An International Partnership

By Karl Brisseaux
Stern students in Accra, Ghana
For the past few years, a group of NYU Stern Undergraduate students have traveled to West Africa as part of a course taught by Professor Rachel Kowal: the Stern International Volunteers (SIV) Seminar in Ghana. Throughout the spring 2015 semester, students enrolled in the course studied Ghanaian history, legal systems, business and human rights.
The course culminated in a two-week service-learning trip to Accra, Ghana, where students experienced, applied and compared what they learned in class about Ghana. During the trip, they volunteered with Adanu, a non-profit based in Ghana working to provide communities with educational opportunities. In addition, students also spent six days in the Woadze-Tsatoe Village in Ghana’s Volta region, where they built a sanitation facility, taught children, and built a latrine.
“SIV Ghana 2015, in collaboration with NYU Accra and Adanu, has established a five year commitment to work with Woadze-Tsatoe and to meet their pressing needs in education, clean water, health care and microbusiness in a sustainable manner,” said Kowal, a Clinical Professor of Business Law at Stern. “Waodze-Tsatoe is our adopted village and it is our responsibility to ensure the continuity and engagement of students in a meaningful global connection.”
Future SIV projects in the village may include building a three-room school, a health care facility, a clean water system, and additional sanitation infrastructure. The community in Waodze-Tsatoe enjoyed working with the students, and expressed their gratitude for the time students and faculty spent in the village.
"This year's class worked on a variety of village-level social entrepreneurship projects.  While on the ground, they were able to collect data, understand major need-gaps and design preliminary plans for these project," said Hans Taparia, a Clinical Professor of Business and Society at Stern.  "Future classes, with Adanu's help, would be able to build on these plans, help the village execute them, and contribute to some of the development while they are there."
“We were not expecting such a great effort from you, so we say a very big thank you to NYU Stern volunteer students [and] their professors,” said Ablorde Martin, one of Waodze Tsatoe’s village elders. “We wish this type of cordial relationship between NYU Stern Volunteer students with their professors and Woadze-Tsatoe [would] exist forever.”
In addition to their work in Woadze-Tsatoe, students visited several cultural landmarks, such as the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial, which commemorates the life and legacy of Ghana’s first prime minister. Students also learned about and toured several Ghanaian business operations, including Blue Skies Juice Manufacturing, a global supplier of fresh local fruit juice, and the Khuma Farms Complex in Kumasi, Ghana. 

Learn more about Stern International Volunteers on Facebook.