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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Foundation for Sustainable Development

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Alliances & Advocacy, Arts & Culture, Economic Development, International, International Economic Development, Microfinance, Philanthropy

Mission: FSD supports the efforts of grassroots development organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America that are working to better their communities, environments, and the economic opportunities around them. We believe economic development begins with community development and is only sustainable if it comes from and is supported by the members of these communities. Also, through our programs, we aim to raise international awareness of the economic challenges in developing countries and support cross-cultural communities in finding more effective solutions to development issues.

Target demographics: International communities achieve locally based goals and improve lives and communities.

Geographic areas served: Latin America, Africa, Asia

Programs: Capacity building in community-based development programs; training in community development for student and professional volunteers who work with our partners; grantmaking to community partners; engaged phlianthropy through giving circles

Community Stories

172 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Through FSD I was able to experience the technological challenges that villagers in Uganda face. FSD did 2 things very well. Firstly, they assigned me to a community that was excited about technology and found me a wonderful host family. Living among the community and working with them to provide useful sustainable businesses could not have happened with my organization alone. Secondly they advised me on how to best approach sustainable development. The keys rules are to ensure that any initiative you and the community spend time building, is one where all the correct incentives line up such that the initiative continues well past your time. This was important advice to ensuring that your time is not wasted on projects that fail. Instead, most FSD projects lead to some tangible benefit for the community because the community is the main driver. The interns learn a great deal and help where they can by offering their knowledge and experience in a very different part of the world. This is a passive but highly effective method of development.

1 BLuo

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The time I spent as an intern with FSD gave me a sense of the tremendous impact that a development organization can have on the lives of so many when it is committed to sustainability and when it has the drive of so many dedicated people. During my relatively-short nine weeks with FSD in Kakamega, Kenya, I was able to work with a local secondary school and work alongside the Site Team members and fellow interns. Throughout my experience, I truly appreciated (and was infected by) FSD's incredible passion for their work. I fully believe that FSD has made and will continue to make great strides in the development of their local communities.

1 Tong X.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FSD placed me as an intern with Village Enterprise, a SF-based microenterprise nonprofit which operates in western Kenya and Uganda. While my placement was only two months (and so my actual social impact was limited), the amount of exposure I got to the challenges, ethical dilemmas, and "soft skills" of development was very high. What's exceptional about FSD is not really the programming, but the quality of the site staff. Our site team, in particular, was incredibly high-energy and thoroughly integrated into the community.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 2

For the amount of money I paid for an FSD internship in Uganda I was sure I would be plugged into a network of resources and professionals that would be working their absolute hardest to facilitate the work I was doing and to be sure my time in country was productive. While the staff certainly was incredibly pleasant, I felt as if I was repeatedly just placed in difficult situations and given no guidance as to what I was supposed to be doing. The orientation is a joke and whenever I would ask questions I almost never received a useful answer (usually it was something along the lines of "well, yes, that is a challenge.") Furthermore, there is a ridiculous amount of paperwork that must be completed in precisely the right way, otherwise it needs to be done. Also, FSD says it has a longstanding relationship with its partner organizations, but that relationship seems to exist in anything but a productive context. They don't give interns any substantial, useful background information that would allow interns to help local partners address their own internal, systemic issues that present the greatest obstacle to those organizations fulfilling their mission. I designed a project that I thought would really help my organization, only to find out 75% of the way through my internship that the organization had huge systemic issues that would prevent my project from continuing after I went back home. The systemic issues would have been relatively easy to address had I had the entirety of my internship to work on them, but as I found out so late I couldn't do anything. When I told the FSD staff about what I had observed, they told me that they already knew of those issues and that they were a huge obstacle to previous interns' projects. Had they given me any type of real orientation/introduction to my organization and mentioned a few over-arching issues previous interns had struggled with, my mind would have been in the right place to identify these issues right away and design a project that - even if it wouldn't address the issues directly - would be able to be sustained within the context of an organization suffering from those problems. FSD seems content with interns building gardens and piggeries even when the organizations given control of those resources lack the ability to utilize them properly after we leave.

The host families are wonderful, and the staff at the local organizations are fantastic, but the FSD bureaucracy really got in the way. FSD is great at allowing you the freedom to do whatever you want (even if you spend your entire internship drunk or travelling outside of your assigned area), but I question how much is actually accomplished by their work. FSD certainly talks the talk of a sustainable organization doing good in the developing world, but in reality, they have a lot of organizational issues to address before these internships are worth the money. There were other foreigners in my town, working for the same amount of time, doing similar work, who paid literally a fifth of the FSD program fee. And they got more useful support than we did.

