GSIF Week 1

During a meeting last fall, Professor Kramp brought the Safe Motherhood project to my attention. GSIF immediately sparked my interest due to its collaborative and creative nature. The very next day, another one of my professors reached out to me recommending the project. I have to attribute some of the motivation for enrolling in this course to those two professors who educated me on this opportunity me and supported me along the way. This being said, I have never seen a project that fits my interests so perfectly before. I am studying english, documentary film, and sustainable development. I landed on that combination of majors due to a passion for storytelling and an interest in how art functions in combatting some of the world’s most pressing issues. During a class on the literature of environmental crises I developed a strong interest in maternal health and the ways that motherhood are connected to environmental and social issues. I am beyond excited to dive into the Safe Motherhood project and help tell the stories of women in Sierra Leone. 

GSIF is a good step in furthering my academic and post-grad goals. It will help me improve my teamwork skills, organization, and responsibility. I think I will gain a lot of self motivation through this, due to the fact that I’m in Australia. Being abroad makes it difficult to keep up with work, but I think it’ll be a good experience scheduling my own time. For my film studies, I’m excited to get more hands on production experience and have a finished film to diversify my portfolio. I think working in Sierra Leone will help teach me about the ethics surrounding documentary production. Learning to respect the lives and stories of those we are documenting is very important to the process and I’m interested to begin working on this. As an english student, I will learn communication, writing, research, and storytelling skills. I am looking forward to working with faculty and further developing passions for these issues. Finally as an SDEV student, this project will give me hands-on access to field work where the problems we learn about in class are really happening. Through the Safe Motherhood project, I will be able to combine all of my interests and explore the impacts that film has on educating and combatting maternal health. 

The question posed about access to eyeglasses in developing countries reminds me of some of the entrepreneurial ventures established to provide access to other amenities. There are some companies that provide laptops to students in developing countries. Also, I think of Tom’s business model where for every pair of shoes bought, a pair gets sent to children across Africa. A system like this helps provide goods to those in need while providing the consumer in the US a product as well. People are more likely to buy a product than donate money. Studies also show that people are more likely to buy a product when they know it is helping a bigger cause. This is one of the reasons why Toms became so popular, and they ended up helping a lot of people in developing countries. A business model like that for eyeglasses could work well. After reading about the issue a bit, I noticed there are a few articles bringing this issue to light as a philanthropy opportunity. Other brands are expanding into Africa hopping to establish themselves there and one day make a profit. Expansion into these developing countries can help solve the issue and be mutually beneficial.

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