Institute for International Cooperation and Development

IICD Michigan was incorporated in 1997 as a not-for-profit organization in the state of Michigan. IICD Michigan is an independent research non-profit. The Internal Revenue Service has determined that IICD Michigan is an organization as described in the revenue code 501(c) 3. This means that IICD is exempt from federal taxation of its activities and that donors can deduct donations to IICD from the income declared in their tax return. The organization will not discriminate by race, ethnicity, national origins, religious belief, gender or orientation.

        

 

 

About IICD

IICD Michigan

1. Executive Summary

IICD is an organization that as one of its activities prepares mostly young people to work as Development Instructors in overseas development projects in poor nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The desperate situation for the world's poor was a motivating factor for the establishment of IICD and its Development Instructor program, and it is indeed a strong motivating factor for the participants, who decides to join the program as Development Instructors. It is the desire to maximize the results and the effects on the global development process that has motivated the research at IICD.

The educational development research of IICD will be carried out as an ongoing action research into the training of Development Instructors as well as the results and effects of the Development Instructors upon the development process with the aim of improving the recruitment, the elements of the training, the layout of the overseas development work and the development education carried out by IICD for the enlightenment of the general public about development issues facing the poorer nations of the world.

Whereas theoretical knowledge will be gathered, analyzed and published, the driving force for the participants is the desire to impact global development issues and their own part in the process as much as possible, in that sense the action research is not an academic ivory tower exercise but a very real here and now action for the good of their fellow human beings and themselves.

IICD has since its start in 1999 been applying the basic principles of action research resulting in a steady improvement of its activities and programs. With this document we wish to outline a more formalized approach to the ongoing research, adding research procedures that allow for qualitative and quantitative measurements such as questionnaires answered under standardized circumstances. This will enable the analysis of the social processes and systems under study to be refined and strengthened so as to gain more knowledge and hereby tools to change and adapt the activities of IICD and its cooperation with partner organizations so as to achieve greater impact.

 

2. Introduction

The world of today faces problems of truly global proportions in a world facing a growing population, increasing gaps between the poor and rich, environmental problems and threats of climate shift. However human ingenuity should not be underestimated. More human beings also mean more bright ideas! The inter- connectedness of the world means that more and more people acquire knowledge about each other and more and more are able to decide to take action for a better world. There are numerous encouraging things taking place globally at many levels including the grass root level.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a document agreed upon by the majority of nations in the world. It establishes an essential common platform for all of humanity, and more and more people come together in multiple forms and formations to work towards its implementation.

In the year 2000, the United Nations set up 8 Millennium Development Goals for all nations on the planet to work to achieve before 2015. The first of them is to reduce extreme poverty. Many believe that it is within reach of our generation to put an end to poverty. One generation ago, 1/3 of the world's population lived in extreme poverty. Today the figure is 1/6. Still far too many, and unevenly distributed - with Africa lacking behind and even moving in the wrong direction in some places. But the progress is encouraging news.

It is our experience that knowing about the problems in the world and only talking about them, is discouraging, but as you start doing something about them - however small - you get encouraged on the personal level and in the big picture the world change albeit incrementally to the better.

Africa belongs to the so-called "Third World", but is in fact part of the same world as the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, however, the difference in living standards and opportunities is so enormous that it is hard to comprehend when living in a developed country.

Africa's 800 million people constitute more than a thousand tribes, each with its own history, language and culture. They live in fifty-three independent countries with borders drawn by colonial powers. Thus each country typically consists of a colorful mix of cultures.

Independent Africa began after the Second World War, with Ghana as the first country to gain independence in 1957 and the process was completed in 1990 when Namibia as the last colony, gained independence and in 1994 apartheid as a system ended in South Africa. So the "New Africa" is young and faces a great need for change and transformation.

Often the images of Africa are those of endless doubts about Africa's resolve, intention and capacity. However, the truth is that all over the continent, even in the most extreme of circumstances, Africans are engaged in endless numbers of initiatives, projects and programs to enhance life and improve living conditions. The truth is also that the people of Africa have a lot to cope with. Africa is the poorest continent in the world. A continent that has suffered a history of underdevelopment: slave trade, colonization, apartheid, war and more; currently a continent that is hardest hit by the worst epidemic in human history, HIV/AIDS. More than half of the population lives on less than a dollar a day and the number of people living in extreme poverty is growing. Facts and figures out of Africa can be depressing, however behind the figures there are human lives; people who with a unique social network reach out to care for each other, using all available resources to make the best out of life. Getting to know these people, working alongside them, and creating development together, you realize their strengths and know there is hope.

