Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




David Campos


Rocio Delgado


Sandra Guzman Foster


This qualitative study contributes to the field of international volunteerism by giving insight into the impact of short-term international volunteerism on the capacity development of a school for students with disabilities in the Caribbean. In the United States over one million people volunteer abroad annually, with 70-80% of these volunteers serving eight weeks or less (Lough, 2010). However, whether the international volunteers are having an impact on the capacity development of the population served remains to be seen. This study focused on an aspect of short-term international volunteerism that has largely been ignored – how short-term international volunteers impact the capacity development of host organizations. The study was guided by the United Nations Development Programme’s Framework for Measuring Capacity Development which was utilized as the theoretical framework. This case study found that five years after an educational program was conducted by short-term international volunteers at a school for students with disabilities in the Caribbean, there was a noted impact on capacity development. Teachers were continuing to use some of the strategies taught by the international volunteers as well as use some of the resources provided. Recommendations for further studies are provided as well as the study’s implications for the design of short-term international volunteer projects.