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Viola Vaughn

Westerners who want to help developing nations engineer social change must adapt to the local culture. Textbook case: How Viola Vaughn, founder of 10,000 Girls, used the Koran to persuade the Islamic owners of a bus company in Senegal to institute family planning for female employees.

Dr. Viola M. Vaughn (Ed.D., Health Education, ’84) is founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Health Education and Prevention Strategies Alliance (WHEPSA) and 10,000 Girls in Kaolack, Senegal, West Africa. She founded WHEPSA in 2001, to develop new strategies for offering health and educational services to girls in rural Senegal. The key tenets of her approach are to help provide education for girls at risk of failure or dropping out of school; and to create opportunities for employment and training for girls who have failed at school or never attended. 10,000 Girls boasts a student pass rate of 92 percent, compared to just 28 percent for UNESCO in the same region.

Vaughn has received the CNN Heroes award and the Teachers College Distinguished Alumni Award for her accomplishments.

To learn more about Viola Vaughn, read:

The Teflon Grandmother (TC Today magazine)

CNN Heroes video (CNN - 10,000 Girls website)

Learn more about TC's Health Education program in the College's Department of Health and Behavior Studies.


Premiered on 6/21/2013

About the Series

In "Mini Moments with Big Thinkers," leading figures in Teachers College's history discuss groundbreaking ideas, research and initiatives born at the College during the past half-century. The Mini Moments are drawn from the College’s Oral History Project, a collection of more than 90 videotaped interviews conducted by Melanie Shorin and Jessica Wiederhorn, the principals of The Narrative Trust, a private firm that conducts and captures the oral histories of institutions, communities and individuals. Produced in conjunction with TC’s Department of Development and External Affairs, the Mini-Moments are airing throughout 2013.

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