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.


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.


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.


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. 

NGO Spotlight: Empower and Care Organization

Empower and Care Organization (EACO) is a Community Based Organization run by Ugandans to address the limited educational and economic opportunities that exist for vulnerable groups of women and children in Mukono County, Uganda.  EACO’s vision to implement activities that provide opportunities to the reduce poverty and HIV/AIDS in the Mukono community.


EACO interventions focus on poverty reduction and address the effects of HIV/AIDS for a majority of vulnerable women, particularly widows and those living with HIV/AIDS, as well as vulnerable children, youth, and the elderly.

The Need: EACO seeks to help children attend school in Uganda. Education and poverty go hand in hand, and many of young people don’t have the opportunity or fees to go to school, let alone afford other basic necessities of life. Under this project, ACO provides school fees and materials, medication, and food for needy families.

EACO also leads WASH Projects to deliver trainings on hygiene promotion, construction of latrines for the schools, and repairing the 69 damaged boreholes in the Mukono communities. Additionally, they provide education on the links between water, sanitation and health, and the nature of and threats posed by environmental diseases,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe importance and main elements of hygiene-promotion and the complexities of delivering safe water and sanitation in an emergency.

EACO wants to make clean water accessible within 1 kilometer for 100% of the people in rural Mukono. By constructing and repairing fresh water wells throughout rural areas, EACO will bring relief to thousands of residents, including those in surrounding communities, significantly improving the health and wellbeing of the residents.

The vision and philosophy of EACO is based on the belief that every human being is a unique individual and that we all have a right to good health and basic needs and should access means to a comfortable life in one way or another.


EACO believes that the first priority is that people should have a sustainable life.

However, almost equally important is that an individual’s life should have meaning and that they should develop independence. This is being achieved through care, then empowerment and support. This begins with infrastructure to give the Mukono communities clean water and latrines and stop the spread of disease. It is only then that communities can benefit from education. With improved health comes the ability to be employable, to generate income and escape from poverty.

To learn more about opportunities to donate to or volunteer with with EACO, which is a vetted NGO partner of UniversalGiving, check out their website!


Celebrating Mothers Worldwide

mothers day philpost

By Nancy Baah

On Sunday, May 14, children of all ages in the US will show gratitude to their mom with gifts, flowers, or a “vacation day” from motherly duties. With Mother’s Day quickly approaching, we at UniversalGiving would like to take the time to show appreciation for awesome mothers around the world by saying, “Thank you!” Moreover, while it is important to thank the mothers in our own lives for all they do, UniversalGiving would like to highlight the challenges many mother’s face globally.

CCT image

To get involved with helping a mother in need, UniversalGiving invites you to take advantage of the giving opportunities below:

Cultural Canvas Thailand (CCT) is a nonprofit organization that places volunteers at Wildflower Home Foundation, a haven for single mothers in crisis. The WildFlower Home Foundation is a home for single mothers who do not have the means to take care of their kids. For more information on volunteer opportunities, click here.


Pandas International is a non-profit organization that strives to preserve and propagate the endangered Giant Panda. Currently, Panda International is soliciting donations in efforts to provide formula to raise panda cubs in captivity that are born to mothers who aren’t prepared enough to care for their offspring. Help this great cause.


Three Unique Things About Depression in Africans

By Doc Ayomide

The theme for World Health Day 2017 is depression. To spread depression awareness, here is a guest blog by a doctor and mental health coach, Doc Ayomide.

So today I want to talk about some unique aspects to how depression plays out for Nigerians (who I know) and Africans in general—who I hear are very much like Nigerians! (Just kidding! Seriously, though, there are a bunch of similarities between Africans, Asians and even South Americans, when it comes to not just mental illness, but health in general; things that make us quite different from Caucasians. But that’s a whole other story. I might get to it someday soon, if you’re interested enough.) 🙂

Okay so what are 3 ways depression is sort of different with us?

  1. We typically don’t talk about “I’m depressed.” Many people with depression may not consider themselves depressed: some don’t even have low mood. Which, as it turns out, doesn’t mean depression isn’t there. (This isn’t just Africans, either; apparently, black Americans too are pretty similar, as you can see from this quote from a post on PsychCentral blog): “In many ways, I do think that there is a greater stigma among African American culture than among white cultures. I live in southern California, and many white people will freely reference “seeing a therapist” in normal conversation. Black people don’t do that. Seeing a therapist is generally seen as a sign of weakness or a lack of faith.”
  2. We don’t really have a word for “depression” in most African languages. We are basically stuck with words that mean things like, “tiredness of the heart,” “thinking too much,” and so on. This is still related to Reason #1. Our languages, it seems, don’t readily lend themselves to expressing the complexity of emotion. (That’s something I’d definitely like to explore sometime.)
  3. These physical symptoms aren’t just “textbook” ones like sleep and fatigue and poor appetite, they’re sometimes really weird stuff. Stuff like sensations of internal heat, or a feeling of something crawling around the body. Some people feel heaviness in their head or pins-and-needles in their hands and feet (Yorubas call that kpaja-kpaja). Problem is most people with these kinds of symptoms think they maybe have malaria (or “typhoid”!); depression is the last thing on their minds. (There are other mental illnesses with these kinds of symptoms, like anxiety disorders, plus you can even have them in physical conditions too, so it’s not like having them means depression per se.
  4. Bonus point: The “confessing witch” phenomenon. A little background, first. One of the commoner symptoms of depression is guilt. I’ve seen people begging their family (and sometimes even complete strangers) to forgive them, when they can’t even say what exactly they want to be forgiven for; that’s how strong guilt can be. And when it’s intense enough, you could throw just about any accusation at the person, and they’d latch onto it faster than a terrorist organization claiming a bombing. So picture an old woman in a village—let’s say she’s widowed—and she happens to be depressed, so she probably keeps to herself a lot. Of course, everyone thinks she’s a little weird, and soon enough, the village gossip mill goes to work and people are soon speculating that maybe she killed her husband. One day someone takes it seriously, and soon convinces everyone else to summon her and drag out the truth. This woman already strongly feelings of guilt, mind you. It doesn’t take rocket science to expect her to “confess” to anything they accuse her of. The villagers are delighted! So it was she who killed their son of the soil (and maybe the last chief, and whoever else she “confesses” to “killing”)! They stone her to death…And there goes another depressed old lady.

Visit Doc Ayomide’s blog 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.