Belmont University in Nashville, TN is known nationally for several of it’s successes, graduates like Florida Georgia Line and Brad Paisley, a basketball team that has a penchant for upsets, and an Enactus team (formerly Students In Free Enterprise) that has been recognized for it’s innovative, community-changing, ideas. When the Enactus team reached out to potentially partner with Women at Risk (WAR) in Ethiopia earlier this year, we were thrilled by the potential. After spending time with Women at Risk leaders, Cherry and Wondee, Enactus helped identify several ways they could, together, bolster the already-strong rehabilitation and training programs. Ideas that surfaced include: a “Train the Trainer” Counseling curriculum created by experts in the field of trauma counseling for further education of on-site counselors, literacy and ESL training, and a new data management system to better understand outcomes of Women at Risk’s program.
Additionally, WAR has had such success addressing the needs of women escaping the sex industry over the last 20 years, that community development organizations world-wide reach out to learn how they can replicate the model. Enactus hopes to address this need by creating a scalable program that could serve as a model program to the large number of communities desiring to address the needs of vulnerable women in their area. We look forward to further developments in this partnership and will continue to share how this group of young people, living thousands of miles from Africa, found a way to use their talents to make a difference in the lives of women in Ethiopia.