Global Citizenship Education

Mtree Global Citizenship Education (GCED) program aims to educate the participants to become individuals who are sensitive, concerned, passionate, and responsible for global issues so that they can realize and act upon the interactive ties among people around the world. Through the program, GCED participants are exposed to the cultural differences in a developing country and experience diverse ideas and perspectives of students with different cultural backgrounds. Participants learn the dynamics of interdependency at play that bring collective impact to solve local problems and understand the local issues in the global context. While discussing global issues with partners from the communities in developing countries, GCED participants recognize that responsibilities of global citizens should be interactive rather than taking unilateral actions for global issues. Finally, as a group, participants develop a practical plan to address global issues, raise awareness, and create movements in their local and global community.

“Education breeds confidence, confidence breeds hope, confidence breeds peace” - Confucius.

What Mtree GCED believes

Mtree believes true education nurtures individuals who bring valuable impact to local and global societies. School education has been predominantly driven by academic achievement and extracurricular activities, and community service have been another way of raising possibilities to get into schools with renowned reputation. Mtree aims to go back to the very basis of education: learn to build, learn to share. Mtree GCED participants experience and realize local issues on-site and understand those issues as global issues and become responsible for those issues as global citizens with practical action plans. In 2016, Mtree launched its rst GCED Program in Maya community with a small group of participants of three and their parents from the U.S. With speci c topics of “Access to Education” and “Quality of Education”, the participants immersed in the real issues in a lack of education through a local lens of a rural community, Maya, in Kili County of Kenya. During the one-week program, they witnessed how issues of education directly impact the daily lives of the children of the ages, who live on the other sides of the world, and proposed their ideas in supporting Maya.

“...becomes sensitive, concerned, passionate, and responsive for global issues
so that they can realize and act upon the interactive ties among people around the world”


Interdependency, sensitivity to global issues, responsibility, and leadership

All participants from 2016 and more students had joined Mtree GCED Program in the same community in 2017. This year’s Mtree GCED curriculum was developed on four core values: interdependency, sensitivity to global issues, responsibility, and leadership. Mtree GCED highlighted that the world is interdependent with diverse perspectives and encouraged its participants to learn the most pressing needs of Maya community in Kenya through home visiting and open discussion with community members as a part of the curriculum. This first hand experience challenged GCED participants to become sensitive, concerned, passionate, and responsible for those issues.

Peer-Pair GCED Model

In 2017, all U.S. participants were paired with local Kenyan students for dynamic discussion throughout the curriculum. One of fundamental goals of Mtree GCED Program is to encourage participants to understand that the world is an interdependent place and it does not mean that the more privileged side is providing unilateral aid to the less privileged side. Therefore, resolving issues through global aspect requires both parties’ participation and contribution. That is why Mtree GCED Program invited local Kenya students and paired them with GCED participants from the U.S. Through this peer-pair model, both groups of students could experience differences in cultural values and perspectives through dynamic interaction during the course. Participants learned the power of collaborative and interdependent thinking process to bring collective solutions to local problems in developing countries and critically assessed their local issues within the fluid, global context.

Theme of 2017 Mtree GCED Program: The Role of Leadership

Historically, Kenya has been suffering from conflicts among different ethnic tribes and the conflicts extended to political power dynamics. A week before Mtree GCED program was implemented this year, there was a controversial presidential election which was a tight run between the two candidates. After election, the defeated political party contested the irregularities of the election results, and Kenya’s Supreme Court made an unprecedented decision to nullify the August election. In the midst of this political climate in Kenya and political changes in other countries, including the U.S. and South Korea, Mtree GCED purposefully chose the yearly theme as “the Role of Leadership” and its impact on communities around the world.



Mtree’s GCED program is designed to nurture global citizens through an interactive learning- in-living curriculum in a rural village in Kenya. The curriculum consists of three parts: online preparation meetings for the U.S. participants, 5-day curriculum in Kenya, and post-program activities.


The online preparation meetings prior to the GCED program in Kenya focuses on obtaining basic understanding of Kenya and its language (Swahili) and sharing expectations for the program among participants. The second element of the preparation includes understanding the concept of GCED and their level of awareness of global issues. This preparation aims to provide a time for students to set their own expectations and goals from the program, and prepare themselves to best achieve their own goals. The participants who joined Mtree GCED program for the second time also presented lessons learned from last year to the new GCED participants as a peer-to-peer teaching model.

Core Curriculum

In Kenya, the curriculum consisted of different elements to expose GCED participants to Maya communities and its people over a week (Appendix A). In the morning, GCED students joined Mtree’s Creative and Collaborative Learning program as assistant teachers, interacting with younger children in the community through medium of arts. In the afternoon, GCED students and their Kenyan pairs attended GCED guided discussions, which are moderated by a GCED director and a guest speaker. Students worked in pairs and shared their ideas on the concept of leadership and how they could exercise leadership to solve current issues in both local as well as global perspectives. All U.S. participants also met with Maya community people through home-visiting. They introduced themselves to the community members and learned daily life of the people in Maya. On the last day of the program, GCED participants conducted an open discussion with community leaders and members to learn major concerns and challenges of the community and how they perceives GCED program in their community. As a group, both U.S. and Kenyan participants brainstormed together how GCED participants could continue to interact with the community to address those issues.

