Dean of Students & Retention, Kim Grieve, PhD, traveled to Tanzania this past summer as part of the U.S. Visual Arts Initiative.

As one of 25 arts and education professionals, Dr. Grieve utilized and furthered her previous experience working with Tanzanian delegations of women artists visiting the US and her doctoral research on education and gender issues.Lourdes faculty in Africa

"I became involved with this valuable program as a Board Member of the Great Lakes Consortium (GLC) for International Training and Development," notes Dr. Grieve. The GLC along with the Tanzania US State Alumni Association, Tanzania Women Artist Network and the Arts Council Lake Erie West of NW Ohio collaborated with the Public Affairs Office of the United States Embassy in Tanzania to make the project a reality.

Having a long-held interest in research that focuses on issues of power and oppression in terms of gender in order to raise consciousnesses and empower all people, Dr. Grieve's purpose during the trip was to explore the primary, secondary and higher education experience of African women.

"My research when it is completed will include a qualitative study of the lived educational experience of these women," she adds.

The GLC-sponsored initiative proved successful for Dr. Grieve and her colleagues.

"In Tanzania, people are very happy and friendly even though they have very few resources," notes Dr. Grieve. "Their sense of family and community and their work ethic is extremely strong. They live together and support one another."

She goes on to say, "Education is becoming better for African women but there are still many changes that need to be made. Many families do not allow their daughters to become educated because they expect them to marry very young and raise their children. If a family has very little money, which many of them do, they will choose to pay for the son to attend school rather than the daughter."

Overall, Dr. Grieve said the trip "was a great learning experience. When I embarked on this journey, I sought insight into the social, cultural and economic factors that hinder gender equity with the goal of determining how some African women have been able to successfully continue their education.

"I also was looking forward to meeting individuals, sharing stories and learning about the African culture and forming long-lasting partnerships with colleagues in schools and universities."

"In the end, I learned many lessons from the Tanzanian people. I was fortunate to enjoy many meals and conversations in their homes to learn about their culture. They are very open, peaceful, engaging and willing to share what little they have. It was a truly heartening and enlightening experience."