Georgetown University Graduate Students Teach and Learn from YouthActionNet® Fellows 

Basant Motawi, age 25, co-founded the Imprint Movement to combat sexual harassment in Egypt, but like many young social entrepreneurs struggles with financially sustaining her organization. With the help of a group of Georgetown University graduate students, Basant is now exploring opportunities for generating earned income through offering anti-sexual harassment courses at universities and workplaces.

Basant is one of the International Youth Foundation (IYF)’s YouthActionNet® fellows to receive consulting services from students enrolled in a course offered through the University’s Global Human Development (GHD) Program. As part of its mission to strengthen and scale up the impact of youth-led social ventures, YouthActionNet® is working with institutions of higher education around the globe, including 11 Laureate International Universities, to link students to fellows and classroom learning with hands-on experience.

“The insights and expertise provided by the Georgetown students was invaluable in helping fellows overcome obstacles and seize new opportunities for strengthening and sustaining their organizations,” said IYF President and CEO Bill Reese. “We recognize that our YouthActionNet® alumni face diverse learning needs throughout their social change journeys. Our university partners play a vital role in our continuing education efforts, with students, too, benefiting from practical experience.”

“Our relationship with IYF is a win-win all the way around,” said Holly Wise, Visiting Professor at Georgetown who leads the GHD Program. “The students benefit, fellows benefit, and ultimately those they serve benefit.”

Now in its second cycle, the Georgetown consulting practicum is carried out virtually over three months, during which fellows’ projects undergo an initial needs assessment, with follow up counseling provided in such areas as strategic planning, financial modeling, and scaling their impact. This year, all fellows reported that the input they received was useful to their work, with 83 percent of students reporting being more interested in the social entrepreneurship sector as a result of this engagement.

“The consulting experience is the type of assignment that I came to graduate school for,” said Georgetown student Sarah Gagnon. “Working with a client to understand their needs and their organization and produce a deliverable was great first-hand experience.”

“The experience provided me with opportunities to improve and expand our work,” said fellow Hamza Arsbi, founder of the Scientific Culture Society, which promotes science learning and innovation in Jordan. The Georgetown students assisted Hamza in solidifying a revenue generation plan with the goal of making his organization sustainable within two years.

Other practicum participants addressed issues ranging from promoting oral health among underprivileged populations to improving the health and nutrition of HIV-affected individuals through sustainable gardening.