Village in Northern Ghana

Road to Mansakonko - eastern Gambia

Pounding millet in Ghana

GRAIT facilitator training - 1994

GRAIT facilitator staff graduation

Wayne Lundeberg and Don Sawyer evaluating GRAIT project
in rural Gambia - 1996

Peter Billa - friend and guide, Tamale, Ghana

UDS faculty of Integrated Development Studies meeting in Navorongo, Ghana

Women graduates of first GRAT delivery - 1998

GRAT students singing "GRAT Anthem", Dalon, Northern Gambia.

University for Development Studies, Tamale, Northern Region, Ghana

Francis Bacho, instructor, second intake of GRAT participants - 1999

OUC students Bernie Wilson & Carmen Teichgraber, flanked by OUC IE director Bob Miller, ACCC evaluator Mehdi Abdulwahab, and FIDS dean Doctor Batse; Navorongo, 2000

Soliciting input for GRAIT curriculum design, The Gambia, 1993

Final DACUM chart for GRAIT curriculum - 1993

located in Salmon Arm, BC, is attached to Okanagan University College and provides OUC students, faculty, and communities with a window on the realities and opportunities of the developing world through exchanges, the training of overseas personnel on OUC campuses, internships, classroom and community presentations, professional development opportunities, consultancies and program development. Staff include Ken Fraser and assistant, Shannon Kiehlbauch. Affiliated with OUC International, the IDC is a program of the Salmon Arm Campus of OUC and builds on the current and completed community development projects located in West Africa and coordinated through the Salmon Arm Centre over the past ten years. Those projects include the following:

  1. Community Development Management Training (CDMT) project:
    (AUCC, approved April 2002)
    This latest project will develop a cost-effective program for the practical, appropriate training of middle and upper management personnel employed by government and non-government agencies in West Africa involved in all aspects of community development. The content will focus on such areas as budget management, project administration, proposal writing, and personnel management.

  2. International Youth Intern Program (IYIP):
    (CIDA, tentatively approved for 2005-2006)
    With six successful internships in 2004-2005, Okanagan College has been tentatively approved with eight IYIP placements in West Africa for 2005-2006. All internships will depart in September 2005 (subject to approval). Please click on the "More Info..." button above to find out more about IYIP and how to apply.

    Now recruiting for 2005-2006. Check this site for program details.

  3. University for Development Studies Capacity-Building project:
    (CIDA, began 2000)
    This new CIDA bilateral project will allow OUC to assist UDS in creating and operating a contract training department, improve administrative procedures, create a one-year diploma in development, and improve instructional quality. UDS is the only post-secondary institution in West Africa with a development focus and serves the poorest regions of Ghana.

  4. West African Rural Development (WARD) Centre:
    (AUCC, began 2000) 
    This major project is developing a centre to train community development workers from across West Africa, including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana and Nigeria as well as The Gambia. The project will create four training modules in critical development areas, which, when completed, will result in a diploma. Talks are underway to arrange for this diploma to ladder into the new University of The Gambia, providing access to a university degree to hundreds of experienced development personnel without the usual academic background.

  5. Ghana Rural Animator Training (GRAT) Program: :
    (ACCC, project completed 2000, delivery ongoing) 
    In conjunction with our Ghanaian partner, the University for Development Studies (UDS), this project has developed unique, practical, culturally appropriate curriculum for the training of community development workers. Since its first delivery four years ago, it has graduated more than 100 partici from Ghana and surrounding West African countries.

  6. Gambia Rural Adult Instructor Training (GRAIT) Program:
    (ACCC, completed 1997) 
    GRAIT trained Gambian rural community development workers from non-government and government organizations in practical instructional and community mobilization skills. Extensive curriculum development and staff training were essential components of the project.

These projects have made OUC one of the most active Canadian post-secondary institutions working in West Africa and has allowed us to develop expertise in all aspects of rural community animation in developing countries. For more than ten years we have been involved in providing assistance to individuals and organizations working at the very grassroots of community development work in West Africa. Our evaluations have told us that we have had a significant impact on the activity of those who have participated in our programs and on the face of development in the countries we have been involved with. The IDC was officially approved in the fall of 2001 to expand and build on it past successes. The objcectives of the Centre are to:

  1. Establish a project development office that will submit proposals and seek out funding from various donor agencies to extend and expand our international development project work.

  2. Coordinate existing and new projects and provide all curriculum development, staff training, and liaison services required for their successful completion

  3. Provide consultation and assistance to OUC departments in the identification of appropriate project opportunities and the preparation and submission of proposals

  4. Explore new program opportunities such as a summer Community Development Foundations course located in Salmon Arm that would bring trainees from all over the world, an OUC International Development Seminar that would take groups of Canadian students to Ghana and other countries for hands-on development experience, and an expansion of our work into Francophone West Africa

  5. Create a comprehensive resource centre that contains books, periodicals, AV material useful in the development of curriculum and in customized research

  6. Conduct and coordinate customized research, curriculum development and facilitator training for overseas clients

  7. Develop a speakers' bureau that will provide presenters on development issues to organizations and classrooms throughout the Okanagan region

  8. Coordinate international student and faculty exchanges and provide orientation to OUC personnel participating in overseas projects

  9. Help internationalize OUC by making internal presentations to campus groups and faculties, discussing institutional benefits, establishing protocol for overseas study, and soliciting faculty and student support for international activities at OUC

Rural communities are in transition all over the world. They are caught in the riptides of globalization, technological advances, and shifting economic opportunities. How community members respond to the challenges facing them will determine the social as well as the economic health of their communities, the countries they are an integral part of, and the planet in general. Solutions to such global issues as environmental degradation, immigration, poverty, hunger and illiteracy are directly connected to rural communities' ability to identify the challenges and problems facing them and develop strategies to successfully cope with these issues.

Community development workers in developing countries face similarly daunting tasks. While most understand that community development is people taking charge of their own futures, identifying commonly felt problems and needs and taking steps to resolve the problems and meet the needs, our work has shown us that there is an enormous demand for appropriate curriculum, training and support for the committed and courageous men and women working at the community level to help people in their struggle to make their community a better place to live. Providing this kind of support to front-line community development workers is the commitment and mandate of the International Development Centre.

No integrated resource centre designed to support and encourage international development activity exists in western Canada. The IDC is a comprehensive centre able to provide a variety of support services to communities and institutions around the globe committed to assisting people to develop economically and socially viable communities which can strengthen and support individual and family growth and enhance the quality of life.

For more pictures of our projects
go to our new photo album

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