My experience with this program was over-the-top of any expectations I had before participating. Not only were FSD staff supportive, experienced, knowledgable, and fun, the partner organization I was paired with really helped me integrate into the Jinja community and supported my learning experience. I think of both groups of leaders as family now! During my time in the program, I interned with Community Concerns Uganda (CCUg), working alongside two of their current micro-finance groups. These two groups showed interest in taking on a food-related, income-generating activity. Community members, CCUg Staff, and myself then took on a training project to cultivate oyster mushrooms. This experience has been the most highlighted project on my resume as an MPA student, majoring in International Development, particularly executing the work plan and budgeting aspect in a real setting.
If I have anything to share with future participants/students in this program, I would say really allow yourself to learn from the community you are immersed in and remain open-minded. Get involved in any and every community and cultural event that is presented to you. And really embrace participatory learning and sustainable development (which FSD staff does an amazing job of teaching during orientation). Your program may not be long, but the projects you help implement have the ability to have lasting impacts if you really focus on stakeholders in the community and resources available!