GROUP SERVICE TRIP (GST) OVERVIEW

Group Service Trip program brings groups together to collaborate with community development organizations to address pressing development issues. Groups are highly immersed in the culture as they work alongside local leaders and live with host-families.

It is structured as short-term, high impact result oriented program. In order to ensure a productive and mutually beneficial experience, FSD Uganda provides intensive coordination both before and during the program. For GSTs, project design begins before the group arrives in country. The FSD Uganda staff team collaborates with the organization to develop a project that can benefit from the skills and interests of the group. The itinerary and logistics are arranged and agreed upon prior to the group’s arrival with input from community members and group participants. At the same time, it includes a certain amount of flexibility to allow for creative problem solving and skills application that is unique to each group. Participants on the GST program an option to apply for existing community based projects from either of the following categories:  community based development projects   or  community based research projects. 

WHAT KIND OF GROUPS PARTICIPATE IN GST?

Group Service Trip opportunities are a customizable option for student-led alternative breaks, faculty-led initiatives, corporate employee service initiatives or even groups of friends and families. We recommend groups of six or more in order to have an effective impact in a short amount of time. The program is customized for each group so it varies in length, size, and development issue. This works to combine outside ideas and skills of the group with local knowledge and resources from the community. For smaller groups who want to spend at least 4 weeks in country, check out our Group Engage program 

TIMEFRAME

For 1 to 4 weeks, groups of 6 or more work with a community development organization to advance a local priority at one of FSD’s partner community organizations. The focus and structure of a Group Service Trip is customized for each group so they vary in length, dates, size, and subject area.

After submitting an application, FSD will coordinate with the group leader and the host-organization to design a program that will have a high impact on both the community and the participants. Because the program is  structured as short-term, high impact, FSD provides intensive preparation and in-country coordination to ensure a productive and mutually beneficial experience for all, establishing the itinerary and logistics in advance. FSD will also facilitate 1-2 preparation calls with the group. We also strongly encourage group leaders to organize their own meetings to educate themselves on the country, culture and subject matter, prepare their logistics and travel, and develop positive group dynamics early on.

Upon group arrival, everyone participates in an in-country orientation led by FSD's local site team to review health and safety, cultural integration, sustainable development principles, and the program details. The group travels as a group to their host-organization and host-families, and are supported by the staff team as they implement their work. These programs are dynamic and also include some cultural and tourist activities (though not a main focus of the program) to provide a break from the project work and broaden the participants’ perspective and experience of the country.

Group Service Trip projects end with presentations and debriefs of their program with the community to both express appreciation and establish a sustainability plan with their local colleagues and community members.

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About FSD

FSD provides opportunities for students and professionals to engage in structured community development work. The programs are designed to help build careers while having lasting impact on the people in the community which is served

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