Bass Connections



In underdeveloped nations, advancement in economic and human development depends on growth in the transportation sector, which is dominated by imported used automobiles. In these nations, usually land—an auto-mechanic village—is allocated strictly for repair and service of automobiles. There are hundreds of such auto-mechanic villages in many cities in Ghana and Africa due to increasing human population and urban growth. In all these villages, auto-mechanics dispose used motor oil onto the ground, affecting streams, drinking water aquifers and the ecosystem. Used motor oil can be harmful to human health, the environment and the ecosystem, and can contaminate the food chain. There is an ethical need to promote behavioral changes by the mechanics in disposal and interaction with used motor oil.

This project team will collaborate with a team of faculty and students from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to assess the extent and levels of heavy metals and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) pollution in soils, drinking water resources and food crops within and near Suame Magazine, a cluster of hundreds of auto-mechanic workshops in the vicinity of Kumasi. The joint team will investigate hair samples, the potential of mechanics being exposed to heavy metals and PAH and possible effects on their health. The findings will be used in developing an educational and awareness program by directly engaging and interacting with the mechanics.

Bass Connections theme: Global Health
KIE program connection: Human Rights

Faculty Team Members:
Fred Boadu, Pratt – Civil and Environmental Engineering
Dennis Clements, School of Medicine – Infectious Diseases, Pediatrics
Suzanne Katzenstein, Kenan Institute for Ethics
Graduate Team Members:
Naa Adoley Allotey, Global Health and Cultural Anthropology
Nana Young, Bio-ethics

Community Team Members:
Marian Nkansah, KNUST
Harry Tagbor, KNUST

The United States resettles between 50-80,000 refugees annually. And more than half of these are women and children. North Carolina ranks tenth in the country in terms of refugee resettlement. In the past three years 2,500 refugees, predominantly from Bhutan, Burma and Iraq but also from Sudan, Somalia and elsewhere were resettled in the Triangle area. Resettlement poses numerous challenges for refugees whose history of violent displacement together with cultural and linguistic barriers often makes access to resources, jobs, education and social support difficult. Refugees also face substantial barriers to full participation in the life of their communities and initial evidence is that they have significantly lower lifetime levels of civic engagement. This project explores mechanisms for enhancing refugee civic participation with a focus on high school youth in Durham, North Carolina. This project has two allied dimensions. First, we will create a citizenship lab at Duke whose core objective will be to conduct a community based research project in Durham. Second, Duke faculty, graduate students and undergraduates will explore the empirical relationship between social science research engagement and citizenship.

Duke faculty, graduate students and undergraduates will explore the empirical relationship between social science research engagement and citizenship. Through program assessment (pre-test/post-test of participants based on a mix of existing survey instruments) we will attempt to measure the effectiveness of teaching citizenship via this pragmatic social science research method. Here faculty, graduate students and undergraduates revisit, update, and examine the impact of this program on migrant youth civic participation.

Bass Connections theme: Education & Human Development
KIE program connection: Human Rights

Faculty team members:
Abdul Sattar-Jawad (Islamic Studies & AMES)
Suzanne Shanahan (Sociology & Kenan Institute)
William Tobin (UNC Civil Rights)
Undergraduate and Graduate Student team members:
Maha Ahmed (Undergraduate)
Aidan Coleman (Undergraduate)
Catherine Farmer (Undergraduate)
Reed McLaurin (Undergraduate)
Alex Oprea (Graduate, Political Science)
Snehan Sharma (Undergraduate)
Maura Smyles (Undergraduate)
Elizabeth Tsui (Undergraduate)
Xu Wang (Graduate, Public Policy)
Elizabeth Wilkinson (Undergraduate)