The Global Information Internship Program (GIIP) is a highly innovative educational and service-learning program sponsored by the Center for Global, International, and Regional Studies (CGIRS) at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Since 1998, hundreds of GIIP undergraduate student interns have worked to democratize globalization, support world peace, raise environmental awareness, and promote gender equity by upgrading the informational capacity of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community groups around the world.GIIP merges the enthusiasm of student leaders with information technology to promote structural social change by building social networking capacity across non-governmental and community-based organizations.
The world is becoming smaller every day, but rapid globalization has contributed to an insidious inequality: informational exclusion. To ensure that all peoples have adequate access to the dynamic power unleashed by the information technology revolution, GIIP aims to prepare a new generation of students to bridge the digital divide and put their studies into action while supporting social justice advocacy.
GIIP’s goal is create a new generation of “info-savvy” advocates using information technology to overcome informational exclusion–based barriers to civic participation and social justice. The learning goes both ways: While advancing the larger public good, GIIP students accumulate valuable technical knowledge, while sharpening their leadership and project management skills.
GIIP interns join NGOs across the globe to help shape their information infrastructure and train local groups to maintain and expand their use of technological tools. From human rights organizations in Namibia to coffee farm collectives in Central America, GIIP interns partner with their hosts to build the NGOs’ technological capacity to promote communication, support their mission, and raise awareness of their causes.
GIIP applies “learning by doing” as the best method to teach non-profit management and the transfer of information technology.
Accordingly, GIIP is managed by student Fellows, who constitute a self-governing body of “stakeholders” to collectively manage the GIIP program with the advice of faculty, sponsors, and staff mentors. All curriculum, resource, and planning decisions are reviewed and approved by the GIIP Fellows, who recruit and interview new members annually.