Aba Daniels: Mobilizing the Next Generation of Community Builders
In the summer of 2014, Bryn Mawr College’s Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research needed to refresh and update its existing magazine, used primarily for prospective students. New alumni feature stories were written and graphic design services were provided for this project.
“If you can educate women and make sure their voices are heard, they will mobilize their communities and carry on advocacy and ultimately take what you’ve developed and run with it,” said Aba Daniels, MSS ’14.
A native of Ghana, Daniels spent the majority of her career working to empower women in her home country. As a student and community developer, Daniels researched and worked on projects related to maternal health and mortality, women living with HIV/AIDS and water and sanitation.
“Educating women to advocate for themselves and their communities is something I’m very connected to, and being able to put topics out there through research is so important,” Daniels said. “But I was ready to be more involved in the change process, working with people in a practical way, a way that directly helps.”
Daniels decided to pursue graduate education in social work in the U.S. She sought out internationally-focused, women-centered programs that would give her hands-on experience, and Bryn Mawr was her top choice.
During her field placement in the Bryn Mawr Civic Engagement Office, Daniels facilitated service-learning courses that provide Bryn Mawr students with the opportunity to engage in their own communities via reciprocal relationships with community partners.
Daniels developed and led four programs, all with an international component. Her programs facilitate partnerships that involve students translating journals from women in the Congo for an online digital media network; a conversation exchange between students and French-speaking immigrant families; a buddy program that pairs international students at Bryn Mawr with elementary students from the same countries; and an international cultural showcase for a senior center.
“I believe that the students I worked with got as much out of these experiences as they put in,” Daniels said. “I specifically wanted to work with youth and continue to engage in community issues and community building. I feel like Bryn Mawr has been the coming together of everything that came before. Life has come full circle for me – I’m mobilizing the next generation of community builders.”
Photo credit: Bryn Mawr University