Laura Cooper ’15
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Engaging Rural Communities in Providing Solutions to Environmental Problems and HIV/AIDS Education
Our goal in this project was to foster an open dialogue in Kuria District, Kenya about health issues and to encourage healthy, sustainable practices that would be endorsed by the community. We focused on two important issues in the community: HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness, and clean water use. Working in partnership with two magnet theater groups, Mwangaza in Kuria District and REPACTED in Nakuru, we developed a series of interactive plays, termed “outreaches”, which were performed by group members in various marketplaces, and which addressed the aforementioned issues. I was thrilled to experience rural Kenya and better learn how to work with a large group. I was also glad to be introduced to the technique of magnet theater, a globally practiced agent of social change. This experience helped me to further develop my Kiswahili language skills, and reaffirmed my interest in a holistic, cultural approach to health as well as my appreciation for East African culture.
REPACTED Kenya, Kenya
Mahiri Mwita, Lecturer, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies