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Beyond Our Borders

After leading a successful effort to ensure Case Western Reserve’s restrooms offered free menstrual products, undergraduate Geneva Magsino sought a larger challenge.

She found it in Sierra Leone—and then again, in Senegal.

While Magsino’s on-campus efforts centered on securing access to resources important to women’s health, her subsequent research revealed that in some places, stigma surrounding menstruation contributed not only to illness, but fundamental inequalities.

In collaboration with classmate Hannah Clarke, Magsino developed an educational program to provide girls in western Africa basic information about the taboo subject. With initial support from the Office of Undergraduate Studies and Office for Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity, their proposal also secured a $10,000 grant from the Projects for Peace philanthropic organization.

In the summer of 2018, the pair spent two months teaching in Sierra Leone, working alongside Girl Up, a United Nations Foundation initiative committed to advancing gender equality. Then, when both studied abroad in Senegal during the spring semester 2019, they brought the program to a local bilingual school.

Although Magsino graduated in May with a degree in international studies, she and Clarke, now a junior studying French on the pre-med track, continue to look for opportunities to share Projects for Peace.

As Clarke put it: “Wherever we go, we take our project with us.”

“Geneva and I study very different disciplines, but they work together beautifully.”

—Hannah Clarke