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International Development Cooperation

Let us not only keep the poor of the future in mind, but also today’s poor, whose life on this earth is brief and who cannot keep on waiting.

Encyclical Letter Laudato si' of the Holy Father Francis on care for our common home (2015).

The role and recognition of universities as non-state development actors who encourage the ability of human beings is crucial to enable and contribute to the sustainability of processes undertaken by the rest of the agents/entities, both state and non-state.

Bilateral or multilateral cooperation between universities and public and private entities aims to induce, encourage and support development strategies. According to CRUE (Conferencia de Rectores de las Universidades Españolas), a non-profit organisation integrated by Spanish universities, 'University Development Cooperation (UDC) is understood as a set of activities carried out by the university community whose aim is social transformation in support of peace, equality, human development and environmental sustainability. Institutional and academic strengthening plays an important role in said transformation. CUD is an example of the commitment and solidarity of the university community. It encourages the creation of a society committed to sustainable human development. Through CUD, the university community works towards the establishment of a fairer and more sustainable world. The core ideas of action this community relies on are: education, research, knowledge sharing and connexion with society”.

Building on previous documents from 2000 (University Development Cooperation Strategy, ESCUDE) and 2006 (Code of Conduct for Spanish Universities in Development Cooperation); on 13 May 2020, the Guidelines for University Development Cooperation 2019-30 were approved and ratified by the CRUE Extraordinary General Assembly.

Inspired by the principles that embody Christian Humanism, Universidad CEU San Pablo offers its students a well-rounded education committed to service and social responsibility. It gives a chance to make use of their skills in specific knowledge in search of a social transformation in developing countries and in support of peace and the achivement of a fair and caring society with equal opportunities. Therefore, thanks to the innovative effort of the Pastoral and Volunteering Service, with the support of Vice-Rectorate forInternationalisation and the Vice-Rectorate for Research, USP CEU is firmly committed to University Development Cooperation activities as a demonstration of its beliefs.

Concerning International Cooperation, USP CEU primarly covers the following fields::

  • Offer training and education, which are crucial development elements in the medium- and long term.

  • Share experiences and resources through development research and knowledge transfer.

  • Raise awareness and educate about development from a scientific perspective.

  • Provide technology transfer in order to encourage the development of research, innovation or technology adaptation capacity based on the local resources and condition.

  • Implement transformative field efforts in cooperation with local entities.

With a view to optimising its means and resources, the Vice-Rectorate for Internalisation at USP CEU has chosen to narrow the focus of its work and it has been working exclusively with Makeni University (Sierra Leone) since 2009.

Said cooperation is brought together by cross-sectional group HD_LAB (Laboratorio de Habitabilidad y Desarrollo). 

CEU Volunteering, solidarity and Development Cooperation aims to promote, channel and coordinate volunteering tasks, social and development cooperation projects in collaboration with the university community. Its ultimate goal is to help people who face situations of vulnerability, need, poverty and/or social marginalisation.

With its contribution, it takes over one of the aims enclosed in the Statutes of the San Pablo CEU University Foundation: the creation of a fairer and more fraternal society through the service for the common good.

Strategy and Documentation

Code of Conduct for CRUE Universities in Development Cooperation dated 12 December 2012.

This document aims to establish the course of action of USP CEU in Development Cooperation.

USP CEU subscribed to the Code of Conduct for CRUE Universities in Development Cooperation on 12 December 2012.

New Groups

Internal regulations for Working Groups to control the University's efforts concerning Development Cooperation.

Existing Groups: Seedings

HD_LAB (Laboratorio de Habitabilidad y Desarrollo, Habitability and Development Lab) and Semilleros CEU-UNIMAK

Organizations and Cooperation Groups

Universidad CEU San Pablo applys different methodologies, which often confront students with the challenges of the future, such as environmental and urban sustainability, poverty eradication, public ethics, corporate social responsibility, responsible consumption, circular economy, the future of energy, the creation of strong institutions or the reduction of social inequality.

During their studies and internships, students acquire the necessary competences for the analysis, critical thinking, and the proposal of solutions to social problems, from a global and multi-cultural approach, in line with our international commitment and values.

