Solidarity is a central concept to this chapter. In defining this notion, we borrow from Baker-Boosamra et al. (2006) who describe solidarity as:
...a fellowship of responsibilities and interests that places equal value on all members of that fellowship. Solidarity is the practice of partnership, focused on collective social action, with the goal of positive social change as a result. In the context of service learning, emphasis should be given to the action that takes place as a result of this fellowship of responsibilities and interests (p. 497).
In the context of Latin America, often solidarity is “expressed through voluntary activity and other forms of citizen participation” (Butcher, 2010, p. 139). Our modern use of the term solidarity has its roots in the late 1960s when civil society groups pressured the United States government to take action to correct the violence produced by United States-supported militant leaders in the Latin American region (in, especially, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina) (Sundberg, 2007). Likewise, solidarity networks between United States and Central American groups responded to violence related to United States military intervention in the 1980s as well (Olesen, 2004). In 1990s, the Zapatistas in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas became the global model of a transnational solidarity network because of the strong relations between local Zapatistas actors and transnational activists (Olesen, 2004).
The concept of global solidarity has evolved in response to shortcomings of other solidarity networks which have been criticized as inferring one-directional relationships, that is, there is a provider of solidarity and someone who benefits from it (Olesen, 2004). Global solidarity challenges this. In comparison to political solidarity (rooted in Marxist thought and socialism), rights solidarity (focused on pressuring human rights abusers), and material solidarity (more about humanitarian and disaster response), global solidarity “involves a more reciprocal relationship between providers and beneficiaries” (Olesen, 2004, p. 258). Global solidarity might be more politicized as it “emphasizes similarities between physically, socially and culturally distant people, while at the same time respecting and acknowledging local and national differences” (Olesen, 2004, p. 259). The Zapatistas have been cited as being one of the closest movements to this ideal type of solidarity (Olesen, 2004; Sundberg, 2007).
Solidarity movements, particularly transnational movements like the Zapatistas, allow voices that sometimes are not heard to be heard and seek to benefit others (Baker- Boosamra et al., 2006; Sundberg, 2007). In addition to reciprocity, the value of mutuality is important to solidarity as it “encourages individuals and collectives to speak for themselves” (Sundberg, 2007, p. 162). While often solidarity relations are separated by “physical, social and cultural distances” (Olesen, 2004, p. 256), networks have occurred at a more rapid pace due to what Olesen (2004) considers a “global consciousness” (p. 256) allowing us to see the “world as a single place” (p. 257).
The elements of global solidarity described earlier, specifically reciprocity, mutuality, and global consciousness, are why we adopt an objective of global solidarity in this study of North-South volunteering. Two distinct volunteering frameworks—or more specifically, the intersection of those two frameworks—are the basis for examining the potential for promoting global solidarity. Before examining the juxtaposition of these two frameworks it is essential to understand each on its own.
The Andean ayni framework of volunteering: Ayni, a Quechuan word, is often translated into English as “today for you, tomorrow for me” (Mamani-Bernabe, 2015). In the context of Peru in particular, this has been conceptualized as “Andean reciprocity” (Sanborn, Cueva, Portocarrero, List, & Salamon, 1999). As Allen (2002) wrote, “[reciprocity is like a pump at the heart of Andean life” (p. 73) and is described as the “ethos” of Andean culture (Nunez del Prado Bejar & Nunez del Prado Bejar, 1972). In fact, Peru’s modern civil society has very much been linked to its “ancient historical traditions” (Sanborn et al., 1999, p. 448). Sanborn et al. (1999) explain:
The pre-Hispanic civilizations of the Andes resolved their problems of hunger and misery through a principle known today as “Andean reciprocity,” creating an organizational system that was able to articulate the production and distribution of goods among many inhabitants. This system was based on existing kinship ties among the diverse communities (or ayllus) that formed society and on the obligations that these groups had to turn over their excess production to the state to be redistributed among the neediest populations (pp. 449-450).
Thus, Andean communities were organized and collective in order to “meet their own basic material and spiritual needs” (Sanborn et al., 1999, p. 458). Ayni is coupled with another important concept mink’a. Mink’a is about collecting what is due, while ayni is about repaying in order to “tip the balance in one’s favor” (Allen, 2002, p. 72). This can be likened to Mauss’ (1954) study of gift giving in so-called primitive societies. He observed that gift giving generates the obligation of giving back and produces a moral bond among those involved in the exchange (Mauss, 1954). Indeed, ayni and mink’a are a back and forth. And this reciprocity is not only about sharing among the ayllus (Quechuan for family, lineage or part, Upton, 1999), but also spans to the pachamama (Mother Earth) and picchu (mountains) (Allen, 2002). Allen’s work shows that through ritual—for example, the act of chewing coca—reciprocity provides a link between humans themselves as well as between humans and the supernatural (Allen, 2002).
As such, the worldview within Andean reciprocity is substantively different than Western community life and development. It is closer, instead, to many other traditional cultures (Gachter & Herrmann, 2009) and most similar to other indigenous societies in Latin America (Andolina, Laurie, & Radciffe, 2009) . The Andean worldview is as follows: “a life in fullness means a life of material and spiritual excellence expressed in harmony with and in relation to all beings” (Villalba, 2013, p. 1430). In a Western understanding of development, there is a distinction between nature and society whereas in indigenous Andean communities, nature and society are “relational” (Villalba, 2013, p. 1430). Community is not only what humans have created, and nature is not separate; rather it is about the “interconnectedness of life” (Villalba, 2013 , p. 1430). These principles have experienced a resurgence in the national policies of many Andean countries. In the last 10 years, Sumak Kawsay in Quechua, Buen Vivir in Spanish, or “living well instead of living better” in English calls on alternatives to development in the region (Gudynas, 2011). Sumak Kawsay
offers a framework to community development that challenges colonialism and neoliberalism. The Sumak Kawsay worldview proposed by Andean indigenous people has informed recent national constitutions and national development plans, in Ecuador and Bolivia in particular (Gudynas, 2011; Villalba, 2013).
