Effective Community Engagement: Building and Assessing a Community Service Program that Promotes Intercultural Learning

Speaker: Martin van der Linde and Kenneth Chimese
Institution: Lusaka International Community School, Zambia

In its commitment to educate world citizens, Lusaka International Community School understands the need to enhance the students’ social and environmental awareness through the integration of academic learning and practical experience. Through the LICS-EOP, our school has developed an instrument which links the academic classroom to the social and environmental realities outside of the school, creating perfect conditions for real life learning through interaction with the outside world. This way, LICS develops socially and environmentally responsible world citizens, capable of making wise and humane decisions in future careers after graduation from LICS.

Quantitative and qualitative assessment methods are used to ascertain the impact of the EOP programmes on LICS as an institution and on the intercultural education of the LICS students. The real life experiences that the programmes offer, create an invaluable form of cultural transmission among our students and local children and adults. Through community service, students engage in a unique form of learning –experiential learning.

Evidence of the success of the programmes can be taken from the commitment of students and the positive results they end up with. Each activity is reviewed and student feedback helps to assess the extent to which the students have been impacted and how stereotypical behaviours inherent in students have changed.

Student engagement in community service has a positive effect on students’ personal and interpersonal development, including a sense of personal identity, spiritual growth, moral development, the ability to work well with others, and development of leadership and communication skills. In line with the LICS philosophy and mission, the LICS-EOP educates students who are well prepared to become world citizens with appreciation for cultural diversity around the globe.

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