This program is organized by DukeEngage faculty/staff in collaboration with DukeEngage.
June 1 - August 2
Collaborating on various social development and citizenship projects, which may include working with organizations involved in micro-enterprise education, immigrant civil rights and youth programs.
Marlen Jorquera, Site Coordinator and professional journalist
Even though Chile has one of the most successful and stable economies in Latin America, the distribution of income is one of the most unequal on the continent. This has led to a number of interesting consequences: high numbers of legal and illegal immigrants to Chile from the Andean nations due to economic opportunity and domestically, a greater awareness of social and economic inequities. An innovative approach to redress income disparities is to provide education and resources to people to allow them to create their own small businesses, raise their standard of living, and contribute to sustainable economic growth at the local level. Duke students have a unique opportunity to work with a group of NGOs dedicated to poverty alleviation via business education, one on one economic strategy consulting, and connecting local residents to micro-finance opportunities. This program also focuses on the migrant communities that are populating Santiago and how they struggle for economic and civil rights.
Students will be placed in one of several creative organizations focused on changing the economic landscape in Santiago. Each organization focuses on slightly different aspects of the same dilemma — how to help micro-entrepreneurs succeed and maintain small businesses. Some of the services offered by such NGOs include educational courses (marketing, business, computer literacy, accounting), consulting (one-on-one assistance from the inception of the business idea to logistics and legal advice), and access to credit (help in applying for loans, micro-finance opportunities, grants, etc.) DukeEngage Chile participants will be selected to work at one of these institutions based on the needs of the community partner matched to the specific skill set of the student. In addition to NGOs focused on microfinance and education, a few students will also work with migrant communities and students who struggle to gain citizenship rights and opportunities in Chile's unequal economic model.
Past student projects have included:
• Creating curriculum materials for courses on production, marketing, and accounting
• Developing business directories
• Local neighborhood market analysis
• Organizing alumni reunions for micro-entrepreneurs
• Web site development for the NGOs and micro-entrepreneurs
• Groundwork for the creation of an e-marketplace for new businesses
• Database of best practices
• Managing a series of guest lectures for new micro-entrepreneurs
• Evaluating the impact of consulting services for small business clients
• International grant writing
• Creating mini-documentaries and marketing videos for micro-entrepreneurs
• Documenting oral histories and testimonies
• Establishing a support group for women micro-entrepreneurs
Projects and opportunities will be developed throughout the academic year as we match student skills to the needs of each organization (listed below). There is substantial room for creativity and innovation on the part of volunteers. (More organizations will be announced soon.)
Language/Other Prerequisites: Intermediate to advanced Spanish language proficiency is required to participate in this program. Spanish proficiency will be tested during the program interview and students are encouraged to take classes and attend language labs during the spring semester prior to departure for Chile.
Post-program activities: Participants are expected to follow-up their summer experience with a series of events including: active participation in the DukeEngage “Back at Duke” information session, a final report of their accomplishments, and dissemination of the experience in conferences and classrooms. Accion Emprendedora has recently opened a center in Durham and would like to have DE Chile students returning from the field volunteer at this new center near campus!
Reflection Sessions: Weekly reflections will be required as students respond to prompts using blogs, photography, primary materials, and videos. The group will share a meal together weekly for a more focused reflection on volunteer work, cultural adjustment issues, host families, etc.
Neighborhood: Volunteer placements will be located throughout Santiago at NGO headquarters, satellite centers, and micro-entrepreneur’s businesses and homes There are plenty of restaurants, stores, plazas, etc. near each of the centers. Students will typically work from 9am to 6pm and are advised to travel with friends in the evening for special events.
Housing and Accommodations: Students will be living with host families in Santiago. Many of the host families that have participated in our program since 2009 will host students again. In Santiago, the home-stay neighborhood locations include: Nunoa, Santiago Centro, and Providencia. Host families will provide breakfast and dinner, the use of a laundry facility, and a private room for each student. Many families have internet access. The DukeEngage in Chile program makes every effort to find families that understand the program, enjoy the cultural exchange, and allow enough flexibility for students to explore Santiago with their friends.
