Information and news on advocacy.

Emerging Social Activists
There are many people around the globe who are standing up and advocating for themselves and the human rights of the people around them. Whether their countries allow them to speak freely about their oppression or try to silence them, these social activists are making an impact. These are some of the top emerging social activists from around the world.

Shamma bint Suhail Faris Mazrui – United Arab Emirates

The youngest government minister in the world, Shamma bint Suhail Faris Mazrui became Minister of State for Youth Affairs in the UAE in 2016. One of her main views on what youths can add to public affairs and relations is resourcefulness, arguing, “Hopelessness results when youth are not seen as resources, and apathy results they’re not seen as assets.”

Mazrui’s vision is to bring more youths into the private sectors of the UAE and not just into public affairs. She believes that the change of a nation starts with the investment of the youth. Ultimately, her goal is to set a vision into the youth’s eyes that there is something more important than living solely for yourself.

Majandra Rodriguez Acha – Peru

In 2009, the government of Peru released its jungles from protection and opened them for scavenging and oil extraction. That year, nineteen-year-old Majandra Rodriguez Acha decided she would not stand for her jungles to be exploited. A group of activists including Ahca chanted “La selva no se vende, la selva se defiende.” In English, “You don’t sell the jungles, you defend them.”

Since then, Acha has formed a group called TierrActiva Perú. The group advocates for the voice of the jungle. It reconciles urban youth groups to indigenous youth groups in Peru directly affected by the exploitation of the jungles.

In 2014, Acha organized a conference that brought together over 100 indigenous and urban youths, mainly under 30 years old. Acha says, “We believe that people are experts of their own reality” and the conference was one of little convention. The people were free to come up to the stage, write on a whiteboard, and express their own emotions and ideas towards bettering Peru.

Li Maizi – China

China has been under the rule of the communist party for sixty-six years. The country runs on the traditional principles of efficient work and a conventional, stable family-core. However, in 2015, emerging social activists like Li Maizi challenged these values.

China has no laws or allowance for activism which does not conform to the structure of society within the country. Maizi and others handed out stickers on International Women’s Day in 2015. They were protesting and raising awareness of sexual abuse and harassment. These women were detained and interrogated. Maizi herself was imprisoned for over thirty-five days but was released after being labeled a spy.

Four other women were detained alongside Maizi. All either queer or labeled as free-women, meaning they do not wish to have children, they have been called the Feminist Five. The group realize public rallies in their country are not possible. To succeed in fighting against the oppression of women,  they have to formulate different tactics to raise awareness.

Maizi believes that the U.S. is a breeding ground for social activism. She believes it has the right political and social atmosphere to transcend borders and empower China. “If we don’t set up this group in the U.S., China’s feminist movement will become too passive. The position of our core activists is extremely fragile and we don’t know when the police will come and arrest someone again—it could be today or tomorrow,” she says.

Alioune Tine – Chad

The government of Chad has cracked down on social activism and freedom of speech within the last two years. It has also banned peaceful protests within the country. Alioune Tine is the Amnesty International West and Central Africa Director. He has said that officials have made criticism of their government something that cannot be voiced or acted upon.

Many of the known political and social activists in Chad have reached out to Amnesty International, stating that they have received phone calls and harassment. They allege that the calls include interrogatory questions which leave them afraid and confused.

Tine says that Chad is at a crossroads. It must choose between muzzling citizens and critics of its government or to walk in the promises made by the president during his election.

These emerging social activists are just a few among many around the world who are standing up and speaking out despite opposition. As Acha said, “people are experts to their own reality.” These experts believe people have a right to be heard.

– Hannah Vaughn
Photo: Flickr

informal economy in South AfricaIf you walk down a busy street in any of South Africa’s major cities, you are bound to witness some type of informal economic activity. Whether it be a fruit stand, street-hawker selling earphones or an informal car wash business, the informal economy in South Africa is a crucial part of life for many of its residents.