Donor

Rating: 5

FSD's amazing "Projects of Hope" (projectsofhope.org) provides direct assistance to women and children in rural Kenya. Funds go directly to provide health care for the women and children and schooling for the children. Additional projects include microfinance loans for employment and building basic housing shelters. A worthy and exceptional cause.

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35

Donor

Rating: 5

High Quality Organization. I support FSD through the work of Projects of Hope (www.projectsofhope.org), an organization that assists rural Kenyans affected by AIDS/HIV, through anti-poverty initiatives, education, health care, housing and micro-finance. Very worthy organization.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Is it just me or do these reviews seem to good to be true? I've read only one bad review, which seems to be honest, but the others seem generic. I say this because all of them don't give details, and for some reason, alway point to how great the staff was. I'm considering this program, but want to make sure I'm making the right investment. It is awfully expensive, considering how other non-profit organizations with oversees volunteer and internships placement are a lot cheaper. If anyone can give me an honest review, you can respond here or message me if you want my email. Thank you!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned with FSD last summer (2010) as a graphic designer/marketing and communications volunteer. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience working with FSD, and it could not have been possible without the enthusiastic/dedicated staff I worked alongside with. Being able to review grants gave me insight to the types of projects being proposed in our various sites, allowing me to see the breadth of FSD's global reach. Overall, I find FSD's mission and work model to be unique and effective, and hope to dedicate more of my time with the organization in the future.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I found out about FSD through my search for a volunteer abroad organization to work with for a summer. I was struck by their unique approach to development and the clear commitment and focus they had for their mission. This led me to speak with their staff who immediately struck me with their enthusiasm and reflected the exact commitment that had initially drawn me to them. Since then I have gone on to volunteer with FSD which has truly been a life changing experience for me. Not only do I feel that I have grown personally but I have also learned more from my experience with FSD than I have with any other volunteer organization or internship.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first got introduced to FSD when I moved to San Francisco in 2009 and became friends with three people who participated in some of FSD’s programs in South America. I was struck by the degree to which the time my friend’s spent with FSD had been transformative to each of them, both personally and professionally. All three are now pursuing careers in development, in areas ranging from Education in Africa to Urban Planning in San Francisco.

Over time, I’ve gotten involved with FSD as a volunteer and now know the organization well. Aside from the impact that its programs have on participating students, FSD has a highly innovative approach to providing assistance to the communities it works in throughout the developing world. FSD efforts are managed by teams that are on-the-ground 24/7 in the communities that it works in.

This grassroots, bottoms-up approach to development is increasingly recognized as far more effective than many of the top-down models that exist. This is one of the reasons why FSD has grown significantly in size and scope over the last few years and why it is increasingly recognized as one of the most innovative non-profits within the development community.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

My experience with FSD was truly worthwhile. I interned at the office in San Francisco in the summer/fall of 2008 with the International team and felt the staff were welcoming, patient, and good mentors. I developed good friendships that continued past my experience as an intern. Similarly, the experience has genuinely launch my career in international development, where I am today.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 2

I did a volunteer internship at the FSD Jinja site in 2010-2011. Although I had a very fulfilling and productive experience with the host organization that FSD placed me with (St. Francis Health Care Services), I was extremely dissatisfied with FSD as a whole.

First, the performance of the FSD site team in Jinja was unacceptable. After a helpful orientation week upon my arrival (which included preparation for cultural integration as well as training on needs assessments, work plans, and budgets), I felt increasingly isolated and forgotten by FSD as my internship progressed. The Program Director consistently failed to respond to my questions or concerns in a timely manner, and the Program Coordinator rarely showed interest in the interns or their projects. Eventually I contacted the FSD head office for assistance on writing a grant. The Program Director took offense to this and thereafter treated me in a vindictive and extremely unprofessional manner. She attacked my character and my work ethic and spoke poorly about me to my host family. In addition, there was another Program Coordinator who resigned halfway through my internship. This Program Coordinator was the seventh person in two years working in that position for the Program Director. However, despite frequent negative feedback from interns, the FSD office in San Francisco has failed to take adequate measures to address interns' concerns or the root cause of employee turnover.

