Projects for Peace Grants Awarded to Two Students

Projects this summer will take place in Zimbabwe and Sierra Leone.

Two Concordia students officially received Projects for Peace grants for this summer — Chelsea Masikati ’23 in Zimbabwe and Daniel Pambu ’25 in Sierra Leone.

Projects for Peace announced 126 projects from 92 partner institutions were selected for its 2023 cohort of grantees. Student leaders of each project receive $10,000 in funds to pursue innovative, community-centered, and scalable responses to the world’s most pressing issues. Since its founding in 2007, Projects for Peace has funded more than 2,000 projects that are nominated by partner colleges and universities.

“Although we are always guaranteed one of these grants as long as the proposal is of sufficient quality, it’s unusual for a college to receive two of these grants,” said Dr. Kenneth Foster, chair and professor of political science.

Masikati’s project, “Tsapi Food Bank: A Solution to a Food Crisis in Zimbabwe,” talks about the problem of food insecurity in Zimbabwe as a result of climate change and economic crisis. She comes from a family that loves farming and gardening, and surviving some of the worst economic years through small-scale farming. She learned about food banks by working as a food pantry assistant for Concordia’s food pantry, and it ignited her passion and vision for the project. She has done extensive preparatory work for the “Tsapi Food Bank,” which will run for 12 weeks, putting in place the infrastructure and management systems needed to sustain the food bank and educational programming for years to come.

“I feel so blessed to have been selected to be one of the grantees this year,” Masikati said. “I’m really excited to learn a lot from the project, to see it come to life, and to see how it will transform the lives of so many.”

Pambu counts himself lucky to have attended a school that offered information communication technology classes, but that isn’t the reality for most schools in Sierra Leone, especially rural and all-girls schools. The lack of access to technology in his home country became of special interest to him while studying at a United World College. At Concordia, he learned more about the digital divide and gender inequality. His project, “Girls Empowerment through Computer Literacy,” seeks to reduce the digital divide by improving girls’ access in one high school for girls, Sengbe Pieh Academy. His acquaintance with the founder of the school sparked the idea for the project.

Computers, a generator, and furniture will be provided, and a partnership with RaBit Education will create a course, mentoring, and initial training. Sengbe Pieh, having graduated girls that have gone on to colleges and universities across the country, along with the RaBit collaboration gives Pambu confidence in the project’s success.

“I am very happy for this opportunity to implement a project in my country,” Pambu said. He says he looks forward to working with young people to develop their technology skills to help build a peaceful society.