My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Foundation for Sustainable Development, Oakland, CA, USA
FSD has been recognized as a model in books, case studies, and seminars for how to help students and volunteers work in an ethical way in developing countries. However, my expertise is not in international exchange and learning but rather in international development. As a development professional what I really appreciate about this organization is the way that it builds community members' self confidence and capabilities to change their own circumstances and make the community what they want it to be. In other words, it works deliberately to break down attitudes that someone from the outside needs to bring solutions and instead builds up the community to bring their own solutions. When the community is able to mobilize and build its own resources, even small contributions of time and money can have a big impact. Coming back to the international exchange angle, I think it is fantastic that students and would-be donors get to be a part of that process and gain appreciation of the capabilities of local people. It is my hope that those who have experienced the FSD model as students will use that perspective to come up with new approaches to supporting community development.