The Importance of Informal Trade

Informal trade refers to any unregulated, unregistered, unprotected and untaxed activities, enterprises, or transactions. Informal jobs are an essential source of income for many poor South Africans—18 percent of working citizens work in the informal sector—a total of over three million workers. Additionally, the sector accounts for 18 percent of South Africa’s GDP. While these numbers are smaller than those of other developing countries, they emphasize the importance of informal trade in an economy with stark unemployment rates—26.6 percent as of 2016. Informal markets, like Durban’s Warwick Markets, provide jobs for those who are unable to find formal employment. Thousands depend on these markets for produce, cooked meals and clothing at affordable prices. Furthermore, the informal workforce in South Africa is overwhelmingly poor, young females. In fact, the poverty level in an area correlates positively with the proportion of people working in the informal economy.

The government recognizes the informal economy in South Africa as a viable and important form of employment and enabler of economic mobility for the country’s poor. Experience in the informal sector can help untrained people acquire skills, potentially aiding future integration into the formal sector. According to economist Loane Sharp, the informal economy in South Africa is growing faster than its formal counterpart. This prompts the government to pass policy encouraging and protecting the sector. The National Informal Business Upliftment Strategy of 2014 set up a framework of government assistance with skills development, marketing, technical support, infrastructure improvements and management training. This “inclusive growth” strategy focuses on enabling South Africa’s poor to participate in the economy rather than merely redistributing wealth through social welfare programs.

Non-governmental organizations are also working to improve conditions for informal traders. Asiye eTafuleni is an NGO in Durban that works with local government officials and vendors in the informal sector (particularly the Warwick Markets) to assist in developing infrastructure, consultations for urban planning and advocacy for informal workers. The organization also directs tourism to the Warwick Markets, educating foreigners and visitors on the functions and importance of the markets, and bringing the vendors eager customers. Asiya eTufuleni is a member of the Inclusive Cities mission, which focuses on uplifting and strengthening groups of working poor in the informal economy. The Inclusive Cities project aims to support the urban poor through lobbying, policy planning, and research. One of the ways the project does this is by advocating for “waste pickers’ rights,” the legal right of individuals to collect garbage to recycle into sellable goods. These rights are under threat by the privatization of solid waste management in many cities across Africa. Inclusive Cities also conducts research and analysis of the informal economy to support future endeavors and activism.

A Struggle for Informal Business Owners

There are many downsides to informal trade which make its participants particularly vulnerable. Informal business owners are often deterred from registering their enterprises by high taxes and strict regulations. Informal working conditions are unregulated by nature and therefore often poor. Dangerous locations, limited book-keeping skills and lack of insurance put informal traders at constant risk of losing their livelihoods. Average earnings for informal workers are less than half of what the formally employed earn. And although recent policies are attempting to expand this sector of the economy, informal workers still face significant intimidation and harassment by local law enforcement.

In July 2018, hundreds of informal traders protested by-laws which would prohibit trading in certain areas. These potentially harmful by-laws would allow law enforcement to confiscate the goods of traders without permits. The leader of the activist group responsible for organizing a march on Durban City Hall complained that the traders themselves were not included in the creation of these laws. The permit allocation procedure, he says, is corrupt, with officials soliciting bribes in exchange for permits.

It is clear that despite efforts by the government and NGOs, conditions of the informal sector have remained unsatisfactory. The disconnect between national policy, like the National Informal Business Upliftment Strategy, and local municipalities is one obstacle in the way of a safer, healthier informal sector. The informal economy in South Africa provides crucial wages for the country’s poorest and most vulnerable populations; resources should be channeled to encourage and protect laborers and merchants in the sector.

– Nicollet Laframboise

Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Interesting Facts About Thomas JeffersonWho was Thomas Jefferson? Most people would answer that he is the author of the Declaration of Independence, a former president or a founding father. All of these answers would be correct, however, there are more interesting facts about Thomas Jefferson that many people are unaware of. Aside from earning an array of political titles, Jefferson did work trying to improve poverty, education and diplomacy both in and outside of the United States of America, yet these actions are frequently unheard of. It’s time to unearth Jefferson’s efforts in these areas by taking a look at the top 10 interesting facts about Thomas Jefferson.

