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Part of the Talloires Network – Open Society University Network Education Partnership, the COV-AID Student Engagement Award is a pilot grant program to publicly recognize and support undergraduate students who are currently engaged in their local communities in ways that contribute to more equal and more inclusive societies. The winners receive an award of 2500 USD and will appear on an upcoming COV-AID webinar. The ten award winners:

  • Daniela Aldazaba González, Universidad Veracruzana (Mexico). Daniela works with Groups for Supporting Food Production at Home to offer educational materials to help urban and peri-urban families grow food at home. The agroecological project aims to address food insecurity and emphasizes the benefits of self-sufficiency nourishment to community health and the local economy.
  • Keyvious Avery, Bard College (U.S.). Keyvious organized Thrive On! Kingston, a campaign that aimed to provide people experiencing homelessness in Kingston, New York, with tools to both survive and thrive during the pandemic. The campaign exceeded its fundraising goals and partnered with the Beyond 4 Walls Outreach Program to provide supply kits and food to the central shelter network of Ulster County.
  • Doreen Agyiriwaa Marfo, Ashesi University (Ghana). Doreen works with the Loozeele Initiative to provide a stable source of income for young girls in the northern part of Ghana. The initiative’s goal is to mitigate difficult and often dangerous rural-urban migration by helping the girls find employment locally and develop entrepreneurial skills.
  • Thaís Mazzo da Costa, University of Campinas (Brazil). Thaís co-coordinates Pureco, an online platform that connects local women offering cleaning services with potential clients. The goal of the platform is to promote a culture of female empowerment and self-confidence, and to increase employment opportunities for local women.
  • Catherine Kasungia Mumo, Strathmore University (Kenya). Catherine is the founder of Nawiri Sist3rs, an initiative that educates girls on menstrual health and hygiene, provides menstrual hygiene materials, and encourages girls to believe in themselves and their dreams. During the pandemic, Catherine and Nawiri Sist3rs are running charity drives for the families of the girls they mentor, teaching their families how to make hand sanitizer, and offering educational resources on COVID-19 symptoms and prevention.
  • Phionah Namuwenge, LivingStone International University (Uganda). When the pandemic began, Phionah generated an action plan with her local leaders to address the socioeconomic issues emerging in her village. She launched two projects: Give and Receive, which collects and distributes monetary donations, food, and seeds for farming, and Study At Home, which offers at-home curricula for young students, particularly in areas without internet access.
  • Thuong T. Hoai Nguyen, Fulbright University Vietnam (Vietnam). As the founder of X Schooling Project, Thuong leads a 10-day summer camp for 30 ethnic minority children in Dong Giang. The camp helps children discover the cultural and economic value of their communities, promotes local and global citizenship, and creates a safe space in which they are able to share their  struggles and dreams.
  • Zamima Islam Sabaa, BRAC University (Bangladesh). Zamima organized after-school programs to teach children about menstrual hygiene, but when the pandemic made these meetings impossible, she used her network to create an emergency action program. Her team buys excess food from farmers and distributes it to marginalized communities. 
  • Vera Stojanovic, University College Cork (Ireland). Vera is the founder and coordinator of BetterTogether, an organization supporting women and children who are seeking asylum in Ireland. With BetterTogether programs and events canceled due to the pandemic, Vera co-founded the Sanctuary Mask Initiative and recruited women seeking asylum to sew thousands of reusable hygiene masks to distribute to vulnerable communities.
  • Mohak Thukral, OP Jindal Global University (India). Mohak is the founder of Project Kushal Society, a registered non-profit organization working to make quality education more accessible and to advocate for the inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community. Mohak has organized multiple skill development workshops, seminars, and events including Punjab’s first Pride Parade. Currently, his organization is focusing on digitalizing the classrooms of small private and government schools, and improving the skill sets of the students.