MDP Summer Field Experience

variety of MPD students participating in their summer experiences

The Master of Development Practice Summer Field Experience is more than an internship; it's a platform for MDP students to immerse themselves in sustainable development endeavors, contributing to meaningful projects that have a positive impact on communities worldwide. This hands-on learning opportunity equips students with practical skills, intercultural understanding, and the ability to navigate the complex landscape of global development.

MDP projects snapshot

32 countries

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The Summer Field Experience has spanned across 32 countries,
reflecting the global scope and impact of the MDP program.

189 students

Graduation cap and diploma

From 2011 to 2023, 189 MDP students have participated in the
Summer Field Experience, gaining valuable insights into sustainable
development practices.

60 projects

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60 Projects: These students have worked on 60 distinct projects,
contributing their expertise to address pressing development

Featured Partnerships

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Rainforest Alliance

Since the early 2000s, Rainforest Alliance and the University of Minnesota have collaborated on a broad range of student projects to support community based natural resource management and community forest enterprises in the UNESCO Maya Biosphere Reserve in northern Guatemala. Over the last decade, MDP student teams have engaged through more than ten projects focusing on market systems (value chain) development, livelihood system diversification, women's livelihood opportunities, sustainable tourism and education. And while the majority of these projects have been in Guatemala, students have also supported the Rainforest Alliance in Honduras, Ecuador and Indonesia. These opportunities are the product of a strong partnership between the MDP program and the University’s Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Agricultural Management (CINRAM).  

Ekialo Kiona Community Center

The University of Minnesota is home to a unique collaboration between Kenya’s Ekialo Kiona (EK) Community Center, the Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility and the Development Practice (MDP) and Public Health (MPH) degree programs. The EK-Center is located on Mfangano Island in Lake Victoria, in the southwestern region of Kenya. Over the last five years, MDP students have supported the EK-Center through several projects focusing on strategic planning, organizational sustainability, cultural preservation and the development of local radio programs and program content related to public health and other critical issues. These projects have also featured engagement with students from Kenya’s Maseno University.

Ger Hub

Mongolia’s GerHub is working towards finding innovative and creative solutions to some of the most pressing issues in the ger areas. Ger areas are unplanned semi-formal settlements and they are home to more than 60% of the population of Mongolia’s capital city, UlaanBaatar. These areas often lack basic infrastructure and social services such as running water, heat, and communities in the area do not have easy access to paved roads, public transportation, schools and health providers. To tackle some of these issues, GerHub operates a first-of-its kind community space in the ger areas to foster creative problem solving and social innovation amongst the residents. MDP students have contributed to GerHub’s mission through projects focusing on strategic planning, the transition from a non-profit to a social enterprise and community engagement focused on sustainable tourism models.

variety of MPD students participating in their summer experiences