Community Engagement in Cape Town

The focus of the Cape Town program is community engagement. The city and its communities offer rich opportunities for learning and students are encouraged to engage the city in intentional and sensitive ways. There are two components to Cape Town’s community engagement program: community-based participatory partnership research and community engaged learning. While participation in the research program is optional, all students are expected to participate in community engaged learning.

Community-Based Partnership Research

The Cape Town program encourages students to engage with South African communities by responding to their information needs through community-based research. We take a partnership approach with the intention of developing relationships with organizations (Western Cape NGOs, government agencies, residents associations, or other community-based organizations or groups) that can sustain long-term inquiry projects that students contribute to each program year. These projects should build new knowledge and skills for students, respond effectively to community health and development information needs of Centre partners, and ultimately contribute to improved life for Western Cape residents. Although students may choose the focus of their research, it must respond to information needs expressed by Western Cape communities or groups and be endorsed by one or more of the program’s partner organizations. Students wishing to research with organizations that are not BOSP center partners must obtain permission from the Cape Town program director.

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Community Engaged Learning

Community engaged learning in Cape Town is grounded in community partnerships, and placements are designed in response to the needs and capacities of organizational partners. We encourage contextually sensitive service in an effort to embed Stanford in local communities, and we emphasize reflective service practice to facilitate student learning.

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