Global Information Engagement Program

The Global Information Engagement Program (GIEP) is an innovative approach to learning which partners non-profit, research, and educational organizations in an international setting with carefully selected student teams. This program seeks to operationalize the skills of professional master’s degree students at the University of Michigan to develop sustainable information management practices that have positive societal impact. Project teams from UMSI and university graduate programs spend a semester studying and creating plans for implementation of an identified information challenge that has high social impact value.

GIEP is returning in 2018 to Cape Town, South Africa. In GIEP, student teams leverage their emergent skills in content management and delivery, contextual inquiry, needs assessment, product ideation, consultation and a deep understanding of the complex relationships between people, information, and technology to address context-sensitive information challenges (management, access, design ICT-related) commonly faced by participating heritage and NGO organizations.

For students

Where: Cape Town, South Africa

When: Students are selected for the program and matched to your project in January. Student teams and partner organizations will start virtually working together in March. In May, students will arrive in the host country for nine weeks of on-site work with their partner organization.

Eligibility: Graduate students from the University of Michigan are eligible to apply. Projects require a range of skill sets and knowledge; students from all programs are encouraged to participate and will have the opportunity to share novel experiences and expertise. Students selected for the program will work in multi-disciplinary groups of three to four.

The application deadline will be in early January and selected students will be required to accept the invite to participate in the program approximately two weeks later. Students submit an application via M-Compass.

Cost: There is a $250 program fee to participate, which is required upon acceptance to participate in the program.  The School of Information will advise on transportation to South Africa; lodging and select support for in-country travel and meals required for project success will be provided. If selected to participate, student will be expected to cover personal expenses such as personal travel, airfare, visa, passport and immunization costs, if necessary.  (Scholarships are available.)

How to Apply: Students will be required to apply via MCompass by in early January. A select group of students will be invited for an interview the approximately a week later and invitations to participate will be issued the following week.

Students will be required to take part in a half semester weekly 3 hour class meeting that commence the week following spring break. Students will leave for South Africa the first week of May for 9 weeks.

Contact: umsi.giep@umich.edu

For organizations

Where: Cape Town, South Africa

When: Students are selected for the program and matched to your project in January. Student teams and partner organizations will start working together virtually in March. In May, students will arrive in the host country for nine weeks’ on-site work at your organization.

Eligibility: Non-profit, governmental, and academic organizations in South Africa are invited to participate.

We seek project proposals from organizations who wish to engage in a collaborative partnership to develop and refine a project for student learning with a societal impact outcome. We seek projects in:

  • development of interactive web-based services
  • creation or organization of information repositories and archives
  • development of internal library systems
  • research and analysis on information policy topics
  • digital design projects
  • data analysis and informatics

Cost: GIEP is free for participating partners.  All students’ expenses including travel and stay in Cape Town are fully funded through school resources.

How to Apply: In order to be matched with a team of students, participating organizations must be able to provide the following:

  • A well-developed project proposal that clearly highlights an information challenge
  • A committed project leader at the organization who will work with students and provide resources and information to ensure project success
  • Remote consultation for initial project research and development from January to May
  • Workspace and project guidance for the students during their time in South Africa
  • To be submit a proposal for consideration, please contact program administrators by December 1 by emailing umsi.giep@umich.edu.

Additional Information: 

Student engagement timeline: Students are selected for the program and matched to projects in January. Student teams and partner organizations will start working together virtually in March. In May, students will arrive in the host country for nine weeks’ on-site work at the partner organization.

Teams of two to four University of Michigan graduate students will be selected through a competitive process and assigned to work on a defined project. Each group will be advised by a faculty mentor at UMSI and guided by a point person in the partner organization in India supervising the progress on the project.

Student teams bring with them highly developed skills in needs assessment, application development, product design and a deep understanding of information management.

Commitment: In order to be matched with a team of students, participating organizations must be able to provide the following:

  • A well-developed project proposal that clearly highlights an information challenge
  • A committed project leader at the organization who will work with students and provide resources and information to ensure project success
  • Remote consultation for initial project research and development from January to May
  • Workspace and project guidance for the students during their time in South Africa

Contact: Interested partner organizations can indicate interest in hosting students by emailing umsi.giep@umich.edu. These projects are technology or information management-related problems that, if solved, contribute to the better functioning of the organization itself and have broader applicability across society. Organizations are matched with a student team that has been selected based on interest, skill, and fit.

