Campus News

August 8, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Arcadia Works with Heifer International to Connect Theory and Practice in Sierra Leone

When the four faculty arrived at The Crossing, the women of the village sang and danced to greet them.

When the four faculty arrived at The Crossing, the women of the village sang and danced to greet them.

In June, four faculty members from the International Peace and Conflict Resolution program sought to build upon Arcadia’s relationship with the global nonprofit organization Heifer International and their efforts in Sierra Leone, focusing on a small village of war widows called The Crossing.

Heifer International is developing agricultural projects in the village in the hopes of making it self-sufficient. The team from Arcadia, which included Dr. Amy Cox ’01M, Dr. Jennifer Riggan, Dr. Warren Haffar, and Dr. Sandra Hordis, hopes to facilitate more projects and partnerships.

“The war-widow village is full of compassion and love, and what they really need is resources,” said Dr. Cox, Director of IPCR. “The needs are pretty widespread. There isn’t much we could take over that they wouldn’t need.”

Arcadia’s efforts in Sierra Leone include a long-standing relationship with student interns working at Heifer International and newer initiatives such as preparations for an Arcadia course there and a faculty development project with universities and colleges within the consortium of New American Colleges and Universities.

“Sierra Leone is 10 years out from a brutal civil war,” said Dr. Haffar, Dean of International Affairs and Associate Professor of IPCR. “It’s moving forward, but its challenges are significant.”

The faculty also plan to fund a development project for the village such as a well or school improvements when they return to Sierra Leone next June. Continuing to learn about the complex problems of microfinance from the villagers and Heifer International, an organization through which people can provide gifts of livestock, seeds, and trees in an effort to end poverty and hunger in a sustainable fashion, and experiencing firsthand the issues facing the village will help faculty strategically address what is needed most.

“We can teach students, but if faculty don’t have that experience of going out and being involved in a project, seeing the results, and talking to the people in the village, they won’t be able to express that in the classroom,” said Dr. Sandra Hordis, Director of International Academic Programs. “The depth of passion grows when faculty experience it.”

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