Story and Photos by Rashid Sesay | Country Director | Heifer Sierra Leone
Heifer Sierra Leone recently hosted a delegation from Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania. Visitors included Warren Haffar, director of International Studies; Dr. Jennifer Riggan, assistant professor of International Studies; Dr. John Riggan, board member; and Fodeba Daboh, student. Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding with the universitys Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, postgraduate students will serve as interns at Heifer Sierra Leone for periods of six weeks to three months.
The purpose of the visit was to strengthen the internship relationship with Heifer Sierra Leone, with a broader objective of incorporating field work into classes taught at universities in Sierra Leone. The team visited Heifer field projects and met with academic staff and chancellors of the University of Sierra Leone and Njala University, as well as the Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy, Medical Superintendent of Choithram Hospital, and representatives of other NGOs. The discussions were fruitful and the team was highly impressed and motivated by the internship opportunity and the possibility for expansion to include other NGOs and in-country colleges.
Since the internship partnership started in 2009, Heifer Sierra Leone has hosted seven students. During the internship period, students are exposed to a series of learning and experience-sharing exercises, including Participatory Self Review and Planning (PRSP), Passing on the Gift® (POG) readiness assessment, 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development, and Sustainable Livelihoods Assessment, which entails problem identification, priority ranking and project design. Advantages of the internship include firsthand exposure to the economic, social and environmental challenges faced by smallholder farmers in Sierra Leone. Students develop a broader awareness about issues of cultural diversity and global interconnectedness.