The Class of 2017 just wrapped up regional residential experiences in Nepal, West Virginia, and Ethiopia. Regional residentials are an important component of the Future Generations degree program because they give students the opportunity to meet face to face and explore things that are happening in their regions. Here are some summaries from each of the residentials by people who were on them.
“We visited 7 organizations related to the program outcomes and course objectives for this term. Above all, we learned that success comes through proper planning, community participation, and stakeholder partnerships. Students gained knowledge related to program outcomes, community mobilization, and sustainable development.” Nawang Gurung, Himalaya Regional Academic Director
“The term II residential for the Appalachian cohort was filled with innovative organizations, creative community involvement, and grand examples of partnerships, evidence gathering, and community organization. These shining examples, amid West Virginia’s economic collapse in the coal industry, are proving communities are willing to bind together and work for a common good even if that means finding healthier, more sustainable ways of living and working. These examples stretched across a wide spectrum of organizations and places from community gardens and farmers’ markets in Lewisburg to health groups and church assemblies in Williamson and Charleston. Though they varied in application and focus they were all working towards the same goal – harnessing and expanding human energy in a way that would spark and continue community change beneficial to people, the environment, and the economy. I am glad to see such innovation and drive alive and well in my home state, but I am happier to know that I am able to apply the same skillset I observed in these communities to my own.” Ashley Akers, Class of 2017
“After the great residential program in Ethiopia am just back to the office. This program was very special to me for it exposed us to unique experiences with a selection of relevant institutions and communities. All of us were so active to attend, tirelessly asking questions, and compiling our new learning around the clock. We covered a huge distance during the field visits but it was a learning process all along. With this, I like to express my appreciation to fellow students and I like to say thank you very much for the Graduate School management and faculty for giving us this opportunity. A thank you should also go to all institutions who hosted us and gave us their time generously. But most importantly, I love to recognize Firew Kefyalew [East Africa Regional Academic Director] for his special effort and attention for the great success of the program.” Zerihun Damenu, Class of 2017
Bhim Bahadur Nepali is one of many Future Generations students who is heavily involved with Share and Care, a group that works with marginalized and vulnerable groups, particularly women and children, throughout Nepal. As a self-directed project for his Graduate Study Foundations course, he worked as the production coordinator on “Journey Towards the Light,” a short documentary that focuses on Share and Care’s Advocacy on Women’s Empowerment Project (AWEP).
Bhim estimates that AWEP has directly benefited about 6,000 people. “Women and adolescent girls are aware, empowered, and transformed through direct intervention from our AWEP project,” he says. Bhim came up with the idea for the documentary in order to showcase a handful of the personal stories of some of these women. “They might be role models or sources of inspiration for others in the community.”