Fourteen Dominican students, accompanied by professors Adrian Kok and Kristin Bodiford, are traveling to Entebbe, Uganda to work with Health Nest Uganda, an organization dedicated to tackling health related problems and other social needs.
"We will be learning about the sustainable ways people are helping themselves and we will incorporate human centered design strategies in our own efforts," Bodiford said.
Dominican's School of Social Work emphasizes global learning. Not only are students encouraged to complete their field placements abroad, but faculty members organize shorter trips for students who are unable to travel for an extended period of time.
The Community-based Participatory Research course taught by Kok and Bodiford is a perfect example of how global learning is incorporated into the classroom. The semester-long course features a two-week trip to Uganda during which students can put their research skills into practice.
"Last year's trip took place in May and these students will be building off what we started," Kok said. "This year we put the trip in the middle of the course so that we can reflect on the experience after we return."
At the beginning of the semester, students analyzed data on the experiences of older adults living in Uganda. Because this course focuses on gerontology, the students will also be working with HelpAge, an international organization focusing on older adults.
Students also gathered supplies and donations for the trip.
"I also started a Gofundme account to raise money to take supplies to the Ugandans, as of today I have raised over $500," student Remona Sanders said.
"The Butler Children's Literature Center also donated a lot of books from its library which was also greatly appreciated," Bodiford said.
When they arrive in Uganda, students will engage in an orientation and team building activities, work in participatory data analysis groups, and participate in ideation sessions, community story circles and other field work. They will end their trip with a three-day safari.
"I am most excited about meeting Ugandan natives and learning from them," student Elizabeth Rosario said. "I am excited to learn about their cultures and ways of life. Even though we are invited due to our abundance of resources in research statistics, I feel that I will be learning from them more than they will be learning from us. This is because I will be exposed to a culture that is completely different than my own."
The group leaves February 24 and will return March 10. Stay tuned for photos and stories from their trip abroad. There will also be a link posted to an ongoing blog that the students will be working on abroad.