Foundation Learning

Just to give you all a little bit of background information: the Junior Fellow experience began when I was selected & confirmed as a JF back in December. It is comprised of 3 main sections: Pre-departure, Placement and Post-departure (these may not be the exact names of each phase but it conveys my message nonetheless). A key part of the pre-departure (ie ‘pre-summer’) experience involves what is referred to as Foundation Learning: a broad, yet targeted exploration of subjects like ‘social justice’ or ‘development’ in order to help us build upon our ability to make systemic change worldwide. What is systemic change, you ask? Good question.

Hey, this is random but I have a question for you: What do YOU think systemic change is?

According to EWB, systemic change and more specifically System Change Leadership is the process of taking strategic actions to get to the root causes of issues at hand.

A way that helps me to conceptualize this is to think about going to the doctor: It is fairly easy to treat symptoms of a problem: “oh you have a sore throat? Here, have a RIIIIICOLAAAAAAAAAA” (sorry, I had to.) Or “oh look, you’re bleeding – why don’t we go ahead and stop that.”

Unfortunately, this is (literally) a band-aid solution… By only treating the symptoms, the underlying causes of these problems remains intact.

If you go to the doctor with a sore throat, runny nose, deep-chested cough and a fever, they could give you an ice pack, some Buckley’s a Kleenex and send you on your way (which is apparently pretty much what happens if you don’t have insurance in the States. But I digress…) However, a good doctor would most likely conduct some diagnostic tests, do some examination, maybe stab you with a couple needles, and try to get to the bottom (the root cause, if you will) of what is causing you all of these ailments. Once the doctor determines that (ie. “looks like you have pneumonia, buddy.”) they can take action (prescribe you medication, give you a puffer, give you a big hug and some hot chocolate, etc.) to disrupt the system and potentially provide a long-term solution to the problem.

 

Wow… I didn’t mean for this to end up quite this long – I basically just wanted to say that you’ll be seeing some posts here in the near which are related to this Foundation Learning. They are a weeeee bit lengthy but I would really value your input on them, or even just parts of them – even if you can only stick it out through the first couple paragraphs – I can’t tell you how much I value hearing all of your opinions, and learning with all of you!

 

That’s all for now!

 

-Alex

 

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