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April 14, 2009

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April 14, 2009

offers environ internship programs in 6 countries that stress sustainability, interns encouraged to find alternatives to bottled water, we boiled water, used filters, aqua tabs to cut down on bottles, does not fund animal husbandry projects nor other project that might negatively impact environ

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the small scale grants given through interns.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

add more countries.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the friends made and relationships formed.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

organized and helpful. All my calls, e-mails, and questions were always answered.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

offer large scale grants.

Ways to make it better...

I had had a clear work plan from the get-go.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the same that face any like it - how to make projects and programs truly sustainable.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 13, 2009

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April 13, 2009

I have never participated in an intern abroad program, but as one of my assignments within the SF office, I have read a lot about what kinds of environmental projects FSD's NGOs carry out in the field. Things from eco-tourism to raise environmental awareness, and garden planting and environmental education for grade school kids, to sustainable methods in agriculture and improved resource management for local farmers. These projects, if carried out well, I believe would be a huge benefit to those community members and to future generations of those communities. Although I cannot say first-hand that the environmental programs were successfully executed and sustainable, I believe that FSD's support of these programs is at least a first step to making a difference. Though, I can 100% say for certain that the FSD headquarters in San Francisco recycles and composts everything! Working at the FSD San Francisco office has given me a huge insight to the workings of small, growing nonprofits. The staff works hectically and is constantly, collaboratively multi-tasking to churn out and improve the programs it offers. During my time there, it was amazing to see that a staff of less than 10 in the main office worked endlessly in an effort to maintain communication at a personal level with people interested in FSD programs and with FSD participants before their programs began. The passion and ideals of the staff are what kept me motivated in this nonprofit and what made me keep coming back to do my best work.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

terms of the growing number of applicants FSD was receiving during my time there.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the different job hats I've worn within the office and the opportunity to learn more about nonprofit development and international development.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

very cool people who were passionate about what they were doing.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

April 12, 2009

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April 12, 2009

FSD allows individuals to engage in hands on work with sustainable development in other countries. Through FSD I went to Kenya and worked with KOMAZA (komaza.org), an amazing organization that uses sustainable agro-forestry to improve the standard of living in impoverish communities. Because the climate in Kenya is arid and rainfall is undependable, KOMAZA uses a species of Eucalyptus which grows without much water, providing farmers with a dependable source of income. KOMAZA provides farmers with the inputs on credit and training on each step of the process, allowing the farmers to learn the skills which will increase their standard of living. While I was with KOMAZA, I worked to create, edit, and test health and economic baseline surveys to evaluate the farmers' quality of life. These surveys were vital to the organization in order to ensure that we were achieving our objectives. My experience opened my eyes to the world of sustainable development. It taught me the importance of capacity building and ensuring that you are constantly empowering others and the organization to function without you. It also showed me the innovative ways that organizations can use natural resources to improve individuals' quality of life. My time with FSD was really a life-changing experience. I continue to use what I have learned on a daily basis, ensuring that I follow the same sustainable principles with the organizations I work with at home.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Teaching individuals about the challenges of sustainable development and how organizations can be structured to accomplish their objectives.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

It fully immersed me in the culture and thought be culturally sensitive ways of working with people in a different culture while improving their lives.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Improve the lives of countless individuals around the world.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

April 12, 2009

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April 12, 2009

Working with FSD, I was able to live and work in Masaka, Uganda for 9 weeks. I worked with Vi Agroforestry, a sustainable agriculture organization, which enabled me to witness local approaches to sustainable agriculture. My experience in Uganda changed the way I think about development and made me realize the importance of grassroots approaches and stakeholder participation. I would recommend this program to anyone in the least bit interested in international development--I learned more from my co-workers and host family than I ever would have in school.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

how I was able to design my own program within a framework designed to benefit my host organization

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

April 12, 2009

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April 12, 2009

After graduation, I was stuck with the “world is your oyster” mindset, but I didn’t know how to take advantage of it. I looked into many different opportunities, one idea I had was traveling around Latin America making my way from one development organization to the next as a volunteer until I felt I had “found” what I was looking for. I also looked into the Peace Corp, but it seemed as though the Peace Corp can be hit or miss with its placement, and the two-year commitment was a little too daunting. So after much research I discovered the Foundation for Sustainable Development, it gave me the structure I needed, the education I wanted, and the experience I hoped for. FSD is an organization that has found the necessary, yet difficult, balance between foreign support and community empowerment. They work with a model that ensures the education of its volunteers, interns, and host organizations so that all understand the design and power of sustainable projects. Volunteering with FSD has given me the opportunity to gain a new perspective on international development work, and it has inspired to continue my journey into the world of development work.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the inspiration it has provided many past volunteers to continue their education in sustainable development, creating a group of FSD alumni who are making a positive change in the world.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the opportunity to work along side local Nicaraguans to develop sustainable solutions to improve the community and the efficiency of the organization.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

inspiring, interested, dedicated, educated, down to earth, and diverse.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Provide more opportunities to organizations to develop project proposals to compete for funding, using this as an educational tool to give the organizations the confidence and ability to develop sustainable projects, and apply for outside funding.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 12, 2009

