Empowerment through partnerships for healthy, sustainable change
Village Partners Program
The Village Partners Program works to create sustainable, healthy change through cross-cultural experience, community participation and partnerships. Current partners include William Jewell College, UNAH-CURLA (a national University on the north coast of Honduras), NGO’s, and villages throughout our partner countries.
Since 2005, more than 300 Jewell students, faculty and alumni have traveled to do community development work in north central Honduras. Each group raises funds for a specific project, such as roofing school kitchens, providing health and dental clinics, building “Sanitario Secos” (dry composting latrines), installing high efficiency stoves that vent outside the home, establishing family vegetable gardens, assessing water quality and investing in micro-enterprise. Our micro-loans have funded opening a small village store, bringing electricity to a village, empowering women’s small business initiatives and starting a fish harvesting cooperative. Plans for improving each community come from within the village, and we work alongside the local villagers and learn together. Like many other Jewell students, you can apply for a Jewell Journey Grant to help cover the costs of a trip.
In 2017, faculty and staff took two biology majors to Thailand where they visited Hill Tribe villages, helped build a model aquaponics system at a training center and conducted a solar energy workshop. VPP established strong relationships on this trip and looks forward to returning to Thailand.
Nursing students were part of a Jewell team that traveled to Africa to serve at the Macha Mission Hospital, "living in the bush" while providing health and healing for people in need. Students sterilized surgical equipment, helped disburse medication, checked in patients and even assisted in the operating room. The group also visited a school for the deaf and explored Africa, including a safari in Botswana.
Urban Kansas City
Closer to home, Village Partners Program has worked in the Westside neighborhood in Kansas City and surrounding areas. Students have contributed hundreds of service-learning hours at Primitivo Garcia school as part of Turn the Page KC to read with kindergarten and first-grade students, and other Jewell students have set up science demonstrations and created an aquaponics laboratory classroom.
“While visiting these villages in Honduras, I began to realize that this in-between time in my own life is not a wasted or purposeless time, but rather time which I have been given to reflect on my goals and passions in order to pursue them in a meaningful way in the near future.”Allison Maple, on her Village Partners trip to Boca del Toro