Shaping future leaders through social enterprise

Sian Parkinson, MA International Development student in Malawi

Our flagship social enterprise for international development encourages every one of our students to make a difference.

SIIDshare is a student-run enterprise and operates as a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), embedded within the Sheffield Institute for International Development (SIID).

The unique venture allows students from across the University to help people around the world through fundraising, advocacy work, outreach activities and work placements.

Dr Deborah Sporton, a senior lecturer in the Department of Geography at the University and director of SIIDshare, said: "Our students have always engaged actively in international development through their studies across a range of departments, through student associations, the Students' Union, fundraising and advocacy work.

"SIIDshare provides a way of formalising and adding value to this activity and engaging with partners providing training, resources and practical work experience for students across the University."

SIID already works with over 40 organisations in the UK and across the world. These include many small organisations that lack capacity to undertake research, make funding applications and who require fundraising assistance.

Through the new enterprise, students can volunteer for these organisations, fundraise and undertake outreach and advocacy work in a more strategic way.

Currently, SIIDshare has over 200 students working with external organisations to share knowledge and tackle global issues and problems. Some of their activities include:

  • working with Barnsley FC Community Sports and Education Trust to establish a football development and community outreach scheme in Uganda
  • helping to improve maternal health in Nepal through social media skills
  • participating in the Red Cross Humanitarian Education programme in schools by acting as ambassadors

Sian Parkinson (pictured), who is studying for a masters in International Development, took part in a project to help establish pedal power water pumps in Malawi through SIIDshare.

She said: "My field work research role in Malawi was not only an incredible experience, but I also developed my practical skills in international development research. Being involved with partnerships through SIIDshare has also strengthened my networking skills and helped my personal development."

Dr Sporton said: "The long-term goal is for SIIDshare to become an embedded social enterprise – an enterprise that is not stand-alone but whose activities are embedded within the curriculum and various teaching activities across the University."