Lessons Learned in an International Service-Learning Collaborative: Shea Butter Csase Study

George, Camille; Shams, Ashley N.; Dunkel, Florence V.
June 2011
NACTA Journal;Jun2011, Vol. 55 Issue 2, p71
Academic Journal
A multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary service-learning collaborative was created to examine the role of higher education in promoting sustainable development. Several institutions in the U.S. and in West Africa worked with two communities in sub-Saharan Africa to examine ways to boost economic security through the improved processing and marketing of shea butter, an agricultural product with a local, regional, and international market. By increasing the complexity of a service-learning effort, the authors learned that investing time in project management, understanding and working around communication differences, and clearly articulating partner roles are the three critical lessons to incorporate into an international service-learning project. The paper highlights unexpected challenges and provides a discussion of lessons learned and an outline of best practices for future endeavors.


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