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Global learning in the online space: McCusker Centre for Citizenship delivers successful digital global fellowship with Pollinate Group

21 July, 2022

The McCusker Centre for Citizenship has delivered a highly successful digital global fellowship to a cross-disciplinary group of UWA students over the Winter break in partnership with the award-winning social enterprise Pollinate Group.

“With restrictions on international travel we were eager to provide UWA students with the opportunity to connect with an international organisation tackling complex challenges,” said McCusker Centre for Citizenship Director, Michelle Scott.

The McCusker Centre for Citizenship drew on its existing partnership with Pollinate to deliver a program engaging students in tackling gender inequality, empowerment of women and digital exclusion.

The digital fellowship was successfully completed by a cross-disciplinary group of 11 UWA undergraduate students, supported by funding from the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan.

The unit saw students take part in virtual field trips, undertake project management learning led by Dr Jeremy Smith of Australia National University, as well as social impact measurement.

Students worked in small groups with expert guidance from Pollinate research fellows based in India and Nepal, with a particular focus on growing knowledge and skills in micro-entrepreneurship, women empowerment programs, sustainable energy and poverty reduction. Each group was mentored by senior staff from Pollinate to develop innovative and practical solutions.  Students presented their final reports this week to Pollinate.

Student feedback on the unit was extremely positive, with students commenting on how much they enjoyed the unit, their learnings on the interconnectedness of global issues, and their increased capacity to make a positive impact on a global scale.

“I am very pleased with my outcome from this unit. There were many eye-opening experiences and I learned a lot about social issues in India and Nepal. I believe that I can take away my experiences and apply them to situations in Australia. The perspective I have gained can flourish new ideas to the Australian setting.” -Pollinate Digital Fellowship student

Pollinate Group Fellowship Manager, Ujjwala Mani, was extremely impressed by the students’ contributions.

"Our recent fellowship with the students of UWA has been one of the most successful so far, purely because of the thoughtful approach the students had to the on-ground challenges we presented them with,” said Ujjwala.

With travel restrictions easing, the McCusker Centre for Citizenship looks forward to working with Pollinate Group in the future to again offer students in-country fellowship opportunities in India and Nepal.

“It is clear UWA students have an appetite to engage with global issues and make a social impact on an international scale,” said Ms Scott.