The people of Africa have a huge capacity to cope and a strong will to make things better, but they need assistance from fellow human beings who have surplus - assistance in the form of skills and knowledge so they can build and expand their capacity, resources and funds, and the encouragement and energy it gives to work side by side in solidarity with someone who cares.

 

3. The Development Objectives of IICD

It is in the above context the actions of IICD must be understood. They stem from a desire to do something, to act. The programs at IICD provide an opportunity for ordinary people to take action for a better world and thus be part of setting encouraging examples. We cannot save the world, but joining hands with the people in need, we can progress one step at a time.

Install a new borehole and a pump so clean water is secured in a village. Establish a school garden to provide a nutritious meal for the children in grade one. Organize that yet another family receives a small loan and can start an income generating activity. Hold a course for women about hygiene. Build a new latrine. Mobilize five more girls to go to school. Teach HIV-positive people about the "10 rules of survival". Educate primary school teachers for rural areas.

The list is long and everybody can take part. Each event is a small victory in the fight against poverty. Combined and over time they have an impact, and the people who are part of the development work, develop themselves in the process and build their capacity to do more, so that the good examples can spread. Development is thus created through a collective effort.

 

4. The Research Objectives of IICD

Our resolve is that the Development Instructor (DI) program of IICD shall play a vital role in creating development that leads to less misfortune in the world we live in.

The objective of the research carried out by IICD takes this as its point of departure and therefore centers on improving and strengthening the DI program and the results and effects of the development instruction as it is carried out on the ground in development projects so as to maximize its impact.

This implies improving the recruitment of DIs, the preparation period, the layout of the work overseas, the elements of the development work, and increasing the long term effect on the DI him or herself as well as the communities where he or she is operating.

We thus investigate many aspects of the development process, always focusing on the needs of the people. The needs are of such overwhelming proportions that we must always strive to reach further and do more.

In short the research at IICD of the development process aims at strengthening the global trends towards a better world.

 

5. Development

In the research process we apply the concept of development as it has been defined by our partner organization in its charter adopted in 1997:

• It is about fostering new generations with golden hearts and heads and hands, well-educated and with a personal ethic of such proportions, that humanized relationships of all sizes can serve as substitute for all sorts of dehumanized phenomena.

• It is about improving democracy, advancing productions, building up trade relations, generating services and it is about scanning all brains to create new portions of know-how.

• It is about concentrating on the important task of transferring the results of effort from places where development is well ahead to places where it is dawning or even absent.

• It is about establishing capable institutes for education and health.

• It is about improving human relationships on a contemporary basis and to modern standards. It is about the emancipation of every single human being on the level of personal happiness, and, at the same time, making each human responsible for the happiness of his neighbors through practical methods.

• And as always in the question of development is it about promoting and pre venting. Preventing the dehumanising of society, of institutions and of you and me. Promoting the humanisation of mankind, the only art form that contains the seed to the flowers of happiness for all.

 

6. The Development Instructor Program at IICD

Institute for International Cooperation and Development, IICD, is an American 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our main programs at the moment are training Development Instructors and Development Action participants and as an income generating leg we operate a clothes recycling program.

As the name indicates, the purpose of the Development Instructor Program is to train ordinary people to become instructors of DEVELOPMENT. The Development Instructor Program is implemented in a cooperation between IICD and the international organization Humana People to People. It offers equal opportunities to people regardless of social background, race, sexual orientation, gender, age or nationality. All participants take part in a six months training at IICD in order to qualify for a position at one of Humana People to People's sustainable development projects in Africa.

Each Development Instructor works at a project for six months and concludes the program with a two months follow-up period, also called Camp Future. This offer is open to people who have reached the age of eighteen before completing the training period.

The Development Instructor Program has been ongoing at IICD and our sister institutions in the US and Europe since 1980 and over 10,000 people from more than 75 different countries have taken part.

