In January 2012, the first UWC Short Course in Africa will take place in Swaziland. Bringing together 50 students from all over the region and the world, selected by their UWC National Committees and the organising team, it will provide a forum to reflect on and question the traditional concept of development and to advance ideas on how to take it forward.
At a time when young people are repeatedly told they can end poverty during their lifetime, it is important that they understand the processes with which such aims can be achieved, and develop a sense of ownership over them. Such understanding can come about most effectively by a combination of academic engagement and practical experience, by a combination of reflection and action. Thus, the participants will spend two weeks debating the aims and the rationale for ‘development,’ engage with some major development theories and experience development in practise both through job shadowing in local organisations and institutions as well as through direct involvement with community based projects.
The first part of the course will take place in a central location in Swaziland from where the participants will move to various small communities in Swaziland to engage in and to experience some hands-on development work, thereby allowing them to understand Swaziland more thoroughly and rooting the whole experience firmly in the local context. This is highly beneficial as Swaziland is a small country with pressing developmental needs, a country that has experimented with various approaches to development, and a country that sports a lively scene of NGOs, both local and international. Towards the end of the Short Course, the group reconvenes at the original venue for reflection and other activities.
Supported by a wide range of partners, engaging speakers and many opportunities for the exchange of ideas, the UWC Short Course: “Together for Development” will support and motivate the participants to engage with the concept of development, to develop an understanding of the value of diversity and of equal partnerships, and to get ready to take action for a world that is more in accordance with their ideals.