Jim Zaffiro

Political Science

Central College

Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects


Global Economic Inequalities: Microcredit Lending part of ACM Pedagogic Resources:ACM/FaCE:Projects:Integrating Sustainability into the Undergraduate Curriculum:Activities
Students in an introductory international politics class study and learn about problems associated with globalization and structural global economic inequalities and working in teams then make actual microcredit loans to prospective borrowers on the KIVA.org website. This set of activities is done over a 2-3 week period, in conjunction with a major course unit on the international politics of the global economic system. Week One: Significant ground-laying needs to be done prior to the actual loan-making. We explore basic aspects of the Global South's economic context, local-global connections, global north-south divide; alternatives to top-down, export-oriented, trade-driven, globalization and development; concept of sustainable development should be analyzed and understood. To prepare for the actual loan-making, students read and discuss relevant sections describing basic global economic structures, processes, interactions, and international politics of the global economy (aid, trade, MNC investment, multilateral loans); Chapter 4, "The Global South in a World of Powers," in Kegley, World Politics, Trend and Transformation, (2011 edition, pp.101-35) as well as excerpts from the book: Just Give Money to the Poor, (2010, pp.78-81), and Thriving Beyond Sustainability, (2010: pp.116-18). With this macro-level context established, we then examine the nature and significance of microcredit lending, view a section of the documentary "Local Heroes, Global Change" on the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, and then write and discuss the film and the critique of microcredit lending programs from Just Give Money to the Poor. Week Two: Student teams are then be briefed by Professor Ellie Du Pre and the student managers of the Central College social justice initiatives group "Change for Change." They recently initiated a Central College lending team on the KIVA.org site. In making a loan, students will also, in effect, be joining the community-wide effort. Our current loan portfolio will be reviewed along with the basic parameters available to them as new lenders, on the KIVA website. Students will have to struggle the set priorities and make choices from among the KIVA loan-making parameters: gender, region, project type, as well as deciding from among the dozens of individual borrowers and their projects. Week Three: Students are then given the assignment of making an actual $25 microcredit loan (money provided to them from Change for Change, as new funds are raised across campus and loans are repaid, allowing for re-lending) to a borrower they select from KIVA.org a direct lender-to-borrower social justice/economic equity/grassroots development NGO.


Global Sustainability part of ACM Pedagogic Resources:ACM/FaCE:Projects:Integrating Sustainability into the Undergraduate Curriculum:Courses
An interdisciplinary overview of global sustainability politics, policies, issues, movements, ideas, challenges, and solutions, with emphasis on student awareness, understanding, and integration of diverse themes into personal understanding.

Events and Communities

Integrating Sustainability into the Undergraduate Curriculum - 2010