Thursday, September 10, 2009

Preserving Egypt's Ancient Memory

What is Community-Based Learning?

CBL is an educational experience that is similar to "service learning". Both are teaching and learning approaches that integrate community service with academic study to enrich learning, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.

CBL allows students to engage selected communities in mutually beneficial learning activities and cultural exchanges.

Community-Based Service Learning Example:

Students remove trash from a polluted river bed and analyze what they found. Then they will share these results which may lead the community to reduce pollution. And then they reflect on the experience.

CBL Participatory Community Photography Project at the American University in Cairo:

AUC students are led on frequent field trips to research, collect data and photograph in partnership with Egyptian villagers, secondary school students and non governmental organizations who are dedicated to improving the lives of indigenous Egyptian people by demonstrating to them the economic and social benefits they can obtain by learning how to participate in the production of these rare and culturally significant arts and crafts which are rapidly disappearing.

AUC students are designing and producing a variety of communication tools in response to the needs of the engaged communities. Included are calendars, brochures, portraits, media kits, business cards, logos, letterhead, websites, posters, catalogs, newsletters, magazine articles, tee shirt designs and many other types of media products and services. Students are also teaching photography and visual communication skills to children and adults who will be supplied with digital still/video cameras to facilitate their documentation of their village's aural and visual history.

This Photo-Ethnography project will ultimately result in:

1) Collaborative books and exhibitions of photographs and stories produced largely by community-based photographers, videographers, writers and residents of villages who have been trained by this project.

2) Coffee table books and craft catalogs about the disappearing ancient crafts of Africa and the Middle East.

3) Arabic, Swahili, French, Portuguese and English language editions of the virtual textbook and electronic courseware Professor Jones has developed for teaching participatory photography and multimedia production. These illustrated electronic learning modules will be introduced next in East Africa through alliances with various technology demonstration projects.

4) Multimedia exhibitions that will be accompanied by public forums designed to engage village residents and other stakeholders in the agenda setting process required for better and more responsive local governance.

To sample these CBL projects CLICK HERE
  • Association for Protection of the Environment
  • Markaz Craft Revival and Development Centre
  • Tawasol and Mokattam Learning Centers
To contribute to this work or to follow our progress, please visit the OnLine Africa Knowledge Foundation website at

CLICK BELOW for AUC CLASS PAGES for this CBL project:
JRMC 230: Photography I
JRMC 330: Advanced Photography II
JRMC 305: Visual Communication I

Live In Slums: Kibera "WHO'S DREAMING?" by our Italian collaborators

Kwame Nkrumah Pan-African Cultural Center