The Power of She - Proposal by Camila Rodriguez and Alejandra Sanchez for CGI U 2016
The Power of She functions with the distinct purpose of creating a network of women dedicated to working together in pursuit of women's empowerment in each campo of the Dominican Republic. In order to implement this Comité de Mujeres (committee of women), The Power of She would organize a 5-day trip that takes volunteers pre-educated in basic women's health to the Dominican Republic. These volunteers would work alongside the women of each campo to create a holistic program that promotes education about feminine hygiene, maternal health, and violence against women. The hope is that this program will remain active even after volunteers have left.
In the campos of the Dominican Republic, which are often hours away from major cities, access to healthcare and resources for women's health are grossly limited. Because of this reality, women in these mountain villages often do not learn basic health information that would benefit them immensely in their adult lives. The Power of She hopes to target women between the ages of 13 and 50, and educate them about their bodies, health and hygiene related to menstruation and sexual intercourse, and their relationships with their partners. It is our hope that by educating women about their health, they may subsequently be able to improve other aspects of their lives, helping to drive their communities out of poverty.
The Power of She program is focused around a 5-day mission trip to an individual campo in the Dominican Republic. Before each trip, volunteers will attend informational meetings and training sessions, which will inform them of basic women's health practices and routines. During each trip, volunteers will work with the women of each campo to communicate these practices and organize a Comité de Mujeres to promote The Power of She's goals even after the trip has ended. Ideally, The Power of She would find one women or a small group of women in each campo to spearhead the project and act as the liaison between the campo and the volunteers. Each trip would consist of a series of workshops dedicated to educating the women about issues related to their feminine health. The three main focuses of The Power of She are feminine hygiene related to their menstrual cycle and sexual health, maternal health and the steps necessary to ensure both the mother and children's well-being, and informing women of domestic violence and what steps can be taken to seek a safe environment. These workshops would be both educational and fun as teach these women better practices is only half the solution. By focusing part of the trip on community-building and creating a female network among the women in each campo, The Power of She can ensure that all the women of the campos as well as the girls of future generations, are informed about their feminine health.
In the past, we have worked with an organization called BLUE Missions to combat the water and sanitation crisis in the Dominican Republic, dedicating only one afternoon of an eight-day trip to women's issues. It is our goal through The Power of She to dedicate entire trips to empowering women and inspiring them to partake in bettering the lives of their communities in new ways. By improving women's health, we can help these women to focus less on health concerns and more on activities that they may not have had time to do otherwise. Women are at the center of each campo in the Dominican Republic, helping to institute reform in any way that they can. By promoting their well-being, Power to the She hopes to help change their communities of the better, both in health and in their personal endeavors.
In its infancy, The Power of She's success will be measured by our ability to raise funds to support each project and engage volunteers passionate about the cause to support our mission. Additionally, The Power of She's success will be determined by the number of people it impacts. This, however, does not merely include the number of projects completed, but also the lasting impact of each Comité de Mujeres in the individual campos. For this reason, both short-term and long-term data sets will be necessary to measure progress - short-term date to report the "ripple effect" of The Power of She's work and long-term collection to record the medical information of community members overtime. Projects would not simply be completed after each trip. The Power of She hopes to forge relationships with each campo to ensure withstanding success.
Because The Power of She deals with issues of public health, an expert would be present on each trip to guide the women and volunteers as they implement their Comités. By encouraging each Comité de Mujeres to track the women's health information, The Power of She can monitor the health of women long after each visit, and return to the campos for further assistance if necessary.
With the above proposal, Camila Rodriguez and Alejandra Sanchez were asked to participate at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative University in April at the University of California, Berkeley. If you would like to donate to The Power of She or to help get both Camila and Alejandra to the conference, please visit their Crowdrise Fundraising Page.