UNIMINUTO - Minuto de Dios
UNIMINUTO is one of many social service entities that comprise Minuto de Dios Organization. Founded by the Eudist priest Rafael García Herreros, Minuto de Dios Organization is highly reputable throughout Colombia for its nearly 70 year tradition of community involvement. Minuto de Dios addresses various social issues that include housing, mass media communication, rural development, education (basic through advanced), evangelization, humanitarian aid, employment, and health. Eighteen years ago Minuto de Dios created the university UNIMINUTO with the purpose of offering professionals an education that fosters a strong sense of Social Responsibility and that is based on a strategic educational model which utilizes social practice in the community as an agent for personal development. The social practicum in which the students participate is designed to serve primarily low income populations. Social Responsibility training is an essential piece UNIMINUTO´s educational model; it is reflected in both academic and administrative practices. On the administrative level, UNIMINUTO has developed strategies to maximize the quality of its education, decrease student drop-out rates, assist students in obtaining financial aid, and get involved in socially responsible practices for business and industry as outlined by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Within UNIMINUTO, the Education Center for Development (CED) is the academic unit that is responsible for leading this process of Social Responsibility training for students and professors. At the core of this work is Citizenship Formation, which aims to develop citizenship competencies so that individuals understand what social responsibility is and how to behave as an active citizen that demonstrates commitment to building a socially just and equitable democracy. UNIMINUTO requires students of all academic careers to develop these competencies by way of three academic courses and a social practicum. The projects managed by the CED have a threefold outcome: to create a learning environment for UNIMINUTO students where they can complete their Social Responsibility practicum, to initiate in students a process of citizenship formation, and to assist in strengthening community organizations that work with vulnerable populations. On a broader level, the CED´s general purpose is to engage in projects that support and advance the development of vulnerable communities. These projects are organized into three topics: 1. Citizenship Formation: to develop active citizens that are committed to addressing, intervening in, and transforming the social realities of their country. 2. Local Development: to strengthen the community organizations that drive their region’s development in conjunction with other public and private sector partners. 3. Social Analysis: to reflect on and generate new knowledge about Education for Development, Citizenship Formation, and Social Responsibility.