How can we help?
May 31, 2011
We finished up the quarter with student presentations on their final papers, which covered a variety of development and sustainable topics and included ways for students to become involved. Annie Goeke was in attendance and offered up comments, advice and feedback. The seminar concluded with a review of the quarter and an action plan for the future!
Thanks to everyone who made this seminar possible! It was an amazing experience and we hope the work we started here is continued into the future!
What have other UCLA students done?
May 24, 2011
Our final guest speaker, former UCLA student and USIE facilitator Edward Murphy, discussed his experiences at UCLA and after college. He is the past Program Director for UCLA’s Education for Sustainable Living Program as well as a current Heal the Bay employee. Students found this especially empowering since Edward was once in our footsteps and he is now making great change happen.
Homework: Post three questions for Mr. Murphy on the class blog by Sunday at 5pm.
What? You can be sustainable in LA?
May 17, 2011
Homework: Research a sustainability program currently in progress describing the program and its importance in Los Angeles.
Post to class blog by Sunday 5 pm and bring note card to class with the information on it to use in class discussions.
Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Processing
May 10, 2011
This past week, student facilitators and two participants in UCLA’s Travel Study program presented their experiences and research from two West African Ecovillages named Guede Chantier and Yoff both located in Senegal. Senegal is a leading example for African countries interested in becoming more self sustaining and eco-friendly. A PowerPoint including a variety of pictures was presented to show students the physical and geographical make up of Senegal. After the research presentations, students were able to ask questions regarding studying abroad, the research conducted, and general development work. It was great for students to hear personal accounts about development work from their fellow peers and discuss the responsibilities students have to spread awareness of developing efforts.
Homework: Please answer the following question:
Do you feel students who have been involved with development (internship, community service, study abroad, etc.) have a responsibility to share their experiences with others to spread awareness? If so, in what ways can they accomplish this?
Please post here by Sunday May 8 at 5pm.
Yoff and Guédé Chantier
May 3, 2011
This week focused on a more in-depth discussion of the Ecovillage model with a particular focus on Africa and Senegal.
With the help of the facilitators, students worked to define the three main dimensions of the Ecovillage model—Ecological, Social-Economic, and Cultural-Spiritual. In order to provide more contextual background to this discussion, students watched a short in-class video made by Ousmane Pame, mayor of the Ecovillage Guédé Chantier. In the video, Professor Pame discusses the UCLA Travel Study program and the development history of Guédé Chantier. Students then used the information they gained from this video and their readings from the week, to apply the Ecovillage model to current development issues.
Throughout this class session, students answered the following questions:
- What is the role of Ecovillages in development?
- What are a few of the causes behind Africa’s slow growth?
- Can the Ecovillage model be used to address these issues?
Homework: Write a short response (150-200 words) to this week’s reading.
Ecology, Community, and Culture
April 26, 2011
The long awaited guest speaker, Annie Goeke, presented on her non-profit (Earth Rights Institute) and how Ecovillages can be the solution to a more sustainable and developed world. Annie discussed the integral parts of a successful non-profit, highlighting a grassroots approach and gaining the respect of the locals. She also shared with the class her personal experiences with managing a non-profit and the difficulties she has faced in the process.
Transitioning into Eco-models, Annie analyzed the three components necessary for a successful Ecovillage including Ecology, Community, and Culture-spirituality which students were already familiar with from their readings in Ecovillage Living.
A question and answer session followed in which Annie answered the questions posted on the class blog by students regarding ERI and the Ecovillage design. Examples of these questions are listed below:
- Can an Ecovillage exist in an industrial place like Los Angeles? If so how?
- What is the commission for Status of Women in Santa Monica?
- How would one start and Ecovillage?
Homework: Prepare three questions to ask Annie Goeke during the question and answer session. These questions can be about the readings and the Ecovillage model, or about her chosen career path.
Please post here by Sunday April 24 at 5pm as well as bring them to class.
The real meaning of Nio Far
April 19, 2011
Following the week’s discussion on development programs (specifically food self-sufficiency), this class session focused on understanding the role of non-profits and NGOs in international development.
Utilizing organizations researched by students, the discussion centered on major themes of development work and different approaches. Students learned the basics of microfinancing, which makes up a large proportion of development work, through an analysis of programs such as Kiva. Students also gained an understanding of bottom-up and top-down approaches to development. They found that most organizations are not clearly bottom-up or simply top-down; they are often a combination of the two drawing on the best aspects from both. Finally, students were asked to share personal experiences about their involvement with non-profits or NGOs and how the organizational structure of the organization affected the implementation of programs.
Homework: Research an international nonprofit of your choice, Find out the following information: the purpose of the organization, its organization structure, where they work, and major programs/projects they are currently spearheading. Please bring this information with you to class.
Please Post here by Sunday April 17 at 5pm.
Is food self-sufficiently smart?
April 12, 2011
During Week 3, guest speaker, UCLA Political Science Professor and Chair of the IDS Department Michael Lofchie, discussed food self-sufficiency and the market implications of this agricultural policy on developing economies followed by a Question and Answer session.
This week focused on the different perspectives on food self-sufficiency within a developing country. The class reading gave insight on how self sufficiency is important, specifically focusing onSenegal. Professor Michael Lofchie guest lectured on an alternative argument: self sufficiency may in fact have a negative impact on the country both economically and socially.
The class discussed several questions before transitioning into the lecture including:
- During the development process, is protecting the environment more important than creating wealth?
- Do you believe the government should create and enforce laws protecting the environment or should it be left to personal choice?
- Do you believe that developing countries are sustainable in their efforts?
- Do you believe food self-sufficiency is a good policy for developing countries or should they compete on the world market?
Students critically analyzed this developmental issue through the presentation of two very different perspectives. The Question and Answer session allowed Professor Lofchie to expand on his arguments.
Homework: Write a brief (150-200 word) response to the week’s readings or YouTube videos. Read critically and start to think of questions for Professor Lofchie.
Due Sunday April 10 by 5pm for Week 3 on class blog.
Is Development Happening?
April 5, 2011
The class discussed the importance of and progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
The following questions were answered:
- Can progress be achieved through these MDGs?
- What, if anything, can be added to the goals to make them more effective?
- What is the most important MDG?
- How is progress currently being made?
As a class, we came to the conclusion that the MDGs offer a wonderful opportunity for growth by bringing many countries and resources together, but, because of a lack of accountability, progress may or may not be achieved throughout the world. This class session also briefly touched upon the work being done by the World Bank, the IMF, the WHO, and the UNDP as well as UCLA groups and programs targeted towards achieving one of the MDGs.
What’s up with Development?
March 29, 2011
Facilitators Anne and Antoinette introduced the course Nio Far and the USIE program. They led a class discussion on the definition of development and what exactly this word has come to mean in recent times. This first lesson opened up the topic of sustainable development and was an introduction, for many students, to the complex and every-changing world of international development.