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. 

Five ways to give when you’re short on money

The economy can be a roller coaster, and with things like “Brexit” and climate change, the world can feel as if it is in turmoil. On top of that you’re worried about job security or paying back student loans, and giving seems like a secondary priority.

Don’t lose heart. Giving back and making a difference don’t have to break the bank. Here are some low-cost and meaningful ways to give.

1. Cultivate an attitude of abundance

Let’s start with our minds. Be courageous and realize that you have more than you think. If you have a bed, shelter, clothing, a job, and family or friends, then you are in a very “wealthy” state.

Go over the positives in your life. Write down heartfelt quotes that inspire you. As you fill yourself up with this goodness, you will be able to give to others.

2. Pick up the phone

Instead of being constantly worried about where the world is going, why not pick up the phone and find out how someone else is doing?

Calling someone “for no reason” is an important opportunity to show them that you are thinking of them. You are taking time out of your busy day to reach out. Everyone needs someone to just listen sometimes. They may be filled with joy or sadness. Be there to celebrate their good news, or support them with compassion.

3. Write a note

While some people enjoy receiving gifts, all of us appreciate a kind word. It is one thing to say it, but it can be even more meaningful to put it in writing. What if you made a commitment to write a thank-you note to someone every week?

You can congratulate friends on a new job, express condolences for the death of a loved one, or simply say you are thinking of them. You can think of any positive reason you like. Handwritten letters are memorable and heartfelt.

4. Invite someone over for dinner

You never know what someone might be going through – a painful divorce, a tough college semester, or just a bad day. Opening up your home will make someone feel appreciated. In addition, it costs less than going out. The leftovers from this dinner can be packaged up for homeless people. That’s double giving!

5. Set aside money from a daily ritual to donate

Giving doesn’t have to mean a life full of sacrifices. You can still buy a burger or get your nails done. But instead of buying several coffees every week, you can drink one fewer. Donate the money you save: Even $5 can make a difference in someone’s life. In the United States it can buy a small lunch, but abroad it can be used to build a library or buy mosquito nets to help prevent malaria.

Difficult financial times don’t mean your giving shuts down. Instead, they allow you to examine how your time and money are spent. There are so many ways to give back that won’t hurt your wallet and will enrich your life.

Take the Christian Science Monitor’s Quiz: What kind of giver are you? 

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.

Man Bakes Pies to Heal His Heart

What a lovely example.  I love people who despite any hurt– still rise above, and give.  It’s so beautiful.  What a courageous man.  He bakes pies to heal his heart, after his wife ascended.

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It seems Keller couldn’t possibly have thought up a more beautiful way to honor his late wife than by baking hundreds of pies and selflessly giving them away to those in need. But one of the most touching parts of his tribute actually comes long before the final baked goods are revealed. It happens each time he opens the oven.

Read about 98-year-old Keller here.

As he explained to the station, his wife picked it out when they moved in their Hastings home 62 years ago.

“Everything I do, I do it with love,” he said. “That’s my secret ingredient, is love.”

Read full article

This article originally appeared in Foodandwine.com

Leveraging People, Products, and Innovation to Support the Refugee Crisis

This post was written by a guest blogger from Cisco, one of our clients. Erin Connor is Portfolio Manager for Critical Human Needs, Cisco Corporate Affairs, and Cisco Foundation. 

Today, an unprecedented 63.9 million people worldwide are forcibly displaced, and 21.3 million of those are refugees. From Syria to Afghanistan to Somalia, millions of men, women, and children are being forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution.

Often, they travel hundreds, even thousands of miles to settle in countries ill-equipped to handle the influx of those in need. The journey from Turkey to Greece, for example, is a treacherous one; refugees crossing the Mediterranean often travel in poorly-constructed rafts with little protection from the elements.

And when they arrive at their destinations, whether in Pakistan, Lebanon, or other countries, they’re often met with new challenges. In 2013, Lebanon’s population was 4.5 million, but the immigration of 1.1 million refugees increased the country’s population by a quarter. Turkey currently hosts 2.5 million refugees—the most of any country—but lacks many of the resources to cope with the added population.

The result? At least 40% of refugees in Lebanon live in inadequate accommodation, including makeshift shelters and informal settlements. Others face eviction or live in overcrowded apartments, unable to adapt to their new country’s standards of living. Many are unable to work due to local labor laws, while those in countries such as Greece are detained in camps where they wait hours in line for meals and can barely meet their most basic needs.

