Frequently Asked Questions

What is Future Generations? Future Generations is an international 501(c)3 non-profit civil society organization founded in the United States in 1992. In 2003, the organization founded a separate Graduate School.

What is the purpose of Future Generations? Future Generations advances community-based solutions for two of the greatest challenges facing international development and conservation: 1) how to sustain local successes over time, and 2) how to scale-up local successes to have regional and national level impact.

What is it that you actually do? Future Generations uses action, research, and education to extend innovations in community change and conservation.

Action: We provide training and build the capacity of communities and governments to shape sustainable futures, meeting especially the needs of children, women, the environment, and the poor. This work has led to four global demonstrations of community change in Afghanistan, China, India, and Peru.

Research: We research the effectiveness of community-based approaches to such issues as peacebuilding, conservation, and child health.

Education: Our Graduate School offers a Master’s Degree in Applied Community Change with concentrations in Conservation and Peacebuilding for community leaders worldwide. Our Class of 2013 is funded by noted philanthropist, Kathryn W. Davis.

Why does Future Generations focus on a Process of Community Change? At the behest Jim Grant of UNICEF in 1992, Future Generations led two task forces to review global successes in international development. Key lessons and principles emerged that suggest while there is no universal solution to global challenges, there is a universal process that can be used by communities in diverse settings worldwide. Future Generations named this process Seed-Scale (growing the seeds of human energy into the scale of societal change) and continues to refine it through ongoing implementation and research.

I don’t understand, you focus on community change but also work with national governments? If communities could change by themselves, they would have done so a long time ago. While communities must lead in the process of shaping their own futures, they need the enabling support (financing, policies, training) of their governments. Governments also provide essential support for extending local successes to the regional and national level. They can support training and study tours to help communities learn from one another; they can help communities take ideas that work and adapt them to their own local conditions.

Where do you work? Afghanistan, China, Haiti, India, Peru, and West Virginia

Why are your country programs so different? Each country program uses a community-based process to address a unique set of priorities and opportunities.

  • Afghanistan demonstrates how to strengthen local governance for peace and development in a highly insecure region.
  • Peru demonstrates how to engage communities and improve the quality of the existing national health care system.
  • China demonstrates how to create enabling government support for a national environmental youth movement (the Green Long March) as well as a Tibet-wide program for integrating community development with nature conservation.
  • India demonstrates how to mobilize more than 100 groups of indigenous women for integrated health, development, and nature conservation across the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • West Virginia demonstrates how to expand educational and employment options for people living in rural communities through broadband and computer training programs.  
  • Haiti demonstrates how to build the capacity and harness the energies of people involved in a youth-led movement, Konbit Soley Leve, in the urban slum of Cite Soleil. 

Why do you work only in six countries? Why don’t you work in Africa? In 2003, Future Generations made the strategic decision not to expand its work through direct country operations but to expand learning instead through a Master’s Degree Program in Applied Community Change with concentrations in Conservation and Peacebuilding.  Offered through the Future Generations Graduate School, this Master’s Degree program has trained students and alumni from 38 countries, including Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Namibia, and Tanzania.

Where are the offices of Future Generations located? Future Generations and the Future Generations Graduate School are located in rural West Virginia. The organization partners with local affiliate organizations, which have offices based in Kabul, Afghanistan; Beijing, China; Lima, Peru; and Arunachal Pradesh, New Delhi in India, and Cite Soleil, Haiti.

What is Future Generations Canada? Future Generations Trustee Emeritus, the Honorable Flora MacDonald of Canada, founded Future Generations Canada as an independent partner organization to encourage the Canadian public to support the efforts of Future Generations in Afghanistan and countries worldwide.

How can I enroll in the Master’s Degree program started by your organization and are there scholarship funds available? The next conservation class begins January 2015. To enroll, fill out the Initial Contact Form. The organization works with each student to identify available scholarship funding. Getting your application in early will help ensure adequate time to identify potential scholarship support. Federal student aid is an available option for students in the United States. In addition, the Graduate School has some scholarship funds available for students of Tibetan ethnicity.

How is Future Generations financed? Future Generations receives its largest support from private philanthropists. Thank you! Gifts from individuals are often unrestricted and allow the organization to respond more effectively and strategically to community priorities. In addition, the organization receives significant contributions from private foundations, government agencies, and corporations.

Can I volunteer with Future Generations in an overseas setting? Future Generations focus is to build the capacity of communities to meet their own local priorities. This means that we already work with hundreds of local community volunteers and do not have an active program to accommodate international volunteers.

How is the success of Future Generations measured? Future Generations and the Future Generations Graduate School both have a number of ongoing research programs in the areas of health, conservation, and peacebuilding. Within its country programs, the organization typically measures successes not by traditional outputs (numbers of people trained or the numbers of wells and springs constructed, etc.,) but by changes in people’s behaviors. Most recently, Future Generations sent an independent evaluation team from Johns Hopkins University to review impact of an approach to improve child health in two remote valleys of Afghanistan. The review showed a 46% decline in child mortality as a result of the actions of Community Health Workers and most especially Women’s Action Groups. In addition, the organization continues to identify simple ‘key indicators’ that can be used by communities themselves to measure and respond to their progress.

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