Since 2003, 1,220 students have participated in Development Cooperation Projects throughout 23 countries in Latin America and Africa, by doing internships and Final Degree Projects. These projects focus mainly on the promotion of sustainable human development through fighting against poverty and inequalities.
It has been almost two decades since the Aid Program was launched for undergraduate students of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) to carry out their Internships and Degree Projects under the brand of Development Cooperation. Since then, 1,220 students have decided to collaborate with Basque Non-Governmental Development Organizations (NGDOs) that carry out projects in 23 countries in Africa and Latin America. These projects focus mainly on the promotion of sustainable human development through fighting against poverty and inequalities.
The Vice-rectorate of Scientific-Social Development and Transfer of the UPV/EHU, through the Directorate for Sustainability and Social Commitment, promotes cooperation for development among undergraduate students with a program that offers grants to last-year students for doing internships and/or completing their Degree Projects in these countries. The objectives of this program are, on the one hand, to foster the integration of the theory and practice acquired at the university and, on the other hand, to enhance their ability to evaluate social reality and to train students in strategies for social change. In this way, those who take part in these Internships in Development Cooperation face social problems that they help to prevent, reduce or solve in collaboration with NGDOs and cooperation entities, and based on their university training.
The aid program has a financial fund for travel and insurance expenses, thanks to which each participant receives a maximum of 750 euros. The fund comes from the contributions made by the UPV/EHU, the 0.7% fund for students and the Association of Cooperating Basque Local Entities (Euskal Fondoa).
The countries that have accommodated the most students to date in successive editions of the program are Ecuador, Nicaragua, Argentina, and Peru, but students have also travelled to Ethiopia or the Sahara.
Estíbaliz Sáez de Cámara Oleaga, Director of Sustainability and Social Commitment of the UPV/EHU, highlights the excellent results of this program in terms of raising awareness and promoting values such as collaboration, equality, creativity and social commitment among those students who participate, whatever their background or discipline, as well as a growing interest and demand for this type of internships and jobs.