Projects for Peace: The Vision of Kathryn W. Davis

"My challenge to you is to bring about a mind-set of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war."

Peace by Design: Developing an Education Initiative for Tech Needs Girls

Project #
Dartmouth College
  • Hilary Johnson
  • Gurkaran Singh

Peace by Design: Developing an Education Initiative for Tech Needs Girls

For their project, Hilary and Gurkaran taught a human-centered design curriculum in partnership with a Ghanaian mentorship program called Tech Needs Girls. Their goal was to inspire and prepare girls ages 10-16 to develop innovative solutions to their local problems with creative confidence. Hilary and Gurkaran were greatly impressed and inspired by Tech Needs Girls leader Regina Agyare, widely recognized for her commitment to empowering girls through teaching technology and code. Regina embraced this Project for Peace because she recognized that design thinking could be another essential skill alongside technology to foster change makers. She said, “We need a design-thinking program designed with local content and context that we can include in our curriculum.”

That is what Hilary and Gurkaran sought out to do — and accomplished. In addition to piloting their course for 32 girls during the summer, they spent significant time teaching their curriculum to the local team that will sustain it alongside the established coding curriculum. Their work is beginning to infuse design thinking into the educational system in Ghana, especially for young women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). And Hilary and Gurkaran are continuing their project by producing several video modules and accompanying resources for Tech Needs Girls and other interested organizations.

Hilary and Gurkaran acted on their belief that educated and empowered women are fundamental to sustainable peace and thriving communities.