Frequently Asked Questions

It helps developing countries improve their institutions of higher education.
Our goal is to help these countries educate their own experts and professionals and do the locally relevant research necessary for improving their citizens’ lives.
Good primary education and health services need well trained teachers, health workers, and administrators to run the schools and health services. In order to train these professionals, developing countries need good institutions of higher education.
We only work in countries that are in the United Nations Development Program’s 2016 Human Development Index (the low and medium categories) and its 2016 Multidimensional Poverty index. There are 115 countries in the two indices. Our reason for only working in these countries is that they are most in need of help.
Almost all these countries have universities.
We work mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, but we have also done projects in South America, Central Asia, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe.
They contacted us asking for our help or they came to us through our Network of Canadian universities.
Academics at Network universities tell the institutions about AWB or they find out about AWB through our website or word of mouth. We have never advertised our services to the developing world.
We have limited resources and would not be able to meet the demand for our help. There are thousands of universities in the countries in the UNDP indices. Moreover, each of them have departments, schools, faculties, and back office operations, all of which could ask for our help. The potential demand for AWB’s services is unlimited. The potential demand for AWB’s services far exceeds our current financial capacity.
The institutions that contact us are asked to fill out project proposals that describe the help that they need from AWB, the activities in which they wish us to engage, the outcomes and impacts that they would like to achieve, and the contributions that they are willing to make to finance the project.
The university must meet several criteria. It must be accredited in its country by a national body; it must be not-for-profit; the administration of the institution must support the project; and there must be stakeholders in the university who want the project to take place and are willing to sustain its activities. We also look to see whether the institution can provide any financial support for the project. Almost all of AWB’s developing-world partner institutions provide housing for the AWB volunteers who carry out the project’s activities. Some also provide a stipend for volunteers’ local expenses, and some even provide airfare. However, AWB would not necessarily decline to partner with a developing-world university if it could not afford to make a contribution to expenses.
AWB provides assistance in all areas of university operations, including teaching, research, back-office operations, all academic disciplines, administrative support, external relations, organizational structure, management systems, and strategic planning. It is up to our partners to decide where they need help.
AWB focuses on building poor countries’ own sustainable higher education capacity, rather than parachuting in a branch campus from overseas or exporting the brightest local students to pursue their studies elsewhere. Moreover, AWB is extremely cost-effective because its projects are partially financed by its developing world partners and are conducted by unpaid volunteers. In addition, our overseas partners are engaged fully in the projects. They initiate and help design them and contribute to their implementation both logistically and financially. The projects belong to our partners; AWB is there to help.
The first level of success for AWB projects is their outcomes, over which our volunteers and partners have direct control. For example, if a developing-world partner specifies as a desired outcome of a project a new curriculum for a department, then the volunteer for that project would work with the department to create that new curriculum. At the end of the project, the volunteer’s project report would specify that the curriculum had been prepared. The next step would be for the partner university to implement the curriculum. We would also follow up to determine that the new curriculum was being used.
The full impact of each AWB project is not felt immediately, but over decades, as the enhanced university programs to which AWB volunteers contribute allow more citizens to be well educated and in turn to educate and train others, thus cascading expertise across the society and down through generations. Such impacts are necessarily difficult to track and measure. However for some of our projects we have impact indicators, such as increases in the number of health workers in poor rural areas, or improvements in the training of teachers for rural areas and poor city districts.

About Working with AWB

Our projects come to us directly from universities in the developing world or from academics at institutions in AWB’s Network of universities. If your university is not a member of AWB’s Network, you can act as an intermediary with the institution with which you work. You should write to Greg Moran, AWB’s Executive Director, describing the project in which you are involved. If it falls within AWB’s mission, Greg will ask you to put AWB in touch with a stakeholder at the institution in the developing world with which you are involved. Greg will send the person a project proposal form to fill out.
If you are an academic at an AWB Network university, you can submit a proposal for the project in which you are involved, when AWB issues its Calls for Proposals. If you want more information about the Call, please contact Corrie Young, AWB’s Associate Executive Director.
AWB works with its partners in the developing world to draft job descriptions for the volunteer positions to carry out the activities of the projects. AWB then sends the job descriptions to its Network universities. (See below for Network universities.) If there are no qualified applicants, the job description is then sent to AWB’s Representatives for distribution. AWB has Representatives in 65 Canadian universities. In addition, AWB has a roster of prospective volunteers, which it searches for suitable applicants. AWB then vets the applicants and sends the short list to its partner institution, which makes the final selection. Alternatively, our partner institutions can specify a volunteer in submitting a project proposal.
Please go to “Volunteers” on the website and review the qualifications for volunteers. If you qualify, fill out the short application on the page and send it and your CV to [email protected].
Current volunteer positions are listed on our website on the news page.
The qualifications of the volunteers for projects depend on the nature of the projects. Some of our projects call for professionals who are not academics.
You can help AWB in a variety of ways, depending on your expertise. Please send Greg Moran, Executive Director, your CV with a covering letter about your interest in working with AWB.
We welcome support of various kinds from students. For our internship positions, we give priority to students who are at Network universities. But it is also possible for students who are not at Network universities to intern with AWB. Please send Greg your CV with a covering letter about your interest in working with AWB.

About AWB’s University Network and Campus Chapters

AWB Network universities pay a modest annual membership fee and thereby qualify for several benefits, including priority in providing volunteers for AWB projects, priority in proposing projects for AWB consideration, and eligibility to establish Campus Chapters for students and to host AWB events. Representatives of the Network’s member universities are convened to meet together from time to time, and the universities are listed on the AWB website.
The AWB network is restricted to Canadian institutions that are members of Universities Canada. If your university is a member of Universities Canada, talk to your administrator in charge of internationalization about AWB and the Network. If the administrator is interested in hearing more about the Network, have him/her contact Dominique Van de Maele, AWB’s Network Manager.
If your university is part of the AWB Network, please contact Dominique who will put you in touch with AWB’s Network contact at your university with whom you can discuss starting a Chapter. If your university is not part of the Network, see the answer to the question above.

About Donating to AWB

Please click here to go to the Donations website page, which will tell you how you can donate.
Such designations are possible if you indicate with your cheque donation the particular project or part of the world for which you would like your donation used. This can be done if you donate through CanadaHelps.

Miscellaneous Questions

AWB operates through a virtual office, but it has people associated with AWB in various parts of the world. We can perhaps arrange for someone to meet with you depending on your location and your reason for wanting to meet with one of our stakeholders. Please send your request to [email protected].