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Signature Programmes

Joint Humanitarian Entrepreneurship Summer Academy 2020

Achieving global sustainability requires meaningful and long-term collaboration between people from both developed and developing countries. The Joint Humanitarian Entrepreneurship Summer Academy is a multi-country venture which facilitates such collaboration while bridging the gaps between the aspirations of academic learning and the realities of societal challenges around the world. Students are encouraged to understand and tackle social issues by collaborating with local communities in need. Students participate in a series of activities and trainings for two weeks which hones their creativity, problem solving, interpersonal empathy, and leadership skills, and primes them for fieldwork.

Students and community partners from diverse socio-cultural and educational backgrounds join this programme. Participants gain new insights into how certain topics, such as poverty alleviation, financial empowerment, can be examined and analyzed from different perspectives. This empowers humanitarian-minded innovators to develop an entrepreneurial spirit, to strengthen critical analytical skills to drive global change, and to have a thorough understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and humanitarian governance. 

The Office of Service-Learning and the Lingnan Entrepreneurship Initiative at Lingnan University, Hong Kong initiated the first Joint Humanitarian Entrepreneurship Summer Academy in 2018. In the third edition of this program, we have partnered with multiple universities and community agents across the world to design this exciting program.

Projects intended life span is 3-5 years based on community traction, typically student groups visit the site twice a year where possible. The projects are scoped, initial field work is conducted, solutions are shortlisted, the most cost-effective solution is field tested and improved to identify the best mode of implementation. When the best business case is identified, the intended avenue is to aid in the setting of a social venture to create a local job and empower the community.


3 years plan


This year the campus program will take place in Hope College, Holland, Michigan followed by the field visits.

Campus programme

Service Project (Either 1)

The 24th May to 7th June

Hope College, Holland, Michigan, US

8th June -22nd June

8th June -22nd June

8th June -22nd June




Credit:  3 credit course : Community Engagement Through Service-Learning (SLP 1101)


  1. To improve understanding of SDGs and associated challenges
  2. To introduce research skills and creative expression
  3. To introduce creative problem-solving tools to tackle socioeconomic issues
  4. To promote multicultural work: teamwork and constraints 
  5. To expose students to real world challenges
  6. To imbue students with a passion for creation

The program takes places in two sections, a two-week campus programme and a two-week fieldwork. The two-week campus programme module is standardized comprising;

  • Introduction to Design Thinking and design challenges
  • Other creative forms of problem solving
  • Research Methodology & Comparative research workshops
  • Storytelling
  • Maker experiences (making solutions to problems that matter)
  • Contextualizing SDGs: Challenges and Opportunities
  • Constructive dialogue/facilitation skills and conflict resolution
  • Understanding and decoding discomfort in Service location
  • Verbal & non-verbal interviewing/empathy
  • Unconscious bias and social innovation
  • Critical immersive experience
  • Team building activities

These workshops in the past were conducted by faculty from Lingnan University, Oberlin College, Rutgers University, Lehigh University and Carnegie Mellon University.

The two-week Campus Programme is followed by two-week field work in the problem/challenge setting and working with the community to develop sustainable business models.

List of projects:

project list

  • Adoption of water storage (Uganda)

Due to poor public infrastructure, there are no extensive water storage units or modules. There are a handful of families which have 5,000-10,000-liter water tanks. These families have successfully reduced the amount of time spent on travelling to collect stream water. However, the water tanks are prohibitively expensive – a 10,000-liter tank sells for a market price of 3,000,000 Ugandan shillings. In comparison, a daily wage worker earns about 5000 shillings per day of work, while most families make about 1 million to 1.5 million shillings a year. We have found a low cost off the shelf Polyvinyl Chloride tanks. The setup prototype was deployed in the community for a cost of 400,000 Ugandan shillings in January 2020 for a 4000-litre capacity tank in two households. The project will look to further understand users behaviour and improve the quality of the tank, reduce cost and improve lifespan.

  • Implementation indoor lighting (Uganda)

The community is completely off the grid. 25W or 50W panels can be found in around 70% of the households, but a vast majority of them face problems because the system is unreliable, and some components break down regularly. We are looking to test a all DC system with two light using 20,000 mA power banks as storage and reduce cost.

  • Creating sustainable fuel for cooking (Uganda)

Uganda as most sub-Saharan African countries do, use firewood and charcoal as fuel source for cooking. Which leads to loss of forest cover and habit of wildlife. We are looking to explore alternatives to this emergency need before irreparable damage is done to the forest.

  • Waste management through community incineration (Uganda)

Plastic waste, mostly in the form of nonrecyclable plastic bags, is a major issue in the community. While most community members understand the harm caused by burning plastics in their backyards, they do not have access to more feasible alternatives. Recycling is a challenge because the volume of waste generated is not enough to support commercial operations.Setting up a community-based incinerator with up to a 5-meter clearance might be the most viable option. Collecting and depositing the non-biodegradable waste in one location might create a critical mass, which can then support the local entrepreneurial activity around plastic recycling.

  • Lack of textbooks (Uganda)

Textbooks contain most of the key information for learning. Teachers spend most of the in-class hours writing out textbook contents on blackboards so that students can copy them for further use. This is time consuming and detrimental to the students’ education. The issue is further worsened by the absence of proper library facilities.  Setting up a mobile library and creating an affordable monthly subscription model for the family. More data needs to be collected to develop the best possible prototype. 

  • Adoption of indoor high value cash crop adoption (Nepal)

Most families in the community rely on subsistence farming and mostly cultivate cereals and some vegetables. The community relies on the elements for cultivation and this leads to long breaks in cultivation time when cost of essential food items increases in value as they need to be transported to the community. The project explores crops which will be adopted by the community for essential nutrients and can be cultivated indoors by exploring new developments in agriculture.

  • Project scoping visit Ghana

This will be an open-ended scoping visit around the use of mosquito nets in the Ashanti region of Ghana. The visit will help understand the adoption and use of mosquito nets and the wider socioeconomic challenges in the community we work with.

The deadline for application will be 1st March, 2020​

Registration for Lingnan University Students: Please click here

Registration for Non-Lingnan Students: Please click here

Click Joint Humanitarian Entrepreneurship Summer Academy (SA) 2019 to Achieve SDGs for more information.