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Building Networks and Alliances to Address “Wicked Global Problems” - Latin American Leadership Academy (Fall 2019)

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Building Networks and Alliances to Address “Wicked Global Problems” - Latin American Leadership Academy (Fall 2019)

Project Background:

Latin American Leadership Academy (LALA) seeks to promote sustainable economic development and strengthen democratic governance in Latin America by developing a new generation of leaders. LALA creates international and socioeconomically diverse cohorts of the most promising graduating high school students who have demonstrated an unshakeable commitment to social change. LALA is launching leadership boot camps throughout Latin America to create local hubs of social impact and find values-aligned youth. In the near future, LALA hopes to open an eighteen-month program, which blends entrepreneurial leadership, a liberal arts education, and social and emotional learning. The program connects participants to mentors, resources, and opportunities, and LALA envisions a diverse continental ecosystem that collaborates across differences to bring shared prosperity to Latin America.

Definition of Opportunity:

Silos are the bane of systemic change. A shared fear among policymakers, community organizers, and entrepreneurs alike is that all their hard work adds up to nothing due to missed opportunities for networks and alliances. As LALA’s visibility grows in Latin America, so too does our responsibility to support, respond to, and collaborate with changemakers across the region who are addressing its most seemingly intractable issues -- “wicked problems.” After two successful years of boot camps and a gap year academy on the horizon, LALA receives proposals for partnerships with organizations across the continent every day. Our vision is to become the region’s flagship leadership organization by making strategic alliances with institutions that are doing similar work. However, we need a framework that would help us systematically find these organizations and negotiate partnerships that are both mutually beneficial and valuable to the region.

Initial Steps:

We need a systematic strategy to identify specific issues and to identify and classify programs and organizations in Latin America that intersect with our issue areas in the countries that we serve and identify the young people who care about them. For example, we have identified five priority areas, and a team might focus on one or multiple issues, depending on their backgrounds and interests:

Central American communities suffering drug trade violence. Eg. Tijuana, Acapulco, San Salvador, Guatemala City, Distrito Central.

Unprecedented Latin American migration crisis , including 3.4 million Venezuelans and . Mostly from Venezuela, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, and settling in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Panama, and Peru.

25% of region's urban population live in slums. Eg. Alagados, Paraisópolis, Rocinha, Comuna 13, Moravia, Nezo-Chalco-Itza, Villa El Salvador, and others.

Although 40% Indigenous and Afro-descendants remain a disproportionate share of poorest . Eg. Quechua, Aztec, Aymara, Muisca, Tairona, Mayan, Shuar, Yanomami, Kogui, Guarani, Afro-Colombians, Afro-Brazilians.

Rural poverty in Latin America has increased for the first time in a decade.. Eg. Pará, Piauí, Ceará, Bahia, Chocó, Huancavelica, San Pedro, Chiapas.

What does success look like:

Latin American Leadership Academy wants to enhance its understanding of possibilities for strong networks to combat social inequality in the region. We want to develop a network of partnerships with people and institutions that have the strongest commitments to supporting education and social change. And we are committed to bringing young people (14-18 years old) who are connected to these issue areas into our existing LALA network of 450+ alumni. These issue areas are supported by many organizations from across the globe and we want to map the outreach and partnerships that will allow young people to access our leadership development opportunities more readily. From this exploration of best practices, we would like to launch strategies to nurture, thicken, and enhance the connections in our Latin American ecosystem. Broadly speaking, this team hopes to map successful examples of network building in support of social impact initiatives that might serve as models to help improve LALA’s decision-making and better inform our network building aspirations.

Meet the Team:

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Building International Partnerships for Students and Teachers - Education Bridge (Fall 2019)

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Building International Partnerships for Students and Teachers - Education Bridge (Fall 2019)

Project Background:

Education Bridge seeks to create flourishing South Sudanese communities through education and peacebuilding. As part of this mission, Education Bridge opened its first school, Greenbelt Academy, in Bor, South Sudan in February 2017. Led by South Sudanese Notre Dame graduate Majak Anyieth ’17, the Greenbelt Academy currently serves over 400 students in grades 9-11, with plans to double the school population and have grades 9-12 over the next years. The Greenbelt Academy seeks to provide quality secondary education as well as to develop a generation of South Sudanese who are not only well prepared academically, but who also see themselves as peacemakers and transformational leaders.

