“Working with a leading NGO really helped me adapt to some challenging conditions. Until you get on the ground and see what life is like without clean and accessible drinking water, you can’t full understand how it impacts all areas of your life. IGS set me up with a project to help villagers create a purification system and new wells.”
A recent IGS student traveled to Nepal to assist on a water purification project outside the Katmandu Valley. She worked with a local NGO to set up a filtration system and improve the transport of water throughout the village. Many waterborne illnesses were suffered and the new well and filtration helped create a happier and healthier community.
The more hours used to gather clean water, the less time a community has to educate its young people and have productive agriculture and businesses.
In Hawaii, our student assisted on a community taro farm. Taro is an ancient root crop and the garden serves as a hub to bring people together and feed families. Our intern worked helped educated young visitors on how to plant and nurture the taro. They organized events and consulted experts in the field to publicize the latest techniques used to curb pesticides, recycle water, advance harvest techniques, and nurture new crops.
In Thailand, IGS interns have worked to set up elementary schools in the poorest region of the country. Others worked with a Buddhist organization aimed at preserving native forests and to set up retreat centers for the monks.
Community development is roughly defined as: “A set of values and practices which plays a special role in overcoming poverty and disadvantage, knitting society together at the grass roots level and deepening democracy.”
Community development involves changing the relationships between ordinary people and people in positions of power, so that everyone can take part in the issues that affect their lives. It starts from the principle that within any community there is a wealth of knowledge and experience which, if used in creative ways, can be channeled into collective action to achieve the communities’ desired goals.