In recent years, SOS has helped build strategic partnerships with Carleton University, the University of Toronto, and Durham College to plan customized experiential learning trips with our local partners in Latin America. This collaboration is part of a growing wave of partnerships between SOS and post-secondary institutions to help connect students to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and provide them with a cross-cultural learning experience.
This February, SOS and our NGO partners will be supporting 52 students and staff members from Carleton University to participate in four distinct experiential-learning opportunities based in Guatemala and Costa Rica, facilitated through the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program of Carleton’s Student Experience Office.
Each of these experiences is uniquely themed around a particular lens of inquiry:
- In Aquil Grande, Guatemala, Carleton students will deliver workshops supporting nutrition and food security, complementing a new school kitchen constructed with funding from SOS.
- In San Iltonenago, Guatemala, Carleton students will support environmental educational campaigns and clean-up efforts and contribute to the construction of new infrastructure using ‘recycled materials’
- In Ciudad Vieja, Guatemala, Carleton students will participate in site visits to nearby social enterprises and then translate their knowledge into workshops focused on entrepreneurship education for local secondary school students.
- In Cerro Azul, Costa Rica, students will participate in various activities focused on Human Rights and Indigenous Rights, with a focus on exploring the interconnection of First Peoples in Costa Rica and Canada.
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto’s Centre for Global Engineering program is another successful partnership with SOS and have supported undergraduate students from the faculty of engineering to design and implement solutions for our community partners in Latin America. This past November, a group of students traveled to Cerro Azul, Costa Rica to implement a renewable energy solar project for the community to have access to clean and reliable electricity. The University of Toronto’s Centre for Global Engineering is also supporting a student team to travel with SOS to Guatemala in February for a Capstone research project focused on providing access to clean water in the rural community of Las Arrugas.
Some University of Toronto Engineering students in Cerro Azul discussing their Capstone project
Durham College’s International Education office has been working with SOS on curriculum-linked opportunities through the “Faculty-Led Classroom Abroad” program for students studying journalism, architecture, entrepreneurship, and environmental technology. This partnership has been a great success over the last 2 years and has helped give students an experiential learning opportunity to learn and implement innovative solutions for development challenges in our partner communities in Latin America.
Danielle Harder, a Professor at Durham College, who led her journalism students to Guatemala for 10 days in October for a digital storytelling exchange described the program as a true win-win for everyone involved. “Not only was there an immediate and positive impact on the host community, but the program also offered a tremendous learning experience for my students from many angles. The students came back with a whole new perspective on their studies, themselves, and their world at large”.
Durham College students in Guatemala
Message from our Director
James Arron, Executive Director of SOS had this to say about the partnerships with Canada’s higher education sector: “We believe college and university campuses represent importance forums to advance Canada’s commitments to the SDGs. Through these programs, we’re able to assist and amplify the ongoing efforts of local communities through tangible and concrete projects, while also fostering global citizenship among Canadian youth to promote long-term progress towards the SDGs as a whole. We hope this is just the start of more to come!”
How to Get Involved:
If you or anyone you know are interested in working with SOS to coordinate a custom experiential learning opportunity, please Contact Us right away!
Volunteers in Las Arrugas, Gautemala