Top 10 Interesting Facts About Thomas Jefferson

  1. He served as a U.S. Minister to France. Jefferson had a vast appreciation for the French culture. He was enamored with its cuisine, art and architecture. However, he also developed a distaste for France’s aristocracy and was dissatisfied with the state of poverty in France. Jefferson was disheartened with the mass amounts of poverty in France and is quoted saying, “I find the general fate of humanity here, most deplorable.”
  2. Jefferson supported poorhouses. Poorhouses were institutions that tended to members of the lower class. Jefferson strongly believed that poorhouses were underfunded and had failed in achieving their mission. Throughout his political career, Jefferson endorsed and sought to reform poorhouses.
  3. He wanted all children to have access to education. In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson states that all children should learn some sort of “some art, trade or business”, but first, they should attend public school for a minimum of three years. He wished to ensure education for all children, specifically those who could not afford it, even if it came at public expense.
  4. Jefferson wrote his personal views on poverty into the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson spent much of his political career trying to save ordinary citizens from oppressive aristocrats. Jefferson touches on his personal views in the Declaration of Independence when he wrote that all men are born with the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” In Jefferson’s eyes, all men were born equal.
  5. He believed in self-reliance. Jefferson believed the government should assume responsibility for the poor, but he also wished to go beyond this. Jefferson wanted to make the poor self-reliant so they could prosper. Many of his poverty proposals were geared towards urgent needs and were meant to be used as a temporary solution until a person could get back on their feet.
  6. Jefferson believed in health care. Jefferson believed in the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle. Jefferson thought that “without health, there is no happiness.” Throughout his life, Jefferson made numerous attempts to improve health care. While he was in Paris, Jefferson worked alongside health care reformers to try to revise the French health care system. He carried his passion for health back with him to the United States and fought to reduce disparities in health amongst Americans.
  7. He supported the French Revolution. From one revolution to another, Thomas Jefferson believed that all people should have liberty, and he was a vigorous advocate of the French Revolution. During the revolution, Jefferson allowed Marquis de Lafayette and his fellow rebels to host meetings in his private residence. He also assisted Lafayette in drafting the Declaration of the Rights of Man.
  8. Jefferson wanted slaves to receive an education. In a letter that Jefferson wrote to Robert Pleasants, he advocated that Virginia’s educational system should provide education for slaves to prepare them for freedom. Jefferson pushed Peasants to introduce this legislation. Jefferson saw education as a means of empowering the powerless to empower themselves.
  9. Jefferson was a diplomat. Jefferson made numerous contributions to U.S. foreign policy. While the Minister in France, he negotiated a highly successful commercial treaty with Prussia. As President, he solved longstanding quarrels with France over navigation rights in the Mississippi River when he purchased the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon Bonaparte.
  10. He was George Washington’s Secretary of State. Thomas Jefferson was the first Secretary of State. He was appointed in 1790 and served until 1793. During his time as Secretary of State, Jefferson successfully enacted a policy of neutrality in the war between England and France.

These top 10 interesting facts about Thomas Jefferson illustrate how even more than 200 years ago, founding fathers were working to address issues that the world still faces today. As for Jefferson, if being the author of the Declaration of Independence and President of the United States wasn’t already enough, these top 10 interesting facts about Thomas Jefferson reveal his efforts to improve poverty, education and hostile foreign relations.

– Gabriella Gonzalez
Photo: Flickr

global poverty advocatesThe Time 100 is published in April every year, presented as a list of 100 of the most influential people from all over the globe. The list is highly anticipated, selected by the editors of Time Magazine, and centers a range of change-makers separated into five categories: pioneers, artists, leaders, icons and titans.

All are trailblazers of change in their own right, but several important mentions include the global poverty advocates. These figures drew attention to issues surrounding global poverty and human rights abuses around the world. They are inspirations for the many activists who hope to follow their blueprint of innovative change.

