The COV-AID Graduate Student Mini-Grants publicly recognize and support graduate students at Open Society University Network and/or Talloires Network of Engaged Universities members who are currently adapting their community engagement efforts to the challenges presented by COVID-19. The winners receive an award of 2500 USD and will appear on an upcoming COV-AID webinar. The six grant recipients are:
Andy Saunders, Rutgers University- New Brunswick (US). Andy co-founded the New Blue Project, a non-profit organization that believes that low-income communities of color deserve police who embody a deep understanding of culture and context. The organization is dedicated to repairing the relationship between communities and law enforcement by ensuring departments pursue community trust by recruiting, training, and supporting unbiased officers.
Adnan Schubert, Central European University (Hungary). Adnan has worked as a Romani NGO activist and project manager in Banjaluka, Bosnia, and Herzegovina for the last 15 years. He is working to analyze the needs of his community through the creation of a documentary film that will serve as an instrument for lobbying and advocacy. This documentary will tell the story of discrimination, poverty, and segregation against the Roma in Banjaluka— which has been further fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Decent Mutanho, Witwatersrand University (South Africa). Decent, an entrepreneur in peanut butter manufacturing, noticed small to medium enterprises (SMEs) were struggling despite their quality products. Decent offers free workshops for SMEs on the use of digital technologies—social media, websites, email and mobile marketing—to expand the markets for their products.
Rose Macharia, Mount Kenya University (Kenya). Rose is the lead of Light & Empower, a project serving the Kiandutu slum—with a population of over 30,000 residents—by lighting up at least 200 homesteads, kiosks, informal roadside business stalls, community service points, and community security officers through solar powered lamps. The lamps can provide light for 12 hours and have a lifetime of over 5 years.
Freddy Yanez Cerda, Universidad Austral de Chile (Chile). Freddy is the co-founder of the Universal Project NGO (UP). Since 2017, UP has acted as a bridge between local organizations and communities that require technical support for their housing projects and volunteers, students, and professionals who want to make their knowledge available to those organizations and communities. The Universal Project NGO (UP) has developed projects in Chile, Haiti, and Kenya.
Sol Rodriguez, University of British Columbia (Canada). Sol is the co-founder of Casa Congo, a Nicaraguan nonprofit organization providing community-based conservation programs and employment opportunities that support the local Nicaraguan economy and regenerate the natural environment. Casa Congo completed a bamboo house pilot project called ‘Ku Na’ (house of nature in Maya) that will provide structurally sound homes to families by developing a community-owned micro-manufacturing plant which can produce 130 homes annually.