Community Development and Social Impact in Ghana (CDSI)

Language Requirement: None
Academic Standing by Program Start: Sophomore
Location: Africa, Ghana
GPA: 2.5
Program Overview

                       Applications for Summer 2024 are now open!

This 5-week Faculty-led program will introduce students to contemporary issues facing Ghanaian society and developing countries through the lens of social entrepreneurship and medical sociology/anthropology in Ghana. 

Students will learn through classroom instruction, lectures and visits with local practitioners, experiential excursions, and special projects designed to enhance their understanding of the global forces impacting developing countries. 

If you have career aspirations in the fields of community and international development, social work, psychology, entrepreneurship, public administration and business, you will greatly benefit from this program. 

You will receive pre-departure cultural and language orientation in the spring by a GEO staff who is from Ghana and also introduction to Modern Twi (Ghana's most commonly spoken language), through your on-site orientation. 

Accra, where classes are held, is a city of about two and half million people, is Ghana's capital city and the administrative, economic and cultural center of the country. Accra is well known for its traditional and contemporary arts, vibrant music scene, and bustling outdoor markets. As one of the largest cities in Africa, Accra attracts people from the entire West African sub-region. Experience the welcoming hospitality of the Ghanaian people as you explore the Makola Market, ride a trotro through the city or watch artisans weave traditional cloth. 

This program includes three weekend excursions to Cape Coast, Kumasi, and the Volta region. In these excursions, students will learn about the Volta region’s unique history, visit modern-day African markets, and see “slave castles” on the Gold Coast that used in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Discover the wide variety of cultural events, festivals and performances Accra has to offer.

Dates and Deadlines
Term Year Deadline Arrival Date Departure Date
Summer 2024

March 15

June 19

July 26

Discount for Pell Recipients

To expand access to study abroad, GEO is offering a $400 discount for this program (Summer 2024 and beyond) to UO students who currently have the Pell Grant as part of their federal financial aid (FAFSA).

Academic Details

4 UO credits for Social Entrepreneurship & Development (approved as PPPM 388; Professional Concentration area if substituting for GLBL 420; Geographic area is substituting for GLBL 445)

Taught by UO faculty, Dr. Addae

The purpose of this course is to provide students with the essential conceptual frameworks and tools for navigating social entrepreneurial ventures, initiatives, programs or partnerships that seek to tackle global poverty and collective action problems. 

Social entrepreneurship is a hybrid model for social value creation that is multidimensional and dynamic, moving across various intersection points in the society. A social enterprise is created to achieve a stated vision and mission aiming to solve a state or market failure, where success is measured by both financial sustainability and social impact. Social entrepreneurship represents a paradigm shift in our thinking about sustainable economic development, one that is beginning to have a profound impact on how products are designed and services delivered to populations at home and abroad. 

The course will cover a broad range of cutting-edge social entrepreneurship strategies from around the world. Through individual and group exercises, using case studies and mixed media, students will explore the common strategies and pitfalls in creating community-driven, scalable social ventures. 

4 UO credits for Ghana Health and Society (approved as GLBL 300 level credit, PPPM 388 and Global Health Minor Social Sciences/Humanities Elective)

Taught by Ghanaian faculty, Dr. Senah

This course is intended to enhance students’ understanding of health issues within the context of the developing world, with Ghana as a focus. Consequently, the nexus between the health status of the people and their socio-political habitus will be discussed. In this regard, students will be introduced to a wide range of macro issues such as the impact of colonialism, globalization and political economy on the health of Ghanaians. Other issues such as the social and cultural beliefs and practices that impact on the health-seeking behavior of the people will also be examined.

The holistic objective of this course is to introduce students to the political, economic, historical, geographical and cultural factors that influence public health strategies and measures in the context of a developing country such as Ghana.

The enjoyment of good health is a perennial human quest. Human beings often take health for granted until something goes wrong with the body. However, health is not simply a biological or medical issue; it is the end product of several other factors. This course is premised on the belief that the health status of individuals and the society is crucially linked to the interaction between the individual or groups and the social and physical environment. Consequently, this course draws on perspectives from public health, history, sociology/anthropology, economics, political science, geography and other social sciences in discussing health issues. Although most of the examples in this course are drawn from Ghana, they are relevant for other developing countries as well. Students whose future career aspirations are in the field of community development, social work and health-related occupations as well as those merely interested in studying health-related cultural beliefs and practices of Ghanaians will find this course very insightful.

Course Equivalencies

UO students: please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.

Non-UO students: Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

Additional requirements
All students will need to obtain a visa. You will receive more information about this during the application process.
Application process

This program has a rolling admission application processGEO staff (and the program faculty leader, if applicable) will complete a review of the application materials of complete applications in the order that they are submitted (“first come, first serve”). Decisions about acceptance will be made shortly after you submit a complete application. There are some programs that fill fast, some even before the deadline. Students are encouraged to complete applications and commit to programs early.

Acceptance is based on a holistic review of your application.  This includes a review of your GPA, transcripts (including courses taken and in-progress), any additional requirements or prerequisites (see section "Additional Requirements"), and the short statement. Some programs require a letter of recommendation from a faculty that is not the program's faculty leader. If a letter of recommendation is required, you will find more information in your GEO application portal.

Faculty & Staff

Angela Addae JD., PhD. (UO)

Dr. Addae is a UO Law faculty and an expert in civil rights law, social enterprise law and race and the law. Her current research examines how municipal redevelopment policies affect neighborhood institutions in urban settings. She is admitted to practice in Oregon state courts, the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. She is a Ghanaian-American with strong family and professional ties to Ghana. 

Dr. Kodjo Senah, PhD. (UG)

Dr. Senah is a Social Anthropologist and Associate Professor at the Sociology Department of the University of Ghana. His teaching and research areas are medical sociology/anthropology, rural sociology and rural Development, and criminology. 

All faculty work with the Aya Centre, a private institution that is designed to enhance the learning experience and cultural awareness of persons traveling to Ghana. Students are supported throughout their time on site by the Aya Centre staff.

Housing Description

You have the option of staying at the Aya Centre or with a host family or do a combination of both. Host families will provide you with cultural support, breakfast and dinner, a private room with a study area, and light laundry. The Aya Centre is completely furnished, equipped with a kitchen (including basic cooking facilities and utensils), a dining room, a large living room, and a small patio. Rooms house two to four students and each room has a private bath and ceiling fan.