GESI 2015 Summary: CEDESOL

September 28, 2015

Since 2007, the Buffett Institute has prepared teams of undergraduate students to help local organizations advance community-driven change through its study abroad program, the Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI). Through internships with grassroots organizations, all GESI students design and implement community-driven projects that align with the social mission and development goals of their local partners. Upon their return, students reflect on their work and personal experiences and share their stories as a group.

Partner: CEDESOL (Foundation for Sustainable Development)
Location: Cochabamba, Bolivia
Students: Wendy Roldan and Caroline Olsen

Wendy and Caroline constructing a CEDESOL cookerMore than four million women and children die each year from indoor air pollution. CEDESOL, Center for Development with Solar Energy, combats this issue through building and implementing ecological cookers, as well as through educational training and leadership programs for the clients.

In recent years, CEDESOL has begun implementing ecological cookers in schools as well as homes. Our project helped build the beginnings of an education and training program for the students in these schools.

After helping adjust a sales record, building a prototype for a new stove design, and getting to know the organization, we began developing our own project plan. Knowing that we would travel to Toro Toro, the next community that CEDESOL would be working with, we researched, interviewed and prepared surveys to for students and teachers in the educational units that we would be visiting.

After visiting Toro Toro and getting to know the community better, we analyzed our surveys, and compiled videos and wrote activities for four different topics:

  • Recycling and the Environment
  • Hygiene and Safety
  • Nutrition and Food Security
  • Economics and the Use of the Stoves

It is crucial that the next interns review the baseline surveys of the students and teachers completed in Toro Toro to gain a better understanding of the assets and needs of each educational unit. In addition, our compilation of videos and activities should be used to begin finalizing the Junior MET Modules to be used in workshops in the schools.

In order to best address the indoor air pollution and deforestation happening in many of Bolivia’s rural communities, CEDESOL and the local community members should focus on the students—the future of their communities—by providing them with the tools to lead the change.

Undergraduate Students