NGO Spotlight: In Defense of Animals – Africa

In Cameroon, habitat destruction and the illegal commercial ape meat trade are pushing chimpanzees towards extinction.

image-1.doHaving spent her whole life committed to working with animals, veterinarian Dr. Sheri Speede founded In Defense of Animals – Africa (IDA-Africa) to make sure endangered chimpanzees are able to thrive in their natural habitat. IDA-Africa partners with Dr. Speede’s Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center and the government of Cameroon to rehabilitate orphaned chimpanzees and enact policy changes to protect these magnificent animals.

Within the Mbargue Forest of Cameroon, IDA-Africa houses chimpanzees that are victims of illegal trafficking and rehabilitates them to return to the wild and is working to bring eco-guards to protect chimpanzees from future abuse.

IDA-Africa also strives to create meaningful and lasting change through the promotion

image.doand support of law enforcement, habitat protection and education. They work closely with the locals of Cameroon to foster a healthy and connected community that benefits both the residents and the chimpanzees. IDA-Africa employs local residents, purchases local fruits and vegetables to support a village market economy and funds a sustainable agriculture project that improves the diet of both local children and chimpanzees. Additionally, they sponsor education programs for village farmers to learn about sustainable agriculture and agro-forestry and others for children to learn about chimpanzees and why they need protection.

To learn more about opportunities to partner with In Defense of Animals – Africa and adopt an orphaned chimpanzee, volunteer in a chimpanzee sanctuary or fund a youth education project, look for them on UniversalGiving.

 

NGO Spotlight: Global Partners for Development

Global Partners: Community-Driven Development for Education

Global Partners for Development has relentlessly pursued long-term solutions to the needs facing East African communities for over 35 years. Although they have always practiced community-driven development, Global Partners has recently incorporated a more school-centric model. When they decided to try something new by adjusting their model of work, they knew they had to be committed to getting it right. Global Partners identifies schools with exceptionally low education indicators and partners with local communities to increase civic engagement, bolster local capacity for project management, and invest in community-driven projects at their schools.

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Why the change? In short, while Global Partners was proud of their long history and the work they’ve done throughout the years, they face the challenge of impacting even more disenfranchised communities in the future. More than 4.5 million children in East Africa remain out of school. Children from poor households are less likely to have access to education than those from rich households, and females from rural areas are often the worst off of all. Waterborne diseases remain rampant in East Africa and cause chronic illness and death, especially among young children. Global Partners believes their new school-centric model will better enable them to implement scalable projects and achieve sustainable results in a larger number of communities.

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Why schools? Quality education impacts every development outcome for generations. Research has proven that an educated child, and especially an educated girl, will have a smaller, healthier family with an improved livelihood. The hope is that by partnering directly with schools and communities and engaging and training them to work together, Global Partners will improve the greater communities’ perception of the importance of education and further associate education with village and family development.

Why engage the community? Engaged citizens are more confident in their ability to participate in community development, and community engagement fosters local ownership. Local ownership helps ensure the long-term sustainability of development projects.

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What’s next? Based on indicators relatedto poverty and education, Global Partners has concluded that the Singida Region of Tanzania is in critical need of support for its public schools. Learn more about the specific plans Global Partners for Development has for Singida as well as other opportunities, such as donating to secondary school scholarships for girls in Uganda, on the UniversalGiving website. 

Addressing Global Fuel Poverty and Access Issues

This is a guest blog by Sally James; a mother and a world traveler!

One third of the world’s population lacks electricity and does not have access to either a gas or electricity supply that is sufficient to power their home.  Particularly, Africa is experiencing a significant energy crisis that seldom makes the headlines in the mainstream media, but has devastating consequences for individuals that are living with these issues.

Exploring Power Shortages

621m Africans, equivalent to two-thirds of the continent’s entire population, live their daily lives without access to electricity.  93 million Nigerians currently depend on firewood and charcoal for heat and light, despite the fact that Nigeria is one of the world’s biggest oil exporters, instead of turning domestic oil into a usable energy source for their own population.

Human rights violations from a lack of electricity are obvious, but less obvious consequences are significant economic burdens, continuing to keep much of the continent in financial poverty.  As a result, investment opportunities are undermined by unreliable electricity access and economic growth is stifled without access to basis equipment and tools they need.

To add insult to injury, education levels of children across the continent are falling without adequate light to study, and health clinics are unable to keep live vaccination cooled and refrigerated.

