Colleges and universities are home to a variety of academic disciplines that are rich with resources that can complement the vision and expertise of local leadership. These institutions are training the world’s future nurses, engineers, entrepreneurs, writers, athletes, lawyers, managers, and innovators with skills and knowledge that can have an immediate impact on communities and global development goals.
At the same time, students can have powerful applied learning experiences that take their education out of the classroom and into opportunities for making an impact. Our academic collaborators work with us because they see the bigger picture: Peacework’s customized programs for sustainable development shape engaged global citizens, provide real-world education, and make real-time impact.
The Global Health Initiative at Ohio State University has collaborated with Peacework to expand public health programs to 1500 individuals in communities across Peru, Malawi, and Guatemala. Nearly 60 Ohio State students have worked alongside local NGOs, health professionals, anthropologists, educators, and community leaders to address health inequities and forge connections between traditional and modern health care practices. Together, we are sustaining localized food systems through community gardens and cooperatives, eradicating respiratory illnesses with the installation of ‘healthy stoves’, ensuring access to safe drinking water, preventing malaria and HIV/AIDS through public education, and supporting traditional health workers through the construction of a comprehensive Women’s Center for meetings, trainings, and the provision of culturally relevant medical services.
The University of Arkansas has worked with Peacework in Dangriga, Belize to convene the the insights of its anthropology, business, ecology, education, engineering, social work and health departments to support holistic community development. Over eight years, nearly 400 students and over 15 faculty have harnessed the power of interdisciplinary innovation to support leaders in nearly 30 community institutions including four schools, three health institutions, a woman’s cooperative, the town council, and a variety of local businesses. Together, we have supported promising enterprises with critical microloan programs, promoted public health through community gardens and educational programs, and equipped thousands of young people with essential life and leadership skills to overcome bullying and aggression.
Penn State University and Peacework are building solar arrays in Roatan, Honduras to combat climate change and support local institutions with cost savings and energy independence. Students from the aerospace, chemical, civil, environmental, and mechanical engineering programs are working alongside Peacework, local clean technology entrepreneurs, and community organizations to counteract the island’s pervasive electrical outages and high carbon footprint with sustainable energy sources. This collaboration is bringing critical financial and human capital to accelerate clean energy efforts and empower leaders at area schools and daycares to pioneer climate change mitigation in their local communities.
Graduate students of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service support Peacework’s network of communities with unique skills in research and data analysis, strategic planning, program development, and program evaluation to build capacity and maximize impact. Together, we have mobilized over 30 emerging public service professionals to pioneer preventive practices for waterborne illness in Dangriga, Belize; advocate for the expansion of disability programs and services in Hoa An, Vietnam; bolster the impact assessment of women’s empowerment programs in Kathmandu, Nepal; launch a commercial law training program in Prague, Czech Republic; leverage funding and support for career preparation programs in schools in Kolkata, India; and rally public awareness for Zimbabwean refugee farmers in Pretoria, South Africa.
For nearly 15 years, Wake Forest University and Peacework have been supporting youth empowerment and education in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam; in the urban communities of Kolkata, India; and with orphanages in Moscow, Russia. Programs have focused on life and leadership skills, complemented with physical infrastructure for schools to create space for success. Peacework has supported nearly 300 Wake Forest University students in driving the planning and implementation of peer-to-peer curriculum development and mentorship with young people around the world. By raising the bar on experiential education, Wake Forest and Peacework are shaping global citizens at home and abroad.
Peacework has enriched my college education in a way no other experience could have. I have made amazing memories and connections and have learned the importance of responsible and sustainable service.
– Student, Ohio State University