Grace Ochieng’ ’12 is one of 23 women students chosen from across the nation to participate in the Practicum in Advocacy at the United Nations.
Ochieng’ is from Rongo, Kenya and, she is working towards a double major in Global Studies and Government with a minor in Spanish here at St. Lawrence. In 2009, Ochieng’ was awarded a Projects for Peace grant. In Kenya, Ochieng’ led a micro-financed sewing and education project. She worked with A People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) support group in the rural village of Lwala. She helped to educate women about community health and hygiene while producing reusable, washable, and environmentally friendly menstrual sanitary pads. She worked to enhance the local economy and increase school attendance amongst young women.
Ochieng’ will continue her advocacy for women as a delegate to the annual Commission on the Status of Women meetings. The meetings are held from February 22 through March 4 in New York City at the United Nations headquarters. The Commission’s priority theme this year is “access and participation of women and girls in education, training, science and technology.” They will also have the opportunity to build on last year’s theme: “the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against girl children.”
At the meetings, Ochieng’ will have the opportunity to observe and participate in the United Nations’ high-level decision-making and delegation processes. She and the other participants will also learn how to network with NGOs and meet government officials. They will also participate in turning specific proposals into documents that can be adopted by UN bodies.
She will have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of women by offering her observations from her time in Kenya and other studies. “Attending CSW will allow me to expand my theoretical knowledge of the gender field and my ability to critically analyze factors affecting women’s development both domestically and at international levels thus limiting projects that continue to marginalize women worldwide. I look forward to the event!” Ochieng’ said in a news article released by her alma mater, The White Mountain School’s.
Ochieng’ will build on her work in Kenya and at the UN this spring semester. She was awarded a travel enrichment grant to study in Chile. She plans to interview women about their movements during Pinochet’s rule and attend Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso. A true activist, Ochieng’ also plans travel to Argentina to learn about the activist group Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. She says she will create an advocacy project when she returns to campus.
Ochieng’ is an inspiration. She has and will continue to directly and indirectly influence the lives of women throughout the world.