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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 11, 2009

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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.

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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

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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

April 11, 2009

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April 11, 2009

I had an amazing experience last summer as in intern in Uganda through FSD. My integration with my host community was well balanced by the support FSD had available to me during my time there. The FSD grant program available to interns was extremely helpful in allowing me to complete a project with my host organization -- improving sustainable agriculture training sessions for a local farmer's group. FSD's focus on creating sustainable projects was evident, and through periodic workshops with FSD, I was able to write a grant on behalf of my host organization.

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The Great!

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

the projects their interns (with funding from their grant program) have completed, with emphasis on understanding how the project will be continued after the intern leaves.

Ways to make it better...

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

More feedback...

Ways to make it better...

I could have afforded to stay longer... the cost of the program makes it difficult to have a long internship.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

April 11, 2009

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April 11, 2009

FSD is very well-established organisation with a noble vision offering exciting internships to students. It is an excellent gateway for people who want to contribute to humanity through a range of organised and reliable programs. I trust their services and would definitely recommend it!

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

expand its current programs and allow more students intake per year.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 11, 2009

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April 11, 2009

FSD has been a great model for our organization. We have learned a great deal from them about sustainability, and collaboration within the developing world. We have valued the opportunities we have shared to contribute towards building capacity in communities. FSD has been our fiscal sponsor for 6 years. Their support has been invaluable!

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The Great!

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

the way they do outreach and recruitment of interns and volunteers

Ways to make it better...

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

More feedback...

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

the people who I have met in the US and within countries we have served.

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

fun, capable, honest, and committed

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

make a huge impact by broadening their geographic scope

Ways to make it better...

I had more time to spend with the staff

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 11, 2009

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April 11, 2009

FSD is a great organization that really supports sustainable change through partnering young men and women who want to be involved in development work with organizations in countries around the world. Unlike other organizations, FSD really puts an emphasis on working WITH people from the countries that interns are sent, as opposed to starting their own projects that are not connected the community. Much of the work FSD does is connected to the environment, and I know interns who have done work from helping build more sustainable water systems in local communities to getting funding to build greenhouses. FSD is very deserving of this award, and they are a great organization.

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The Great!

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

the concrete projects that many interns are able to implement when they go abroad to do sustainable development works.

Ways to make it better...

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

find ways to allow more people the opportunity to be interns, through more financial scholarships.

More feedback...

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

the connections I made in Bolivia, specifically with the young men and women I worked with in the community where I lived.

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

excited and passionate about the organization.

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

help the hundreds of NGOs in the countries where FSD works, who have limited resources but are doing really important work, expand their programs.

Ways to make it better...

I had more time to spend in Bolivia, and could have afforded to extend my internship for longer.

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

funding in order to expand the program, and finding ways to sustain the projects once interns leave.

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

FSD is awesome, and really helped me decide what I wanted to do with the rest of my life!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 10, 2009

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April 10, 2009

I am in complete agreement with the mission of FSD, looking for sustainable solutions to community issues based on involved and indepth local needs assesments. This however is a very hard mission to accomplish in the small time frame that FSD allows for its volunteers. You cannot sucessfully create and carry though a sucessful needs assesment and sustainable project in two months (when you enter as an untrained intern). Also the organization, while supporting projects that are locally based and based on the COMMUNITIES needs, is very centralized as an organization not allowing flexability in the local chapters, not acknowledging that like local communities, different countries are different and you can´t stick to the same formula for all of them. The local teams need to have more flexability, or the organization itself does not adhere to its own mission. Over all however, I find the work that FSD VERY important and it does have a strong impact in the areas it works in. The mission and the goal are incredible, there are just a few minor flaws in the exectution which could be improved.

The Great!

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

It has improved the lives of many community members in La Plata, where I worked with the organization. In my personal experience I have seen children on the edge of repeating school years not repeat and gain an enthusiasm to continue studying or even go back to school. I was also involved in a project that brought more doctors to a local neighborhood and improved local medical knowledge and community mobilization.

Ways to make it better...

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

Give more flexability to the local site teams, allowing them to access the needs of the local community/program and allowing them to respond to those needs. Less hierarchical rigidity.

More feedback...

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

The community network that it has created which provides local NGO´s the oppurtunity to network, interlink, and work together. The personel at the local FSD site in Argentina where a charm to work with, provided EXCELENT support both with the internship, in learning about sustainable developement and in adjusting to a new culture.

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

The personel at the local FSD site in Argentina where a charm to work with, provided EXCELENT support both with the internship, in learning about sustainable developement and in adjusting to a new culture. The volunteers have all been well selected and motivated people, giving alot to the communities that host them.

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

Expand into more sites, in more third world communities.

Ways to make it better...

The organization had been more flexable with parts of my internship.

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

The specificity of their mission and the dificulty in maintaining and developing programs in the local communities. The job position unfortunately are very specific and when personel turn over it is very hard to replace them, which is very valuable because they value there personal, but is also very difficult because they can´t find people that specifically qualified.

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

I would also like to see them pay their local host families better, since it is a hard job and a big and very important sacrifice and service that the host families do for the interns. More and better quality host families could be found if the job paid what it was worth.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 10, 2009

more

April 10, 2009

The programs offered by FSD do a fantastic job of both assisting sustainable development organizations overseas and providing individuals with the ability to gain development experience while making a direct impact. FSD staff is full of excited, energetic individuals who are a pleasure to work with. My experience with FSD was a vital step in my education and I appreciate the all that it taught me.

The Great!

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

how many people they guide into the world of development and the great support they provide through intellectual capital (interns) to their partner organizations. FSD always earns a general appreciation from those associated with them.

Ways to make it better...

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

increase the focus on communication with partner organizations. The impact of interns sent to host organizations could be much improved with accurate knowledge about the interests and needs of the organization.

More feedback...

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

the learning experience provided to me. Their opportunity will help me plan my career.

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

all very skilled, motivated, and pleasant to work with.

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

implement a program to take hundreds of thousands of students overseas to expose them to the world abroad, giving them a chance to be more informed and hence contribute better to society.

Ways to make it better...

FSD had provided more guidance and structure to the initial stages of my time with my host organization.

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

keeping their efforts focused as they grow.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 10, 2009

more

April 10, 2009

I worked as a microfinance and livelihoods intern with an NGO in Udaipur, India through FSD. Unlike other organizations, FSD's whole approach from recruitment to placement and on-going training was extremely involved. The organization has evolved organically and its core beliefs of sustainable development keep its operations true to its cause, heavily involving the in-country nationals as partners in their work. My program in India was extremely immersive and very expansive in the range of learning and 'doing' opportunities given to me. Their standing as a well-respected NGO in the field allows the partner organizations to form meaningful work and cultural relationships for their interns.

The Great!

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

the quality of interns/volunteers it places within NGO, and the resulting work they produce.

More feedback...

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

incredibly diverse in professions and motivations, but bound together by a common set of ideals.

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

issue more grants to volunteers, to reduce the cost of their program fees, especially for longer assignments.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

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