During the months of July, August, and September, a total of 19 Miguel Hernández University of Elche students, faculty members, and alumni traveled to Rwanda to participate in the ninth edition of the UMH International Cooperation Volunteerism Program there. During the approximately one month that each volunteer stays in the country, they carry out various development cooperation projects that are overseen by the Area of Development Cooperation and Volunteerism of the UMH Vice Rectorate for International Relations.

During their stays on the African continent, the participants undergo training sessions on several topics, including the history of Rwanda, development cooperation, humanitarian aid, volunteerism, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, among others. Such training efforts began last year with the aim of helping these participants to contextualize the realities of Africa and inform them about theoretical and practical aspects of the third sector. The response to this training has been very positive, as the recipients during the months of July and August indicated that not only did it immediately help them during their stays there, but that it will also help them in future cooperation projects. They have particularly enjoyed the specific knowledge gained on volunteerism and learning about the realities of Africa, and Rwanda, in particular.  

The program that trains international cooperation volunteers that has been rolled out by the UMH in Rwanda forms part of the 2018 University Development Cooperation Agreement signed by the Generalitat Valenciana, through its Consellería of Transparency, Social Responsibility, Participation and Cooperation and Democratic Quality, along with the UMH.

This agreement highlights the relevance of the social function of the university to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. Its 17 goals aim to strengthen peace, end poverty, and guarantee human rights for all people.

The September group of volunteers recently left for Rwanda, to continue with directed training activities for students at the ESSA Ruhengeri public high school located in the city of Musanze, and to continue with ongoing efforts at the Nemba Hospital. These projects were born out of collaboration with Rwandan institutions with the objective of improving the quality of life and skills for that country’s population.