When U.Va. students return to the University in the fall, they will discover new initiatives as part of the exciting Women, Girls and Global Justice program at the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center.

The Center recently received two significant gifts that will extend the program: an endowment of $100,000 for the Beverly Cobble Rodriguez Lectureship Fund Supporting Women’s Education and Global Leadership, as well as funding from Young Women Leaders Program (YWLP) supporter Anne Casscells for a YWLP Global Internship for undergraduates.

Beverly Cobble Rodriguez Lectureship Fund Supporting Women’s Education and Global Leadership

Women’s Center supporter Joe V. Rodriguez, Jr. established the Beverly Cobble Rodriguez Lectureship Fund, supporting women’s education and global leadership.

This endowment, which honors his wife Beverly Cobble Rodriguez, will fund an annual lecture supporting women’s education and global leadership, with a special emphasis on healthcare, multi-national business, and the liberal arts. Women’s Center Director Sharon Davie is forming an interdisciplinary Beverly Cobble Rodriguez Lectureship Committee to identify distinguished women who work in this crucial area. She is currently working closely with colleagues in Global Health.

Young Women Leaders Program Global Internship

The internship will take place during January term under the mentorship of the founder of YWLP in Cameroon, Caroline Berinyuy. Applications will be accepted from U.Va. students who participate or have participated in YWLP as Big Sisters, Facilitators or Interns. More information on the application process will be released in the fall.

YWLP is an innovative mentoring program founded by the Women’s Center and the Curry School of Education at U.Va. in 1997. It is designed to support and enhance the sense of competence, connection and autonomy of a diverse group of college women and middle school girls by promoting women’s and girls’ leadership abilities. YWLP has sister sites in Mozambique, Cameroon and Nicaragua.

Jefferson Public Citizens (JPC) grants have allowed YWLP undergraduates to travel to Cameroon and Nicaragua several times. While there, they helped to train Big Sisters and learned about the importance of the cultural contexts that shape YWLP in both countries.

In Cameroon, YWLP has a presence in the city of Kumbo and surrounding villages, reaching more than 1,000 girls. During her time as a Ph.D. student at the Curry School of Education at U.Va., Berinyuy learned about YWLP and was inspired to establish a YWLP sister site in her home country.

In the past two years, with support from the Jefferson Trust and the Women’s Center, Berinyuy set out to restructure and strengthen the program.

For more on the highlights of the past two years of YWLP Cameroon, please refer to this earlier blog post.

“With the program expanding very quickly we needed to implement a series of measures to ensure that it was serving the participants effectively and also to reinforce and enhance the program’s presence in the schools,” Berinyuy said in her final report for the two-year plan.

By Agnes Filipowski