GESI's progam design and objectives were established through thoughtful discussion and joint planning with our original partner organizations. As the program has expanded to include additional community partners, we have maintained the same approach to carefully integrate student work to support community-driven initiatives. The GESI team at Northwestern collaborates closely with in-country partners who possess local expertise and relationships with grassroots efforts and organizations in communities where students will live and work. Learn more about our partners in each of our locations, and about the philosophies behind their work.


Countries of partnership: Ghana

Amizade, GESI’s newest partner, partners with local NGO Peace Humanity International (PHI) and local leadership in the rural village of Jukwa, Ghana. Together, they are committed to creating global learning and development opportunities for the region. Amizade, along with PHI, organizes a variety of projects, including the construction of primary or secondary schools, roads, and hospitals, as well as reforestation, literacy projects, community development, oil palm production, and AIDS awareness campaigns.

In Ghana, GESI students will learn about and be part of community organizing--gaining important leadership and management skills--and contribute to a reforestation campaign aimed at restoring the Sweet River.

Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD)

Countries of partnership: Bolivia and Uganda

The Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization created to offer capacity building and funding to grassroots community-based organizations. Each community-based organization where GESI student work addresses one or more of the following development areas:

  • Microfinance/Microenterprise
  • Youth and Education
  • Environment
  • Health
  • Community Development
  • Women’s Empowerment
  • Human Rights.

Institute for Central American Development Studies (ICADS)

Countries of partnership: Costa Rica

The Institute for Central American Development Studies (ICADS) is a center for study, research, and analysis of Central American social and environmental issues, including economic development, politics, environmental studies, sustainable development, public health, women’s issues, education, human rights, and conservation.

Kaya Responsible Travel

Countries of partnership: Vietnam

Kaya Responsible Travel is an organization that centers its work around ethical global engagement. Kaya’s mission is to promote sustainable social, environmental and economic development, empower communities, and cultivate educated, compassionate global citizens through responsible travel. As a social enterprise committed to ethical volunteering, Kaya’s project model shapes initiatives that ensure the maximum benefit to both participants and local communities with a focus on building mutual learning and understanding through cooperative development.

Social Entrepreneur Corps (SEC)

Countries of partnership: Guatemala

Social Entrepreneur Corps (SEC) is a social enterprise that leads innovative and dynamic international internship programs. GESI students work in the field supporting the creation, development, growth and impact of social innovations focused on intelligently and sustainably alleviating poverty. Students enhance their Spanish language skills by training local entrepreneurs to provide Guatemalan communities access to technologies, products, and services to improve health and quality of life.