Fortunately, global problem solvers are coming together to make an impact in every corner of the globe. Cisco joins a growing list of companies and organizations applying digitization, collaboration, and innovation to solve what’s become one of the world’s most pressing issues.

At Cisco, we understand we must leverage core capability to achieve social impact. Since October 2015, we’ve taken a multi-pronged approach to our response, leveraging our people, products, and financial resources to provide over $4 million in support to the refugee crisis.


Our Tactical Operations engineers and Disaster Response team volunteers have carried out 10 two-week deployments in partnership with NetHope, and together, they’ve installed Merakibased Wi-Fi networks across 75 sites—64 of which are currently active—in Greece and Slovenia and provided remote technical support and equipment for installations in Serbia.

The networks have connected over 600,000 unique devices, allowing refugees to reach more than two million friends and family members through high-speed Internet connections. Using our cloud security software, we block an average of 2,000 cyber threats per day, guaranteeing secure connections for all users. Cisco has granted all of the Meraki equipment needed for these installations to NetHope and provided a supplemental cash grant of $100,000 to support their crisis informatics work, which streamlines their installation efforts.

Cisco has also provided $350,000 to Mercy Corps to support the development and scaling of a mobile-enabled Refugee Information Hub. Currently available in three countries and in three different languages, the hub provides refugees with critical information such as legal options and instructions on seeking asylum, safety information, and available social services. Today, more than 30 NGOs use the tool, which is expected to grow this year to include seven new countries.


On a company level, we understand leadership support and employee engagement drives global action and innovation. A Cisco team of volunteers in Hamburg, Germany worked in close collaboration with a number of ecosystem partners to develop and implement the Refugee First Response Center (RFRC). This innovation transformed shipping containers into doctors’ offices, equipped with Cisco technology that enables access to the Internet and real-time translation services with 750 medically trained interpreters collectively speaking 50 languages.

The original unit, launched in Hamburg in October 2015, caught the attention of a local private donor, who funded $1 million for the production of 10 additional units that have been produced and deployed to Red Cross camps throughout Hamburg. The 10 units average about 30 consultations a day and have provided over 18,000 medical video-supported consultations to date. Two RFRCs have been shipped to Lebanon and Greece for replication.

The Cisco team in Lebanon is working with the Ministry of Health and local NGO Beyond Association to implement RFRC and will include virtual psychosocial services. The RFRC in Greece plans to offer telemedicine services for specialties not available at the hotspots, facilitate remote examinations, interpretation services and video communication for separated families.

 

Seeing the success of the shipping containers led other organizations to expand on that idea. Deutsche Bahn, the largest shipping and logistics company in Europe partnered with Charité Hospital in Berlin to transform a former passenger bus into a mobile medical clinic – known as the DB medibus

Charité and Deutsche Bahn contacted Cisco, who volunteered to network the bus. Cisco outfitted it with secure wi-fi high-speed connectivity and video collaboration units to allow for translation services in 50 languages. Their first use case for the pilot phase is mass vaccinations to be delivered at refugee settlements in Berlin, and they have already provided 10,000 treatments since launching last fall.


We also recognize the critical importance of education and employment opportunities for refugees. Our Networking Academy in Germany has also committed to providing IT training to 35,000 refugees in Germany over the next three years, and are piloting projects with the International Labour Organization and local universities to train refugees in Turkey through Cisco’s Networking Academy.

Through our annual matching gift campaign in 2015, Cisco donated a total of $743,000 to more than 40 organizations aiding in the refugee crisis. As this crisis endures, Cisco Foundation continues to match employee donations to these organizations dollar for dollar. We know this is an issue close to the hearts of many employees, and viewing them as valuable partners in global problem solving has helped Cisco focus on how best to apply its technology expertise in the field.

Read this blog post here.

Donate to Mercy Corps here.

How Do You Keep Vaccines Cold in the Democratic Republic of Congo?

This is a special guest blog from The American Foundation for AIDS (AFCA).

