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.
When I returned from my Peace Corps service I was thrilled to find Foundation for Sustainable Development - an organization that seemed to be doing truly community driven and asset-based development. I have since had the opportunity to serve as a non-profit advisor to the organization and in that role, have seen in more detail how well they manage programs. I have been impressed by the organization's collaboration with community partners which puts the highest value on local priorities, input, cultural appropriateness, mutual respect and collaboration.