Mapping student-partner reciprocity


Reciprocity is reflective of a growing movement that strives for equitable relationships based on dignity, respect and joint ownership. A distinct feature of reciprocal pedagogy is that all participants are viewed as teachers, learners, researchers, knowledge generators and administrators. This requires recognition and valuing of the multiple knowledges, perspectives and resources that each partner contributes, as well as an awareness and respect for diverse ways of doing, being and knowing.

It is important for students undertaking international mobility activities to understand how they and their short-term activity fit into the partner organisations’ goals and objectives and the larger context of development. The aim of this activity is therefore to help students understand the links between a student project, the partner’s organisational goals and the larger context of development.

The activity was co-created with Restless Development, a youth-based community development organisation in Delhi, and other partner organisations.


30 mins for each activity


  • Student perspectives video (needs to be edited)
  • Large pieces of paper to draw tree
  • Marker pens
  • Blue tak/ tape


This activity takes place over two different stages (during placement and upon re-entry). In their groups, students are asked to draw a tree (or other appropriate symbol) that represents the organisation that they have been placed with. The tree and branches represent the key objectives of the organisation, while the leaves/fruits/flowers represent student projects/activities/tasks.

We suggest a physical cut-out of a tree in the partner office so that it can be developed during the placement with partners.

  • In-country

Ask students to map the organisation’s key objectives and how they might fit into broader development outcomes (eg. Sustainable Development Goals). This tree (or other appropriate symbol) is to be pinned to a wall accessible by the student group (i.e. partner office wall or communal lounge in shared accommodation).

While students are on placement, they are asked to reflect on their leaf/fruit/flower (i.e. their understanding of their project), identify where their project and or various activities/tasks fit within the organisation and place them on branches of the tree. Clarification can be sought by consulting organisational staff and other students working in different areas.

The idea is that students, over the duration of their project, get a collective sense of their contribution to the organisation and its broader goals.

  • Re-entry

In re-entry workshops, students as a group, will present their tree and how their project/s fit in.

Restless development


Peru’s Challenge

This example uses the same concept as above but with the Inca Cross. Each of the corners signifies something to the Inca culture and tradition. The same has been done for the organisation. The end goal (mother earth) is to create resilient and sustainable communities. The organisational structure (big branches) are placed within the cross and on each of the corners are the community programs (health, infrastructure, sustainable livelihoods and education). Each corner of the corner talks about the specific projects completed in each of these areas and their resulting outputs.


Additional video resource:

Reciprocity in Fiji