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April 12, 2009

Working with FSD, first as an intern in Peru and now as a volunteer coordinator in Nicaragua, has shaped my life greatly, increasing my passion for grassroots development, shaping my views of sustainability, and helping me understand my role within an international community. I have also seen this experience shape the lives of my interns: many of them now study development, are doing development work abroad, and are leading awareness efforts in their own communities; many of them are also returning to their internship country to preserve the meaningful relationships they were able to develop during their time with FSD and help their host organizations push themselves even further. More importantly, however, is that FSD, through its positive and effective approach to development work, has managed to change lives, attitudes, perspectives, and daily realities of the people in the countries it collaborates with. The long-lasting change that has been left behind in these communities as a product of this collaboration can be observed through a diversity of ways. Right now I can think of one particular example in the community of Chaguitillo, Matagalpa (Nicaragua). As a small rural community, Chaguitillo's economy is dependent on agriculture, specifically on coffee production. The community's need for environmental preservation led them to work with two FSD interns for a period of 10 weeks to develop a project that would counter the intense deforestation taking place in the community in large part to sustain the typical wood burning stoves. With the help of FSD interns, Chaguitillo was able to develop coffee shell burning stoves to replace the wood burning ones. Over 150 families now use these new stoves for their daily cooking. The project managed to bring about an increase to the household income of many families (as coffee shells are free and wood was not); it also improved the health conditions of the houses - these new ovens do not produce as much smoke as the wood burning ones; and it was also able to reduce the strong deforestation that resulted from this dependency on wood. Now, FSD's current intern in Chaguitillo is working on using the environmental resources available (mainly related to eco-tourism possibilities) to bring about economic development - leading efforts on reforestation, awareness of natural resources, development of greenhouses, water preservation, and general environmental conservation to maximize the potential of the community to use its resources to bring about its own social and economic development. This project was actually designed by the community itself. This collaboration (and its resulting outcomes) between our interns and the Chaguitillo community, is a prime example of the effectiveness of FSD's approach to sustainable change. With each intern, FSD manages to work with communities to help them get one step closer to their development goals while also encouraging the organizations' independence and self-empowerment.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

seeing the creative and effective projects that result from the collaboration between interns and local organizations. Experiencing that interaction where the interns learn to listen to their host organizations and viceversa and use that communication as the starting ground for their projects is certainly my most rewarding experience thus far. Two minds can think better than one and two cultures can compliment each other to develop strong and meaningful projects that result from thinking out of the box...this is exactly what FSD encourages and it has shaped my experience greatly, teaching me much about sustainable development.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 12, 2009

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April 12, 2009

Fantastic organization that truly does great work by enabling others to do their best where they are most needed, when they are most needed.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

in dialogue with the communities that their volunteers impact, and the changes in the lives of their volunteers.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The people working there are very professional and do their best to bring about positive social change

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

honest, hard-working, and attractive to boot.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Help a lot more people help other people

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 11, 2009

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April 11, 2009

The current global recession serves as a reminder of how interconnected we all are. FSD helps developing countries in the most positive way, by teaching citizens to help themselves. The organization provides students an opportunity to make a meaningful difference and experiences that will help shape their careers.

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

bright, passionate and well informed.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 11, 2009

more

April 11, 2009

FSD is an incredible nonprofit organization that yields a solid opportunity for individuals to volunteer and learn across the world. Not only does it offer a variety of choices for learning experiences but it offers a multitude of opportunities to give back to communities and the world. The staff were helpful and incredibly knowledgeable and I felt like a part of the team from day 1. I have referred many friends and even my sister to FSD. This is a solid organization that is very deserving of recognition for its excellence!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the way I have developed personally and the impact the projects stimulated by the organization has on communities worldwide.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

continue to work hard to support individuals in learning and obtaining their goals.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

getting involved in the community, working closely with people, and how organized FSD was in helping me complete my trip, goals, and volunteer work.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

unbelievable. Dedicated, organized,positive, caring, and make results happen.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

hugely, positively impact the world and its inhabitants.

Ways to make it better...

I could have stayed longer.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

wow...tough one, maybe continuing to fundraise to offer scholarships and expansion throughout the world. Although currently, they are doing a great job of this.

One thing I'd also say is that...

FSD is very deserving of recognition for its incredible expansion and devotion to volunteerism worldwide.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2001

April 11, 2009

more

April 11, 2009

This is a great organization who I would recommend to anyone who wants to make a sustainable impact on a community in need. Volunteers are able to fully immerse themselves in the culture and learn both the upsides and downsides on working for an NGO.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the schools and clinics of Kenya (although they work is several other developing nations). I have also seen the respect and gratitude local community members have for the work they have done.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

do more advertising and recruitment in the US and other countries.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Truly immersing myself in the culture and being asked to take initiative and be creative.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

knowledgeable and realistic

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

do anything it is now striving to do with limited funds! By supporting community based organizations with the funding, FSD could improve education, health and the environment.

Ways to make it better...

I could speak the local languages(eg. Swahili) fluently

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

lack of funds

One thing I'd also say is that...

my experience with the Foundation for Sustainable development was one of the most challenging times of my life- but I learned a lot. Be prepared- it's not an easy internship.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

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