The American Foundation for AIDS has been working the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since late 2007. There, we have provided medicine for patients cared for at Tandala Hospital and at 13 smaller clinics throughout the region known as the Ubangi. With little infrastructure in place (think – no electricity or running water) and with roads that are full of potholes, mud, and puddles, it is always an adventure when we visit the projects to see how things are going!

water spigotWhile visiting one year, we held discussions with local people to determine if there were other ways we could help those who need to take medicine. We decided to start a livelihoods pilot project, selecting 20 beneficiary families with whom to work. The families selected had to fit three criteria:

1. Child-headed household,

2. One live parent in the household, but sick or dying, or

3. A grandparent was raising the children who’d been orphaned by AIDS

Following this criteria, it was not difficult to find 20 families who qualified. They all received training in gardening and husbandry, in how to build appropriate housing for their livestock, in nutrition, and how to use donated water filters.

Once all the families were trained, they were given seeds and $50 to purchase tools needed and to rent a small plot of land to plant their gardens. Once gardens were started, families went through a second training and received their livestock. Guinea pigs, sheep, goats, pigs, and chickens were all part of the project and each family received a specific number of one of the animals. With instructions not to barter, sell, kill, or trade the animals, families used the manure for their gardens, drank milk and ate some eggs while letting their animals reproduce.

It was then that we discovered the acute need for vaccines, as some animals were lost, due to swine flu and avian flu. We immediately started searching for the best solar fridge we could find and we purchased one through Sure Chill in 2015. We found an incredibly generous donor, who funded the purchase and shipment of the fridge all the way to Gemena, where it was installed at Elikya Farm, where AFCA maintains an animal multiplication center.

The solar fridge has changed EVERYTHING. Five people received para-vet training and they are in charge of making sure that livestock given by AFCA is healthy. They also vaccinate animals for the local community, earning a little income while helping others.

For the case study on how the solar fridge is changing lives, please click here.

Now, AFCA needs to procure another solar fridge to continue the life-saving work of providing a livelihood for our friends in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as we have expanded our work to the Tandala area and a fridge is needed there.

Please support our campaign to raise $8,000 for the fridge, shipping, fees, customs, taxes and delivery to the remote are of the DRC that needs it. Even a small gift will make a big impact. Donate here.

Facilitating Social Change

By Aidan Donahue

I often feel helpless watching the news.  Images of injustice continually appear on my screen, gripping me with a sense that something needs to change.  I see growing income inequality, videos of police officers using excessive force, Syrian refugees forced out of their homeland and demagogues scapegoating marginalized groups.Slovenska_vojska_tudi_med_vikendom_v_velikem_številu_pri_podpori_Policiji_01_B

Despite the emotions stirred in me and many of my peers, I often don’t know how to help.  The lack of progress makes these issues feel insurmountable, a dangerous feedback loop that fosters impassivity.

I have found that the vigor of these shared compassionate emotions is often not matched with an organization that takes action.  All too often, I have had an inspiring conversation with a friend, then returned to school the next day, without changing my actions.  Do not get me wrong, sharing these feelings and perspectives is a critical fuel to social sentiments.  It puts everyone in a position to comprehensively and thoroughly analyze current events.  it makes people aware of what is going on.  It forces people to think.  What is missing is a visible avenue towards action.

The ironic truth to this situation is there is actually a countless supply of organizations working to improve people’s lives.  As an intern at UniversalGiving, I have been able to learn more about some of these nonprofits.  They are led by inspiring individuals, conduct meaningful work, and give the marginalized groups a voice.  They are pragmatic idealists, achieving tangible results under the vision of a better world.  The only problem is that these causes are often underfunded and understaffed, in need of more practical tools to accomplish their goals.

This is why facilitating philanthropy is so important.  For every under-resourced non-profit, there is a group of people who want to help, but just do not know how.  They need each other, they just don’t know where to find each other.

Visibility is a critical barrier in connecting these two sides.  If people see opportunities to make a difference, they can act on them.  A central location for nonprofit listing and publicity allows for a clear and thorough experience.

UniversalGiving bridges these caring people with these impactful nonprofits.  By providing a platform for our partner organizations, UniversalGiving has created a hub for compassionate people to turn their emotions into actions.  People find what works for them: type of project, international location, size– from a dollar donation to a year-long volunteer project.  No matter what the opportunity is, the important part is that people are able to make an impact in a way that is meaningful to them.

Interning at UniversalGiving has really shown me how important it is to give people a voice, an avenue to express themselves.  When people can channel their passion for progress into real change, then we get closer to living in a world of caring.

Turn your emotions into actions here!