Learner-Focused Case Studies


Case Study #1: Water Stress
You are a volunteer in your ninth week of a twelve-week project in a small, suburban and semi-arid region. During your pre-departure training, the NGO you work for emphasized their sustainability policy, which stresses local ownership and a low social footprint. You work at the local youth centre, have learned… [more]


Case Study #2: The Truck and the Tractor
You are working on a microcredit project in a rural community, setting up initiatives to improve quality of life based on the needs identified by the community. The community you work in is predominantly agricultural and their primary source of income is generated by selling the crops and cheeses they produce… [more]


Case Study #3: A Medical Student in the Tropics
After finishing your first year of medical school, you are eager to put your knowledge into practice and to help in an under-resourced setting, you decide to volunteer at an urban clinic in a tropical country. You have never been to this country, and are intrigued by their culture and would love the opportunity… [more]


Case Study #4: Breach of Contract
As part of your violence against women project you are coordinating the construction of a women’s shelter. You have hired a construction firm as well as a plumbing crew. The work of the plumbers depends on the progress of the construction crew in building the shelter. Both parties signed a contract prior to the project… [more]


Case Study #5: The Hidden Agenda
Your team has fallen far short of its fundraising goals and you are about to leave on a water quality project in about a month. One team member has been independently sending letters to companies with foreign interests who are based in your home country; they get a response from a mining company… [more]


Case Study #6: Primary School Construction
As part of a school practicum, you are taking part in a 6-week awareness experience helping to build a primary school in a rural community. You are eager to discover the culture of the host country, and want very much to be of help and make a contribution. What should you consider before you leave on your trip… [more]


Case Study #7: A Question of Independence
You are living with a host family, and the constraints are beginning to bother you a great deal. The meals are all the same, and not really to your liking. You share a bedroom with a curious boy who is a real nuisance. The doors of the house are locked at 11pm. The family members are very charming and attentive towards you… [more]


Case Study #8: To Bribe or Not to Bribe
Your project in a post-conflict region has been put on hold by military and government officials suspicious of foreign interest in a politically sensitive zone. A local partner NGO encourages you to bribe a government official to expedite your work: a bribe is expected and without it you may be delayed by several crucial months… [more]


Case Study #9: A Disturbing Tradition
You are trying to build rapport with a remote community and have been invited to an important ceremony which takes place only once a month. The ceremony involves a particular ritual that you find disturbing (such as circumcision or animal sacrifice). Attendance would signal true interest in the community and its practices… [more]


Case Study #10: Gender and Education
You and other students are teaching in a small rural community where local convention will not allow girls to go to school. You have strong belief that children should be educated equally regardless of gender and hope to be an agent for change within the community. How do you proceed with your project? Should you engage… [more]