Natacha Poggio

University of Hartford

Grant Awarded: $5,000

For the University of Hartford, diversity of every sort is integral to their academic mission, along with connections to local, national and global communities. In keeping with this philosophy, Professor Natacha Poggio started Design Global Change, now a student organization that collaborates with professionals and appropriate organizations to use design as a way to improve the world.

DGC first partnered with Engineers Without Borders Student Chapter to create Water4India, a sanitation campaign in Abheypur, India, and then worked in Kenya on a nutrition and wellness campaign. Through that work it soon became apparent that adolescent girls in developing countries are often overlooked in their communities, resulting in high school dropout rates and gender inequality. To raise awareness of the important role that women in their rural communities play, the DGC received a grant to develop educational materials, including a set of cards depicting Indian men and women in various roles that could be used by teachers to trigger discussions about gender issues. The cards were produced with a guidebook on effective mentoring of female students.