SSC 320: Community Development Seminar (Required)
Community development (CD) is planned internal intervention to generate change for the purpose of enhancing people’s quality of life. However, there is often disagreement as to what is meant by an enhanced quality of life, who decides this, and how it is achieved. We will explore the theoretical perspectives of community development, including the three primary approaches: Technical Assistance, Self-Help, and Interactional. We will examine which types of community development are taking place in Cameroon and how this relates to the overall development strategy of the country. We will highlight CD in the areas of education and health, with an emphasis on the role of women and youth. Emphasis is placed on community-driven development that is culturally, economically, and environmentally sustainable. Each student will engage in a service learning project with a local organization, allowing them to make connections between the classroom and practice in the community.
Course and Program Objectives
- Understand the relationship between community development and the development strategy of Cameroon.
- Develop the special communication and cross-cultural skills necessary for effective interactions with non-profit organizations at the local level.
- Acquire the skills and knowledge for evaluation of a community and the effectiveness of local development projects.
- Understand the theoretical perspectives of community development and how they may be applied in both domestic and international contexts.
The service learning project is an integral component of the “Community Development Seminar.” During pre-program advising, students share their academic and personal interests with AEA. We then make every effort to arrange a service learning placement for each student that fits his/her individual interests. Students typically devote several hours a week to their projects, throughout the program. This placement enhances the student’s learning by providing practical experiences that relate to the academic content of the seminar. Students have the opportunity to reflect on their service learning by integrating their experiences into essays for the seminar and maintaining a journal. Possible service learning fields include education, communication, health, public policy, business, community projects, and food/water/resource issues.
Sample of Previous Service Learning Placements:
Green Cameroon: Field work includes working with school environmental clubs, practical work at nurseries, working with community members to identify environmental problems, and gathering data on proposed solutions.
LIFAFA Eco-Tourism and Museum: Field work includes cleaning, documenting, labeling, and organizing artifacts in the museum. In addition, student may participate in leading museum tours.
Trees for the Future: In Buea, Cameroon, Trees for the Future is managed through the Environment and Rural Development Foundation. Field work includes working on agro-forestry projects in the community around Buea. Students work with a team to review applications from communities, assist eligible communities with building their nurseries, and provide support for the project to become self-sustaining.
Students select 3 of the following courses:
Introduction to Rural Sociology
Community Health Practice
(Health Sciences) In this course, we examine the effect of environmental factors on the health of the community, and the health of individuals in relation to the community environment and the health care organization. We will study man and the physical environment; Community assessment and actions to improve the quality and safety of the environment. Environmental sanitation: toilet systems, vector control, water supply, food hygiene. Communicable diseases of public health interest, Health system structure in Cameroon, Health information system in Cameroon, rural urban migration. Students will acquire knowledge on the factors that affect the propagation of diseases and the ways of prevention.
(Environmental Science) This is an interdisciplinary course which examines the nature of the environment, with topics selected from a wide range from the Physical and Social Sciences. Topics include the origin and age of the solar system, the planet Earth, its geologic history, past environments on it and the evolution of plant and animal life until the appearance of man. Present environments and projected trends. The composition of the Earth’s interior, the oceans and the atmosphere. The distribution of elements in various geologic terrains and the toxic levels of these elements. Present Environments (ecosystems) and associated flora and fauna. The energy cycles of the biosphere. The influence of cultural property impetus and environmental factors on Tourism. The need for a global legislative control and preservation of the environment. Aspects of sensitization of environmental awareness in communities, schools and the administration.
Women, Economy, and Entrepreneurship
(Women’s Studies) By the end of this course, students will understand the basic theoretical and conceptual frameworks of urban and rural economies and the contribution of female entrepreneurship to the economy and development of developing and developed countries. This course provides an introduction to different economies: developed and developing, rural and urban, women in different economies, and small businesses. Students will study environmental problems/studies on small business and entrepreneurship, preparing feasibility studies for small business programs and projects, sources of finance and criteria, small business management and evaluation, and economical problems, concerns, and policies.
Women, Social Work, and Social Policy
(Women’s Studies) By the end of this course, students will understand the basic concepts of social welfare and social work policies, and how public policy on social welfare and related laws affect women’s social work with particular reference to Cameroon. We discuss concepts of social work, welfare and social policy, the nature of welfare and social policy, feminist theories on welfare systems and social policy, poverty and social security, politics of the family versus women’s status (woman as a mother, a wife, women and work), public policy for reconciling paid and unpaid work, reproductive health policy, role and function of the Ministries of Social Affairs and Women’s Empowerment, and the family in social welfare. Upon completing the course, students will be knowledgeable in basic concepts of social welfare and social work policies, and policy for reproductive health. In additional they will understand welfare system, feminist theories on welfare systems, and social security and women’s work, especially their unpaid work.
Social Inequality and Stratification
(Sociology/Anthropology) In this course, we review with students the theories, causes, nature, and consequences of social stratification in different societies of the world. We discuss theories of social stratification; functionalist and social reproduction theories; classes in capitalist society; stratification in socialist societies; stratification in non industrial societies, history, development and structures of social inequality in contemporary Africa; and social mobility.
Family and Kinship Systems
(Sociology/Anthropology) In this course, we will acquaint the student with notions linked to evolution, functions and status of the family in different social and historical contexts. We will examine typologies of the family, family cohesion, the changing roles of members of the family in family living, marriage and kinship systems, kinship terminologies and discrepancies in their application in various societies, African marriage and family structures and the changes that have taken place.
(Political Science) The course seeks to acquaint students with the workings of international organizations. We will examine the evolution of international organizations in the 20th century: global economy, security and social welfare; the role of international organizations in future world order; institutional politics and constraints in some major functional areas such as peace-keeping, human rights, food aid and refugee settlement; and major regional and global governmental (IGOs) and non-governmental (INGOs) organizations.
Human Rights in International Law
(Political Science) This course is intended to enable students to understand the conflicting issues involved in and the necessity of protecting human rights. Course topics include: the nature of human rights and its place in international politics; the effect of various international actors on human rights issues; the relationship between national interests of states; and the fight of human rights across national boundaries. Focus is also on international organizations concerned with human rights issues.
African Social Thought
(Sociology/Anthropology) The goal of this course is to introduce students to the currents of social, political, religious and economic systems of thought that have influenced Africans in the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial periods. Topics include: the social dimension of Ibn Khaldun’s thought; Africa in ancient civilizations (Egyptology, the connection with the Judaeo-christian world in North East); reconstituting ancient black African thought; negritude and the black consciousness movement; pan-Africanism, its legacy and its fortunes; post colonial visions of African revivalist movements; globalization and African intellectual responses; and African renaissance movements.
Cameroon Music and Dance
(Performing/Visual Arts) This course will look at the history of Cameroonian music and dance, the social and cultural background, the origins of Cameroonian pop music, some important genres such as bikutsi and makossa, and the Cameroonian music industry. Through this course, students will understand the development of Cameroonian music and dance through the years; gain a sound knowledge of the social and cultural backgrounds; understand some vocal and instrumental Cameroonian music and dances with particular attention given to elements like melody, polyphony, rhythm and structure; and be able to interpret some Cameroonian music and dances. This course consists of lectures, tutorials, and hands-on workshops. Students may also take some visits to music and dance houses.
French Language Courses
French language courses are available through a local language institute. Students are tested at the start of the semester to determine the appropriate course level. All levels of French can be accommodated.
Course offerings and descriptions are subject to change. Please contact AEA for the most current curriculum information.