From Minnesota to Kenya: Humphrey School Students Help Provide COVID Information to Remote Island Residents

November 10, 2020

It was a most unusual summer project for two students at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs—spanning two continents, 10 time zones, and an ocean—to deliver important public health information about the coronavirus pandemic to an isolated island population in Kenya. But the students, who are pursuing their Master of Development Practice degrees, took on and succeeded in that challenge. 

Aimee Carlson and Neamatallah Elsayed (both MDP ‘21) collaborated with several partner organizations to create and implement a COVID-19 information campaign for the 30,000 or so residents on Mfangano Island, situated in the eastern part of Lake Victoria about 10 miles off the coast of Kenya. And they did it all over Zoom. 

The MDP program prepares students for careers in international development, equipping them with the skills needed to address issues such as poverty, social justice, and sustainable development. Students are required to complete a 10-week international field experience during the summer between the first and second year of the program. Because of the pandemic, students couldn’t travel to other countries, so they had to modify their projects into virtual formats. 


Mfangano Island