In 2013, the NC State Department of Social Work formed a partnership with Stop Hunger Now, an international NGO focused on hunger relief, and started the Capacity Building Collaborative. This Collaborative, led by Dr. Marcie Fisher-Borne, puts graduate students in charge of a research and evaluation effort focused on helping Stop Hunger Now deepen their understanding of how their food distribution processes are implemented on the ground in order to make meaningful comparisons between sites around the world and better understand the organization’s overall impact on hunger. In February of 2014, the first class of 12 graduate students traveled to the Dominican Republic to meet with 14 partner organizations to gain an understanding of their needs related to food relief and poverty reduction. Their work provided invaluable insight to the stateside administration of Stop Hunger Now, who used the class’s reports to improve how they select, support, and engage with partners. This past academic year, 15 graduate students worked with Stop Hunger Now to investigate four different global projects. Over the course of their seven months within the capstone, the class collectively logged more than 6,300 hours of monitoring and evaluation work, roughly equivalent to three full time employees working over the course of a full year. Dr. Marcie Fisher-Borne reports that this partnership provides a meaningful experience to advance-level graduate students. “Having the opportunity for global service and engagement provides students tangible experience in social justice advocacy, international policy, and implementation and dissemination of research and evaluation” Fisher-Borne says. Her students agree. Olivia Reeser, one of the two graduate student field interns, reports “ It has provided me the opportunity to learn social work practice from a global perspective and develop project management skills. I feel that I am more fully prepared for professional practice and am grateful for the partnership.” Shameka Harrington went further, to state, “I can honestly say my internship with Stop Hunger Now has changed my life. The global perspective of this placement, along with our research course, has given me would not have been possible in another placement or class.” The Capacity Building Collaborative’s work will culminate in a presentation of key findings and recommendations to the Stop Hunger Now Board of Directors on May 4th. Written by Jason Tuell (MSW), to be included in the Department of Social Work newsletter.
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