Added: 31.01.2011 14:06
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Students - the unutilized resource

It is usually difficult to find out how one can easily help organizations and their projects in developing countries and is the money donated really going to the right place. There is not any database of existing projects and neither responsible supervisor.

Jarkko Hämäläinen wrote a challenge about the pollutions in developing countries. One of the references was Blacksmith institutes websites. I was interested in the work Blacksmith Institute does in locations throughout the developing world where human health is most affected by pollution. The major problem in developing countries is the lack of finance. Different kinds of charity foundations (not only the Blacksmith Institute) are doing important work to make living conditions better all over the world.

Also in Finland there are several projects carried out in order to improve the situation in developing countries. They can be church’s missions, Finnish Red Cross programs, civic organizations projects etc. Still there is not proper list or any place where one could inquire available jobs and projects to join in. That is why I am suggesting that Ministry of the Foreign Affairs should establish an institute which would be a kind of a head of all projects connected to developing countries. The institute would list all the projects, resources and needs and maintain a database of vacant jobs.

Most projects do not have great financial resources so hiring a fulltime workers and experts is often impossible. However every progmram’s curriculum in University of Applied Sciences includes obligatory practical training periods. Most of the students carry it out in their summer jobs and get paid for that, but some students are not so lucky because their field suffer lack of potential place of employment. If student gets a practical training place without salary, she/he gets study grant from KELA and in most of the cases her/his University pays practical training grant. Financial assistance is also possible to apply for exchange studies or practical training period abroad.

This means that students are unutilized resource which should be taken into account more frequently. For the institute, the advantage of hiring students as trainees is that it is not necessary to pay a salary. Even so the students have the motivation to learn new the methods, they have usually good language skills and situation in life is more likely that kind of that working abroad is possible than with average working population. Both sides are benefiting; the student gets valuable experience from their field for the future, study credits, experience of life and a chance to improve their English skills or even learn a new language.

If there would be a database of projects going on and institute which supervise the activities and co-operates with all University of Applied Sciences, it would pull together know-how, resources and all organizations with their aims of building a better world to live.

Your idea/solution in one sentence: I am suggesting that Ministry of the Foreign Affairs should establish an institute which would supervise all existing projects.

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