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São Tomé and Príncipe
Official Site: http://www.saotome.st/
Country Information at CIA World Factbook.
A key NGO partner in São Tomé is STeP UP. STeP UP works with grassroots organizations to develop and facilitate projects for training and community improvement. More about STeP UP can be found at http://www.stepup.st/
History of the Island
São Tomé & Príncipe is a small island country off the west coast of Africa along the equator. The country was a former Portuguese colony. It gained its independence in 1975 with the first free democratic elections in 1992. The country represents all the challenges of a developing African nation with limited financial resources and an inadequately trained and educated workforce. Infrastructure, employment and education are national priorities.
The country offers a unique opportunity for the University of Illinois for research and teaching in partnership with government ministries and non governmental organizations (NGOs). The physical size, small population and socio-economic environment are such that even a small project can have major local impact. Numerous disciplines on the University of Illinois campus can be engaged in a meaningful way through service learning and action research. The island offers an exceptional opportunity for students to have a hands-on practical experience to complement their classroom education. Much of the practical experience can have real and lasting effects on the country of São Tomé and students.