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A 2 year fellowship program for recent grads that leads to a life long commitment for social change!

Connecting the dots, an organization that provides a 2 year mentorship for recent college graduates to work in development. 1st year they will work in the bay area with top notch organizations and the second year work internationally in the field.

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4 19

Written by DeletedUser

TARGET GROUP: recent college graduates who are driven and passionate about development work. 

PROBLEM: Lack of opportunities and support for college graduates who are interested in pursuing a career in development. 

Companies like consulting and banking are ones that heavily recruit the brightest recent graduates and are successful in their efforts because there is a clear training program, financial support, and career path. Many recent graduates who are interested in a career in the social sector sometimes end up being part of the financial engine because there is a lack of opportunity to pursue careers in the social sector, or they lack of knowledge of what exists. Furthermore, great organizations that are doing social impact work only hire people who already have work experience, which leaves out college graduates who could potentially in the future become change makers and leaders in the social sector if they are exposed to the field of development early. There are many fellowships that exist, but most of them require 3-5 years of work experiences and are not accessible to recent graduates. 

Problems faced among organizations needing additional employee:
- Experience bad volunteers
- Don't have time to select great candidates
- Unable to provide financial support 


***THE IDEA ****

The goal is to give a positive and real experience in development, which will hopefully lead them to a life long commitment to the social sector, and for our fellows to become great leaders and change makers!

"Providing a  2 year Apprentice Program for recent socially driven college graduates"

  • Training (1 year) in the bay area with top notch social impact driven organizations.
  • On the ground experience (11 months): In the field in different countries.
  • Reflection: Reflection and Evaluation (1 month)


Training period (1 year) "experiential learning"

Include: (1) Curriculum: development theories and practice, Guest lectures by experts in development, (2)Work in the bay area with partnered organizations.

To establish a strong community of change makers, selected participants will live together during the 1 year training period. They will read case studies and articles related to development work (successes and failure), meet, and talk with leading professional in the development field. Participants will also be exposed to innovations and organizations in the States that are doing great social impact work.  

Participants will be exposed with problem solving methods including: human centered design, social entrepreneurship, community based participatory research, business, and design thinking.

After the 1 year training participants will be placed in different leading social impact organizations in different countries, and will be working closely with the founders of the organization, who will be their direct mentors. 


To college graduates:

  • Early exposure to development and experience a top notch non-profit both domestically and internationally.
  • Spotting early talent in order to develop long-term commitment for development work.
  • Able to interact directly with and be mentored by NGO founders who have excellent leadership.
  • Provide financial, mentorship, and community support to succeed in the field.
  • Gain skills that will prepare for work in the field of development.

To social impact organizations:
  • Bring the brightest talents to work based on the organizations' needs.
  • Bear the financial burden and selection time.
  • Create more visibility to impact driven organizations – fellows will also write their experiences for other people who are interested in participating, and for donors to understand their experiences and support future fellows and organizations. 

To donors:
1-1 model where a donor is matched with a college graduate. A donor can also become an advisor or a mentor to the college graduate who they are supporting, or be involved with the training program. 

Growing up in Thailand, I was exposed to many social issues which sparked my interest and passion to work in development. I have worked in many non-government organizations and government organizations in different geographic areas including Thailand, Burma, Bhutan, and South Africa, and in various social issues such as health, financial access, education , and human rights. I was fortunate to developed and maintained strong relationships with NGOs leaders and the communities in areas that I have worked in. I learned to undersand their needs and the challenges that are faced, working with limited resources. I want to utilize my strengths of having great friends in the developing world and a strong network of passionate social driven people and great leaders as well as share my experiences working on the field as well as at the policy level, and my expertise in community based participatory research, social entrepreneurship, business, and design thinking, to individuals who are interested in the field and don't have such experiences, don't know how to enter, or who to contact. I believe in "collective action". By connecting the brightest future leaders (recent graduates) to current leaders in development, and communities in the field, to work together, great impacts will be achieved. 

Inspired by IDEO and, Acumen Fund, Teach For America, Echoing Green, Ashoka,  Stanford University Bings Overseas' to Cape Town, Kiva, the Stanford, and courses in social entrepreneurship and innovation.

How will your concept support young people as they transition into the world of work?

1. Place recent college graduates with top notch social impact organizations (1 year domestic, and 1 year international). 2. Provide them with community ( their peers and mentors), and financial support for the entire 2 years. 3. Create a strong network and community of people who are passionate about development work. 4. The fellows will work with great leaders in the nonprofit world and receive hands on mentorship from the leaders. 5. The fellows will learn both theory and practices during their 1 st training period from professional the are experts in development and guest lectures. 6.** After the program, there will be on going support to either continue their fellowships or help them progress in their career in development, if they choose to. For example, entering echoing green if they have a good idea after their field experience, applying to acumen fund or for further social impact fellowships. * It's important to have the field experience to understand the "root of the problem" and empathize with the community that are experiences social issues that you are interested in tackling.

What online or in-person components of your concept will best support this transition?

- A rich and diverse curriculum during the training period - Mentors - Donors - Guest lecturers - Social impact driven organizations in the bay area and international. - Excellent fellow participants

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Great concept, Viria. A win-win situation for the social sector and recent grads. There are plenty of young people who are striving to create social impact and this is a great way to make a career out of it.

Organizations such as Ashoka ( can be great avenues for college graduates to get a head start.

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Dear Manish,

Thank you very much for your advice to look at Ashoka as a model. I admire Ashoka's approach to seek out social entrepreneurs and provide resources to support their efforts. I read the book "How to change the world" by David Bornstein, which documents Ashoka fellows's work their accomplishments and challenges. It's very inspiring to know about the creativity and social solutions that are being implemented all over the world. Thank you!

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