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photo of three students in Gambia

The ILR Global Service Learning Program (GSL) in collaboration with the Global Health Program (GH) offers ILR students the opportunity to participate in an eight-week summer GSL program in Lusaka, Zambia. During the summer of 2019, a group of 10-14 ILR students & Global Health minors will conduct research projects at the Southern African Institute for Policy and Research (SAIPAR). The students will work in small groups to write a research paper on an issue relevant to Southern Africa, which will then be considered for publication in one of SAIPAR’s online journals. Students may also assist SAIPAR with other projects, to be determined by the Director of Research and Programs.

To see what past students have researched, SAIPAR publishes Occasional Papers of their work:  (For ILR-specific papers: for 2017, see Russell;   2016, see Cabbell;  2015, see Miles and Masson; 2014, see Stawasz & Talbot;  2013, Amaechi & Mildner)

Each year research topics change, depending on the needs of SAIPAR.  Past topics have included:

  • The process behind the introduction of Statutory Instrument 47 (2012), which is the revision of the minimum wage. Who was consulted, why did the government choose to introduce it unilaterally and what tension did it create with the various stakeholders (employers, trade unions, etc.).
  • The impact of the revision of the minimum wage, sector-specific (e.g. the construction sector, commercial farmers, etc.). Examine the impact in terms of resulting conflict/tension in the workplace and job-losses.
  • The process behind the drafting of the new constitution and the responses from the public (civil society) to the draft constitution (specific topics could be women's rights).
  • Judges at the local courts (where most domestic cases are dealt with) are predominantly male. What are the implications for women, in cases dealing with divorce settlements, gender-based violence, abortion, etc.?

For housing, for the first month, Cornell students will be paired and placed in local homestays arranged by SAIPAR (two students per family), then for the second month, students will live together in a guest house near to the SAIPAR office. 


ILR students selected for the Zambia program will receive a scholarship to cover the cost of the program fees and room & board in Lusaka. Students must pay for their flights, visas, and immunizations (students can apply for a Cornell grant to cover all or part of the airfare).



ILR students interested in applying to the Zambia GSL program can contact Donna Ramil, Associate Director, International Programs in ILR. The Zambia Global Health program is managed by the Global Health Program in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. 


Requirements and Application


3.0 GPA and successful completion of Labor and Employment Law. Key qualities and skills: service-mindedness, flexibility, cultural sensitivity, adaptability, maturity, excellent research and writing skills, ability to work in teams, prior international experience a plus. 

ILR students must be on-campus in the spring semester, prior to the summer experience, to enroll in a mandatory pre-departure course.