In addition, the main office in San Francisco was inefficient and unaccountable with regards to my needs as an applicant and later as an intern. I applied for an internship in early January 2010. Despite assurances from FSD that I would hear a response within 14-30 days, and despite numerous inquiries, I did not learn of my status until May (four months after I applied). Upon my arrival in Uganda, I learned that all applicants get accepted—even those who did not undergo the interview process. This was very curious to me and made me seriously question why it took so long for FSD to process my application. Furthermore, FSD was fairly negligent with regards to my volunteer fee account. I had a $500 credit on my account in August, requested a refund check on August 31, sent a follow up email on November 17 (no response) and again on November 30, and did not receive the refund until late December.

Furthermore, I find that FSD’s use of the volunteer fee money lacks accountability and efficiency. I paid $7343 in volunteer fees for my 26-week internship. Of this money, $200 went to my project in Uganda and (to the best of my knowledge) less than $700 went to my host family. I questioned one of the staff members at the FSD San Francisco headquarters about the remaining balance. He said that it is difficult to tell exactly where all the volunteer fee money goes. He later sent me a pie chart with an extremely broad breakdown of fee money expenditures. Half of the money goes to what they call “Direct Community Investment.” This money includes the payment to host families and the $200 seed grant, as well payments for services that I did not receive (staff stipends for “24/7 in-country support”) or for expenses that would more appropriately be termed “overhead costs” (rent, supplies, and utilities for the local FSD offices).

After the conclusion of my internship, I visited the FSD headquarters in San Francisco to discuss my experience. However, I felt that the staff member there did not have much genuine concern for my issues. He largely wrote these issues off as a byproduct of the cultural challenges of working in a foreign country.

The experience I had with my host organization in Uganda (St. Francis) was highly valuable and rewarding, and I received beneficial development training from FSD during orientation week. As such, I have given FSD a rating of two stars instead of one. However, I came away from my experience being dismayed at the treatment I received from FSD. I rarely felt as if FSD prioritized their interns in the field, and I was not alone in this sentiment. In my experience, FSD absolutely did not uphold the values of transparency, efficiency, and accountability that made me choose them in the first place.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Agape Focus Ministry believes each child as the potential to rise above poverty, each child regardless of race color should not have to go to bed hungry, each child deserve an opportunity to be educate, love, properly clothe, and at least one good meal a day. AFM program is in place to provide a better atmosphere for the unfortunate children to build housing and school, provide transportation, spiritual feed the children, The program is based in Agape (Love) and be confidence that the future community will encounter a change and develop in a better way to focus on the future, by using the talents received from AFM, and spread the love with their capacity as citizens rather than focused on the boundaries and failures of the purpose. Our focuses also engage reaching out to family, provide basic daily needs. Preventing Child abuse, a counseling session on weekly bases, is held to restore trust and prevent future child abuse and molestation.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Foundation for Sustainable Development inspires me because of the way they are able to work with community-based organizations to implement sustainable, long-term projects. Though the projects are short-term, the very nature of their programs provide incentives within the community to stay involved with their work. That is the definition sustainable development in my mind.

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Foundation for Sustainable Development inspires me everyday because of the way they are able to work with community-based organizations to implement sustainable, long-term projects. Though the projects are short-term, the very nature of their programs provide incentive within the community to stay involved with their work. That is the definition sustainable development in my mind.

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12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the opportunity to travel to many different countries studying and working in sustainable development. I have found that often the key to successful sustainable development is finding the links between different sectors of society and strengthening those relationships. Everyday I went into work for FSD, I heard a different story about the work FSD does in the field that inspired me and clearly demonstrated their mission to incorporate various development subjects into specific and tangible goals that really do improve the lives of many in the communities they work in. I am continuously inspired by the work they do in women's empowerment. The organizations they partner with have a universal understanding of the problems women face in their community, allowing them to come up with creative solutions that incorporate many different factors, address needs articulated by the women's themselves, provide incentive within the community to participate, and consequently leading to true sustainability and growth.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 2

FSD is a way for young people to get field experience in development, though at a very high cost. But beyond that its model for development is inherently unsustainable due to the nature of short-term volunteer ad-hoc projects and limited experience of volunteers. In developing countries, it is very difficult to get a meaningful project started in the two or three months interns are typically placed with an organization. Often I find that projects are left unfulfilled or are, from the grander development standpoint, nothing more than student pet projects rather than addressing infrastructural problems. Local organizations I've found are often confused as to the role of the FSD intern working with them and don't utilize them fully.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I chose to volunteer with FSD because I strongly believe that their development model is the only real long-term solution to economic and social development. FSD knows that true and lasting development must come from within the community and thus works with local organizations that can respond to the communities needs most effectively. The people in the San Francisco office and the staff members abroad are all so enthusiastic and committed to the work they're doing, and it shows every day.