The overall objective of the Development Instructor Program is to obtain a humanizing influence on global development - the influence of the Solidary Humanism.

In today's world the unequal distribution of goods such as land, money, food and all other necessities is still deepening in spite of the fact that the total amount of wealth is increasing year by year. The rapid growth of the world population worries politicians and economists. The last 25 years have produced a populace with more rich people, more middle class people and certainly more very poor people. More of them all. Thus the policy of equal distribution is still a must for the committed humanist.

 

7. What is a Development Instructor?

1) A Development Instructor is an ordinary person with the heart in the right place. It is a person who decides to expand and challenge his/her own capacity, and to use it where needed in the service of promoting development.

2) A Development Instructor is a role model who, by acting in the best interest of humanity as a whole, places human needs and interest on the agenda and strives to have a humanizing influence on the present and future.

3) A Development Instructor is a person who wishes to develop him/herself by developing the world.

4) A Development Instructor is a person who combines knowledge and action and makes ONE tool out of this for change and development.

 

8. International Counterparts

Humana People to People is an international organization that focuses its attention on creating answers to some of the main questions facing humanity. It does not compare itself to anything or to anybody but itself. Luckily this places the organization completely outside any sort of competition - left or right. It has done its own things - and still does.

It started as a small organization in 1977. Today it is an international organization that substantially impacts the lives of millions of people. Today thirty-three national associations are members of Humana People to People and together they run over 600 projects around the world.

Projects in Europe and North America are as a core activity generating funds for development projects through the collection and selling of second hand clothes.

Projects in the developing world are targeting basic human needs through the creation of sustainable development within areas such as education, child aid and orphan programs, training primary school teachers, sale and distribution of second hand clothes, agriculture, tree planting, water supply, and fighting HIV/AIDS.

Each project has a permanent staff who live and work at the project. Development is managed from a holistic approach, placing the human beings at the center of development. The Project Leaders and staff provide the continuous leadership.

This makes it possible for Development Instructors to add to the overall development of the project by working with specific tasks, while at the same time gaining valuable life skills and experiences.

IICD is primarily sending Development Instructors to Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and Botswana.

 

9. The Research Approach

The research approach of IICD can best be described under the broad category of Action Research. IICD has practiced indirect action research since its first program started 1999. In 2007, we initiated the direct research project described in this document. Action research is a scientific work method whereby persons and groups can evaluate their own practice and improve it continuously. This method has become a main tool in our training of the Development Instructors that we are sending to Africa.

We are using this method in a systematic way that include data collection, analysis, conclusions and improvements in an ongoing process of hypothesis formulation and verification/falsification.

 

History of Action Research

 

Action research is a people oriented research approach that enables a group to analyze and improve its own practice - any team or family or informal community of practice or larger organizations or institutions can apply the principles of action research on themselves, assisted or guided by professional researchers, with the aim of improving their strategies, practices, and knowledge of the environments within which they practice.

Action research is not only a research approach that enables the description of how humans and organizations behave but is also a chain mechanism that facilitates humans and organizations to reflect on and change their own systems (Reason & Bradbury, 2001). After six decades of action research development, many methodologies have evolved, ranging:

from those that are more driven by the researcher's agenda to those more driven by participants;

from those that are motivated primarily by instrumental goal attainment to those motivated primarily by the aim of personal, organizational, or societal transformation; and

from 1st-, to 2nd-, to 3 rd-person research (i.e. my research on my own action, aimed primarily at personal change; our research on our group (family/team), aimed primarily at improving the group; and 'scholarly' research aimed primarily at theoretical generalization and/or large scale change).

Action research makes it possible to change social science, transforming it from reflective knowledge about past social practices formulated by experts to an active moment-to-moment theorizing, data collecting, and inquiring occurring in the midst of our ongoing lives. "Knowledge is always gained through action and for action". From this starting point, to question the validity of social knowledge is to question, not how to develop a reflective science about action, but how to develop genuinely well-informed action—how to conduct an action science" (Torbert 2001).

A powerful tool for modern action research uses video of communities by communities, and variations on that theme. Surprisingly it started in 1967 by a pioneering advocate Don Snowdon who changed the lives of Newfoundland's Fogo islanders by filming them and their grievances and promulgating their distress to their government. This methodology is now called Participatory Video. Its chief power is that the video is edited by it participants.

