Featured Project

November 7, 2018

Round 2: Sierra leone study

Does access to reusable pads affect female life outcomes in Sierra Leone?

It is estimated that up to 23% of schoolgirls miss school during their menstrual periods in Sierra Leone, Nepal, and Afghanistan. Among those students, many girls reported that they felt shame or afraid that others would find out, so they would often skip classes.

A study in Ghana in 2009 provided menstrual pads to students and found that attendance among female students increased by 13%. This project by UCSF students Ashwini Shridhar and Madison Levine is testing this hypothesis in Sierra Leone - after they successfully raised and completed the first phase back in May.

In Phase 1 of their field research, they found that lack of access to adequate menstrual hygiene resources is one of the main reasons for missing school. Baseline data collection is currently underway. They are ready to start Phase 2 of the study which will focus on evaluating the effects of providing reusable pads on educational and subjective outcomes.

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Crowdfunded scientific discoveries


Home sick: Effects of migratory beekeeping on honey bee disease

Once a year, beekeepers from around the U.S. converge on California's central valley to pollinate more than 800,000 acres of almond trees. These migratory bee colonies are an important part of food production, where the bees often travel long distances and help pollinate other fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, plums, cherries, and apples.

But, when ~60% of all U.S. honeybees are brought into one place to rub knees with other bees, are they also acquiring and spreading diseases? This experiment from the University of Vermont simulated this by comparing bees trucked from North Carolina to California with stationary colonies that didn't travel. 78 backers contributed funds to test for pathogens and colony strength (brood, weight, and pollen stores) before and after the migration.

Compared to their stationary counterparts, migratory bee colonies returned from California pollination trips with fewer bees and higher virus loads (e.g. black queen cell virus). These results indicate that migratory conditions have variable effects on honey bee health, including some important negative impacts. Check out the sweet results just published open-access in PeerJ.

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