11

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Having known both interns and other participants in FSD's programs, I am constantly impressed and inspired by the work of the organization. FSD is at the forefront of grassroots sustainable development. I am glad FSD does what it does and I hope to maintain a relationship with this ground-breaking yet grounded organization.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FSDs approach of bottom up community based development support is completely in line with my way I believe development is most likely to be successful. FSD should be recognized for their work with women because of the support they give to their partners in the field, which are often made up of all women. One of the grants FSD provided was to The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) is Jinja, Uganda. This project, supported by FSD intern abroad program intern Heidi Tenpas, provides members of the Budondo Food Security Group with hands-on training in tree growing and nursery management for the establishment a cooperative nursery to promote sustainable home-based enterprises. 97% of the members of this peer support group are rural women living with HIV/AIDS, most of who are primary caretakers of their large families. Formerly incapacitated by their illness and written off by their communities, these women became entrenched in states of economic dependency and insecurity. Correspondingly, widespread deforestation in Budondo is adversely impacting the local climate and diminishing the productivity of members' small-scale subsistence agriculture, further threatening their food security and perpetuating malnutrition. Now that they have regained physical strength and health following medical treatment from TASO, this tree planting project gives them a source of sustainable income security and nutrition while laying the foundations for the economic empowerment and environmental restoration of their households and communities.

14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FSD stands out from most organizations that I've come across in many ways, but their dedication to promoting sustainable development projects that wholly involve the local community is what drew me to them the most. One such organization is Sahayata. They empower women by providing skills training and small business loans to various self help groups in Udaipur, India. Supporting this kind of community-based organization is the exact direction international development organizations need to be going to ensure that the projects that are chosen to be supported are ones that will provide a solid foundation that can survive on its own.

14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization is doing important and valuable work. FSD separates itself from other international programs in its to grassroots development model. Their commitment to community buy-in and longer term interns, places emphasis on cultural and community integration ensuring that projects will continue after the intern's departure.

17

Volunteer

Rating: 4

This is a fantastic organization. The programs offered by FSD appeal to me because the interns and volunteers don't just go in and implement projects they've developed before arriving, the projects evolve from working with and learning from members of the community. FSD partners with community-based organizations, so there is significant community involvement throughout the planning and implementation of the projects. Many of the specific subject areas also incorporate women's empowerment, as many of the microfinance organizations FSD partners with work especially with women. FSD's programs offer an amazing and unique opportunity for participants to experience sustainable development work in a very hands-on way, with training by professional FSD staff in the field. The experience is perfect for someone looking to go into development work.

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am really impressed with the organization's continued dedication to partner with organizations that combine both microcredit initiatives and entrepreneurial/leadership training to promote capacity and self-empowerment for women throughout Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. FSD also has a propensity to partner with organizations that have long standing in their communities, meaning that their efforts are well-developed within the communal context. A great example is Women Together for Development (WOTODEV), a women's collective founded in Masaka, Uganda in 1998 that tries to address gaps between women's vocational and social experiences in rural and urban areas throughout the Masaka District.

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FSD not only gives students and professionals great opportunity to promote sustainability but really supports the MDGs and truly makes a difference in the developing world.