Fred Swaniker

Fred Swaniker is a Ghanaian entrepreneur and a pioneer, especially for the African Youth. He realized that Africa’s greatest asset is also its biggest challenge, the youth.

This led to the birth of the African Leadership University. Founded in 2013, ALU is opening campuses around Africa and aims to train 3 million entrepreneurial, ethical leaders for Africa and the world by 2035. Africa faces some of the highest global rates of extreme poverty, largely due to histories of corruption and exploitation. This history resulted in low incidences of democracy and economic opportunities. Swaniker is one of the most innovative figures equipping a future generation to manage and tackle these grave issues, and a true ally for the global poor.

Yalitza Aparicio

Yalitza Aparicio is a Mexican actress and ‘artist,’ best known for her academy award nominated performance in the 2018 hit film “Roma”. But, her story is particularly important due to her heritage as an indigenous Oaxacan woman, who before her acting success, was a preschool teacher in rural Mexico. Having an advocate for this population is particularly important since Mexico’s indigenous people are far poorer than its non-indigenous people. About three-quarters of indigenous peoples in Mexico are poor, while only half of the non-indigenous people live below the official poverty line. Her inspirational story sheds light on the cause of the long disenfranchised group including the everyday racism that they face. It positions her as a role model for many generations behind her.

Abiy Ahmed

Because of ‘leader’ Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia is cautiously learning to embrace a new system of democracy and human rights, a rare occurrence in the country’s fractured political history. Since his ascension to power in 2018, Ahmed embraced notions of transparency and gender equality as part of his political platform. He released all journalists incarcerated under the previous regime. Ahmed also made half of his cabinet female and appointed the first female head of the supreme court. He negotiated a new peace treaty with Eritrea, effectively ending a 20-year civil war. In 2020, the country will have its first free elections in 15 years.

Although this is a test of the current turbulent political climate punctuated by extremist dialogue, it does give the country new hope for democracy and prosperity in the future that seemed impossible before his ascension to power.

Radhya Almutawakel

Radhya Almutawakel is a Yemeni human rights defender and ‘icon,’ most commonly known for her work documenting human rights abuses by all parties. Since the start of the conflict in Yemen in 2014, nearly 7,000 civilians were killed and 14 million remain at risk of starvation.

Almutawakel traveled around Europe and advocated on behalf of the people, encouraging leaders to take steps to end violence. She also founded the nonprofit Mwatana for Human Rights, designed to “advocate for human rights through the verification and documentation of violations, provision of legal support to victims, lobbying, as well as awareness raising and capacity building.” These actions help increase the visibility of the conflict and the consistent suffering of the people. This itself is a big step forward in the road to peace.

LeBron James

LeBron James is undoubtedly a ‘titan.’ Most commonly known as one of the most successful basketball players in history, he is also a passionate philanthropist. Born in Akron, Ohio, to a teenage mother, he is described as being “sharp minded” and “grounded,” overcoming many challenges to become as successful as he is. His most famous initiative is the “I Promise School” for disadvantaged kids. Opening in his hometown in 2018, it secured educational opportunities for at-risk youth he personally never had access to. His foundation consistently donates to a wide range of charities with similar ideals. One of them is ONEXONE, a global children’s charity that runs programs based on five fundamental pillars: water, health, education, play and nutrition.

At only 34 years old, his work as a global poverty advocate is just beginning.

This list is a selection of just five global poverty advocates from the Time 100, all of whom are noteworthy advocates for a variety of ideals in their individual and often original ways. Many more global poverty advocates exist around the world, all fighting to generate change for the global poor.

Holly Barsham
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The International Women's Coffee Alliance
The International Women’s Coffee Alliance aims to empower women to achieve sustainable, meaningful lives through international coffee communities. IWCA recognizes the integral part women play in both a business and an economic aspect. As such, IWCA believes women need to be involved in both family sustainability and economic choices. When this happens, multiple aspects typically leading to poverty in a community decrease.