The international service learning framework of volunteering: Service learning (SL) is a type of experiential learning and institutional form of volunteering that engages students in service within a community as an integrated aspect of a course. In contrast to practice-based education where students are developing professional skills (e.g., residencies, internships, fieldwork, coop programs), service learning classes involve students in community service activities that are linked to specific learning objectives of a course.
International service learning (ISL), in particular, has become increasingly popular across several fields (Crabtree, 2008; Moore McBride, Lough, & Sherraden, 2012), although often the goals of ISL programs are asymmetrical and not overtly focused on solidarity. Rather the ISL pedagogy has been focused on student outcomes as ISL is recognized as an effective strategy to challenge students’ biases, develop recognition and understanding of different cultures and contexts, and build skills in effective intercultural communication (Cheney, 2001; Crowne, 2008; Deardorff, 2006; Dolby, 2007; Douglas & Jones-Rikkers, 2001; Horn & Fry, 2013). Many of the professional disciplines, in particular, focus on using ISL to provide opportunities for their students to develop cultural competence or to provide aid, more so than to promote solidarity. For example, ISL has been cited as preparing business students for the world of global competition (Harris, Belanger, Loch, Murray, & Urbaczewski, 2011; Metcalf, 2010; Pless, Maak, & Stauhl, 2011). The field of engineering uses ISL to gain project management skills (Borg & Zitomer, 2008; Friesel, 2010); the healthcare field practices culturally competent healthcare provision through ISL (Pechak & Thompson, 2009); and social work uses it to address concepts of poverty, disparities, and injustice (Gammonley, Rotabi, & Gamble, 2007). This demonstrates that many ISL frameworks are assessed using almost exclusively learning outcomes or perceptions of Northern volunteers as the only indicators of value, and in doing so, miss the potential of advancing global solidarity.
Martinez (2010b) recognizes such shortcomings and argues that high-quality SL must (1) raise ethically relevant social questions or controversies that enhance critical thinking and the development of moral reasoning in students; (2) involve interpersonal interactions among students and the population in an environment of mutual respect and symmetry; (3) include collaborative and cooperative activities while also allowing time for individual reflection about the activities; (4) permit an analysis of shared and competing values in the context of the community, specifically addressing values of freedom, equality, solidarity [emphasis added], respect of others and the environment, participation, responsibility, justice, and dignity; and (5) be evaluated through a transparent process that incorporates the perspectives of each student, their peers, members of the community, and the professors responsible for the academic material and the SL activities. The attributes of SL outlined earlier by Martinez (2010b), including solidarity, are particularly important in an international context.
Bringle, Hatcher, and Jones (2011) do not specifically cite solidarity in their definition of ISL , but it is inherent through their emphasis on mutual and reciprocal interaction. ISL can be defined as a structured academic experience in another country which students (a) participate in organized service activity that addresses identified community needs; (b) learn from direct interaction and cross-cultural dialog with others; and (c) reflect on the experience in such a way as to gain a deeper understanding of the global and intercultural issues, a broader appreciation of the host country and the discipline, and an enhanced sense of their own responsibilities as citizens, locally and globally (Bringle et al., 2011, p. 19).
While solidarity is not central to most discussions of SL or ISL in the English language literature based largely in the United States, it is a central concept in the Spanish language literature (Martinez, 2010a, b; Novella Gil, 2013 ; Tapia, 2000, 2010). In these Spanish-speaking contexts, SL is most commonly referred to as Aprendizaje y Servicio Solidario (AySS) which translates literally to Learning and Supportive Service but in reality incorporates more fully the idea of solidarity (Novella Gil, 2013). In this literature, there is a clear distinction between service in which the activities of students are assisting others, to solidarity in which there is a greater emphasis on the collaborative effort and mutual benefit. This is somewhat comparable to the shift from a charity orientation of ISL to social justice orientation expressed in the ISL literature (see Baker-Boosamra et al., 2006; Crabtree, 2008; Littlepage, Gazley, & Bennet, 2012; Moore McBride, Brav, Menon, & Sherraden, 2006). Both paradigm shifts within the literature move us closer to achieving solidarity.
In addition to the definition of solidarity proposed by Baker-Boosamra et al. (2006), they explain “three interrelated and overlapping notions” related to solidarity: reciprocity, mutuality, and power (p. 484). Reciprocity is the notion that stakeholders are partners and both groups realize the benefits of service. Mutuality proposes that all stakeholders have a vision among stakeholders which balances outcomes defined by the communities served and academic and university interests (such as student learning objectives and faculty interests and research). A third concept, labeled as power by Baker-Boosamra et al. (2006), recognizes the need to understand perceived power differentials between the partners and asserts that hosting community members are to be validated and empowered, rather than being treated as those merely in need of help.
Solidarity in ISL focuses on students doing with (“hacer con”) in order to replace doing for (“hacer para”) the community (Tapia, 2010). On-site partners become collaborators who contribute to student learning and learning exchange (Tapia, 2010). For example, in an ISL program in El Salvador, service partners described solidarity as “the feeling of international support and awareness...that we are not alone” (Baker-Boosamra et al., 2006, p. 491). To achieve the goal of global solidarity in the context of service learning requires critical reflection, public action, and ongoing communication. ISL programs have potential to construct important values such as reciprocity and mutuality, and minimize power differentials to reach true global solidarity. The next section places these complexities within the context of Peru and the Peru Program.