8

Former staff

Rating: 4

During my time as an intern at a women's center in Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua and as a program coordinator in La Plata, Argentina I have been able to experience first-hand the incredible impact that FSD and its partners have on the lives of women. Unfortunately, in many marginalized communities throughout the world, women face difficult circumstances (abuse, poverty, unemployment, lack of access to health&education;, etc). In all of its sites, FSD collaborates with community organizations that seek to empower women, and provide them with the tools to challenge these circumstances. With its partners, FSD encourages sustainable change, that will improve the quality of life for these women and their families. One such partner IXCHEN Ciudad Sandino, is a center that provides women with psychological, medical, educational, and legal services. They seek to empower women to take care of themselves, and promote and enjoy the rights they are entitled. With an FSD grant, we were able to implement a project in which victims of domestic could learn how to make crafts through a series of workshops; providing with a skill that would encourage them to be economically independent, and reduce the likelihood of getting involved in abusive relationships. As an intern, I also participated in designing educational materials and implementing workshops that taught women about topics such as family planning, health, self-esteem, stress & constructive communication, etc. The excitement I saw in these women as they learned a new piece of information that would help them take care of themselves, and their pride in learning a new skill, is something that personally affected me, and made me realize the incredible impact that FSD and its partners have on communities. Also during my time in Nicaragua, I saw how other intern's projects allowed sex-workers to learn a vocational skill, and encouraged women to be leaders in their community and challenge the traditional male-oriented socity. As a Program Coordinator in Argentina, I was responsible for supporting interns, and their projects with their organizations. Here too, I saw many instances where FSD collaborations have created positive change in the lives of women. One example is a a sewing cooperative in which women learn skills and are able to work for a decent wage and in decent conditions to provide for their families themselves, and not solely depend on government welfare plans. Other examples include a baking cooperative with an environmentally friendly oven, in which a group of women have been able to increase their income ten-fold, and microcredit initiatives that provide women with the resources to start their own enterprises, etc.

36

Volunteer

Rating: 5

With the community based approach thoroughly integrated into all of the work FSD does, they are able to support environmentally friendly projects that actually make a difference and can be sustained by the communities they work with.

35

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organization is one of a kind with kind people who work hard to make a difference; the results speak for themselves. I witnessed my sister's nonprofit (Projects of Hope) flourish with the help of FSD.

33

Donor

Rating: 5

Through the partnership programs FSD offers in developing communities, I have seen my monetary contribution manifest itself into successful programs with lifestyle-altering benefits.

36

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a young professional looking for a career change, FSD enabled me to spend time in a medical setting in Kenya, practicing public health techniques, basic nursing care, and learning a host of skills that I still use today in my public health and nursing life. By introducing me to incredible people (teachers, nurses, mothers) in Kenya, by supporting me personally and professionally, and by creating and implementing a structured process that allowed me to volunteer successfully and purposefully, FSD truly changed my path.

25

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Like everyone else has said, FSD focuses on grassroots development which is the ideal form of providing sustainable initiatives. From the perspective of an intern, I can say that when FSD says that they focus on grassroots development, they mean it. They encouraged all of the interns to wait a week or two before starting any kind of project so that we could get to know our organizations and the people in them and to really find out their specific needs. I interned in Argentina and relationships are a very important part of their culture. They focus on building relationships first, therefore it would have been disastrous for me or any of the other interns to go in with a project in mind and trying to implement it without the support of the organization. I think the people at FSD have the right idea when it comes to grassroots development, it is not just development on a small scale, it is development that is wholly supported by the people where the development is taking place.

25

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FSD is a wonderful organization that provides internship opportunities in developing countries. In-country staff, Peter, is extremely supportive and understanding. You are encouraged to make a difference while learning and growing in understanding of the people and place where you are living. FSD has been integral in supporting grassroots efforts by their volunteers to create a better world.

24

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the privilege of participating in a short-term internship with FSD in LaPlata, Argentina in 2005. I lived with a family of humble means and worked at a community center for low income citizens. I had grandiose ideas of heading to LaPlata to teach English in a creative and engaging way through the use of drama and speeches. However, when I arrived, I found out that my students were at a very beginning level of English. I had to rework my lesson plans and adjust my goals for what I wanted to accomplish at the school. Rather than function as a teacher, I ended up being more of a program evaluator. I observed how the classes were being taught and suggested ways that instructional sessions could be improved. I shared activities and games that could be incorporated into the curriculum. And thanks to the FSD grant money that I was able to use toward the organization, I provided the school with some very important tools to improve the English program. The resources I supplied had a big impact on the students and the staff at the school. The two young women that taught the English classes had both been university students with a concentration in English Interpretation. Neither of them had ever spoken to a native English speaker. You can imagine they were thrilled to get to practice their English with me! Those two gals became my very dear friends during my time in LaPlata. They invited me into their homes and shared their culture with me. I am still in touch with both of them (Nuria and Fernanda). FSD did a wonderful job of supporting me while I was in LaPlata. They didn’t hold my hand through the process, but I knew that if I needed assistance, I could get support. Another benefit of the program was the friendship I shared with the other FSD interns in LaPlata at the time. We spent time exploring the city together and sharing about our experiences living with host families, blending into the culture, etc. I had a very rich and memorable time living and working in Argentina with FSD. FSD is the ideal solution for those who want to be culturally immersed and educated while sharing their skills/trade to a welcoming international community. FSD meets the need for those who can’t commit to the time requirements of the Peace Corps. FSD has also impressed me by their efforts to connect and support alumni from their program. It’s a very professional, relevant, effective and passionate organization. My internship in LaPlata is one of my fondest life experiences and I hope that I can partner with FSD as an intern again someday.

