Program a partnership between CIDA and AUCC
Grad students go international
By David Sorensen
Yusri Yusuf and his son Sahrum, 12, take water samples from Lake Matano in Indonesia last November. Mr. Yusuf is the co-ordinator of the community-based environmental monitoring program in which MUN student Tracy Glynn participated. (Photo by Tracy Glynn)
Two grad students recently participated in a program that helped them make a difference in community projects overseas. They were taking part in the Canada Corps University Partnership Program (CCUPP), a $2-million pilot project designed and managed by the Association of Universities and College of Canada (AUCC) and financed by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
The project’s goal is to assist young people in their quest to better understand the governance challenges in developing countries and search for solutions.
Tracy Glynn, a M.Sc. student in the Environmental Science program, went to Indonesia, while Carla Thachuk, who is doing her master’s in physical education, spent three months helping implement sport and recreation programs in refugee camps in Guinea and Sierra Leone, in West Africa.
Ms. Glynn heard about the program through Memorial’s International Centre. It allowed her to return to Sorowako, Indonesia, a community where she did research for her master’s. While there, she began a community guide to environmental health monitoring. “It is a guide that communities anywhere … could use to monitor the environment, conduct a health survey.”
With the CCUPP grant, she was able to return for a follow-up study in a community affected by a nickel mine that started in the 1970s. She helped study the pollution associated with the mine and smelter. The guide should allow any community in a similar situation to monitor the effects of industrial pollution.
She said the manual should be finished within the month and translated into Bahasa, which is the local language.
“We set up a sustainable community-based monitoring program where they can continue monitoring and there are various parameters regarding air and water quality that they can do right there,” she said. “They don’t need a laboratory to follow up. They are able to measure how much dust is in the air and how much solids are in the water. They are able to do that with simple equipment that has been donated.”
Ms. Glynn said she’d like to do more work in Indonesia, around the area of political ecology.
Ms. Thachuk used her CCUPP internship in West Africa from July 2005 through October 2005. She was working in collaboration with Right to Play, a Canadian based NGO, implementing sport and recreation programs in refugee camps in Guinea and Sierra Leone for Liberian Refugees.
She said the program aids her career goal of establishing new innovative international sport for development programs while working in collaboration with existing international and national development programs.
“I want to employ sport as a tool for development in a novel scheme that will concentrate on and address the numerous health and development issues faced by youth and children as refugees or internally displaced, those affected by war, HIV/AIDS, extreme poverty and former child soldiers with a strong emphasis on the inclusion of girls and persons living with disabilities in all programs.”
Both Ms. Thachuk and Ms. Glynn praised the Canada Corps-AUCC partnership.
“It allows university students to do research outside of Canada that they probably otherwise would not be able to do,” said Ms. Glynn.