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Duncan Chaplin

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2 reviews

Review for Foundation for Sustainable Development, Oakland, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I have volunteered with the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) for over a decade, helped to start their programs at 3 different sites (2 in Kenya and 1 in Tanzania) and had the opportunity to visit the 2 sites in India. Throughout I have been extremely impressed with the quality of the staff of FSD and the local community based organizations (CBOs) that they partner with. The work they do is extremely important and covers a wide range of key issues including HIV awareness, microfinance, youth development, women's empowerment, and the environment. FSD also runs a small competitive grants program for the local CBOs. As part of this process FSD volunteers work with the local CBOs to write strong proposals that are then reviewed by FSD staff to choose winners. This process helps to build the writing, planning, and organizational skills of these CBOs. Thus, the benefits provided go far beyond the dollars that the winners receive. In sum, I believe FSD is helping to promote the sustainability of local CBOs in developing countries and providing volunteers with a great opportunity to be part of that process.

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How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

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Role:  Board Member

Review for Foundation for Sustainable Development, Oakland, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I joined the board of FSD because I was very impressed with the mission- to promote sustainable development in the third world through a structured and well thought through internship experience. During my fist visit to the FSD programs in Mombasa, Kenya I visited the Mwalungage Elephant Sanctuary. This sanctuary epitomizes what is great about FSD--working with local people in innovative ways to both promote the environment and develop a sustainable lifestyle. This sanctuary was created when a number of wealthy Kenyans joined together with some small farmers. The small farmers benefited because the sanctuary helped to keep the elephants off of their land--in addition, they were given some of the proceeds of the tourist trade generated by the sanctuary. And of course the elephants benefited as well. This is only one small step and Kenya will need far more larger scale enterprises to truly develop economically and become self-sufficient--but by helping to participate in projects like this one FSD volunteers learn about the development process and about how they can help better promote sustainable development in the future.

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

great discussions about sustainable development I've had with past interns.

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

develop a more wholistic and transparent process of monitoring and evaluating the efficacy of the local organizations it supports, looking at all of their activities and not just those funded directly by FSD and making the results easily accessible to outsiders.

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

thinking through how to make sustainable development a reality in a way that merges ideas from around the globe.

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

inspiring, hard working, and great fun.

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

expand to far more sites and provide more direct aid to help promote locally driven sustainable development efforts.

Ways to make it better...

I had more time to learn more about what FSD is doing locally and how we in the U.S. can support their work more effectively.

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

to ensure that it's oversight and support roles work well together.

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

I plan to continue volunteering with FSD for many many years.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


Role:  Board Member & I helped to start the programs in Tanzania and Kenya, have held numerous fundraisers (including four at the Kenyan Embassy in Washington, DC) and have been an active board member since 2001.