 

Participatory action research has emerged in recent years as a significant methodology for intervention, development and change within communities and groups. It is now promoted and implemented by many international development agencies and university programs, as well as countless local community organizations around the world. PAR builds on the critical pedagogy put forward by Paulo Freire as a response to the traditional formal models of education where the "teacher" stands at the front and "imparts" information to the "students" that are passive recipients. This was further developed in "adult education" models throughout Latin America.

"Essentially Participatory Action Research (PAR) is research which involves all relevant parties in actively examining together current action (which they experience as problematic) in order to change and improve it. They do this by critically reflecting on the historical, political, cultural, economic, geographic and other contexts which make sense of it. ... Participatory action research is not just research which is hoped will be followed by action. It is action which is researched, changed and re-researched, within the research process by participants. Nor is it simply an exotic variant of consultation. Instead, it aims to be active co-research, by and for those to be helped. Nor can it be used by one group of people to get another group of people to do what is thought best for them - whether that is to implement a central policy or an organizational or service change. Instead it tries to be a genuinely democratic or non-coercive process whereby those to be helped, determine the purposes and outcomes of their own inquiry." - Wadsworth, Y. (1998)

The "research" aspects of PAR attempt to avoid the traditional "extractive" research carried out by universities and governments where "experts" go to a community, study their subjects, and take away their data to write their papers, reports and thesis. Research in PAR is ideally BY the local people and FOR the local people. Research is designed to address specific issues identified by local people, and the results are directly applied to the problems at hand.

PAR proceeds through repeated cycles, in which researchers and the community start with the identification of major issues, concerns and problems, initiate research, originate action, learn about this action and proceed to a new research and action cycle. This process is a continuous one. Participants in Action Research projects continuously reflect on their learning from the actions and proceed to initiate new actions on the spot. Outcomes are very difficult to predict from the outset, challenges are sizable and achievements depend to a very large extent on researcher's commitment, creativity and imagination.

 

10. The Pedagogy of IICD

Institute for International Cooperation and Development is part of a network of schools which implement the Development Instructor Program. For more than 40 years these schools have practiced learning by doing and action research, being very close to the critical pedagogy of Paulo Freire - a pedagogy on which Participatory Action Research builds on.

IICD wants to implement Participatory Action Research - and exchange our results with sister schools and other like minded institutions.

General Objective

To train a minimum of 60 Development Instructors per year and send those to carry out development work in HPP projects in Africa.

To continuously evaluate and develop the Development Instructor Program through Participatory Action Research (PAR).

Specific Objectives

• To train individuals and teams of Development Instructors for development work in Africa.

• To continuously improve our Development Instructors and our program through PAR.

• To collaborate with local staff at the development projects.

• To contribute significantly to the developments of the projects.

• To contribute to skills and capacity building at the projects.

• To contribute to skills and capacity building in the communities around the projects.

• To contribute to the reduction of poverty, discrimination and corruption.

• To promote solidary humanism.

 

11. Research Methodology

The action research methodology applied by IICD includes

- 1st-research (i.e. my research on my own action, aimed primarily at personal change),

- 2nd-research (i.e. our research on our group/team, aimed primarily at improving the group and

- 3rd-research (i.e. research aimed primarily at the theoretical generalization) in so far as we share our research results with others so as to inspire further action and research.

The research is ongoing through the entire DI program and thus include an aspect of longitudinal studies as practiced in more tradition sociological and anthropological research.

Each individual DI and each team will perform PAR on their training period and development work period.

Each individual will fill out a questionnaire at entry, and after 3, 6, 9 and 12 month of the training program.

Each team will evaluate their progress and results every second week during the entire period.

The purpose of the group evaluation is to see where each participant is in relation to their personal development and in relation to the team as a whole. They look at different elements of the program from a holistic point of view.

The participants will go through 6 months of training in USA and 6 months of development work in Africa. The participants will have the opportunity to evaluate their development themselves and in the group through this period.

The action research methodology chosen includes a significant element of participant observation which is the classical method in anthropological science, as well as the more hard fact sociological questionnaire based research methodology measuring attitudes and actions based on the subjective statements of individuals directly or indirectly involved in the social interactions and the social system under study.