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April 20, 2009

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April 20, 2009

FSD has a bottom-up model of placing volunteers at community organizations in developing countries. Volunteers live with home stay families, bring small grants to the organizations, and compete for larger funding for proposed projects. FSD succeeds in connecting both human capital and other resources into development projects designed by local partner community organizations. Their projects aim to be sustainable through weaving in community participation and income-generation. I found FSD to be an excellent organization through the year and a half I spent working with them in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador and recommend them highly to others looking to get involved.

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

mostly college students or recent college graduates.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2006

April 18, 2009

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April 18, 2009

I think FSD is an amazing opportunity for anyone who wants to learn what community development really means in action. It gave me the experience of working with the Environmental Department of the Mayor's Office in Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua. There my supervisor and I created a grey water absorption project for families in the community of Oro Verde. Prior to our project the grey water was running onto the streets creating cracks in the dirt roads. Not only are these cracks ugly, but they are also unsafe. The cracks collect water and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes that can carry diseases such as dengue and malaria. To solve this complex issue we educated families on how to construct their own absorption tank that would filter this water and allow it to re-enter the ground water in a healthy fashion. The results were significant as over fifty families constructed their tanks. Our project, like many other projects through FSD, had the foundation of finding a problem and working with the community to solve it in an economically and environmentally sustainable way.

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

I felt like I was a part of a community and was able to assist it in finding long term solutions for problems.

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

amazing, passionate, and encouraging.

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

break barriers between the global north and south while changing communities all over the world.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

April 16, 2009

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April 16, 2009

FSD does exactly what it's name implies. I was incredibly impressed with the organization's deep and genuine commitment to sustainability. They provided a great amount of support to ensure that each intern was able to take initiative to start their own project that was truly making a positive impact on the community, while also providing a rare and important learning experience. They made sure that all projects, even if not directly related to the environment (though most are) are able to sustain itself after the intern leaves, which improves the environmental and social conditions of the community well into the future. This experience changed my life. By applying for and receiving a grant from FSD for my project, I was better prepared to enter the non-profit career field. I also plan to receive a degree in International Policy, specifically in Africa, due inlarge part to my internship. Most importantly, I was immersed in a culture, where environmental problems flourished, but the people were the strongest I have ever met. This opened my eyes to see how there is hope for everyone all over the world, no matter how dire their situation, because you can never underestimate the strength of the people themselves.

The Great!

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

The projects that continue to positively impact the environment and communities all over the world, by interns from all different backgrounds.

Ways to make it better...

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

be so proud!

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

the total emmersion in a new culture, while also feeling supported by the staff- they really enable each intern to challenge themselves and achieve goals they never though possible.

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

incredibly inspiring and supportive, in fact, I keep in touch with many of them to this day (also, one of my co-interns is my partner!)

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

change the world, because it not only impacts the local communities globally, but impacts the interns and volunteers who go on to continue impacting the world and making it a better place!

Ways to make it better...

there was a better evacuation plan (since I was evacuated due to political crisis), however since then, they have really improved this system.

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

getting funding so that they can expand to even more and more countries.

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

FSD is critical to addressing environmental concerns all over the world, especially for those in under-served communities where they simply need the support of a devoted, caring intern to guide them to help them help themselves.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

April 16, 2009

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April 16, 2009

I have been a volunteer program coordinator on FSD's site team in Jinja, Uganda since January, 2009. During this time, I have had the opportunity to support volunteer efforts with several local community-based organizations that have elected to partner with FSD. From what I have seen thus far, the volunteers' projects have been truly inspired, and are developed in close communication with target communities, local supervisors, and FSD staff. We are currently working with a volunteer who has developed a tree nursery with members of a rural food security group, all of whom are clients of The AIDS Support Organization (TASO). In completing her needs assessment, she effectively utilized TASO's resources and worked closely with the community to purchase seedlings, organize tree-farming training sessions, and develop a business plan to sustain the nursery subsequent to her departure. During this time, FSD played the role of mentor, providing valuable feedback, new approaches, and grant-writing techniques. FSD has also provided communication support between the volunteer, TASO, and the community. I look forward to continue working with FSD to support community-driven development in the future.

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

self-motivated, knowledgeable, and always optimistic.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 16, 2009

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April 16, 2009

FSD was truly one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I worked as an intern at Softpower Education researching sustainable agriculture in Jinja, Uganda for nine weeks during the summer of 2007. I researched farming practices and challenges in eight surrounding villages with the help of a translator, compiling the information into a database to be placed in to a larger grant proposal. This was to raise money to put community gardens into local schools to teach students and adults alike valuable sustainable agriculture techniques. I learned more than I thought possible on the job and living with my host family and had the opportunity to meet incredible people. Being able to run my own project, creating a budget, hiring staff, and producing an end result was a unique experience. FSD made sure during the orientation week to equip all of us interns with valuable knowledge such as language instruction and cultural orientation, allowing us to jump right into joining the community. I had the opportunity to go to church with my host mother, have fascinating discussions on cultural difference with my host cousins, enjoy local delicacies and so much more. Upon returning to the US I have worked information booths at local job and internship fairs at my university as well as becoming a reference for future participants because of how much I believe in FSD and value my experience with the program.

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

amazing. Everyone was excited to be there and enjoyed tackling new challenges.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 16, 2009

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April 16, 2009

FSD is a NGO that is truely concerned with sustainably developing the future of developing nations. Thanks to FSD I have been given the opportunity to work on various projects that include the construction of a communal clothes washing area and bathrooms that don´t pollute the important river (where the old method of washing clothes left a white soapy trail of detergent in the river and caused health problems for the people who bathe in the river), reforestation, working on an organic farm, teaching english, working in the pre-colombian museum to protect the cultural resources of the area, helping the teachers in the local preschool, and developing promotional material for the host organization. However, for me, more important than the professional skills I have developed are the personal relationships I have formed. I am truely a member of the small community in which I live and have formed bonds, aquired experiences, and lived situations which have taught me more than I could imagine and which I will never forget.

