Davis prize-winners work on AIDS prevention

Seniors each get $10,000 to develop projects in Kazakhstan, Swaziland

Davis Project winners Ardak Meterkulova ’13 and Mangaliso Mohammed ’13

Davis Projects for Peace is a philanthropic initiative that funds grassroots projects promoting peace and addressing causes of conflict. Recently, the initiative awarded Mangaliso Mohammed ’13 and Ardak Meterkulova ’13 $10,000 prizes for their ideas on AIDS prevention.

Mohammed will spend his summer in Africa, working on a project to increase access to food to manage and contain HIV/AIDS. Meanwhile, Meterkulova plans to create a bilingual educational film on HIV/AIDS to be used in teaching sex education in summer camps in the Almaty region of Kazakhstan. 

The students’ decisions to address HIV/AIDS prevention has much to do with their keen attention to justice in their homelands. 

In Mohammed’s home country of Swaziland, the government is providing free antiretroviral drugs to individuals who test positive due to HIV prevalence. However, poor diets undermine such treatment. 

“I wanted to address the fundamental issues that compromise the management of HIV/AIDS in the country focusing in an urban informal community in the capital city of Mbabane,” said Mohammed. “I decided that increasing access to food for people affected by HIV and establishing income generating projects for these groups would assist in reducing poverty and empower people to manage HIV more effectively.”

Mohammed, who had an internship with the Mbabane City Council in Swaziland last year that focused on community development, hopes that this new project will be “the beginning of a long-term relationship in the development of low-income communities in Swaziland.” 

Meterkulova decided to work on her film, “HIV/AIDS Education for Peaceful and Healthy Kazakhstan” after receiving the Presidential Scholarship of Kazakhstan in 2008. Entrusted with the responsibility of using her knowledge to improve her home country, Meterkulova hoped to help young students in the Almaty region and to educate them. 

“I always used my free time to study medical practices of foreign countries such as China and Germany that could be applied in Kazakhstan,” says Meterkulova. “Last summer, I received a Max Kade Scholarship through the Center for German and European Studies to research German the healthcare system, particularly polices related to the law-enforced health insurance.”

The two seniors will be recognized at a reception hosted by the Peace, Conflict, and Coexistence Studies program on April 22 from 12-1:30 pm in the Shapiro Campus Center Art Gallery. Attendance is open to all students and lunch will be served.

Categories: International Affairs, Student Life

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