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Otago Business School and World Vision join forces

The Otago Business School is taking the lead in developing a partnership with World Vision, and this is already paying off for some Otago Business School students.

The University of Otago signed a Memorandum of Understanding with World Vision in October last year, a first between a New Zealand academic institution and the New Zealand office of World Vision.

The partnership, part of the University’s strategic vision to engage with the community, brings academics and students together with the charity’s administrators to collaborate on research, development and debate to help the fight against global poverty.

Already World Vision has taken part in the Otago Business’s summer intern programme, offering six different projects in World Vision New Zealand’s Auckland office over the summer.

Since the MoU, international World Vision directors from Jerusalem-West Bank-Gaza, Uganda and Myanmar have been on campus to present on Third World development: opportunities and challenges.

The panel was chaired by World Vision New Zealand CEO Chris Clarke, who has also been a presenter in the Otago Business School’s Visiting Executive Programme.

Mr Clarke is pleased to be joining forces with the academic institute. “It provides us with the opportunity to harness the incredible research and expertise that comes out of Otago, and channel it into long-lasting change in New Zealand and around the world.”

Otago Business School Professor David Fielding, whose research interests include studying aid into developing countries, said there is considerable potential to develop and expand both the student connection and the research contribution to help World Vision in its role.

The Business School in particular is looking forward to developing further links. “There’s a huge amount of value in being connected with a very large, multi-million dollar global leader - it’s exciting to be leading the way in new developments that link commerce with the not-for-profit sector,” he said.

The Otago Business School has specialist capability in several areas that will be of value to World Vision, including study into the economics of low income countries. Several researchers are already working on projects in the not-for-profit sector, and students are engaged including a tutoring initiative called 100 percent, run by medical student Crystal Diong. The tutors donate their fees to World Vision.

There are many ways this current capacity could be further developed to assist with specific World Vision needs, such as its requirement for lean administration, and its desire to establish strong life-time client relationships with the people who donate to World Vision campaigns.

This could mean projects like helping with impact evaluation research on World Vision’s marketing.

“And at a student level, we find most of our students now want a range of experiences that extend beyond the classroom or sports field. This partnership helps us to offer a wider education experience to a new generation of young people motivated by values beyond just salary,” Prof Fielding said.

“Many students come into university already connected with a charity or keen to explore volunteering options. The World Vision initiative offers links into a world-leading organisation that has many voluntary or career-developing pathways.”

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