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

the last 5 hours as I spent all day working with passionate members of the community on planting and maintaining 5,000 trees that will be used for reforestation.

Ways to make it better...

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

Keep spreading the word. There are a lot of people out there with resources that want to help but dont know where to start. There are also a lot of people with out resources but lots of ideas of where to start. Connecting these two types of people is what FSD does.

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

Waking up to the calls of the roosters, drinking fresh coffee, and then going to work with the most imaginative and passionate people I have ever met.

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

Energetic, informed, enthusiastic, culturally sensitive, eager to learn.

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

probably do a whole lot more, but what is most important is that it doesnt need the 10 million bucks to make a change that will last a life time. 10 million bucks, or any amount of money, cannot last forever, but education and sustainable change can.

Ways to make it better...

I had more time.

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

Making sure the interns and volunteers are being put to good use by their host organizations.

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

FSD should focus on smaller communities rather than medium to big towns. Sustainable, local development seems to be most effective when embraced by a united community.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 16, 2009

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April 16, 2009

I was a Program Coordinator for FSD for one year and worked directly with their partner organizations (NGOs) on the ground in India. The environmental partners FSD selected to work and fund through their mini-grant are excellent excellent organizations. These were effective, efficient programs that thoughtfully and creatively used a small amount of funding to generate significant environmental protection. For example, with under $500 dollars one volunteer, with the partner organization Foundation for Ecological Security, was able to create composting and bio-gas pits that minimized wood consumption, created high quality manure for crop production, while also providing at least ten families with methane gas for daily use.

The Great!

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

the impact it provides to its partner organizations on the ground in several of its international sites.

Ways to make it better...

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

I would continue to focus on the grant program because I think that is the most effective and unique aspect to FSD

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

how dedicated and bright the staff at FSD continues to be. They are able to recruit and retain many top level candidates that do tremendous work.

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

bright, gifted, passionate, creative.

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

bring its model to a significantly larger population worldwide. Expand its program in Africa and Asia- build up field staff and provide significant funding to the mini grants program.

Ways to make it better...

it was a great experience. Communication from India was at times difficult but felt I was successful working on the ground despite these circumstances.

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

direction, effective communication, telling it story

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

FSD is an excellent organization that has had tremendous impact in its short history.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 15, 2009

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April 15, 2009

While working alongside the amazing individuals running this organization, I heard stories of and helped support work being done in many developing countries supporting grassroots organizations that work in fields such as sustainable/organic agriculture, water management, renewable energy, reforestation and biodiversity, and education and advocacy. I published stories such as this one written by interns who were aiding community-based organizations with human rights and women's empowerment, public health, and microfinance, all of which empowered communities to be able to make educated decisions that would promote affordable sustainability in their lives, often through the use of microfinance loans. These same interns that helped community-based organizations in developing countries later returned to their own countries and spread the word about their experiences, often going on to graduate programs in sustainable develpment or to become community advocates among their neighbors and friends. Overall, I was amazed by the impact I saw being made by the efforts of the Foundation for Sustainable Development.

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The Great!

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

writing, photographs, statistics, and testimonials.

Ways to make it better...

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

hope to see it expand.

More feedback...

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

the fact that every action the organization takes is taken with the end goal/mission in mind--every action needs to in some way be benefiting the community organizations we are aiding or otherwise be promoting sustainable development. No time or efforts are wasted on frivolous endeavors.

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

amazingly dedicated to their work, amazingly positive people to work with, and amazingly supportive of my own growth as a volunteer.

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

reach and impact an even greater number of people and communities in developing countries to support their efforts to develop their communities in green ways.

Ways to make it better...

I could have secured a paying job to continue working with the organization.

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

funding decreases as a result of the recession.

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

I became more aware of my own wasteful practices while volunteering in FSD's office and now I more frequently do things like compost my food and use biodegradable products.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

April 15, 2009

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April 15, 2009

FSD is a fantastic organization that has given me the opportunity to be part of sustainable development in the field through hands-on experience. In Bolivia, we work with over 35 NGO's in Cochabamba who are dedicated to various development areas such as human/women's rights, environment and natural resources, microfinance, education, and public health. Through FSD, I have gained greater perspective on the hardwork involved in getting development projects up and running. I am a Bolivian volunteer and I work with 2 others to support the organization´s activities with local NGO's in Bolivia.

The Great!

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

people awareness of the importance of environmental protection. In the implementation of composting systems with biodigestors, use of biogas and fertilizer that comes from it benefiting rural communities. In waste water treatment for empoverished regions of Cochabamba which improves the quality of life and reduces the risks of illnes.

Ways to make it better...

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

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

the contact with the communities

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

very passionate about development and willing to do their best effort to improve other people´s lifes

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

make a huge impact in local communities in many different areas. There are many projects in their waiting list that will help make this a better world

Ways to make it better...

there was more support from local government and if all the efforts could go through without having to deal with corruption

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

having to deal with corruption of local government and financial limitations

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 15, 2009

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April 15, 2009

FSD is a fantastic organization that has given me the opportunity to really understand what sustainable development means in the field through hands-on experience. Through FSD, I have gained greater perspective on the hardwork involved in getting development projects up and running. It has given me the opportunity to work with NGOs and help other volunteers develop independent projects in areas of human rights, environment and natural resources, microfinance, education and public health.

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

the ability to work in every area of development work...that is, human rights, education, public health, microfinance and environment.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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