Volunteer Service

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Volunteer Service May Include:
  • Migration / Displaced Persons (forced internal migration and conflicts)

  • Peace Process in Post Conflict Areas

  • Reconciliation Organization

  • Animal Welfare

  • Social Services

  • Home Building

  • Education

  • The Elderly

MEDELLÍN Opportunities

Nutritional Health and Education

This organization works to improve nutrition to individuals and communities through a variety of programs:

Food access to vulnerable communities through the provision of a biweekly food package and other goods for human use. The program addresses food security, nutritional education and mental health.

Diet, nutrition and food security for students

Programs focus on developing a strong social fabric where young people of limited resources have equal opportunities in terms of food access. The program also includes the promotion of positive changes in dietary habits and the nutritional status of the student population.


Food gleaning and farmer support

This project, in partnership with government agencies seeks to "rescue" surplus discarded food within rural areas. The goal is to improve the quality of life and economic stability of rural individuals and communities involved in the Farmer Trucks, an exchange of food from producer to homes..


Nutritional Food Supplement Distribution

This program supports vulnerable populations by conducting nutritional screening programs, distributing a nutritional supplement and providing nutritional education.


Nutritional Support for Adolescent Mothers

This government sponsored program aims to improve the nutritional status of low-weight pregnant mothers as well as new mothers and infants, prioritizing those who are adolescents.  They provide a food package monthly delivery, educational meetings, home visits and nutritional follow-up care.

Childhood Development

This is  a 54 year old non-profit private foundation that for 54 years working to assist vulnerable communities and families through early childhood programs. . Children are given early childhood education, a lunch program and families are provided parent education programs.

Social Service Organization: This organization works on a variety of fronts to better the lives of vulnerable Colombians through multiple projects to strengthen and service families. It's principal concern is to enable individuals, families and communities to become knowledgeable of and participate in reflection about human development and family relations for the promotion of peace. Research and education is at the forefront and they have projects ranging from:

  • street worker literacy

  • domestic worker's rights

  • family education for parenting and communication skills, etc. and more

Community Development: This organization works in communities that are facing extreme vulnerabilities. They offer education services as a fundamental pillar of the intervention mode, accompanied by nutrition, health and income generation programs. They focus on training in values and motivating its members to be active community participants. 

Social Inclusion: This non-profit organization carries out social projects, training volunteers, and researching social issues in the city of Medellín. All our programs and projects are designed based on an Integral Methodological Scheme for Social Inclusion. This establishes research as the main tool to get to an integral understanding of a social phenomenon, which in turn allows us to structure activities that have a high positive impact in the populations we work with.

Displaced Children and Families: This is a a Colombian foundation supporting displaced children and families with food, clothing and medical support. They operate a Community Center where children and families can visit, play games, do sports, learn English, math and computer literacy free of charge while interacting with Volunteers from all over the world.

CARTAGENA Opportunities

Disadvantaged Families: This organization offers educational opportunities to the children of disadvantaged families displaced by violence. The objectives are to support the growth of children, giving them new knowledge and teaching them about new cultures.Their five programs are, Kindergarten, community canteen, parent school, supervised homework and study subsidy. They also support grassroots training of teachers. 

Poverty Relief and Job Training: This organization  provides support and tools for Colombians to lift themselves out of poverty and acquire a living wage and a promising future. The Foundation has created an innovative and scalable model of comprehensive recovery for vulnerable people and communities. The  programs are a public/private partnership. The urban agriculture or “productive patios” program was born as a food security initiative for vulnerable communities. The organic products are also sold in restaurants and is  additional income for families. 

Community development for Afro-Caribbean communities: This NGO, located in the Neighborhood of La Boquilla, has developed programs and projects that respond to the needs of the population using strategies for improving social inclusion, strengthening values, engaging in the productive use of free time and building cultural pride and community solidarity. Job training and community income generating programs are part of the mission.

Community Development through Housing: This Latin American non-profit organization led by young people from different Latin American and Caribbean countries is dedicated to promoting awareness among youth about how important it is that all people have access to a housing. It works in disadvantaged communities to improve their quality of life and implements other social empowerment programs to improve job skills, personal empowerment and community solidarity. The community (supported by volunteers) is an integral part of the constructing emergency housing.