Definition of Opportunity:

Education Bridge has worked with Notre Dame DAT teams over multiple semesters on projects related to developing a peacebuilding curriculum, building enhanced opportunities for girls, contributing to organizational sustainability, and international partnerships. For example, this past year’s DAT resulted in Education Bridge high school students attending Notre Dame’s Pre-College Program (on ND scholarships), as well as a similar program at Yale. Education Bridge now wants to explore the possibility of continuing to build networks internationally in the service of its students and teachers that expand opportunities, as well as formalize relationships that support the development of the overall organizational culture of Education Bridge.

Initial Ideas:

Education Bridge will work with a team of ND students to research how other non-profit organizations, especially those running educational and/or child development programs in the international context, have effectively built mission-driven international networks. We would like to focus on students' opportunities and/or faculty/staff professional development opportunities.

How can we connect our students with a wider set of global possibilities, whether through technology or by travel, that will help expand their understanding of the world and their possibility to make a transformational change? We believe we can draw lessons from the African Leadership Academy and other institutions, and want to explore student exchange, model UN, leadership development and the like. How can we build on the success this past semester with the partnerships with Notre Dame and Yale? We might like a usable database of summer educational programs in the US students can explore (ND Pre-College might be very valuable for acquiring information).

One key question is how to make our students and faculty competitive especially through the university application process. A big part of our international partnership model is related to universities and we need to understand what universities look for in these kinds of candidates and partnerships. A good model for partnering will help us build lasting relationships with universities that will go a long way.

How can we find relevant development opportunities in support of teachers and administrators? We could also imagine a “Greenbelt Fellowship” that might draw talented educators and professionals to work with the Greenbelt Academy to help develop and train current teachers, develop new curricular and extracurricular activities, and more generally expose the school to more innovative pedagogy and technology.

What does success look like?

The development of a number of good models and concrete contacts and ideas for building networks and sustainable partnerships will be relevant for Education Bridge students and teachers, as well as concrete proposals that Education Bridge can utilize and implement as part of its strategic planning process to become a more dynamic and sustainable organization.

Contact Persons: Majak Anyieth, Founder and President of Education Bridge. Majak is a 2018 graduate of the University of Notre Dame. He is also a Dalai Lama Fellow, an Echoing Green Social Entrepreneurship Fellow, and a StartingBloc Fellow. The team will also have access to talk with Education Bridge board members and supporters, most of whom are in South Bend IN.

Meet the Team:


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 Improving Opportunities for Girl's Education in Nigeria - Girl Child Concerns (Spring 2018)

Improving Opportunities for Girl's Education in Nigeria - Girl Child Concerns (Spring 2018)

Client Profile

Girl Child Concerns (GCC) is a Nigerian Non-Governmental Organization, established in 2000, dedicated to improving the lives of youth, particularly of girls, through improved education opportunities while ensuring availability of board-based education for all young people.  Through a comprehensive approach, GCC provides scholarship opportunities that not only offer formal education but also help equip girls with life skills. In addition to attending school, every GCC scholarship student attends an annual skills development retreat for four days to foster inspiration and motivation within the girls, as well as develop personal relationships. These life skills workshops encourage the girls to build an agenda on what they want to learn (for example, the strategies for passing exams, or addressing concerns about early marriage, teenage pregnancy, and more).  Scholarship recipients also commit to give back by committing  to help at least five other children, as well as to participate in a legislative education campaign that involves getting girls to share their experience and speak directly to lawmakers.    

Definition of Problem 

Girls’ education is disfavored in many communities in Nigeria due to cultural perceptions, and compared to boys, girls have an extremely high dropout rate. Without education, girls often end up in poverty, dependency, and early marriage.  In addition, the community is robbed of the skills and talents these girls would have contributed.  There are many reasons for these numbers, including cultures that undermine the importance of girls’ education; conflict in the country, in particular in areas long held by Boko Haram that have forbidden girls from attending school; perceptions of gender roles among girls and in the general community; poverty; and forced child marriage. 

Initial Steps and Options:


We will first review challenges to girls’ education in Africa, and then put this research in the context of Nigeria (through an earlier DAT project, there is excellent background information on promoting girls’ education in South Sudan, and the team will access to the individuals leading this initiative).  We will then host various interviews with our partners at the GCC, staff at the Keough School, and various experts of the Nigerian school community.   

Definition of Success

 In the end, GCC would like contextualized recommendations on how GCC can attract, maintain and successfully engage girls’ students in school and build opportunities for their futures in line with best practices globally, learning from the interviews and dialogue with those who know the context as well.
 
 

Development Team