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Dr. Susan Sage Heinzelman, Director 2505 University Avenue, A4900, Burdine Hall 536, Austin Texas 78712 • 512-471-5765

Spring 2010


Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

Fifty years after independence, Ghana has established new priorities around vigorous infrastructure development and enhanced social services and development, with special emphasis on education, child and family welfare, poverty reduction, and health promotion. Through this course, students will gain a sound understanding of Ghanaian social work approaches to community and social development through social service delivery and community empowerment strategies which incorporate indigenous customs, institutions, and values. Students will have the opportunity to examine the role of colonialism, cultural history and social policy in influencing the prevailing societal issues in Ghana and to explore various agency programs, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and indigenous projects that are actively responding to Ghana's major social service needs. The course will focus on community and social development across various areas, such as poverty, child and youth welfare, women and family services, health and disability services, housing and migration concerns, employment and technology development, and environmental protection in rural and urban Ghanaian communities.

The course involves both experiential and classroom learning. During the four weeks, students will volunteer with various NGOs, social service agencies, and community-based organizations as well as meet with members of the Ghana Association of Social Workers and leading community providers. Students will be placed in agencies in the Greater Accra area. The course content will dovetail with the nature of community service in critical ways to ensure that 1) student learning is enhanced, 2) small-scale community needs are met, and 3) students are able to critically reflect upon their entire experience. In addition, students will take part in educational excursions, such as tours of the Cape Coast slave fortresses, Catholic Action for Street Children's Rural Farm Apprenticeship Project, the Village of Patriensa Computer Technology Training Center, and the Agogo Village Hospital and Environmental Activism Project in the country’s Ashanti region. The course combines lectures by faculty and local experts with journal reflections, field reports, and discussions that allow students to integrate their classroom-based work with their community-based volunteer projects.


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