Each year, the Meyer Business on the Frontlines Program sends teams of MBA students across the globe to work with in-country partner organizations to apply the dynamism of business to solving social issues including poverty, illicit economies, isolation and prejudice.
In 2020–2021, the pandemic shut down travel but not the work of the Meyer teams. It is, after all, a course in problem solving. Seven teams of students worked with partners in seven countries on projects ranging from renewable energy to education. Since students couldn’t visit the countries (except via Zoom), the partner organizations sent “care packages” to the students to give them a glimpse of their culture and traditions.
TOP: The Olancho Aid Foundation (OAF) in Honduras gave the students a literal taste of some of its most popular
foods, including ceviche-flavored plantain chips. The Business on the Frontlines project involves exploring how a trusted organization such as OAF can leverage its expertise in education to become an economic catalyst in the region.
ABOVE-RIGHT: The battered box attests to the care package’s long journey from Colombia. Inside, partner organization PASO Colombia included traditional snack foods along with a report, “The Base of the Mountain,” about its Rural Alternative School program to promote sustainable rural development. The Notre Dame team is working with Paso Colombia on a multi-year project to develop economic solutions to bring former FARC combatants and coca-growing peasants back into productive Colombian society.
ABOVE LEFT: The mementos from Coalfield Development are reminders of both the problem and solution to endemic poverty and unemployment in Appalachia. The West Virginia-based nonprofit partnered with students in a new Meyer program course, Frontlines in America, to find employment solutions, which included developing e-commerce solutions to market Appalachia brands. Check out mountainmindful.com.
ABOVE: Through its embroidered clothing, spices and a “scent tour” via incense, Tunisian partner Apenco provided a glimpse of the country’s proud national heritage, while the newspaper described some of the challenges faced today. Business on the Frontlines is working with Apenco on a multi-year project to develop home-grown renewable energy with a focus on the solar power market.
Photos by Matt Cashore (ND ’94)