Post-Program Activities: Global Citizenship Club

After returning back to the U.S., the GCED participants founded a “Global Citizenship Club” and have held online and of offine meetings. Their main goal was to raise awareness about current issues in Kenya in the context of Maya community into their U.S. social circle. They are in the process of planning for fundraising campaigns to support expansion of Maya Primary School, the only public school in Maya. Each of Global Citizenship Club member create their own role: public relations, design, fundraising coordination, treasury, and media communication.



Mtree GCED program is distinguished from other GCED programs as participants are expected to learn core elements of global citizenship as they live as global citizens in a rural village in a developing country. This “learning-in-living” model expose program participants to the inequity, inconvenience and seriousness of major issues in developing countries and empower them to actively respond to them. With this model in mine, the impact of the program was monitored and evaluated based on the four core elements of the program: Interdependency, Sensitivity to Global Issues, Responsibility, and Leadership. Each elements had two or three questions in the pre-and post-program self-questionnaire for GCED participants and Kenyan students. The pre-and post-score of each element was calculated from responses for the related questions.

1. INTERDEPENDENCY: Understand the value of the diversity in ideas, and communicate with others from different backgrounds with tolerance to achieve the shared vision. During one-week course of the program, GCED participants interacted with people with diverse backgrounds in a completely new environment of a rural village in Kenya. All GCED participants encounters closely with children from Maya community while they served as assistant teacher for Mtree’s visual art learning program in the morning session. Beyond mere assisting, GCED participants became a moderator between international volunteers artists and Maya children playing an active role in classrooms. In the GCED’s group-learning class in the afternoon, students worked based on peer-pair model with Kenyan students to accomplish group assignments and activities. Within the theme of ‘the Role of Leadership’, each pair came up with ideas on who would be great leaders for the Maya community, Kenya, U.S. and the world through group discussion, games, leadership quote activities and group presentations. Through the intense one-week program, the participants learned how to make decisions to achieve goals with team members from different backgrounds, which led to promote interdependency. According to the analysis of students’ self-evaluation, the significant improvement was recorded in the categories of INTERDEPENDENCY by 21% (APPENDIX C). Moreover, the most notable change in a single question was observed in the capacity of understanding the differences in ideas and perspectives that can bring collective impact. Given the GCED’s program goal is nurturing global citizens, who are concerned and aware of others and the world, the program has achieved this goal.

2. SENSITIVITY TO GLOBAL ISSUES: Understand community issues in Maya and connect those local issues to global issues. The program is designed to improve interactive knowledge of local issues and train students to connect the local issues to global issues. With the basic information about the community they had learned from the preparation meetings, students visited community and conducted research about their housing, education and lifestyle. The program allowed students to develop greater self-knowledge through interactive processes in the real eld. During the open discussion session on the last day of the program, each student shared their reflection on the program as well as the community. One participant said “We now can see your community is better than mine as yours is open to everyone, playing and living together. I assumed that people in developing countries were poor and miserable, but you guys are happy. I learned a lot. ” Many students said that their perception on developing countries has changed during the program. From this hand-on experience and encounter, GCED participants were able to develop sensitivity to global issues and started to think how they could respond to.Sensitivity to global issues was enhanced by “learning-in-living” experiences during the program. While GCED participants lived in a village in coastal Kenya, they could experience daily inconvenience due to mosquito, water shortage and other poor living conditions. They could get a glimpse of the lives of the community members and their concerns first-hand. The self- questionnaire result also showed that GCED participant have an improved sensitivity to global issues after the program, increased by 22%.

3. RESPONSIBILITY: Design action plans to address the global issues identified in Maya with the lessons learned from the GCED program. Mtree GCED program enables students to start their own global citizenship movement voluntarily when they come back to their normal life after the program. With close follow up guidance by the GCED program directors, participants are encouraged to design action plans to promote empathy and shared responsibility to the global issues with their peers. After numerous online and face-to-face meetings, 2017 GCED participants founded “Global Citizenship Club” to continue their support for Maya community and raise awareness of global issues that they experienced in Maya community among their peers in Los Angeles. This is the most remarkable change of behavior and which shows the program achieved its most important aim - nurturing youth who live as active global citizens. Each GCED member self- assigned role for the Global Citizenship Club: public relations, design, fundraising coordination, treasury and media communication. They are planning to host multiple fundraising campaigns for expansion of Maya Primary School.

4. LEADERSHIP: Understand the roles of true leaders who can bring positive impacts to the community and exercise skills to express opinions in a persuasive way. The program aimed to enhance both knowledge and skills on leadership. Through group discussion, speeches, activities and lectures, GCED participants developed specific knowledge on leadership such as the virtues of good leadership and good leaders in history. Mtree also invited a Kenyan leader from the local community to share his perspective on leadership with GCED participants and Kenyan students. While encountering active discussion with leaders from the local community, participants could learn diverse perspectives on leadership from the community

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other - John F. Kennedy