Service Learning

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field work in KamuliLiving and working together, service learning students from Iowa State University and Makerere University learn what it takes to be change agents in the developing world. With the center’s guidance, students work on major development projects in agriculture, agroforestry, irrigation, sanitation and other areas, learn meaningful life lessons and acquire intercultural knowledge and competence. The program provides both university students and pupils from the primary school opportunities to learn through hands-on experiences.  Experiential learning is the main approach of service learning adopted by the project, with participants "learning by doing" at the same time providing a service to the community through the schools with both in equal balance (service + learning).


Students interested in participating in the service learning program can visit the CALS Study Abroad website or stop by their office in 0018 Curtiss Hall. 


Click here to see the projects completed by service learning students that visited Uganda in 2019.


CSRL Impacts in 2018:


  • 38 Iowa State University students participated in the service learning program in 2018
  • The pass rate at Nakanyonyi Primary School was 100%
  • The first semester-long service learning programs
  • Opportunities for students to collaborate on solutions that change communities
  • Primary school kitchens built or enhanced

Broadening Students' Vision...


Service Learning ChildrenWith CSRL’s guidance, students work on major development projects in agriculture, agroforestry, irrigation, sanitation and other areas, learn meaningful life lessons and acquire intercultural knowledge and competence. The program provides university students and pupils from the Kamuli District’s primary schools the opportunity to learn through hands-on experiences.


"Numerous times, while working with the Makerere and ISU students, I’ve seen an awakening in them,” said Tom Brumm, an associate director for CSRL. “They realize that their careers can be more than just a way to make a living. They come to understand the gifts they’ve been given and assume an obligation to make the world a better place. While they don’t yet know how to fulfill that obligation, they’ve charted a new path for themselves; one that didn’t exist before participating in the service learning program.”


Experiential learning is the main approach of CSRL’s service learning program, with participants “learning by doing” while providing a service to the community through the schools.


2018 marked the first time that semester-long service learning opportunities were offered. Previously, service-learning programs were six to eight weeks, depending on the roles of the students. The new program allows students to learn about development programs across an entire semester, while providing a service and earning credits toward graduation, according to Gail Nonnecke, CSRL’s associate director for education programs.


And the efforts benefit everyone involved.


The head teacher at Nakanyonyi Primary School reports that 100 percent of students passed the national exam in 2017, making them eligible for the next level of schooling. When CSRL first began working with the school, the pass rate was close to zero.


“School kitchens at primary schools with school garden programs were built or enhanced by service learning students,” says Nonnecke. “There are four primary schools — so there is a lot of need for the kitchen structures, equipment and supplies.”


“While the teachers and pupils deserve much of the credit,” Brumm adds, “our work there laid the groundwork, including the school health and sanitation improvements, the school feeding program and solar lights for evening studying.”


Photo Credit: Brian Nonnecke



TO MAKE A GIFT to the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods, please click here to go directly to the ISU Foundation, or contact Ray Klein at (515) 294-3303 or rklein@iastate.edu.