Projects

Haven Night Shelter — Community Profile-Based Assistance to Special Needs Clients

Our team will be working with Haven, a 38-year-old organization whose mission is to assist the homeless with getting back to a home, family and community. In support of Haven’s Vision 2020, an initiative designed to strengthen relationships with the communities surrounding its shelters and to strengthen governance structures so that operational goals are met, we will be developing an information system to enable Haven to work better with social workers to ensure provision of services to special needs homeless adults. This structured system will help Haven facilitate service delivery to special needs clients, such as those requiring assistance based on age, physical and mental health, and other specific needs. This system will also help Haven develop individual community profiles for Haven’s 15 geographically distributed shelters that capture and integrate details between Haven’s Client Registration System and Community Profiles. 

haven community group

Project members: Erin Bagazinski, Wesley Williams, Mathilde Finnegan


Haven Night Shelter — A Geographically Aware System for the Distribution and Flow Monitoring of In Kind Donations 

Currently, Haven Night Shelter's donations are tracked via a paper-based system, and time-sensitive stockpiles face challenges for efficient and effective reallocation across the Western Cape to ensure their best use. To deal with the problem, this project will assess, create, and implement a geographically aware information system that will track the intake and redistribution of excess donations to other organizations in the care community.

The newly designed system would be an internal communications tool that could combine GIS and database technologies to expand Haven’s capabilities for redirecting and giving away excess donations. It would ensure better real time tracking — both geographically and by volume — of in-kind donations and stimulate faster response times with better targeting of diverse goods to needed areas, while also demonstrating necessary due diligence regarding the ethical and strategic use of donations. This logistics pipeline mapping of resources will track goods entering Haven’s control through its fair, logical, and efficient redistribution to partner and peer organizations across the Western Cape.

This project strengthens relationships with the communities surrounding Haven Night Shelter and governance structures so that operational goals are met, which supports Haven’s Vision 2020 at the same time.

haven gis

Project members: Tianshi Wang, Sherra Bennett, Kerrel Spivey


League of the Friends of the Blind — Mobilizing Institutional Knowledge and History for Public Programming and Service Delivery

The 2017 project will build upon prior GIEP work with the League of Friends of the Blind (LOFOB) to develop novel advocacy content and communication strategies using sustainable technical solutions. LOFOB would like to share information on its services for the blind or the visually impaired community and their historical narrative as part of South Africa’s blind community advocacy efforts. The team will incorporate existing and newly created digital and analog resources into expanding public programming to potential clients and donors. The project goal is to maximize outreach potential and ensure LOFOB’s message remains accessible, accurate and consistent. LOFOB seeks to revitalize publicizing efforts in lieu of its 85th anniversary.

league of friends of the blind

Project members: Misbah Ahmed, William Kim, Charlie Brink, Sidharath Chhatani


UWC–Robben Island Museum Mayibuye Archive — Digitization Survey and Institutional Capacity Development

Mayibuye has digitized a wide range of materials over the past 10 years in multiple media formats; most of this has been done on an ad hoc and project-specific basis. Currently there is no formal inventory for the digital assets housed in each of the four sub-archives and no formalized digitization lab or in-house digitization capacity. This project will survey and centralize existing digitized objects and develop an in-house digitization capacity including technological, human resource, and policy aspects.  Mayibuye is committed to increasing and enhancing its digitization capacity for content management as well as public access initiatives. This work will enable Mayibuye to understand the depth of commitment and concrete requirements needed to capture, host, and deliver digitized content across all formats. It will also provide and link to key authoritative approaches—based on internationally-recognized standards and best practices—to ensure a robust and sustainable effort. 

mayibuye group

Project members:  Emily Koelzer, Richard Byler, Molly Szymanski


Yabonga — Telling the Stories of the Fight Against HIV/AIDS: Creating an Institutional Archives and Oral History Program

Yabonga is a local HIV/AIDS organization with a rich history from its 20 years of service to the community. It has a collection of documents and a community of individuals with knowledge of the organization’s history that can help generate stories of impact. However, these documents lack an organized structure that would make them more useful to the organization as a whole, and those individuals’ stories have not been collected. Working with Yabonga, we will be developing a plan to identify, collect, create, and manage content for Yabonga that will serve to tell its story from foundation to the present. It will include both printed material and born digital written content, photographs, and videos. Upon completion, Yabonga will have an institutional archive and oral history collection and the tools to sustain them.

yabonga

Project members:  Jessamine Bartley-Matthews, Sarah Swanz, Ally Rooker, Kaitlyn Sisk

Student stories

Image of 2016 GIEP participants on the beach in South Africa

Videos

To view videos of student project presentations and stories from previous years, please visit the UMSI GIEP YouTube channel.

Learn about the student experience through their blogs and videos on the GIEP Blog site.