GROUP ENGAGE OVERVIEW
Group Engage is a program that allows students and young professionals to work in direct collaboration with their peers on pre-defined, community-driven projects. Like our International Development Internships, these groups gain intensive training in sustainable development and project design. Project interests are defined by the group and matched to community needs, fostering a chance to produce long-lasting community impact.
WHO PARTICIPATES IN GROUP ENGAGE?
Group Engage is for those who wish to work with one of FSD Uganda’s partner community organizations alongside a small group of their peers. With this model, groups of 3-5 combine their talents, skills and ideas to address community needs with their local colleagues. These are often groups of students, colleagues or friends who want to learn and contribute at one organization. Universities often choose this model to break students up into cohorts that promote group work, collaborative problem-solving, leadership, and cross-cultural communication skills. Group engage participants have an option to apply for existing community based projects from either of the following categories: community based development projects or community based research projects.
For 4 weeks or more, groups of 3-5 will be placed with an FSD partner community organization according to the interests and skills of the group. Groups are encouraged to apply and check FSD’s website to see if there are opportunities listed already that interest the group. If not, FSD has more opportunities not listed and will provide more options after the group members apply and identifies their topics and locations of interest. Each group member will fill out an individual application, yet they will ultimately be placed with one partner community organization. Therefore, it’s important for groups to discuss program preferences, such as location and development issue, prior to applying.
Upon arrival, Group Engage participants will receive an orientation with other FSD participants to ensure a smooth transition into the community and to build relationships among their fellow FSD participants. Groups are strongly encouraged to keep communication strong between each other, the staff team, and local colleagues. While it can be tempting to bond with one another, it’s most important to build trust and relationships with the local colleagues. The group will work to delegate tasks and work with local colleagues to assess the needs of the community. Observation and listening to community members is key before implementing a project. After this initial phase to better understand the community, group members will work with their organization staff to establish a project plan and carry out their work during the remainder of their time.