UN-Habitat is a programme created by the United Nations which seeks to achieve a better quality of life for all in an urbanizing world. It works to promote social and environmental development in human settlements and to ensure adequate accommodation for all.

It has designed an innovative plan in urban development and planning for the next generations, supporting economic and social development in order to reduce poverty and inequality.

UN-HABITAT offers an initiative for universities(UNI-HABITAT), in which CEU partakes through the Makeni Project.

Founded in 1961, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is integrated by 38 member countries and its goal is to shape policies that foster prosperity, equality, opportunity and well-being for all.

Paris Declaration, Aid Effectiveness and Development Effectiveness (February 2002):

  1. Ownership of development policies by partner countries.
  2. Donor alignment on countries' development strategies.
  3. Coordination and transparent management of actions.
  4. Results-oriented management.
  5. Mutual accountability of donors and partner countries.

Accra Agenda for Action(4 September 2008):

  1. Identifying countries and priorities.
  2. Building more effective and inclusive partnerships.
  3. Achieving results and accountability.

Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (1 December 2011):

  1. Priorities.
  2. Results-oriented approach.
  3. Partnerships.
  4. Transparency and shared responsibility.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. It is integrated by 194 member countries and operates worldwide to promote the highest attainable standard of health for everyone, independent of race, religion, gender, political belief, economic or social status.

With 189 member countries, the World Bank Group is a unique global association: it is integrated by five institutions whose work focuses on ending poverty and boosting prosperity for developing countries.

International Partnerships is a European Commission department in charge of drafting European Association and Development policy. Its aim is to reduce poverty, ensure sustainable development, and promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law in the world.

The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo, AECID) present in 37 countries, was established in 1988 to fight against poverty and encourage full exercise of sustainable development. 

In accordance with the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 17 Goals for Sustainable Development are presented: end poverty in the world, end hunger and achieve food security, ensure healthy lives and inclusive and equitable quality education, achieve gender equality, ensure availability of water and access to energy, promote sustained and sustainable economic growth, adopt urgent measures against climate change, promote peaceful and inclusive societies and provide access to  justice for all.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a regional union of fifteen countries located in West Africa. The union was established on 28 May 1975, with the signing of the Treaty of Lagos. Its mission is to promote economic integration across the region.

Observatorio de la Cooperación Universitaria al Desarrollo (Observatory for University Development Cooperation) is the hub of the Spanish Universities network for development cooperation. To this end, an integrated information system has been created to improve OCUD's knowledge, standardise actions and draw up joint strategies.

The fileds in which OCUD acts are:

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Technical Consultancy and Technology Transfer
  • Field Cooperation
  • Dissemination and Awareness Raising

USP CEU is a member of Red Española de Estudios del Desarrollo (Spanish Development Studies Network, REEDES), an interdisciplinary academic network especialised in research and teaching related to international development and cooperation.

Centro de Estudios de Cooperación al Desarrollo (Centre for development Cooperation Research, CECOD) aims to promote the debate, knowledge and research of development cooperation.

It is integrated by Universidad CEU San Pablo's University Institute of European Studies and Fundación CODESPA. 

Among its publications, they provide books, monographs, research documents and other reports.

Manos Unidas focuses on fighting against hunger, underdevelopment and lack of education as well as their structural causes: injustice, unequal distribution of goods and opportunities between individuals and nations, ignorance, prejuices, insolidarity, indifference and crisis of human and christian values..

Cáritas was established in 1947 by Conferencia Episcopal Española (Spanish Episcopal Conference). It is part of the Spanish Church and carries out a social and charitable effort through its confederate members.

It promotes the integral development of individuals and peoples, especially those affected by poverty and social exclusion.

Mundo Negro is a Spanish media which focuses on Africa. It aims to inform and provide content about the continent as well as the Afro-descendant community and the African diaspora. Its printed edition was launched on April 1960 and it became the first newspaper in Spain to address the African continent.

Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus is an international Catholic and essentially missionary congregation. Faithful to Saint Daniel Comboni's charisma, they seek to be witnessess of the Gospel of Jesus by focusing on cooperation and dialogue with other cultures and religions, and to promote a fairer and more fraternal world.

Instituto Universitario para la Cooperación en Habitabilidad Básica (Spanish University Institute for Cooperation in Basic Habitability, ICHaB) focuses on the needs of informal settlements in developing countries. Since 1995, it has carried out teaching, research, cooperation and awardness campaigns in the field of basic habitability.

itdUPM is an interdisciplinary centre of the Polytechnic University of Madrid, bringing together researchers, professors and students to tackle the Sustainable Development Goals. It works in collaboration with specialists from various areas of expertise, the public and private sectors, civil society organisations and governments in order to address complex problems related to sustainability and to co-create practical solutions.

Their mission is to create innovative international development projects by bringing people together.

Global Potential transforms the lives of youth from underserved communities through education, service learning and cultural exchange into globally competitive leaders of positive change in their lives and communities.

Peter Rich Architects is a practice dedicated to the creation of authentic contemporary African architecture. They strive to create places and spaces that are meaningful, moving and uplifting for all who occupy them. They believe that technology should empower local people, contribute to the development of communities and build livelihoods. They pride themselves in designing and delivering high quality bespoke buildings that respond to the unique demands of the client and context.

The Earth Institute Columbia University develops policy and engineer practical solutions to our many challenges: climate change and environmental degradation, rapid urbanization, infectious diseases, natural hazards, the need for clean and accessible energy, water and sanitation, and the sustainable use of resources.

USP CEU Development Cooperation Projects

It supports the strengthing of education capacities of Makeni University.

To know more about this project, we recommend visiting the blog

Photo Gallery

  • Imagen Makeni - quiénes somos
  • Imagen de Makeni - Historia y Contexto 01
  • Imagen de Makeni - Misión y Metodología 02
  • Foto de Sierra Leona Makeni
  • Foto Sierra Leona 2
  • Foto Sierra Leona 03


In the previous years of work in Makeni and its surroundings, different sources have been analysed and projects have been developed, related to the field of urban planning, the city and land management, as well as to the context of Makeni and Sierra Leone.

In the field of urban planning and habitability. Technical reports are available, some of which are an essential basis for the project such as the compilation about the improvement of suburbs and towns, economic activity and urban planning. At the same time, despite not being included, a significant number of academic papers at different levels and approaches have been developed, which also provide important inputs to the whole process.

At the national level, some key documents and references are available from the main ministries of the Government of Sierra Leone, where the action takes place. Among this information, we can highlight the Government of Sierra Leone's Agenda. After the 'Agenda for Prosperity' and the 'Agenda for Change', the last current key document at the national level, for the period 2019-2023, is 'Education for Development'. It is a guide for monitoring policies and actions at state level. It organises the different topics in clusters and sub-clusters according to priority and its quantitative approach and alignment with the Agenda 2023 is particularly interesting. The structure in indicators of Volumne 2 seeks to bind together said references to their corresponding Sustainable Development Goals. In addition to basis documents and official statistics (from the last census carried out in 2015), there are recent reports on health, housing and poverty between 2018 and 2019,  which quite update the information.

Without trying to be too exhaustive, some documents of reference in the international sphere are included here. On the one hand, two large Agendas on habitat, the New Urban Agenda coming out of Habitat III in Quito, the Agenda 2023 and the Sustainable Development Goals, of 2015. On the other hand, some relevant publications on urban planning and the African city.


HD_LAB (Habitability and Development Lab) is a multidisciplinary University Development Cooperation group, integrated by professors and students from Universidad CEU San Pablo, which works in collaboration with external volunteers. It currently integrates individuals from the School of Medicine, Arquitecture, Pharmacy, Economics, Humanities and Law.


Vice-Rector for Internationalisation

Ms. Ainhoa Uribe Otalora

Tel: (+34) 914 56 63 00 Ext. 15112

Development Cooperation Academic Coordinator

Mr. Luis Perea

Tel: 913724700 Ext. 4862