Community Field Labs



A health worker speaking with women in a community in the highlands of Peru

Through the inclusion of Community Field Labs, Future Generations University offers a unique opportunity: to practice change while learning the techniques. These labs are considered integral to our learning process and are a part of every course at Future Generations.

 

Our labs are community-oriented projects planned and implemented by students each term to demonstrate their acquired skills by conducting community work in authentic social change settings. By engaging three essential streams of learning – independent practice, supervised practice, and site-based demonstrations – these labs give students a chance to build upon the skills learned more abstractly in their courses.

 
Jonathan Tim Nshing (Class of 2015) leading a workship in a high school in Bamenda, Cameroon

Each Lab is linked to a course or courses taken during that particular term; some lab projects are required, while others are optional. There is almost always a student-directed option, which encourages students to develop and implement their own ideas as part of their learning. This community-based work is facilitated by regional instructors, and may take the form of working as a volunteer or associate in a community organization or completing a self-generated project.

 

The different forms that labs take are dependent upon how to best fit the needs and interests of individual students. Completing these community-oriented practices offers the ability to build relationships, learn from local practitioners, and acquire specialized skills. Examples of typical labs consist of volunteering with grassroots organizations, conducting community needs assessments, or delivering presentations to local stakeholders.

 

As our program is designed for individuals already working as community change makers, an additional advantage of having Community Field Labs as a part of our curriculum is that they offer the flexibility to not have to leave your current work or job. This allows students to continue working with a community to whom they’re already dedicated and on projects in which they’re already invested.

 
Class of 2013 Student, Pir Mohommad Paya, leading a workshop
Reyhaneh Gulsum Hassaini from Afgahnistan leading a women’s group in her community