29

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I was a volunteer with FSD in Bolivia in 2006. The org does a good job connecting 1st World folks with local non-profits in developing countries. They use their resources efficiently. Placement with local non-profits may boost traction with communities.

28

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a volunteer with this organization. I worked in Nicaragua. They managed their program very efficiently and effectively. It's a low-cost option for volunteers, but still quite well-run. I would highly recommend this organization.

23

Volunteer

Rating: 5

You won't find a better organized, higher impact, or more challenging internship than that offered by Foundation for Sustainable Development. In 2003, I spent the summer conducting a community diagnostic study at a health clinic near Cochabamba, Bolivia. Working alongside the staff at a local nonprofit agency, we presented our findings to a board of community leaders and representative from the Pan-American Health Organization. I had an opportunity to develop key professional skills while participating in a cultural exchange, both of which have served me well in my career. The global perspective you gain from living in another country is beneficial in any field of work. On a personal level, I formed lifelong friendships with other participants. The staff worked hard to accommodate my needs. My only criticism is that FSD recruits its interns from a very narrow set of prestigious schools, when there are other universities whose students have much to offer the program.

23

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently participated in an internship with FSD in India. I was impressed and inspired by the commitment of the FSD staff and other volunteers to really interact with the communities they are working with enabling a meaningful experience for the interns and lasting change within the communities involved. Completing this internship taught me creative approaches to grassroots development work and the experience changed my perspective in many ways. FSD is dedicated to sustainable, environmentally responsible development work and the hard work and success of this foundation should be recognized.

26

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience in Argentina was by far one of the best in my life. In La Plata, I volunteered at a drug rehabilitation center. With FSD's constant support, i was able to implement a grant-funded project aimed at preventing substance abuse in the community. To do this, the center and i met with various schools to educate school directors, teachers and students about the issues related to substance abuse. All the schools with whom we met were very excited by our talks; certain schools have asked us to return. Even though i am no longer in Argentina, i have regular email contact with the individuals of the center for which i volunteered. It feels very good to know that i have made a difference in their lives, in addition to the lives of some students. And this effect will continue to grow with every workshop the center gives, which of course is the whole idea behind sustainable development. Another aspect of FSD that i love is that while i had MY particular project, every volunteer was still engaged in general community projects, many with an environmental focus. FSD deserves international recognition and praise for helping so many communities across the world.

23

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Masaka, Uganda Project Title: Improved nutrition and House hold incomes through Integrated Agricultural Production Bulayi village is found on one of the numerous hills in Masaka District. During the dry seasons, the people of Bulayi used to have little to eat as their crops withered and they had no extra to sell in the roadside markets. The soils were hard and cracked due to exposure to intense sunshine yet during the dry season the soils would go with runoff water from this hilly place. An integrated agro training project established by Stephanie Nelson in Bulayi village Masaka has turned around the lives of the communities in Bulayi. The people of this area didn’t know how to preserve their gardens during dry seasons. Stephanie, while working with volunteers carried out trainings on organic farming and taught these communities people how to make use of available resources around their homes. They started off with classes about use of animal waste, human urine and use of a mixture of foliage, which was mixed with water and left to lie for some days. This was later poured on banana plants and fruit trees. The agricultural yields became better. Stephanie also taught the communities about water conservation in the soils during rain seasons. They dug trenches in the gardens and water rested there. A vegetable nursery was then established to provide the communities with seedlings they could plant to improve their own nutritional levels and also get income for their families. Some of the vegetables were; cabbages, eggplant, green pepper. In addition, tree seedlings were purchased and distributed to thirty-seven families. These included coffee, passion fruit, oranges, avocado, and mangoes In return for being provided with seedlings, the group members were taught how to take cuttings from the fruit trees and passion fruit they were given in order to make grafts of those plants. The members provided the grafted seedlings to new members, passing on the inputs and knowledge they received during their training with United for development Initiative, UDEI. I was greatly impressed by the project done by Stephanie with the community members. The difference between those families which worked on this project were visually evident. Their crops looked much better and the yields were also better. Such families had better nutrition and their trips to the local clinic reduced. They also had extra to sell. The money they got out of the vegetables enabled them to buy those necessities like salt, sugar and soap. This project was community focused;, there was community participation and it is sustainable. What is also very impressive is that the innitial funds used were minimal.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned with FSD with an orphanage in Kakamega. My experience there was one of the most rewarding in my life. I was able to work on the ground with issues I had spent so much time reading about. Our country director Peter was incredibly knowledgeable and supportive. Through talks with him and our program coordinator, I was able to explore many different projects during my three month stay. As a political science major, I was amazed I was able to start a sewing project and have meetings with people about special needs and agricultural planning. The funding that made my project possible came from an FSD grant. It feels great to be a part of an organization that is doing so much good good in so many sectors and countries.

