Get To Know is an introductory series on our blog where you can familiarise yourself with our staff and their work at More Than Me!

Tayler is a Chicago-native, graduated with undergraduate degrees from Spelman College and a Masters in the Social Anthropology of Development from the School for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Tayler’s thesis was awarded Distinction, the department’s highest honor, and it focused on craftpeople’s ability to penetrate local tourist economies in Cabo Verde. She is a servant of disadvantaged community’s passions and she is committed to identifying the varying cross sections of international development, education, and cultural literacy. She has extensive experience working within this cross section and she has worked with organizations such as the World Bank, the British Parliament, the Royal African Society, and Harvard University.  Her efforts have been recognized and she is the recipient of the prestigious Marshall and Truman Scholarships.  In her spare time, she is an avid baker and she loves to blog about her experiences around the world as a Black Girl Without Borders.

Here’s a little bit about me!

I am committed to translating research into actionable programs that empower communities rather than silence their concerns, which is why I am beyond excited to join the More Than Me family. As an anthropologist, I am a facilitator, listener, observer, interpreter and cultural broker. My work relies on my ability to connect developments’ most influential implications to cultural practices and analyze the exchanges that these two spheres of influence may have.

I am a first generation graduate hailing from the South Side of Chicago. My background isn’t my definition, but rather it has only added spice to the chapters of my life.

It’s been my life’s goal to work in development, but the road has been paved with road blocks and bumps. I want to share this journey with you through my eyes, the eyes of a black, cake-loving, Christian woman originally from the south side of Chicago. Use my highs and lows as inspiration and use this space as a thought board for motivation!

 I joined MTM in October. This position has me between Liberia and D.C. (And, it seems everywhere in between). MTM was originally started to just help Liberian girls get a quality education but it has now expanded to include 6 primary schools across Liberia for girls and boys. I’m at the forefront of that rollout. As Chief of Staff,I find myself dabbling in a little bit of everything!

Security. In Liberia, there’s a rumor that during political season, a politician needs to make a sacrifice in order to be in power. It’s said that people transform into baboons and kidnap people for these rituals. I don’t think there are men-transforming-baboons anywhere, BUT I do believe that some people take advantage of this season to participate in ritualistic killings. As an anthropologist, I’m always questioning the root of such rumors. Typically, witchcraft beliefs are rooted in entrenched power dynamics. Nevertheless, it started to affect the school enrollments. So, the town chief decided to arrange personal escorts for our children… machete and all. By any means necessary… getting our kids educated!

My intersectional background has afforded me the breadth to recognize synergies between diverging and complex problems, and it has also provided me with the depth to identify project-specific solutions. It is with these tools and critical eye that I have been striving to serve as a bridge between practice and pedagogy to create not only the best educational opportunities in  in Liberia but also in the region and I look forward to sharing more with you all!

Tayler