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International Practicum

In 2015, I completed an international practicum working in on research and supporting policy for the Education Development Management Unit ("EDMU") of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States ("OECS"). With a fellow MSW student, I also co-created and co-facilated a five week program to create awareness and prevention of sexual exploitation.

Research Proposal

The EDMU was worried about school drop-outs in OECS member countries. It was also disconcerting to that more boys leave school early than girls. A particularly drastic disparity in achievement occurs at the tertiary level where only 33 percent of students at the University of West Indies were male in 2010 (UWI, 2010 cited in Plummer, 2013).

I collected data from OECS and United Nations to create visuals and to analyze trends between countries and economic factors and found few correlations.

I proposed participatory research to ask students why they stay in school and to ask early-leavers why they left school. With EDMU approval, I began researching academic literature and wrote a research proposal for future researchers.

Education Statistical Digest

The EDMU publishes an annual Digest and I was asked to write a chapter for their soon-to-be-published Digest. This chapter titled, "Internal Efficiency", focuses on repetition, dropouts, class sizes and pupil-to-teacher ratios.

Youth Focus Groups

Given my attachment to the EDMU unit and the questions I had for research, I was invited by the Social Development Unit to facilitate a question and answer session with youth and youth leaders in the Castries area of St. Lucia. This proved very informative and my questions are being used in other focus groups across member countries.

I wrote a blog posting about this experience on May 22, 2015.

Preventing Exploitation

My fellow MSW classmate, Amanda Barnes, proposed a five-week social justice art program to St. Lucia Human Services and invited me to participate. The project grew into "Preventing Exploitation with Artistic Community Engagement" and is continuing on with other agencies and nonprofits.

Prior to beginning the program, we met with community leaders to learn more about the issues that pertain to St. Lucian reality. We also met with the community following the program to evaluate content and success and to conduct a train-the-trainer session.

I prepared a report for the OECS with details on the program, lesson plans, evaluation and presentations. The program is being run in St. Lucia by a number of organizations and will be introduced to other OECS member countries.

Recommended Reading

Klopper, H. (2008). The qualitative research proposal. Curationis, 31(4), 62-72.

References

Plummer, D.C. (2013). Masculinity and Risk: How Gender Constructs Drive Sexual Risks in the Caribbean. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 10(3), 165-174. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13178-013-0116-7

I loved my time in St. Lucia. I immersed myself in the culture and took every opportunity I could to learn.

PDF Documents:
Research Proposal
PEACE Report
Lesson Two
Lesson Four


Blog Postings:
Practicum
St. Lucia