Community Development Capstone Projects

Students in the Master in Community Development program complete a yearlong Capstone project as the culmination of their graduate work. The Capstone is designed to provide them with an opportunity to directly apply theories learned in the classroom to a major applied project within their communities. Students take a series of project courses over four semesters in design, implementation, management and monitoring/evaluation while carrying out their community project. This provides an ideal learning experience for our students while also benefiting a community.

Previous MCD Capstone Projects

African men and women standing outside a building.

Women Refugees and Immigrants From Africa Face a Difficult Path to Employment, Manchester, New Hampshire

Kioni Ngoy

Immigrant women and refugees from Africa living in Manchester, New Hampshire, face a difficult path to employment. Working with two strategic partners, International Institute of New England and the City of Manchester, my project seeks to facilitate their integration into the workforce and increase their independence so they can make real progress in their lives.

Africans standing outside a building waving their hands in celebration.

Building Operations in Microlending Organizations, Uganda

Drew Obston

Micro-lenders in Uganda have extremely inefficient operations: large amounts of time are spent traveling to borrowers; applications take a long time to be reviewed; funds are distributed very slowly; and there is minimal effective interaction between borrowers and the lending organization. My project focused on using different technological tools to improve operations in financially inclusive organizations in order to provide better service to borrowers, lower interest rates on loans, and reach a greater volume of borrowers in a more timely manner.

African women wearing brightly colored clothing and sitting with their children.

Why Women Underutilized Material & Child Health Care

Catherine Wambui Wanjiru '16

This project looks into why women in the village are under-utilizing maternal related services from clinics and hospitals. Although Ewaso Ngiro community carries a diverse group of tribes, majority are from the Maasai tribe. The Maasai tribe live a nomadic life. Although they are regarded as one of the only nomadic indigenous groups that have not fully been impacted by western culture, it seems that the western culture is emerging into their culture. Elders are working their hardest to keep their communities from being westernized. Which includes utilizing formal maternal and child health care services, traditional medicine is still highly practiced within the tribe. Expected outcomes include long-term, intermediate and short-term goals that follow; pregnant women and new mothers will be more knowledgeable on maternal and child health care, improving their health and safety as well as of their infants, improve awareness on services provided and their availability.

A man and a women standing near palm trees, next to a sewage treatment structure.

Addressing the Potential Health Impacts of Open Defecation

Jowie Guevarra '18

My project addresses the potential health impacts that open defecation has on the rural and urban poor communities in the Bicol Region of the Philippines by increasing awareness, increasing access to loans for families to construct safe toilet facilities, and training on the use and maintenance of toilets. Open defecation is linked to the deterioration of potable water quality which can cause diarrhea in children and adults. The project’s long-term outcome is to decrease diarrhea incidents among children and adults in the Bicol Region by improving the quality of potable water in this region through the increased construction and use of safe toilet facilities.

Robin with a man and a women standing among cacao trees.

Dolores Women’s Cacao Project

Robin Husslage '12

The women cacao farmers living in the remote Mayan village of Dolores, Belize, are unable to access the organic cacao market in Punta Gorda with improved commodity prices in order to increase their incomes above subsistence levels. This project is designed to sustainably increase the incomes of 49 women cacao farmers, allowing them to provide for their family’s healthcare and education needs by providing the training, support, and tools required for increasing the quantity and quality of their processed cacao beans. This includes new facilities (nursery, fermentation, and drying), quality control/tracking procedures, and the safe storage and transportation of beans to access premium Fair Trade pricing.

Student standing with several people next to a brightly colored wall.

The Reentry Women's Initiative: Bridging Civic Education with Food Justice

Lee Domeika '17

In Baltimore, Maryland, incarceration rates are ever increasing, with approximately $300 million dollars alone spent each year on incarcerating Baltimore individuals. The painful reality is that 40.5% of individuals released from jail or prison will recidivate within 3 years due to lack of support, poor policy, and weak services. Reentry service options for individuals coming home, especially women, are extremely limited. Out For Justice's Reentry Women's Initiative (RWI) seeks to create a reentry women-focused program that combines core tools for civic engagement with food justice and food growing. It is our hope that this project will inspire women to be more active with local politics, as well as provide tools for when policy fails to support the reentry community.

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