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About Dorothy Mwawasi

Dorothy Mwawasi I am a first-generation immigrant from Kenya. I have lived in the US for the last 20 years but I maintain close contact with my immediate and extended family in Kenya. My greatest accomplishment was to have been the first in my family to earn a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) in Marketing at Christopher Newport University in Virginia in 1999. I continued with higher education and matriculated in 2004 with a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) at Marymount University. In 2005-2007, I worked independently as a contractor for the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) gaining experience in global funding projects in South Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia and Mongolia) as well managed the funding of case studies developed by professors at various business schools in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania and Rwanda. Thereafter, I switched careers into the healthcare field, and worked for Children’s National Medical Center in administration and project management under the leadership of the VP of Finance. My experience at CNMC sparked an interest in healthcare management, and in 2012 embarked on another degree, a Masters in Healthcare Management at Marymount University. For my internship I spent a month, at the Beatrice Tierney Clinic in Bupoto, Uganda, where I applied best practices in healthcare management to critically evaluate the medical supply ordering system at the clinic and after careful analysis resulted in the implementation of new practices that now allow the clinic to operate in a more financially efficient manner. Recently, in January to May 2014, I was selected to participate in a pilot project for USAID, the Diaspora for Development project (Dfd), where I volunteered with a small non-profit, Sauti ya Wanawake Pwani, SYW (in English means Voice of Women at the Coast). SYW advocates for women and children’s rights in Mombasa, Kenya. While working at SYW I contributed to helping them create a marketing strategy and improving their management structure. SYW is a forum engaged in activities to bring social change by empowering women to be proactive in asserting their role in development free from male dominance and other issues of inequality. SYW is a grassroots movement focused on bringing social change by challenging a patriarchal society to transform it to a more inclusive society. The key strategies for SYW are: capacity building of women through entrepreneurship, creating networks and linkages with other organizations with the same goals, community education and awareness and influencing policy and legislation. SYW is made up of more than 6500 non-fee paying members active in six countries of the Coast region. The majority of Sauti members come from indigenous ethnic groups including the Swahili, Mijikenda, Bajun, Pokomo, Orma and Taita. The women and girls served by SYW are faced with multiple levels of discrimination caused not only by their gender but by their minority status. The next chapter of my life is to create a SYW (USA) chapter to empower women from the diaspora in the US and Canada to support SYW Kenya financially through fundraising; foster volunteering and active involvement in their programs.
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