IMPACT AND SUSTAINABILITY
One of the biggest impacts of GNBI programs is the change they cause in foreign participants'
views of South Africa, which most come to see as much more heterogeneous, complex, and democratic than previously thought. This change – sometimes a sea change – in perception is good for the world, not because it plays to any political advantage, but because it is tied to a deeper understanding of the commonalities of different peoples, and to an optimism that we can work together to improve in some way the lives of those in all our communities.
Action plan projects are another good example of post-program impact. These projects are developed during most GNBI programs and implemented by participants on their return home or businesses. This means that they must be fueled by motivated and well-prepared alumni/ae. GNBI helps set this dynamic in motion by a) selecting, when charged with this task, participants with a strong desire to extend themselves to introduce positive changes into their workplaces or communities, b) providing learning experiences that recognize and expand participants' competencies and knowledge base, c) providing consistent guidance in plan development, and d) providing unflagging support and encouragement – by both GNBI staff and the given program's speakers or organizational hosts.
In addition to changed perspectives and action plan projects, the most significant follow-on activities result from the relationships built through the intensive and integrated programming that GNBI plans and implements. Group members often form friendships and strong professional bonds with one another. These connections not only afford them personal fulfillment, but also motivate, inform, and enhance future professional, business, entrepreneurs, academic, or community projects. Likewise, the substantial cross-cultural connections made between foreign participants and their South African counterparts often lead to new approaches and attitudes towards work, business and innovation.