Volunteer Service

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Volunteer Service May Include:
  • Education in a Rural School

  • Rural Community Development

  • Healthcare for children with disabilities

  • Animal Welfare and Public Health

  • Youth Development for rural, underserved and orphaned children

  • Environmental Projects with Indigenous peoples



Ethical Service & Research in Peru

As an IPSL service-learning participant in Cusco, Peru, you will have the opportunity to perform volunteer service in one of several local partner organizations/agencies. IPSL does its best to match your skills and interests to the placement, but please remember that the notion of service is, first and foremost, to respond to the needs of others. You will play a role not only by actively participating with a determined role among the team members, but also by enriching the projects and programs with your knowledge, experience, and hard work.  Therefore, each project or program is improved and enriched with your participation. Your impact on other people's lives will be powerful and sustainable, even if you don't see the results right away.

IPSL and our students support and serve in an on-going, sustainable fashion a limited and select set of organizations whose needs have been identified by the organizations themselves.


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.” 
-Karen, IPSL alum

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. 

Volunteer Service Examples

Following are examples of agencies where IPSL students have served in the past or may be able to serve. Other service placements may be available. Your placement will be determined by community and agency needs, logistics, as well as your interests, goals, and skills.



The Civil Protection Association of Cusco Animals works together with a non-profit to eradicate animal suffering through the implementation of veterinary campaigns, mass sterilization campaigns and community and public awareness campaigns on the issue of animal welfare and responsible pet ownership. They run an adoption shelter and address issues of public health and education for the benefit of street animals and pets within the Cusco, Peru area.


The Center helps children at risk of malnutrition and malnourished children between the ages of 6 months to 3 years. At the moment 25 children are being helped, 15 boys and 10 girls.Volunteers help children and their mothers to complete everyday chores such as feeding, grooming, teaching and early stimulation. Volunteers collaborate on activities  to develop in the receiving center such as feeding, clothing changing, helping nurses, helping in the kitchen, exercises and games, etc. Other projects that students may develop are redecorating the dining room by painting or developing the design of the playground area. 


The school provides primary education to 70 children with limited financial resources, whose ages range from 3 to 14 years. In this rural community near Cusco, volunteers have been supporting the majority of the community’s infrastructural improvement. Volunteers have conducted repairs, painted, cleaned, and upgraded the kitchen and the library, as well as improved the greenhouse and facilitated the donation of compost.  Volunteers teach a basic English course for both students and their parents, along with more cultural and recreational programming. Volunteering at the School requires a great playful spirit, humor, creativity and a large room for love in your heart. 

Possible Volunteer work may include:


·       Hygiene instruction - hand washing and tooth brushing program

·       Greenhouse implementation (for including vegetables on their diet)

·       Nutritional education sessions (Healthy food preparation)

·       Healthy habits awareness

·       Life skills

·       Art therapy 


·       The three “Rs” awareness (reducing, reusing and recycling) 

·       Teaching the difference between organic and inorganic waste 

·       Compost production

·       Forestation projects


·       Teaching English or other topics

·       Training the teachers


The separate residential homes serve boys between the ages of 5 to 12 years old and girls between the ages of 5 to 12, who are in state of material and moral neglect. They are usually referred by the courts as minors, for reasons of orphanhood, alcoholic families, social risk, family or sexual violence. The home and school provides comprehensive care. Volunteers assist the children with school work; collaborate through teaching English; teach life skills workshops; help organize leisure and recreational activities, social reintegration workshops and support occupational training workshops. Volunteers can help the students participate in different workshops that aim to teach skills such as shoe making and wood work.  


This is a public school, dedicated to the rehabilitation of deaf and blind children or hearing and visual impaired with multiple sensory disabilities. Currently the Center is home to 76 children, between the ages of 3 and 11 years old.  Volunteers help work with the teachers assisting children in teaching basic skills, gaining mobility, early stimulation and collaborating in the classrooms. Volunteering at this center requires patience and willingness to learn while working with children with special conditions.



This center is the home of 13 adolescent mothers between the ages of 12 and 18, with their children (ages among newly born to 7 years old). The Center has 17 people working as a permanent staff, they are divided in educational areas, nursing, cleaning and trainers of occupational workshops for mothers who want to learn sewing techniques. The volunteers will provide help the staff in charge of the childrens care while their mothers are working.




This institution is directed by the Brothers of the Hospital Order of St. John of God and a staff of health workers, dedicated to serving children and adults with disabilities. Volunteers are involved in supporting children who are learning to eat, accompanying hospitalized children, taking them to school, celebrating with children at parties, helping with food preparation and with laundry services.  Volunteers will learn about caring for children with disabilities involving their nutrition, education, grooming and entertainment.  There are also opportunities to develop programs such as music or art therapy activities.


This institution is dedicated to the care of both male and female patients with problems of alcohol, drug addiction, gambling and mental  The institution has poor facilities, but has the support of qualified physicians and staff. Volunteers become active members of the patient care staff, motivating their recovery, helping in educational programs, drawing therapy workshops, reading workshops, etc.