This activity is designed for embedded courses that engage students in international service learning projects. The exercise requires that students work in small groups to develop a connection between a local community organization and the targeted international project/organization. Doing so will require that students think critically about global service learning initiatives and the importance of building sustainable and meaningful partnerships.
1. Selection of Community Partner. Working in small groups, have students identify a local community organization which would potentially have an interest in working with the targeted international project/organization. This local organization can be any civic, religious, educational or community group. Each small group should introduce the international service learning project to the local community organization and extend an invitation for support. Such support can take many forms, but will depend heavily on the nature of the international service learning project and known needs. Examples may include the coordination of activities, donation of supplies and/or resources, information sharing, student pen-pal exchanges, etc.
2. Community Partner Proposal. Each small group should submit a 3-4 page project proposal that includes a description of the community partner organization and the form of support requested. As class time allows, have students present their proposals to the entire class. It is important that the projects be feasible and appropriate to the international service learning project.
3. Implementation. While in-country, students should carry out their proposal in collaboration with the targeted international project/organization. The proposal should be secondary to the overall course goals for the service learning project. Each small group should document this process through journaling, photographs, recordings, etc.
4. Reporting. Upon return, each group must prepare a final report of the community partner project and a presentation to be delivered both in class and if possible, to the local community organization. The final report should include a description of the project as implemented, its sustainability and a group self-reflection on the overall learning process.
Evaluation is carried out in two parts: 1.) community partner proposal, and 2.) proposal implementation and reporting. Together, the total assignment can count up to 40% of the overall course grade (20% for proposal and 20% for final group report). All members of each group should receive the same grade.
Variable time allotted for presentations and class discussion.