Mutual empowerment in cross‐cultural participatory development and service learning: Lessons in communication and social justice from projects in El Salvador and Nicaragua
Abstract Two cross?cultural participatory development and service?learning projects conducted in El Salvador and Nicaragua illustrate a model of mutual empowerment formed from the unification of the three related literatures on developmental communication, intercultural communication and cross?cultural adaptation, and service learning. The essay presents an argument for and illustration of communication and social justice research and action that is grounded in long?term, international participatory projects that empower community members, broaden sojourners? minds and personal growth, and result in increased communication skills and ?education in citizenship? that empowers participants in both the learning context and the broader socio?political context. The essay includes an in?depth description of the projects, an overview of the continuing assessment research, and a consideration of ongoing concerns about project design, communication research, and ethics.