Programs offer diverse experiences
by David Sorensen
Two students, two vastly different experiences, one common theme. Both Heidi Hiscock and Dheeraj Busawon spent part of 2006 in developing countries working on projects that provided an opportunity to examine governance issues.
Heidi Hiscock said her worldview was changed forever by a recent CIDA-sponsored trip to Jamaica. Ms. Hiscock, a fifth-year arts student, said working with poor women in Jamaica opened her eyes to the plight of people living in less developed countries.
Ms. Hiscock worked with a women’s group Blue Mountain Project in Hagley Gap, Jamaica, a town near Kingston. She ran clinics, worked with the community’s children and helped distribute aid.
Despite her love for the communities and people she came to know, Ms. Hiscock said the culture gap was difficult to get used to.
“When I got there, I didn’t start out on a good foot,” she explained. “However I would go back in a heartbeat.”
The funding for the excursion came through a Canadian International Development Agency program administered through Memorial’s International Centre.
The Students for Development program allows young people, who are still engaged in formal learning, to better understand governance challenges in developing countries
Dheeraj Busawon, a biology honours student, recently returned from an internship with the Canada Corps University Partnership Program in Rodrigues, Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean where he was working with octopus fishers.
|Dheeraj Busawon, left, with Dr. E. Hardman, research co-ordinator of Shoals Rodrigues. (Submitted photo)
He assisted in research that is helping local fishers develop a more sustainable industry. While there, Mr. Busawon did a survey of fishers and collected a written record of indigenous knowledge.
He said the governance focus of the program is crucial in a developing country.
“Governance is important for development,” he said. “Some of the fishermen made 1,000 rupees a month about 40 dollars. With the declining octopus population, they don’t have anything to fish.”
He said by helping create a detailed record of the fishery, the local NGO was able to assist in the planning for the future fishery.
Both students credited Memorial’s International Centre with co-ordinating their applications.