Group Service Learning 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 Jinja-Uganda provides intensive coordination both before and during the program. For GSLTs, project design begins before the group arrives in country. The FSD Jinja-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 GSLT program 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.
What Kind of Groups participate in GSLT?
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 Learning 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 arrival on the program
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 Learning 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.