The Ende Language Project is a local initiative to write down and translate Ende, a language spoken in Western Province, Papua New Guinea. I was invited to join the team in 2015 to develop a writing system, begin a dictionary, and translate important texts. As a linguist, I brought my own questions and collected a wealth of information about one of the last undocumented languages. The trip was so successful that I am returning this summer to continue training the team and to gather data for my dissertation.
However, language does not exist in a vacuum and the community that speaks it struggles with daily survival. My previous trip addressed some needs, but the Community Engagement Grant would empower the Ende Language Project to combine our academic pursuits and community engagement in a life-saving, sustainable way. Lack of knowledge and means for proper handwashing puts the entire community in danger. For $4,000, the Ende Language Project can translate important hygiene information into Ende and set up six handwashing stations around the village. This initiative has been requested by the community, will involve local materials and workers to ensure sustainability, and has been shown to improve community health.