Therefore, lack of electricity also means a lack of health. The toxic fumes that are released by burning firewood and dung (the only affordable source of warmth for many Africans) kills approximately 600,000 people a year – half of whom are children.

The problem doesn’t end in Africa

A lack of access to gas, electricity, or another affordable source of fuel is not just a problem that affects developing countries. Large proportions of the Indian population also struggle to access a reliable fuel supply, while the UK reports more than 2.3 million households experiencing some form of fuel poverty.

According to the UK’s Warm Home and Energy Conservation Act, ‘Fuel Poverty’ is defined as when: “a person is living on a lower income in a home which cannot be kept warm at reasonable cost.”  In other words, individuals might have access to a source of energy, but the tariff they are offered is so prohibitively expensive they cannot afford it. As a result, their power source is shut off and rendered useless.

Conditions don’t improve significantly in the US, despite the World Bank reporting that the States have “100% access to electricity.”  The financial prohibitions to electricity access are similar in America as they are in much of Europe, and ‘fuel poverty’ is a significant issue that makes access difficult for many.

Modest Steps to Change

Many countries have signed up to a targeted goal of global electricity for all by 2030, but upon looking at current rates of access growth, it seems very unlikely that that target will be met. The sheer scale of the global energy deficit, particularly in Africa, means that it can be difficult for authorities to know where to start to tackle the issue.  As a result, widespread confusion on national power issues has allowed some African government officials to take advantage of ignorance by committing internal theft.  The US’ $120m went missing from the Tanzanian state power utility last year, without answers.

While the undetected theft was transferred through a complex web of off shore companies, millions were denied power access.

In conclusion, electricity access can and should be available to all.  Sub-Saharan Africa has some of the world’s most abundant and least exploited renewable energy sources, (especially solar power), but the government lacks the desire and incentives to uncover renewable energy benefits to increase public access.

 

Addressing Global Fuel Poverty and Access Issues

This is a guest blog by Sally James; a mother and a world traveler!

One third of the world’s population lacks electricity and does not have access to either a gas or electricity supply that is sufficient to power their home.  Particularly, Africa is experiencing a significant energy crisis that seldom makes the headlines in the mainstream media, but has devastating consequences for individuals that are living with these issues.

Exploring Power Shortages

621m Africans, equivalent to two-thirds of the continent’s entire population, live their daily lives without access to electricity.  93 million Nigerians currently depend on firewood and charcoal for heat and light, despite the fact that Nigeria is one of the world’s biggest oil exporters, instead of turning domestic oil into a usable energy source for their own population.

Human rights violations from a lack of electricity are obvious, but less obvious consequences are significant economic burdens, continuing to keep much of the continent in financial poverty.  As a result, investment opportunities are undermined by unreliable electricity access and economic growth is stifled without access to basis equipment and tools they need.

To add insult to injury, education levels of children across the continent are falling without adequate light to study, and health clinics are unable to keep live vaccination cooled and refrigerated.

Therefore, lack of electricity also means a lack of health. The toxic fumes that are released by burning firewood and dung (the only affordable source of warmth for many Africans) kills approximately 600,000 people a year – half of whom are children.

The problem doesn’t end in Africa

A lack of access to gas, electricity, or another affordable source of fuel is not just a problem that affects developing countries. Large proportions of the Indian population also struggle to access a reliable fuel supply, while the UK reports more than 2.3 million households experiencing some form of fuel poverty.

According to the UK’s Warm Home and Energy Conservation Act, ‘Fuel Poverty’ is defined as when: “a person is living on a lower income in a home which cannot be kept warm at reasonable cost.”  In other words, individuals might have access to a source of energy, but the tariff they are offered is so prohibitively expensive they cannot afford it. As a result, their power source is shut off and rendered useless.

Conditions don’t improve significantly in the US, despite the World Bank reporting that the States have “100% access to electricity.”  The financial prohibitions to electricity access are similar in America as they are in much of Europe, and ‘fuel poverty’ is a significant issue that makes access difficult for many.

Modest Steps to Change

Many countries have signed up to a targeted goal of global electricity for all by 2030, but upon looking at current rates of access growth, it seems very unlikely that that target will be met. The sheer scale of the global energy deficit, particularly in Africa, means that it can be difficult for authorities to know where to start to tackle the issue.  As a result, widespread confusion on national power issues has allowed some African government officials to take advantage of ignorance by committing internal theft.  The US’ $120m went missing from the Tanzanian state power utility last year, without answers.