25

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Through the course of my own studies, it is always frustrating to read about environmental degradation in developing countries. Those types of projects are often supported because of the profits that people can reap from it now and the people have no thought to the consequences for the future. However, as I was doing some internet research, I ran across the Foundation for Sustainable Development, which definitely caught my eye and gave me a sense of hope that at least one organization like this is out there. From their website, their view of development coming from the people made so much sense to me and it surprises me how little it is actually done. Also, some of the projects listed on their website describe how they get input from the local community and combine it with environmentally conscious solutions to create something that is sustainable long after the interns are no longer there.

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26

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My view of this organization is from more of an outside perspective as it is my daughter who has interned at the San Francisco office for quite a while now. However, every time I talk to her about her internship, she always has good things to say about one project or another that is going on in either India, East Africa, or Latin America. I can tell that she loves the work she is doing and believes strongly in their mission.

17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As an FSD intern in the summer of 2007, I worked with a local organization in western Kenya, called the Kakamega Environmental Education Programme (KEEP). My first week in Kenya was an orientation, led by the FSD Program Coordinators. We learned about the host country and local culture, and were provided with over 20 hours of professional language training, as well as skills like grant writing. I was partnered with a wonderful host family in a village called Isecheno, at the entrance to the southern part of the Kakamega Rainforest (Kenya's last remaining rainforest). For 10 weeks, I worked at KEEP whose mission is to educate the community about conserving the forest resources and provide alternatives to forest exploitation through the facilitation of sustainable income-generating projects. FSD provided me with support, yet encouraged me to take my own initiative as I learned about the work and needs of the organization. I worked with KEEP staff to develop a needs-based survey and subsequent report on local socio-economic conditions and their relationship to use of forest resources. The FSD staff were knowledgeable, encouraging, and supportive before, during, and after my stay. I feel that my work was both meaningful and sustainable, and that FSD's model of forging ongoing relationships with local communities and organizations allows for interns' work to be picked up, continued, and improved upon by the next interns. In fostering strong relationships and building trust, FSD is able to be extremely effective in promoting "sustainable" development and empowering communities to take ownership over these projects.

25

Donor

Rating: 5

I am familiar wih FSD by my daughter's work with the Foundation. I know that FSD has many energetic, focused and commited people working towards creating solutions for todays pressing environmental and social problems. It is a nonprofit filled with people who deeply care about the world we live in and are doing something real about making it a better place. The staff and volunteers work in developing countries including Africa and South America to develop programs that promote such things as sustainable agriculture, reforestation, education, health, water management and renewable energy. FSD is a wonderful organization making a difference in our world.

22

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The staff of FSD is awesome! They provided me with so much information in order to find the best place for me to intern. They were so attentive! I am so thankful for the experience and knowledge I gained.

22

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have a relative who is involved with FSD and was truly amazed by her experience. I have seen how someone can be so positively effected by the experiences FSD provides for students and young professionals. FSD allows those interested in sustainable development to participate in the field and get their hands dirty. FSD allows interns and volunteers to experience a true development experience.

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21

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I believe FSD is at the forefront of sustainable development! They have spent so many years focusing on where sustainable development stems from to realize how crucial the local community really is. As a result FSD has developed relationships with more than 200 local partners throughout Latin America, Africa, and Asia. I wish FSD every success in their continued efforts to spread sustainable development.

19

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A great mission with a staff that works extremely hard and truely believes in their cause. They are partners with legitimate organizations in every community they work in. They place interns in work/internship positions where they can fully integrate into the community and get a viewpoint from the local culture.

