the big picture
The 53rd Week represents working together to exceed the ordinary. Young professionals in this modern world are more constrained than ever by time and finances, yet still hold onto their dreams of making a difference. Volunteering on a short-term trip abroad can be a life-changing experience or a fun week away, but long-term changes are unclear – both for participants, and the communities they serve abroad. Our idea is piecing together a string of disparate weeks – a relay race, if you will – turning short-term into a long-term project carried out by teams of young professionals committed to doing their part and helping these communities abroad one week at a time towards locally-identified long-term goals.
That’s the power of plenty. That’s how we build week upon week to make a difference. That’s the 53rd Week.
To improve the outcome of short-term volunteer global health experiences abroad.
Young health professionals from the high-income economies increasingly participate in short-term service experiences abroad. Many of these people do so with good intentions and enormous self investments, but do not realize that in their current form, such experiences have limited impact and may result in significant harm to the hosting community, which also invests much to support these volunteers.
Using research and collaborative models, we can “make short-term long term” by having teams work with local leadership towards longer-term, sustainable, meaningful projects targeting the underlying determinants of health. Linking locals together with coordinated short-term efforts means that volunteers and communities get more for their investment. In that sense, short-term efforts properly done can shift the “balance of benefits” and make a greater, more meaningful impact than could be accomplished by any single visiting team alone.