While the undetected theft was transferred through a complex web of off shore companies, millions were denied power access.

In conclusion, electricity access can and should be available to all.  Sub-Saharan Africa has some of the world’s most abundant and least exploited renewable energy sources, (especially solar power), but the government lacks the desire and incentives to uncover renewable energy benefits to increase public access.

 

Famine in South Sudan: Take Action with Mercy Corps

Four months ago, famine was officially declared in South Sudan, the youngest country in the world. Since then, thousands of families have been living day-by-day, mothers have skipped multiple meals a day to feed their hungry children, and millions of individuals have only eaten three or four times a week in to conserve their shortening food supply. 42% of the country’s population does not know where their next meal is coming from.

However, what is most surprising, and even disturbing, about this famine is that it is a man-made crisis. Typically, famines are caused by uncontrollable factors, such as unfavorable weather or crop failure. However, the extreme food shortages occurring today in countries such as South Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria and Somalia are entirely attributed to war and continuing conflict, putting 20 million lives at risk of starvation and death. As VP of humanitarian leadership and response for Mercy Corps states, “It’s entirely a man-made construct right now, and that means we have it within our power to stop that. Wars are hard to stop; famines are not.”

Organizations such as Mercy Corps serve as a platform for immediate change when these types of global disasters and emergencies occur. Over the past 20 years, Mercy Corps has directly responded to every single global crisis. They have provided basic necessities such as food and water, as well as delivered assistance in the form of cash to families in need. These families then have the agency to purchase what they need most which stimulates their local economies and communities. This is a perfect example of Mercy Corp’s deeply-held belief and commitment to grassroots change. Mercy Corps hopes to mitigate similar situations from occurring in the future, as well as empower those who live in these affected areas. Mercy Corps has helped 220 million people in 122 countries build better futures for themselves, their families and their communities.

As these conflicts in South Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria and Somalia inevitably continue, the number of starving families and individuals increases. It is imperative that we take action and assist those in need of basic food and water resources. Here are several ways you can help and make a difference today!

  1. Support global emergency response efforts by donating here
  2. Give to Mercy Corp’s Humanitarian Response Fund in order to directly assist families suffering from famine
  3. Sign Mercy Corps’ petition to reject detrimental federal cuts on the International Aid budget

 

NGO Spotlight: Develop Africa Small Business

In many parts of Africa people are living on around a dollar a day. Living at this type of poverty level makes it difficult to survive.  For a small business to stay afloat, they often need some sort of financial aid. However, for people living in Africa it can be extremely difficult to secure a loan because they often lack collateral.

Microfinance can help these individuals who cannot secure a loan. Microfinance is providing loans to impoverished and disadvantaged individuals. A typical microfinance loan is less than 200 dollars. These loans are often used to purchase supplies or ingredients needed to make a finished product to sell to the customer. It turns out that millions of people worldwide are positively affected by microfinance.

Develop Africa is giving out interest-free loans with the help of your donation. They call these loans booster shots because they will help a small business expand. In addition, the NGO will provide business training to these individuals. Develop Africa’s goal is to make individuals self-sufficient. They aim to specifically help talented youth and women entrepreneurs.

Develop Africa is, in turn, helping to not only alleviate poverty but to help stop the poverty cycle. This program empowers entrepreneurs to provide for themselves in the best way they see fit. If you want to give back, visit UniversalGiving!

Fight malaria with tech

Over the last five years, global cases of malaria dropped by 21%, but there is still a lot of work to do. About 429,000 people lost their lives to malaria in 2015, and 90% of those malaria deaths were in sub-image (3)Saharan Africa. This region is disproportionately affected by malaria and One Mobile Projector per Trainer (OMPT) has created an innovative strategy for fighting the disease Gambia.

OMPT teaches each community how to organize and spread valuable knowledge about malaria and prevention through video technology. Cameras, projectors and other important equipment are provided. OMPT runs 4-day video education workshops to teach the local organizations and community members how to use this equipment. Through the use of video technology, rural communities in Gambia can mobilize and share innovative information.

OMPT has deployed 1,989 projectors to underserved communities, giving them access to knowledge about malaria that is life-saving.

Donate to OMPT’s malaria prevention projects here.