Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 77.02
Liaison Laura Bain
Submission Date June 22, 2021

STARS v2.2

Furman University
IN-47: Innovation A

Status Score Responsible Party
0.50 / 0.50 Laura Bain
Associate Director of Sustainability Assessment
David E. Shi Center for Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Dzaleka Refugee Camp Library and Lilongwe University, Malawi

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

The Furman Library embraced a unique opportunity to help refugees in Malawi, Africa. In January 2017, Asian Studies Professor Kate Kaup struck up a conversation with Janis Bandelin, director of libraries. Kaup’s sister, Virginia Palmer, was serving as the U.S. ambassador to Malawi, an impoverished country in east Africa and home to the Dzaleka Refugee Camp. The camp operates a vibrant learning center that allows refugees to take online college courses and find jobs. With space limited, though, many are turned away. Those who are denied often turn to the library for self-help. The Dzaleka Community Library, a one-room building, needed books to help students learn English and science. Furman Library staff went to work culling the shelves. After some conversation and inventory work, the request was finalized, and Furman students packed books for shipping. Soon after, 40 boxes containing 621 books arrived at the Dzaleka Refugee Camp. Furman Libraries are exploring additional ways to continue collaboration with the Dzaleka Camp.

The Malawi connection continued when Fulbright Scholar and Furman professor, Suresh Muthukrishnan, began work with The Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Lilongwe, Malawi. He recognized a need for additional resources and worked with Furman's science library to send four boxes of books on GIS, Remote Sensing, Climate Science, and Environmental Science to the University.

Connections established in Malawi continue to produced many other opportunities, collaborations, and publications. Dr. Muthukrishnan continues to collaborate in Malawi with multiple universities, UNICEF, and Dzaleka. In 2019-2020, Furman and Virginia Tech partnered with UNICEF to create African Drone and Data Academy, which has so far graduated 4 cohorts of students (about 100 students) with high level drone and GIS training. He was in Malawi in March 2020 teaching the first cohort of students, after which due to COVID, we have created a complete online program to continue the training and Level I certification in Drone and Data Technologies. Level II certification still requires in-person training, which will take place in Malawi when travel is safe.

One of the students from the refugee camp completed the certificate program as part of the first cohort (all taught in person in early 2020), and now has a job working with a drone company (Swoop Aero) in DRCongo. His goal is to become the president of his country!

Five other students started a GIS consulting company recently. One of those students is now a Fulbright student in St. Cloud University in Minnesota.


Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Curriculum
Public Engagement
Diversity & Affordability

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
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The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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