Santa Clara University


Community-based Learning

Friends of Africa Libraries (FAVL)

All in-country activities, transportation, meals, lodging and other logistics of the study abroad/immersion will be organized by Friends of African Village Libraries (FAVL), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that operates five village libraries in Burkina Faso and employs a resident staff in Ouagadougou.  FAVL has considerable experience hosting student volunteers.

Community Engagement

During the time in the village, students continue to work on their development studies materials and begin work on their community engagement coursework, through experiential learning, by volunteering in community libraries for ten hours each week.   The typical internship involves:

  • Conducting story hours and other activities for schoolchildren
  • Organizing reading groups for secondary school students
  • Assisting the librarian with accounting
  • Report-writing and grant-writing
  • Other activities of a village library.
Civic Engagement
Students produce two books of photographs based on the theme of civic engagement. Examples of these projects include:
  • Students create a books of photograph of women leaders in rural Burkina Faso, with accompanying text explaining their activities and development outlook, in French text simple enough for newly literate readers (secondary school students and adult learners), and translated into Dioula, the local lingua franca.
  • Students work with local teachers, students and librarians to draft the text and translate into Dioula.
  • Students reflect on their activities through structured writing assignments and discussions.
Community Partnerships

There are numerous opportunities while in the villages to learn from locals.  These opportunities include:

  • Organized visits with village and town mayors, school directors and teachers, nurse practitioners in village clinics, leaders of cotton and other farming associations, leaders of women’s groups, and religious and other community leaders.  
  • Students also have many opportunities to interact with schoolchildren and villagers. 
  • All students meet once a week in a central location for a day of reflection, debriefing, brief lectures or meetings with regional officials, and opportunity to work on computers editing photographs and receiving feedback on their projects. In particular, the photography course instructor reviews photographs and progress towards designing the book.

Printer-friendly format