreement. In coordination with Maseno’s extension schedule, Eric Miller will visit their Extension program attachments with Maseno faculty and develop ways of integrating Maseno’s Extension program with Antioch’s Co-op program.

His second objective will be to establish research collaborations with faculty at Maseno University or from among professionals associated with organizations with which he has co-op placements. Dr. Miller’s research examines John Dewey's concept of mis-educative experience (experiences that hinder further experience and growth) in the cross-cultural context. He has collected data for two case studies examining the cross-cultural experiences of students’ who have co-oped in Kenya. His visit to Kenya will provide him with the opportunity to collect additional data for the studies as well as increase his understanding of Kenyan cultures and customs.

Andrew Musila, Assistant Professor, Monmouth College
Dr. Musila’s proposed project will try to ascertain the status of Jua Kali since EAC. Jua Kali in Kiswahili means hot sun. It follows that those small-scale artisans, eking out a living by way of manufacturing products and offering services in the open scorching heat, are collectively called Jua Kalis. This informal sector comprised of semi-skilled artisans operating all manner of trade in the open and selling their goods and services, has contributed significantly to Kenya’s employment and its relative economic dominance in East Africa, while enjoying the government’s support in the acquisition of low-interest loans but without profound government oversight. In turn, this sector has traditionally provided on-job training and placement to high school graduates with deficient grades to go to college or to be absorbed in any other professions.

Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have now formed the East African Cooperation (EAC), a regional trading bloc akin to the European Union (EU), which calls for harmonization and regulation of all manner of industry. The theoretical underpinning for the establishment of the EAC is a collective approach to economic development that cannot be achieved by each individual nation. By harmonizing their policy matrix in common sectors, implementing a Common External Tariff (CET), creating a Joint Investment Policy, and establishing Centers of Excellence for Capacity Building, the member states plan to create economies of scale while protecting their market through high tariffs on non-member goods, thus, providing equitable leverage to weak and vulnerable member states in economic development matters. It is against this theoretical backdrop that the EAC was reestablished in 1998, having failed in the 1970s.

Savita Nair, Assistant Professor, Furman University
Dr. Nair plans to explore local archives, libraries, volunteer associations such as mosques and temples, and meet members of the Indian community in Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, and Zanzibar. In addition, she hopes to collaborate with East African scholars who are interested in migration and identity, plural societies, and postcoloniality. India and East Africa have long histories of trade networks and cultural syncretism that pre-date and accompany European colonialism. Since the Sultan of Oman moved his capital to Zanzibar and encouraged Indian trade, and the British imported Indian indentured laborers, Indians have been part of the multicultural East Africa landscape. While her research interests in East Africa were derived initially from a comparative perspective, her work on Indian Ocean history and the Indian Diaspora have brought these regions into the same intellectual field.

Shenita Piper, Director, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Earlham College
Ms. Piper plans to collaborate on an exchange of African and African-American spiritual music with graduate students at Friends Theological College, with area ministers, and with choir members at area churches. She plans to record on-location, then compile a CD which can be used in music education both in Kenya and back home in the States. She already has made contact with a producer in Kenya to help her see this recording project through. Shenita’s Kenyan experience will enable her to bring global issues from this part of the world to mind in her day-to-day interactions with students and colleagues. She is looking forward to making future contacts in order to bring Kenyans to Earlham’s campus for cultural exchanges.

Randolph Quaye, Director, Black World Studies Program, Ohio Wesleyan University
Dr. Quaye’s study addresses an interesting topic of how African countries are addressing the goal of providing universal access to health care in the face of mounting economic restructuring and debt crises. In the past decade, a confluence of forces has changed the nature of health care financing in unprecedented ways. There is increasing focus on, and concern about, the quality of medical care, financial constraints and equity in health care. As my initial research has documented, in the whole of East Africa, with the exception of Kenya, very little is known about the introduction of social insurance in health care delivery.

Louise Smith, Associate Professor and Chair of Theatre, Antioch College
Chris Hill, Associate Professor of Communications, Antioch College
Drs. Smith and Hill plan to visit Kenya to collaborate with Maseno University faculty and members of neighboring communities in a project that will build upon and document (on videotape) local theater, dance and music traditions, and further collaboration between Antioch’s Co-op program and Maseno. The trip will be a three to four week planning trip for further work on a fully realized collaborative production.

Janet Wagner, Librarian, Lilly Library, Earlham College
Ms. Wagner will visit Friends Theological College (FTC) in Kaimosi in order to work with accessibility concerns of the FTC Library. Established in 1943, the FTC Library owns a special collection called Amanai na Tumaini, materials on social justice, peace, women, health issues (especially relating to HIV/AIDS), and liberation theology. This collection is well used by the FTC community and beyond. Janet hopes to make this collection more accessible by working intensively with Friends Theological College librarian, Silira Muganda. She will also consult with Silira on issues affecting the rest of the College’s rapidly growing collection, methods of library instruction, and ideas for community education.

Additionally, FTC will be hosting a conflict management program at the College. Janet plans to observe (and, if possible, participate in) this conflict management program, a local Kenyan response to the Rwandan massacres. Since Peace Studies is a popular field of concentration at Earlham, Janet hopes to gain knowledge about this program and find possible volunteering or interning opportunities associated with the program for Earlham students.

John Watkins, Professor, Colorado College
Dr. Watkins plans to bring Professor Lillian Osaki of the University of Dar es Salaam to Colorado College to teach a one month African literature course for first-year students. This will be the first course these 16 students take at Colorado College and so, not only will African Studies be their introduction to college, but they will have a master teacher from Africa for their first professor. Dr Watkins will co-teach this course with Lillian and then teach the follow-up course with the same students continuing the literature theme as well as surveying other topics in African mathematics, art, history, music, and political science.

Karl Wirth, Associate Professor, Macalester College
Dr. Wirth plans to travel to Tanzania to conduct a systematic investigation of the ancient volcanic rocks in the northern Serengeti region. The rocks exposed in the Lake Victoria region (northern Tanzania) are among the oldest rocks in east Africa. They consist mostly of basaltic lava flows and younger granitic intrusions that record the origin and evolution of the African continent. Despite the recent discovery of gold mines in the region, relatively little is known about the age or chemical evolution of these ancient (>2.7 billion years old) rocks. Preliminary results of geochemical analyses of these rocks (Weisberger et al., 2004; Wirth et al., 2004) indicate that they have unique geochemical signatures and origins (compared with similar rocks in Kenya). Furthermore, Dr. Wirth’s work has resulted in some of the earliest high-resolution age dating in the region. With additional samples from the western part of the volcanic belt, and other nearby belts, he will be well-equipped to make significant contributions to understanding the origin and evolution of east Africa.



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