On their way: 2024 Napier Initiative winners aim to make a difference

(L-R) Taeya Boi-Doku and Rukmini Banerjee are the 2024 Napier Initiative Award winners. Photo/courtesy of Pilgrim Place

Taeya Boi-Doku and Rukmini Banerjee received Napier Initiative Awards at a recent ceremony at Claremont’s Pilgrim Place. The initiative is a partnership between Pilgrim Place and the Claremont Colleges to encourage leadership for social change.

Through workshops and classes, Boi-Doku, formerly of Pitzer College, will use her $20,000 prize to share her skills in sustainable gardening, water management, and solar electrical systems with a team of people at Asaase Yaa, an ecovillage in Mankrong, Ghana, with an eye toward building regenerative gardens for local food production.

Boi-Doku’s work as one of the first essential volunteers to promote sustainability at Asaase Yaa will include completing a series of infrastructure projects such as building earthbag cottages, bringing water pumps and solar electricity to the ecovillage, and developing an agroforestry regenerative garden.

The $20,000 Napier prize money will help Claremont McKenna College’s Banerjee work with the Pomona Prison Education Program to a teach 10-week course, “Living Under Structural Violence,” for incarcerated people in the Bay Area. The course will include learning about structural violence by reading scholarly works, then sharing experiences and coping mechanisms. People anticipating parole will also be matched with mentors who have successfully transitioned to life after prison.


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