GESI Launches New Social Entrepreneurship Program in South Africa
by Nicole Patel, Center for Global Engagement Assistant Director
A woman in Mpumalanga, South Africa, a new GESI 2011 summer site
The Center for Global Engagement is excited to announce a partnership between its Global Engagement Summer Institute (GESI) and ThinkImpact, an international nonprofit and leader in catalyzing social enterprises in Kenya and South Africa. Two teams of four GESI students will spend the summer of 2011 at ThinkImpact’s site in rural Manyeleti, South Africa.
The GESI students will live in home stays, participate in Northwestern’s academic training, and gain Northwestern course credit, just as they do in all GESI sites. However, the South Africa site will differ from other GESI locations in that it has a distinct thematic focus on social enterprise development. Students will engage community members in order to understand their strengths and assets, and then work to discover and utilize opportunities for new social ventures.
Upon returning to the U.S., GESI students who spent the summer in South Africa will have the opportunity to apply for the ThinkImpact Fellowship, which is awarded each summer to the developers of the best business plans. ThinkImpact Fellows receive nine months of training in the U.S., seed loans for their social venture, and support for one year back in South Africa to implement their idea.
These tremendous opportunities for students to learn about and implement market-based development approaches, as well as ThinkImpact’s shared values for community-based solutions, make this partnership especially important for us. GESI applications will be accepted until March 2, 2011. Students interested in South Africa should apply earlier because space is limited. Need-based scholarships are available.
For more information, visit: www.gesi.northwestern.edu