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."

Promoting Education And Cultivating Empowerment (PEACE) through Girls Basketball

Project #
University of Pennsylvania
  • Summer Kollie
  • Princess Aghayere

PEACEPromoting Education And Cultivating Empowerment (PEACE) through Girls Basketball

“Women in African societies are often marginalized and oppressed,” note Summer Kollie and Princess Aghayere, Penn students of African descent who conceived and carried out this project. Through a monthlong program for 30 adolescent girls in Liberia’s capital city, PEACE paired up two pathways to empowerment: personal development and basketball.

Princess is a standout forward on the Penn women’s basketball team. Summer has served on the board of the campus chapter of QuestBridge Scholars Network, which connects outstanding high schoolers from low-income backgrounds with leading institutions of higher education. The two won additional project funding from the Gelfman International Fund at Penn and built a partnership with SOS Children’s Villages Liberia.

In Monrovia, Summer and Princess renovated a basketball court at the SOS CV compound, installing new hoops, nets, and backboards — and they led a twice-weekly basketball clinic, providing each participant with a jersey, shoes, and ball donated by the Penn women’s team. They also organized weekly workshops for the girls, who came from 15 schools in and around Monrovia, on topics including sexual and reproductive health, leadership, setting goals and accessing opportunities. And they led them on trips to Monrovia’s Coca-Cola plant and the national Senate, two career sites where Liberian women are massively underrepresented.

“The dual aspect of the project for empowering young Liberian females proved to be extremely complementary,” the students write. “The director of SOS CV Liberia intends to continue with the summer camp in summers to come.”