This organization seeks to eradicate poverty in Cartagena and the surrounding settlements.Their work is primarily focussed on building safe, secure housing for people living in extreme poverty. The organization focuses on involving youth volunteers in the building projects to help raise awareness and foster social inclusion with dignity. They are also seek to provide educational and social service programs. An offshoot of their active assistance with housing is to publicly denounce human rights violations present in these settlements in order to raise awareness and prioritize the needs of this population within the political and public agenda.

People with Disabilities: Non-profit that offers therapeutic care to children, young people and adults with cognitive and multiple disabilities. With expertise from specialists from Switzerland and Colombia, the organization works to change the social stigma of people with disabilities. Their philosophy is pedagogical and is based on respect for the person with cognitive disabilities, defending their dignity and their right to enjoy a full life.

Ethical Service & Research in Colombia

Many of the service-learning placements in Colombia are connected with organizations that are working in areas of peace and justice, reconciliation, conflict resolution, urban planning, and in education. The city of Medellín is the ideal place to explore issues relating to the North/South Divide, urban development that includes social justice, and access to education - all in a city that is developing quickly and uniquely - as evidenced by their winning the WORLD CITY PRIZE in 2016

Advocacy Research and Sponsored Research

Advocacy Research is a framework for reimagining ways to provide service to others. Through Advocacy Research, IPSL Institute for Global Learning students serve the host organization by conducting primary research that provides data and analysis that supports the organization in its mission. 

The IPSL Advocacy Research Program provides students an opportunity to learn about and engage in professional research that produces relevant, useful information for the benefit of nonprofits, NGOs and community development organizations around the world. Unique to the IPSL program, Advocacy Research permits students to develop insight into the ethics of human subjects research in an international context with immediate, practical application.

“Researching while aboard gives students the opportunity to really immerse themselves into a new culture. In Asia, I was able to cross cultural barriers and really talk to my participants and learn about their past experiences. I gained an understanding into their lives and by doing so enriched my experience abroad.” 

A student’s service organization abroad serves as the “field study location.” The research results in data that is at once beneficial to further the IPSL student’s education and career while at the same time being of use to the host organization. Resource-scarce organizations simply do not have the ability to examine, evaluate, and analyze their programs in a qualitative or quantitative way. With the assistance of the IPSL student-researcher, IPSL’s host organizations are presented with data that can be used to impact their work and the constituencies they serve. 

Advocacy Research generally refers to original, primary research that IPSL students design in collaboration with IPSL, its teams abroad, the host organization, and other local resources. This can be a more time-consuming undertaking. To accommodate the time frames where students are living in the host community (sometimes just one semester), IPSL students also have opportunities to engage in what we call Sponsored Research projects where the research topic and protocol are pre-identified, reviewed, and approved well in advance of the student’s term abroad. Research topics and protocols are proposed in-country by a host organization and then collaboratively designed and reviewed by IPSL, in-country staff and community members, and the IPSL Institute for Global Learning’s IRB (Institutional Review Board), which is legally authorized to approve the research.  The student researcher then has the opportunity to “adopt” the project and conduct the research within a given semester. The data and analyses from one student often prompts further inquiry, which a future student can then adopt as his/her/their research project. In this way, Advocacy Research presents a sustainable model for ethical service. 

Partners contribute expertise and share decision-making and ownership of the research. Data is collected over time with multiple student researchers, leading to an increase in value. The sponsored research program is especially useful for beginning researchers who may want to engage in international research but who do not have previous experience.

Graduate students participate in a Sponsored Research project during their first semester abroad. At all IPSL sites, there will be one or more sponsored research projects at a variety of NGO’s and community organizations. Following review of IRB applications, students can be approved by the IPSL International IRB as Principle Investigators of the on-going project. At the pre-departure residency, students will be briefed on the project details so that they will be prepared to support the organization once they are in-country. Sponsored Research thus helps students learn the research process and prepares them to launch their own original primary research in semesters 2 and or 3 (should they choose) under the guidance of their academic advisor, local research liaisons, the IPSL IRB, and the IPSL Research Coordinator.

The goal of Sponsored Research is to create an instructive and supportive process that removes barriers and enables students to experience ethical, human-subject research in a real-world setting.

IPSL’s mission of service is rooted in advocacy for the NGOs, organizations, and communities in which IPSL students serve. Advocacy Research and Sponsored Research are meaningful and transformational manifestations of IPSL’s advocacy for the communities we serve.