Junior Kiflu Arega receives $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace grant to fund irrigation project in Ethiopia

April 03, 2009

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-- Luther College junior Kiflu Arega has received a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace grant, one of 100 Davis grants awarded to college students worldwide to support grassroots community projects that can contribute to international cooperation, understanding and peace.

The Davis Projects for Peace initiative has been renewed for 2009 by philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis. The students from nearly 100 campuses will collectively receive over $1 million in funding during the summer of 2009 for projects in all regions of the world.

Now 102 years old, Mrs. Davis launched the initiative on the occasion of her 100th birthday in 2007 and now renews her challenge to todays generation of college students to undertake innovative and meaningful projects.

Designed to encourage and support motivated youth to create and implement their ideas for building peace throughout the world in the 21st century, each of the more than 100 projects will receive $10,000 in funding.

Davis Projects for Peace invited all students from partner schools in the Davis United World College (UWC) Scholars Program plus students at International Houses worldwide and Future Generations to submit plans for grassroots projects for peace, to be implemented during the summer of 2009.

"The competition on nearly 100 campuses was keen and we congratulate the students who proposed the winning projects," said executive director of the Davis UWC Scholars Program Philip O. Geier. "Kathryn Davis has been a lifelong internationalist and philanthropist, and has left her mark on a wide range of institutions and countless students. The wisdom of her years has led her to look to young people for new ideas and fresh energy to improve prospects for peace."

Luther junior Kiflu Arega, a native of Ethiopia, developed his proposal with faculty advisor Mary Gander, visiting associate professor of management. His "Collaborating on Irrigation to Fight Hunger" project was approved for funding by Davis Projects for Peace.

"The main goal of the proposal is to create less dependency on seasonal rainfall by encouraging farmers to establish sustainable food security in Datu Wereda through the establishment of an irrigation-based, organized farming model for the region," explains Arega.

Datu Wereda is a city in Ethiopia where 90 percent of the population is mixed agriculturalists whose lives depend heavily on seasonal rainfall. The funding for the proposal would go toward forming an irrigation system for approximately 20 Datu Wereda farmers from the nearby Lake Awassa and Tikur-Wuha River.

"I want to use my birthday to once again help young people launch some initiatives that will bring new energy and ideas to the prospects of peace in the world," said Kathryn Davis. "My many years have taught me that there will always be conflict. It's part of human nature."

"But love, kindness, and support are also part of human nature, and my challenge to these young people is to bring about a mindset of preparing for peace instead of preparing for war," she said.

A complete list of the participating schools and projects, as well as a summary of the 2008 projects and a video interview with Davis from 2006, is available on the programs Web site at www.davisprojectsforpeace.org.