Making the world a better place: Senegal travel study program
Offered by the African Studies Center and Institute of the Environment, this eight-week research and training program is focused on sustainable community development in Senegal.
"This course shows a new undergraduate momentum in service learning - the intertwining of classroom and applied learning," said Andrew Apter, professor and director of the African Studies Institute.
Originally published in UCLA Today
By Jessica Tang
Nineteen students interested in making the world a better place are on their way to Africa for Summer Session’s new eight-week Senegal Travel Study Program, which started June 28 and runs through August 22.
“This program was a sleeper hit this year,” Micham said. “We didn’t think so many people would be interested in traveling so far to West Africa.”
Focusing on the topic of sustainable community development, the course will combine theoretical and hands-on learning in economic, ecological and social development in a small suburb outside of Dakar, the capital city of Senegal.
Andrew Apter, professor and director of the African Studies Center, is helping to lead the trip. “Our philosophy is to combine economic plus ecological means of achieving sustainability in environmentally-challenged regions with arid climates,” he said.
The program is partnering with the UCLA Institute of the Environment as well as the non-government organization Earth Rights Eco-Village Institute. Describing an eco-village as “a community where members come together and support each other in developing relevant, innovative ideas to sustain their community,” Cully Nordby, academic director of the Institute of the Environment, will also help lead the Senegal project.
After spending their first four weeks studying theory and practice in Dakar, students will then go to eco-villages in the Senegal River Valley in Northwestern Senegal, where they will explore community development projects such as public health, women’s micro-financing, solar electricity and organic gardening. Cultural and language learning will also take place through home stays and language training in French and Wolof, the most widely spoken language in Senegal.
“This course,” said Apter, “shows a new undergraduate momentum in service learning” — the intertwining of classroom and applied learning.
Published: Wednesday, June 30, 2010