Villanova University Administration and Faculty/ CRS Madagascar Workshop
Friday, September 11, 2015
Villanova University began a partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in 2005 and, since that time, has worked collaboratively to advance global solidarity through education, research, advocacy and service. Villanova recently expanded upon its work with CRS and is currently working with the organization in Madagascar to improve conditions with respect to water, sanitation, and hygiene.
Purpose of Workshop:
To inform attendees of the progress of the initiatives thus far and discuss how the relationship will demonstrate not only our ability to collaborate and integrate knowledge across disciplines and colleges, but how working in partnership with CRS-MG, can harness the power of the university to contribute toward improving the lives of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations
Create interdisciplinary projects and activities of mutual interest and collaboration on CRS’s existing and ongoing programs in Madagascar, which are carried out through its project team, CRS Madagascar. Such activities will further the instructional and research objectives for students and their colleges.
Involvement thus far:
- College of Engineering’s Jordan Ermilio traveled to CRS-MG to deliver and install water monitoring equipment and train water utilities personnel to use it. He recruited interns and developed the orientation for the 8 week summer internships. Jordan and Jim O’Brien were in MG in August to participate in a workshop with CRS/MG partners.
- The first phase of collaboration was piloted successfully in 2014-15 with Villanova incorporating some of the data from Madagascar into its academic programs. Two fall courses in the College of Engineering – Design of Gravity Water Networks and Water Resources Engineering Design – worked on designing solutions for clean water and sanitation systems. In the spring semester, students in a French Internship course taught by Etienne Achille in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences translated major program reports from French into English and Villanova’s engineering designs into French, while students in a team-taught Business/Engineering Course (Global Social Entrepreneurship and Microfinance course) designed a template for assessing the business plans of the private utilities companies with whom CRS-MG works. There is one undergraduate senior research project and one graduate international development research fellow’s thesis.
- Five Villanova undergraduates and one graduate engineering international development fellow have interned with CRS and their partners in Madagascar for eight weeks during the summer.
- A Villanova team of faculty traveled to Madagascar in July where they visited CRS’ programming in sectors related to water and sanitation, business, and health and nutrition; offered initial observations and recommendations; gathered information and data for use in potential teaching, courses or research; and determined how to integrate this relationship into Villanova’s colleges and research centers. They also met with officials at the Madagascar and U.S. Embassies and government and church officials.