2016 Community Projects
Community Development in Northern India
The 2016 Core Term International Field Course involved an expedition to Northern India across three and a half weeks with time spent in a large urban setting (Delhi) and a remote rural community in the Himalaya (Sarmoli). We learned about and contributed to community development in very different settings.
We spent two weeks living with individual families in Sarmoli, a remote village of three hundred households in the high mountains. We learned about and practiced a subsistence lifestyle, be it cooking, weaving, farming, knitting, food processing or walking mountain slopes. We contributed to the community in keeping with our skills: sharing case studies of women entrepreneurs and small business management from the Annapolis Valley, sharing initiatives from across Canada on small scale waste management, leading environmental education programs with school children and families, and building a a prototype greenhouse with a local NGO.
We were overwhelmed by the inequity but also by the warmth, pride and sense of community. The issues of “development” are multifaceted and complex. Living in a subsistence community helped us see the merits and challenges of such a lifestyle. We experienced a warmth and sense of community uncommon in Canada. We left with many questions:
• What policies might encourage those in rural communities to stay and recognize the benefits of their current context while addressing the problems?
• Are there ways to support and develop sustainable and healthy communities in urban areas without promising affluence at all costs?
• What would it mean to have people-centred development
In venturing out into strange worlds, we ultimately recognized how similar the issues are to those at home.
Developing a Youth Engagement Strategy for New Minas
Youth Engagement in the Town of Kentville
This group of core term students developed a Youth Engagement Strategy for the Town of Kentville, which was based on a literature review on youth engagement and important principles to follow in youth engagement initiatives, an environmental scan of some of the current youth oriented initiatives in the Town of Kentville, and the results from a data collection process which included interviews and focus groups with 17 youth and local youth advocates. The data collection process also involved designing and implementing a workshop with 55 youth from the local high school. The workshop included multiple stations using tools such as asset mapping, heat maps and sacred space mapping. The final report was well received by the Town of Kentville’s Parks and Recreation Department, and we continue to support their work on engaging youth in their community.