School of Public Health
Community-partnered technology for gender based violence prevention surveillance and response
This program employs a variety of community-partnered technology systems to identify and respond to gender-based violence, and monitor surveillance and health impact of gender-based discrimination and violence. Partners include grass-roots NGO, Ministry of Health/Community Health Volunteers, and University. The project entails formative work including feasibility assessment of procedures, recruitment, and measurement tools for community health volunteers and women in community and university settings, and pilot data collection.
PI Mentor: Michele Decker
The GHEFP experience afforded me the opportunity to observe and participate in global public health work and learn the ins-and-outs of project flow involving collaborations between research institutions in the North and implementing partners in the Global South. I worked with Ujamaa-Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, for six months on two separate projects. The first project I worked on involved baseline data collection of an adolescent empowerment self-defense program. One of my main tasks was training and managing a team of 15 data collectors. The data collectors were all students in the Gender Studies department at Kenyatta University in Nairobi. I also was responsible for ensuring IRB protocol and maintaining sound field procedures during the data collection period. The second project involved research to inform the launch of a gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and response mobile application called “myPlan”. This research was qualitative in nature and complemented the baseline evaluation project nicely.
One of the main strengths of this practicum experience was the ability to take on leadership roles in both projects in a health area I hope to pursue – the intersection of gender and health. The P.I., Dr. Michele Decker (JHU), and local team, Ujamaa-Africa, instilled in me trust and independence by giving me active leadership responsibilities. At first, I found this challenging. I questioned my ability to execute the work I was assigned to, tasks that I had never done before, and wasn’t sure if I was able to trust my instincts in leading projects. However, by being pushed outside of my comfort zone and successfully training data collectors and leading project tasks, I proved to myself that I am able to lead and confident that I can continue doing so in future public health work. I acquired technical skills, confidence, and research competence through the GHEFP experience and will carry these skills with me in future projects.
As our world becomes increasingly globalized, international collaboration will become more common, and necessary. While I have lived and worked in Kenya prior to my GHEFP experience, these most recent opportunities in Nairobi have reaffirmed my desire to work in the field of Global Health, and particularly, to continue working in East Africa. I greatly enjoyed being “on-the-ground” and can envision myself in project management roles and positions that involve learning and trainings; I enjoyed being in an environment that granted this open exchange of ideas and knowledge. Additionally, I have learned the critical importance of collaborative work. I hope to involve myself in public health projects that continue to emphasize bottom-up, community solutions, and work to shift the North-South relationship to ensure greater equity and collaboration in public health research projects, roles, and funding structures. I look forward to continuing to exchange ideas, share innovations, and work alongside international colleagues to devise sustainable, global solutions in the fields of gender and health.