Class of 2013 Student Projects

Students in UNH's Master of Arts in Community Development Policy & Practice take a course sequence in Project Design, Implementation, Management, and Evaluation — and put theory into practice through a major applied project.

Marine Sustainability and Tourism in La Caleta, the Dominican Republic

- Kristen Fitzpatick

Just outside of the city of Santo Domingo, lies La Caleta, a National Underwater Park. Due to decades of overfishing and unsustainable practices, the marine life that once flourished there has been severely compromised. Through the efforts of Reef Check Organization, there is now an Aquatic Center, offering locals in the fishing community the ability to subsidize their incomes while simultaneously maintaining sustainable practices of the Underwater Park. This project aims to assist the Aquatic Center in achieving financial self-sustainability through more effective marketing practices.

Enabling Immigrant Sudanese Youth Dropouts in Portland, Maine, to Get Reliable Jobs

- Babala Nour

Immigrant Sudanese in Portland MaineThe lack of basic educational foundation skills, English language skills, and resources contributes to the dropout rate of immigrant Sudanese youth in Portland, Maine, resulting in their inability to obtain high school diplomas and get reliable jobs. This leads to issues with parents/guardians, the police and legal system, and even imprisonment and possible deportation. This project intends to raise awareness of the benefits of obtaining high school diplomas, seeking counseling services, enlisting volunteer teachers and tutors, and encouraging volunteering opportunities.

Empowering Somali Youth to Prevent Radicalism & Piracy (Mogadishu, Somalia)

- Safia Farah

More than 70 percent of Somali youth today lack employment opportunities stemming from twenty-one years of civil war and a vacuum of government institutions. These factors and pervasive youth hopelessness have led to war profiteers and criminal enterprises taking advantage of Somali youth, leading to involvement in both terrorism and piracy. This pilot project in Mogadishu provides youth with an opportunity to develop and implement projects. The goal is to inspire the local community and businesses in Somalia to duplicate these programs of youth employment creation to prevent the Somali youth’s dire situation, hence improving the security situation for the country.

Writing to Communicate (New Hampshire, USA)

- Hannah MacBride

In the Winnisquam Regional School District of New Hampshire, test scores have been decreasing across the board over the last ten years with students currently scoring far below average in writing. The school has chosen to focus its efforts on improving writing, since writing as a form of communication is essential for college and many careers. The goal of this project is to incorporate a writing curriculum into math, science, and social studies classrooms to ensure students are writing to communicate in all classes.


The Feasibility of the Biodigester System in Las Marias, Puerto Rico

- Von Ferguson

Von talking with friends in Las Maria, Puerto ricoPlenitud Initiative Eco-Education, a small grassroots permaculture organization, would like to build a demonstrative biodigester, but it faces a lack of resources, knowledge and skills, human labor, and time. This project involves research into their current waste management practices, feasibility, and demand of alternative and more sustainable systems for Plenitud and local residents in Alto Sano, Las Marias, Puerto Rico. The result of this research will determine whether the biodigester is the most suitable waste management system for Plenitud and Alto Sano.

Ensuring a Continued Dedication to Men Of Strength:Diversity Education and Family (MOS:DEF) (New Hampshire, USA)

- Otis Douce

Otis Douce and crewMOS:DEF was founded to provide a venue of support for men of color at UNH. Statistics demonstrate that students in this category drop out at a higher rate and feel an increased sense of isolation on campus. The group seeks to help sharpen academic acuity and to construct a type of family functioning at the university level to retain viable numbers of male students of color and to contribute to the University’s goal of maintaining a diverse campus environment. This project’s goal is to enhance the ability of MOS:DEF to thrive at UNH long term.

Sunflower County United for Children (Mississippi, USA)

- William Buster

Sunflower County in Mississippi is a community where 90 percent of students are African-American. The legacy of racism and low expectations of its children leave many of Sunflower County’s African-American children receiving an inadequate and inequitable education. This project will begin to address the issues preventing high educational attainment of the county’s children by increasing the number of high quality early childcare providers, supporting parents to help their children come to kindergarten with more resources ready to learn, and equipping principals and teachers to provide excellent education through professional development and better curriculum development.

Combating Illiteracy among Azande Elderly in Portland, Maine

- Michael Augustino

learning in classroomDue to illiteracy, elderly Azande in Portland, Maine, are impacted by a number of daily challenges. They are challenged with the inability to read their mail, pay bills, go to their appointments unaccompanied, safely take medications, be involved in school meetings to represent their children, get stable jobs, get Federal benefits (such as SSI), get U.S. government protection in case they travel outside the United States, and easily obtain U.S. citizenship documents. This project will provide the necessary resources for improving literacy among five Elderly Azande by offering bilingual language classes, transportation services, and health education.

Support for Immigrant Mothers (Massachusetts, USA)

Aruna Sharma- Aruna Sharma

Recent immigrant mothers in Acton, Massachusetts, and surrounding areas suffer from isolation that leads to depression and a vulnerability to domestic abuse. There are many groups and organizations that exist to support mothers, but they fail to address and meet some of the unique needs of immigrant mothers who want to maintain their culture while integrating into their communities. This project addresses some of these issues and focuses on finding a solution to support healthy lifestyles for immigrant mothers and their children by providing a support group for cultural parenting issues, emergency child care support, and training for future employment.

Physical Activity among Somali Women in Portland, Maine

- Deqa Dhalac

women dancingSomali women living in the United States are at risk for chronic health conditions due to changes in lifestyles following immigration. Numerous barriers to physical activity have been reported among immigrant Somali women, such as lack of financial resources, transportation, and language and cultural barriers. This project focuses on increasing the physical activity level among the Somali women in Portland, Maine, through conversations that explore barriers to fitness and exercise; raise awareness of the social, physical, and cultural effects of physical activity; and explore solutions to facilitate Somali women’s access to fitness opportunities.

Innovative Solutions to Reduce Recidivism in Alaska

- Ted Madsen

ted in classroomThe budget requirements of the Alaska Department of Corrections are increasing too fast. A main driver of this budgetary acceleration is the high rates of recidivism. This project seeks to reduce recidivism by writing legislation that allows the executive branch to issue a "social impact bond (SIB)." The proceeds from the SIB will be used to scale up a select group of programs at various correctional institutions in Alaska that have demonstrated success at reducing recidivism at the local level. These scaled-up programs will have a greater impact statewide and, in the long run, bend the budget cost-curve in a downward direction. The project will benefit both incarcerated persons who will have the life skills to not re-offend and community members who will experience a lower crime rate.

Capacity Building of a Youth-focused Organization in Somalia

- Ruqia Mohamed

ruqia and friendA youth-focused non-profit organization in Somalia is expanding its services into another area of the country. However, there is a lack of organizational capacity in the expansion area which could affect the ability of the organization to effectively and efficiently contribute to the development of its youth. This project seeks to improve the capacity of the organization’s development department by improving basic communication skills needed to raise funds, financial and organizational management skills to effectively run the organization, and to increase their ability to make their services known to the youth in the expansion area.