21

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FSD supports the implementation of criticial environmental initiatives around the world. The organization takes a holistic approach to the most pressing human development and environmental issues. By supporting grassroots projects related to health, education, appropriate technology, human rights, women’s empowerment, and micro-finance, FSD makes it possible for communities to improve their environments. Lastly FSD moblilizes and trains interns who return home and infuse the knowledge they gained overseas into their daily lives.

19

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FSD sends interns abroad to work in developing communities. Each volunteer is connected with a local, community-based organization and works with that organization to provide sustainable economic, environmental, education, human rights and health solutions to that community. FSD is truly commited to the importance of "ground-up" development and provides volunteers with an experience where they are immersed in the local culture.

20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

22

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been inspired by the work carried out by the Foundation for Sustainable Development. The local communities are almost all too easily overlooked in more "traditional" methods of both charity and international development. FSD works 365 days a year to guarantee sustainable development stems from the ground up to provide effective, long-lasting change!

20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

18

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

21

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

21

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

22

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

19

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FSD is a fantastic organization that offers a very unique program that has a very positive impact and changes lives.

18

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was so inspired by the Foundation for Sustainable Development's work in Kenya, I was moved to help a Kenya immigrant to find temporary housing. I have never gotten involved in direct help like this before, but the work that FSD does in Africa has great impact in a country that I've always been interested in. I so admire their mission to support activities which the population can then carry on on its own. This kind of activity has a tremendous, longlasting impact on the culture and the environment.

19

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have just returned from Udaipur, India where I worked as a Pro Corp volunteer with FSD. Why did I choose to go with FSD? Because my son, fresh out of college had such s good experience through FSD. His work with them confirmed his desire to work on sustainable development through environmental/social issues, which he now continues with the Peace Corps in Panama. My experience was was excellent also. I worked with dedicated NGO workers to develop improved Financial Literacy teaching methods through the use of visual aids, role playing and games. The target students were very poor women who had taken out microfinance loans. FSD has proven itself to be a formidable partner to NGO's in Kenya, Uganda, Nicaragua, Argentina and India. The FSD staff on the ground in India had such a broad base of experience and such high levels of energy and enthusiasm. They were able to help individual volunteers deal with their own personal challenges, while achieving worthy goals with the partner NGO's. Every project that was worked on put the volunteers in contact with skilled professionals. Everyone gained from the interactions. For the volunteers the experience built awareness, developed important skills and left them feeling that they could make a difference. Does my project meet the "green" requirement. Yes, in as far as the literacy training helps the poor in whatever field of work that they take loans for. I intend to find other ways to support FSD as their work is so important

19

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I recall meeting Erin Hersey, Alumni Relations for FSD, at a networking event. I was not aware of what FSD was and had never heard of the organization before. After a brief conversation, I was so excited to learn more about this organization and asked how I could help out. It's always exciting to talk to someone so knowledgeable and passionate about their work.

18

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Too often, ideas about 'sustainable development' centre entirely around the idea of creating more efficient machines or cutting gas emissions, when it actually entails so much more. The Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) is a leader in this field because it addresses a wide range of issues from education to women's empowerment. Through efforts by professionals, the donation of grants, and the hands-on training of university students, FSD has created an expansive system that not only aids communities financially, but it also gives communities the skills and technology needed to continue to develop. While more developed nations like the United States and Europe have their own tools with which to create sustainable communities, FSD gives these same opportunities to lesser-developed countries so that sustainable development is no longer a goal for only the rich.

17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FSD creates connections between volunteers and local, community-based organizations to provide sustainable economic, environmental, and community solutions to some of the most pressing global issues. From the national office in San Francisco through their site teams in six developing countries, FSD's integrated operation is incredible. They truly acknowledge the importance of "ground-up" development efforts that focus on sustainability. This organization is a leader and its example should be followed by many others!

20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

WIDE RESCUE INITIATIVE ORGANIZATION AN NGO FROM KENYA VOLUNTEERED TO WORK WITH FSD ON ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY AND ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT PROJECTS.

17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

From the very first day i joined FSD-Jinja, i got to realize how sustainable development can lead our country to greater heights because i got to learn how one can use small funds to start up a very big project which thing made me think again about development in Uganda. The FSD interns try there best to write different projects which are later funded by FSD with some small funds and they end up being great Projects.This is so inspiring in that i felt there is need for FSD to reach out to many communities since it has the best approach to development in the developing world.Some of the projects that took my breath included,Fruit tree planting for the women living with HIV,HIV awareness and prevention, Anti-Malaria awareness and prevention,Water treatment and conservation and many other projects.