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Walden Magazine // Jan 04, 2012

Finding a Cause and a Community

May 2012—Dr. Alexandria K. Osborne ’10 was a PhD in Applied Management and Decision Sciences (now PhD in Management) student at Walden when she was given the opportunity to serve as a Pfizer Global Health Fellow in Tanzania for six months in 2009. The experience would have long-lasting effects, uprooting her from her home in Kalamazoo, Mich., and setting her on a mission to improve her Tanzanian community.

On her initial trip, Osborne focused on reducing maternity mortality and finalizing a 10-year strategy for CARE International as a business analyst. When she returned to the United States in February 2010, she knew she had to continue her research and positively impact the country.

“When I graduated in May, I returned to Tanzania,” Osborne explains. “My husband and I continue to promote improved social welfare for the people where we live.” Together, they bring awareness to the challenges local residents face—and organize the delivery of much-needed resources.

Recently, Osborne supplied textbooks to children at Ruvu Primary School—a luxury in a village where there is no running water or electricity. “When we heard that they did not have the required English textbooks, we made friends, co-workers, and family members aware,” she explains. Osborne knew that if she could supply the textbooks, local children would have a better chance for an education and, eventually, to compete for higher-paying careers.

What happened next was overwhelming: “In less than a week, we received funds from a U.S. donor, obtained government approval, procured the books, and distributed them to the local schools,” she says. Instead of supplying a single book for two students, as required by the school system, Osborne and her donors supplied a book to each student. She also donated the accompanying teachers’ guides to the school.

“The students, teachers, parents, and district education administration staff members were extremely grateful,” she explains. “And this is just the beginning.” Osborne hopes to supply the required geography, math, and Swahili textbooks through a similar effort next year.

“My Walden degree has given me the confidence and credentials to go forth in uncharted waters,” she says. “I have used the skills I acquired through my academic and professional experiences to improve the lives of people in my community.”

Although her resources are limited, her goal is to give a voice to the people in her community by working with the local government agencies, nonprofits, and nongovernmental organizations to establish services.

“I intend to be the voice for the voiceless,” Osborne explains. “My goal is to bring running water, power, sanitation, access to healthcare and education, food security, and transportation to my community.”