Frontiers’ Volunteers: Empowering women and girls in rural communities

Frontiers’ volunteers have always been at the forefront of community and societal responses. Mary Ayagwu shares her experience volunteering for a global event in support of women and girls to mark this year's International Women's Day

Photo credit: Alaya, Tanzania Development Trust

What is your background and role at Frontiers?  

“I work as a content specialist and my background is in psychology and criminology.” 

What does the organization you volunteered for do?  

“I volunteered for the Tanzania Development Trust. They work to empower women and girls in rural communities in Tanzania. Their main goals are to provide Tanzanian women with access to an education, access to clean water, and improve agricultural practices. They also work to protect the girls' rights to bodily autonomy as well as invest in the community to generate income for the community.” 

What did you do during your time volunteering?  

“During my time volunteering, I helped to virtually map out remote villages on an open street map, which helps organizations respond and provide aid in times of emergency, such as natural disasters or disease outbreaks. Mapping rural areas can also help protect the girls on their way to school and rescue anyone in danger.” 

What was your motivation for choosing this organization?  

“Well, I like to volunteer as much as I can, and I wanted to do something for International Women's Day. I chose the organization because I believed in their cause, and I think it's really important that we women help each other and support each other when we can. This was something that I could do to support other women.” 

What did you learn from the experience?  

“I learned that there is so much that we take for granted. Having a map to guide you seems so simple, but it is very beneficial for people in rural communities and for emergencies. I also learned that there is a lot more that we can do to help from the comfort of our own homes than we think. This is something that I did virtually at home, but it has a huge effect on people on the other side of the world. So, I learned a lot about how easy it is to make more of a positive impact.” 

What advice would you give to those looking to get involved in volunteer activities? 

“I used to be worried about volunteering because I wasn't sure how I could help, but there are so many ways to volunteer and there's something for everyone. If you don't want to do face-to-face volunteering, you can volunteer virtually. If you prefer face-to-face volunteering, then you can do that, too. It doesn't matter what you do, because whatever you do will help someone else and that's all that matters.” 

Frontiers is a signatory of the United Nations Publishers COMPACT. This interview has been published in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

About Frontiers 

Founded in 2007, Frontiers is the 3rd most-cited and 6th largest scientific publisher. We publish rigorously peer-reviewed, quality-certified research by the world's top experts. Scientists empower society and our mission is to accelerate scientific collaboration by making science open. We place the researcher at the center of everything we do and enable the research community to develop the solutions we need to live healthy lives on a healthy planet. Featuring custom-built technology, artificial intelligence, and rigorous quality standards, our research articles have been viewed more than 2.6 billion times, reflecting the power of research that is open for all.