This program is organized by the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) in collaboration with DukeEngage.
May 19 - July 21
Supporting the efforts of grassroots NGOs in Salta focused on social, economic, health, environmental, and educational issues.
Virginia Vicente, FSD Country Director, Argentina
Jennifer Richardson, FSD International Program Coordinator, Argentina
Anna Welton, FSD International Programs Officer – Strategic Partnerships, San Francisco, California
Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) supports the efforts of more than 15 NGO partner organizations in Salta to address a wide spectrum of development issues at the grassroots level. Rather than work on aid-based, short-term projects, FSD promotes collaboration with communities to enhance the capacity of individuals and organizations to address local health, social, environmental, and economic issues for long-term development. While relying on active community participation, FSD provides multi-faceted support to our partners through three programs:
1) Sustainable Development Training for Interns and Volunteers—Students and professionals receive intensive education and training in grassroots sustainable development while supporting initiatives led by our partner NGOs;
2) Capacity Building— On-site workshops led by FSD Field-Staff, Interns, and Volunteers train our NGO partners to create economically and environmentally sustainable programs through community assessments, grant proposal development, project design and management, financial management, and monitoring and evaluation. Our asset-based approach to capacity building leverages local resources before looking to external inputs, emphasizes potentials rather than problems, and favors skill building over large financial awards;
3) Grantmaking—Our grant fund supports sustainable development projects led by our NGO partners.
DukeEngage students in Salta, Argentina will:
* Undergo one week of orientation led by the FSD site team and community leaders. During this first week, students will learn about safety, health, and best practices for community engagement, and also explore local development issues, belief systems, and cultural perspectives.
* Receive training throughout the program’s duration in skills essential to sustainable development, such as: community asset mapping, collaborative project design and management, grant writing, and monitoring and evaluation.
* Work for an NGO partner side-by-side with community members (40-hour work week) focused on one or more of the following sectors: gender equity, human rights and public policy, education, youth development, microfinance, micro-enterprise, child and maternal health, disease treatment and prevention, environmental sustainability, and appropriate technology.
* Gain grant proposal writing and project management experience through applying new skills acquired during training to the design and implementation of a community-driven development project.
* Participate in additional activities throughout the program, including discussion groups, reflection activities, cultural excursions, midterm retreat, and final debriefing.
* Access the FSD Alumni Network upon return to connect with like-minded individuals who help one another reach their academic and professional goals through networking and regional events. FSD Alumni have won internationally renowned scholarships, studied at prestigious graduate schools, worked for prominent international development institutions, and have even started their own organizations.
Students in Argentina will be individually placed with an NGO partner focused on one or more of the following sectors: gender equity, human rights and public policy, education, youth development, microfinance, micro-enterprise, child and maternal health, environmental sustainability, and appropriate technology. Students will work with partner organizations to design and implement projects that sustainably address local needs and activate community involvement. Actual project activities will depend on the student’s skills and the priorities and needs of the NGO and community. Recently students in Argentina have:
* Worked with marginalized youth to receive microloans and form a microenterprises cooperative, first providing vocational skills training and then a series of business development, financial literacy, and professional communication workshops to enhance the cooperative’s capacity to generate income and eventually help other youth replicate their success.
* Facilitated human rights workshops in schools and community centers; collaborated with local media to promote human rights curriculum in all Argentine learning institutions, as well as increased access to psychological counseling for families affected by human rights abuses during the dictatorship.
* Designed public health campaigns in partnership with local clinics aimed at increasing nutrition and sanitation amongst mothers and children living in rural and urban low-income neighborhoods; collaborated on the design and implementation of a campaign aimed at getting rural communities tested for diabetes and spreading awareness about cost-effective prevention and treatment services.
* Helped to integrate physical education, art, dance, and music classes into after school programs targeting vulnerable children and youth; designed recruitment campaigns that drew volunteers to serve as adult mentors for students from resource-poor communities.
* Worked with an environmental agency on a variety of initiatives. Research recycling options, with the goal of starting a recycling program in the city. Started a community garden with a youth group to promote conservation and youth leadership and supported environmental education workshops for local youth.
* Supported a gambling awareness campaign, and related treatment programs. Connected local staff with recent research in this field. Helped to facilitate workshops for youth about the dangers of gambling and addiction to gaming.
* Worked in human rights campaigns, against child labor. Helped to organize and attended workshops for parents whose children work in (or are at risk of working in) the tobacco fields of Salta Province. Worked to strengthen Corporate Social Responsibilit, to fund anti-human trafficking initiatives.
Please note that students in Argentina have contributed to a wide range of development initiatives and the examples listed above are only a few recent examples.
Required Experience and Skills: Students must have a strong desire to work with non-profit organizations and be interested in learning about the social sector. Students must be open-minded to working in a cultural context different from their own. Students are expected to show flexibility, patience, and dedication to their NGO. Work experience with non-profits and travel experience in Latin America is preferred.
Language Requirements: Intermediate to strong Spanish speaking and writing skills. You will be expected to communicate in Spanish with your host organization and host family. Many FSD partners and host families have little or no knowledge of English so you must be comfortable conversing in Spanish.
Reflection Sessions: FSD staff will lead regular reflection sessions in which you’ll be expected to participate. More details will be shared with students once they arrive on site.
Neighborhood: DukeEngage students will work with FSD at its Salta site, located within the Salta Province in Northwestern Argentina. The city of Salta (pop. 600,000) comprises colonial architecture and beautiful mountain scenery. Nicknamed "Salta la Linda", Salta may be the most Spanish-looking city in Argentina. The local culture is a blend of Spanish and Mestizo traditions, lending the city a distinctive identity, somewhat different from the more European-like metropolises in the Buenos Aires Province. Agriculture and its derived industries are an important activity in the Salta province, adding over 10% to local output. Tobacco, sugar cane, grapevines, beans, potatoes and cotton comprise the major exports from the area. Manufacturing also plays a significant role in the economy. Manufactured goods include: cheese; bee byproducts; perlitas, noyx marble, and limestones from mining; and wine. FSD partners in Salta are community based organizations with strong commitment and sound experience in addressing the wide range of issues related to sustainable development. In particular, they focus on the issues of child labor during the tobacco harvest, lack of employment opportunities and consequent migration to the city, youth and education, nutrition, domestic violence, and poor infrastructure.
Housing and Accommodations: Students will live with FSD host families, which is one of the most rewarding, challenging, and meaningful experiences during a student’s time in Argentina. The families who host FSD participants are carefully selected and offer their homes out of a genuine sense of generosity and the wish to learn about another culture. Living accommodations range depending on each host family‘s specific situation and the neighborhood where they live, but most are comfortable by U.S. standards. Homestays generally have hot, running water and electricity, although these services are occasionally interrupted for short periods of time. Families tend to be middle class, and family members are usually professionals. There is generally no heating in the houses, and it can be cold in the winter (US summer months) so students should bring warm clothes!
Meals: Host families provide students with three meals per day.
Communication: The FSD Site Team will provide each student with a cell phone. Internet cafes are also accessible.
Transportation: Students will mostly ride in busses and taxis.
Volunteer Placement Logistics: The FSD Site Teams will determine placements based on how student interests and skill sets align with community needs and partner priorities.
Opportunities for Autonomy / Private Space: Each student will be given a private room within the family home as well as a set of keys to the house so they are free to come and go as needed and when appropriate. Students are encouraged to spend the majority of their time with their community partners and host families to truly integrate into the local culture and build meaningful relationships that will last long past the students’ time in-country.