Meals: Home-stay families will be asked to provide breakfast and dinner for students each day. This does not require that every meal is shared with the home-stay families. Students will be given a stipend for lunches and other meals/snacks. There are plenty of very inexpensive places to eat near the volunteer centers and students are asked to inform home-stay families when they will not be home for meals.
Communication: Each student will be provided with a cell phone and stipend for purchasing minutes in Chile. Students are encouraged to bring laptops and the majority of the home-stay families will have internet access. The volunteer centers also have internet access that may be used for personal communication only with permission from the center directors. Finally, there are internet cafes and calling centers throughout the city. Each home-stay family also has cell phones and/or land lines.
Transportation: Students will be provided a transportation stipend to be used for travel between their homes and volunteer placements. Some students may be 10-20 minutes from their placement while others may be 40-60 minutes away. Students will use a combination of metro, buses, and taxis during the week. Students are asked to pay for their own transportation for entertainment. During group excursions, we will either hire a van for group transport or the cost of transportation will be paid by the program director. Special arrangements will be made for bus tickets to bring students placed in Valparaiso to Santiago for group events.
Opportunities for Autonomy / Private Space: Students will have some free time after work and on the weekends to explore and hang out with Duke and Chilean friends. Our program will have events scheduled on some weekends while other weekends will be open for free time.
Volunteer Placement Logistics: We will do our best to match student skills to the needs of each NGO center and place students where they will be able to make the best use of their language and other intellectual and inter-personal skills.
What type of students are we looking for? Successful candidates must have an intermediate to advanced level of spoken Spanish for this program. Besides the language requirement, we are looking for students with cultural sensitivity, curiosity about Chile and local economic development, flexibility and sense of humor, team players, creative thinkers, and young men and women who will represent Duke and the United States with dignity and respect. This program is not about tourism, travel throughout South America, or developing an expertise for Santiago nightlife. The goals of this program are to develop relationships with micro-entrepreneurs, learn from their creativity and hard work, serve the community partners and make full use of our students’ skills in order to help these NGOs achieve their goals of developing sustainable small businesses in poor communities of Santiago.
Given the nature of the entrepreneurship projects, specific skills that will be valuable to the Chilean NGOs include: familiarity with business principals and the creation of business plans, marketing, web site development, database management, documentary experience, photography/filming, journalism, organizing events, and leadership. Students from a wide variety of disciplines are encouraged to apply. As we open this program to different types of community partners (migrant issues and youth issues), students with experience in cultural anthropology, sociology, work immigrants, public policy, etc. are encouraged to apply.
We are hoping to select a group of students that work well together and bring useful skills and experiences to their NGOs in Chile. We certainly do not expect each student to have all of these skills. For example, a student who is fluent in Spanish will have great flexibility concerning their project/s in Santiago. A student whose Spanish is quite good, but not fluent, but who has web site development skills, would be very valuable as well.
Projects and NGO sites for which you are selected will allow opportunities for your own creative ideas and for interaction with Chileans in the communities in which you are working.
Immersion Activities: Our program is committed to providing unique and thought-provoking immersion activities/lectures/seminars for our students. Previous activities have included a series of tertulias in which we visited homes of business leaders, Duke Alumni, a famous painter, a presidential candidate, and a famous activist/musician. We engaged in discussions of important social and political themes such as: the agrarian reform and rise of the military government, art as resistance during the Pinochet dictatorship, the upcoming Chilean elections, a folk music concert, etc. We also took a trip as a group to the countryside to get to know each other better and learn about family life in rural Chile. Other activities include museum visits, architectural tours of Santiago, visits to Via Grimaldi (detention/torture center during the Pinochet regime), soccer games, and culinary outings.
Program Expectations: Students will be expected to work 40-45 hours per week (not including transportation time). Schedules at each NGO may require flexibility and sometimes night and weekend commitments. The NGO projects are the first priority for all participants. The second priority and requirement of the program are the group excursions and reflection sessions. The third priority ought to be to your host families and Chilean university students who make up an integral part of this experience. Personal entertainment and travel within Chile, while encouraged in safe and respectful ways, should be the last priority of program participants. Don’t worry; you are going to have a lot of fun!