Our project idea prior to the Capstone bootcamp included a preventive health education curriculum that was focused on solely diet and nutrition. Project Healthy Schools Global began in 2015, and in 2017 we launched our first pilot run of the program throughout Dhaka, Bangladesh reaching over 200 students. Our team had the advantage of already running a pilot program, however, we still had a lot of room for development.
Throughout the bootcamp, our team received an abundance of valuable and constructive feedback, from other members of our cohort to the panelists we met through speed dating, about how our project can grow and what steps we can take to ensure that it is sustainable. One of the ways that we believed that our project could expand is by making our health education curriculum more comprehensive and capturing the various dimensions of health present in developing countries.
Being culturally aware and sensitive to the community has always been a priority to our team, which is why we’ve, from the beginning, emphasized that our project is culturally adaptive. Though we have already taken steps to ensure that our project is culturally adaptive, the workshops and lessons that taught cultural humility and sensitivity were extremely helpful in recognizing possible unintended consequences and strategies to overcome these obstacles. Moreover, although we are all Bangladeshi, as we travel to Bangladesh in August to complete a needs assessment and engage with stakeholders, we will be seen as outsiders. Therefore, the “Cultural Humility” and ”Working With Communities” workshops were extremely beneficial; we must be aware of the identities we hold and remain cognizant of how our identities will intersect with the identities of the stakeholders we will engage with.
One of our personal highlights from Bootcamp was working alongside and collaborating with other student teams. It was inspiring to engage with other students who were passionate about their projects and genuinely desired to make a positive impact in the world. Seeing other students work hard motivated us to continue working passionately as well. Additionally, every stakeholder and panelist that participated in the bootcamp brought enthusiasm with them. It was wonderful being able to receive advice from people that have significant experience in their industry and that genuinely want to help students succeed. It was also meaningful making these important connections because they may be able to assist us with our projects in the future.
BLI provided numerous resources and guidance to us during this long week, but most noteworthy is the unwavering support that they provided to all the teams by creating a safe space that promoted learning, growth, and compassion.
By, Khadiza Begum, Joeita MacField, Faatimah Raisa