African Democracy Project: Botswana
January 2011, thirteen undergraduate and graduate students began a 3-credit elective course studying theories of development, health, gender, and democratic institutions and its application to Botswanan politics and society. Students also studied how these same issues manifest themselves in Metropolitan Detroit.
Students who enrolled in the fifteen week course were from diverse backgrounds, levels, and majors, including anthropology, political science, and biology. Students were recruited and selected through a competitive interview process.
The course included a 14-day foreign study in Botswana, March 10 though 21, where students engaged Botswanans of all walks of life on a variety of topics, including the challenges and successes of HIV/AIDS programming, the role of alternative energy for developing nations, the relationship of gender to both energy policy and health concerns, and the challenges of life in Africa in a turbulent, globalizing world.
Students fulfilled important roles, both as researchers of the significant changes in democratic processes and as engaged participants, collecting oral histories and interviewing citizens of Botswana to augment their classroom experience.