© 2017 Child Family Health International

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Yes! To understand an organization's approach to
social responsibility, sustainability of programming,
and partnerships is essential, here's why... 

Understand the details of the approach to social responsibility and sustainability of programming and partnerships.

Social and Environmental Responsibility

  • Partnership aspects: The structure of the partnership between an organization in your country and the local host community/institution is often more important than you might think.  There are partnership best practices for global health to ensure there is a voice for all stakeholders, as well as cognizance of historical power imbalances.                    

    • Written partnership agreements including clarity on expectations and responsibilities  

    • Evidence of long term commitment of partners to common goals (e.g. exchange of resources and people among multiple stakeholders in hosting community and in sending institution) that stretches beyond the single experience and continues all year round.  The continuity of students and organizational engagement often set up an umbrella allows for optimal learning and clear program details.  In addition, ask yourself and the opportunity you’re considering, “how long has this partnership been taking place between these specific partners?  This question is important because often program longevity is a proxy for successful partnership and continuity is key to provide ongoing program quality improvement and reinforcing appropriate roles for students, as well as longitudinal development goals for the community, if this is a commitment of the program.                                

    • Host community members have an opportunity to participate (where applicable, in an accredited way) in program experience and/or design, and are compensated for their time and expertise.                  

    • Reasons for partnership, in terms of community and student outcomes, are understood and embraced by multiple and diverse stakeholders.                                         

    • Partners have clear understanding of ongoing commitment as well as mutual agreement on reasons and process for end of partnership.                                                       

    • Host community members are compensated for time and efforts supporting the opportunity (WEIGHT Ethics and Best Practice Guidelines for Training Experiences in Global Health state programs should “recognize the true cost to all institutions and ensure they are appropriately reimbursed,” for community-based programs, this includes costs of hosting students and/or faculty in community-based settings).       

    • Elective facilitators measures their impacts on communities or evaluates their work (also known as a “Monitoring and Evaluation Plan”).

    • Data collected from a variety of perspectives and methodology (examples include confidential surveys, face-to-face interactions, site visits, independent researchers, partner roundtables).                           

    • Limitations of findings and methods of collecting data are recognized. 

    • Evidence of failure reporting, evaluation by independent researchers (ideal as it has less bias) and on-going research efforts.                                                                                 

    • Professionals with relevant academic and professional experience in international education and community development are involved in overseeing or evaluating the international elective.  

                                             

Local involvement

  • Adequate capacity of the host organization to manage and support you throughout your experience; this include adequate staff to answer questions, availability of alumni to discuss programs with, and systems to enable enrollment and learning platforms.

  • Host organization has clear teaching, leadership roles e.g. involvement in the selection and evaluation of students and responsibility for program design.

  • If occurring, community-driven research initiatives are co-owned, including fair authorship rights to any co-generated publications, as well as appropriate ethical review.                                                                                                                                                 

Responsible marketing

  • Recruitment material uses considerate language challenging assumptions about power, privilege, outcomes, and personal agency (for example, if it seems to oversell or inflate your impacts on community health, be mindful that it may not be genuine or accurate).

  • Images are genuine, balanced, and dignified and provide context and perspective, and are collected with proper consents.

  • Short and long-term claims are honest and reflective of both successes and limitations.