UFV students spend summer in Africa

Groups worked with programs affiliated with the United Nations.

UFV student Braeden Wiens demonstrates how to use a GPS unit at an event in Africa.  Titled Planning for the Future of a City

UFV student Braeden Wiens demonstrates how to use a GPS unit at an event in Africa. Titled Planning for the Future of a City

Students from UFV spent the summer in Africa working with UN-affiliated programs on initiatives aimed at educating women, and engaging in community planning with a primary school in rural Tanzania.

One project involved working with the Girls in ICT Portal, a UN affiliate designed to help girls prepare for careers in information and communication technology.

Through this program, the UFV students hosted a seminar aimed at teaching young women how to work with technological tools used for urban development.

Titled Planning for the Future of a City, Generation, and Workforce, the workshop was designed to help improve gender equality in the field of urban planning.

The women were taught by UFV students how to use a GPS unit, and how to incorporate it with basic mapping.

While the event was hosted at the end of June, students were busy preparing before they left Canada.

UFV students worked on press releases, bookings, and invitations to speakers. They also gave their own presentations at the event, in addition to conducting the training.

“It was exciting to host an event like that to celebrate success and change,” said UFV Geography instructor Cherie Enns.

“And to know that the students’ research will be used in Tanzania, and even beyond that, is very rewarding.”

Enns has been leading UFV students to Africa on study tours for the past three years.

This year there were 16 students. Four of them received funding from the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) development program.

The rest of the students were self-funded.

While in Tanzania, half of the students carried out applied internships for two to three months.

Their placements included law firms, non-government agencies (NGOs), and research internships at Ardhi University.

The other eight students completed field studies from May to June where they worked on general assignments, took field trips, and wrote reports.

They also spent a week at an elementary school near Mount Kilimanjaro, assessing the school environment and its sustainability.

“Overall, we were working in partnership with the community to create a vision for the school,” said Enns.

“We were exploring opportunities to strengthen the rural school and looking at how to make it more sustainable, economically, environmentally, and culturally.”

Students worked on landscape assessment, mapping, food growth, and land use planning.

They created a final report for the school, which will also be submitted to the local Member of Parliament, and to the UNICEF Canada Green Learning program.

Students based their research on the UN Sustainable School checklist, which focuses on encouraging and safe learning environments.

UFV students are currently working to connect the primary school in Tanzania with one in the Fraser Valley that also participates in the UNICEF Green Learning program.

The work of the UFV students this summer will be presented at the Child in the City conference in Croatia at the end of September, and displayed at the Reach Gallery in Abbotsford beginning Dec 6.

For more information, visit the UFV Today blog at ufvtoday.ca