“When women are fully involved, the benefits can be seen immediately: families are healthier; they are better fed; their income, savings and reinvestment go up. And what is true of families is true of communities and, eventually, whole countries,” states Kofi Annan, as quoted on IWCA’s homepage.

Strong Women = Strong Coffee

IWCA’s motto is “Strong Women = Strong Coffee: Connect. Empower. Advance.”

According to IWCA chapter manager Blanca Castro, “The chapters have very localized issues that they centralize their work around to be a collective force. The common denominator for the groups is that they are all mothers, daughters and workers and share many of the same challenges around the world, not just specific to coffee, such as the price of coffee but the also laws and customs that make women earning a dignified living that much more of a challenge.”

Now how is the IWCA taking action to implement and empower women?

IWCA Ethiopia

Strong Partners Build Economic Empowerment

IWCA is involved in multiple parts of the world, including Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Women in Coffee (EWiC) partnered with the International Trade Center, which brings platforms for corporations to empower companies to connect with women-owned supply companies. As a result, the EWiC and ITC are working together to build a foundation for the same goal.

The EWiC is one branch under IWCA. It moves to improve the economy and the importance of women within a community. Through the incorporation of women in international trade, IWCA believes that poverty within Ethiopia will soon be alleviated.

IWCA Burundi

Working Together Grows Quality and Premiums

The IWCA also has a chapter in Burundi, specifically in the regions of Ngozi and Kayanza where they have seen a growing impact of empowering the women of this region. Since their start in Burundi in 2012, there has been an increase in job opportunities for the community. Moreover, this has led to improved livelihoods based on coffee bonuses and pay raises.

In Burundi alone, there has been an increase in green coffee bags. In 2012, 94 green coffee bags were produced, as compared to 2,065 green coffee bags in 2017.

WCA-India

Building Awareness, Strengthening Communities

Coffee Santhe (Coffee Market) is held annually in India’s coffee capital, Bangalore. Santhe is a program that helps raise funds for communities. It also unites different states within India’s massive demographic to come together and learn how they can impact and improve their communities.

Santhe generates funds and provisions for children who are in government-run schools in coffee regions. These funds and provisions support their education. It also teaches them how they can impact their own lives and those around them.

The IWCA has a presence in 22 different countries. And it promotes economic sustainability by empowering women to enter the workforce of international trade, specifically through the coffee industry. Ultimately, the International Women’s Coffee Alliance believes by uniting different nations and closing the gender gap in the workforce, the issues of global poverty will disperse.

Hannah Vaughn
Photo: Google Images

Special Education in refugee camps
Lack of education is a contributing factor to the cycle of poverty. The 1989 ‘Convention on the Rights of the Child’ and the 1951 ‘Refugee Convention’ emphasizes the fact that access to education is a basic human right. However, approximately half of the world’s refugee children are out of schools. Access to schooling becomes increasingly difficult when countries enter conflicts and develop refugee camps.

The United Nations passed the ‘Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ in 2006. The declaration clearly stated disabled peoples’ right to an education. This right is only accessible in 28 percent out of 193 states, and although there are many initiatives to support special education in refugee camps, further support is needed to help refugees with disabilities obtain and maintain the education they need.

Classification of Disabilities

Disability can be categorized into two branches: mental disability and physical disability. A mental disability is any mental disorder that affects the everyday life of an individual, and examples include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, intellectual disabilities and schizophrenia. A physical disability is an impairment of the body and/or a person’s motor abilities. These are either acquired at birth or as a result of a traumatic experience and include cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy and amputations.

Obstacles Faced by Refugee Children

Special education in refugee camps is not an easy task to accomplish, and there are many obstacles that refugee children with disabilities must face in order to receive an education. The first obstacle is very simple to notice — the challenge of getting to school. In many large refugee camps, there are typically no more than a few schools that children can go to and children usually walk to school. For people with physical disabilities, transportation can pose a great problem, especially as most infrastructure is not built to accommodate disabilities. For example, an 8-year-old girl named Hayam lives in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan and suffers from muscular dystrophy. Hayam had to take a quarter-mile walk to her school every day, and her illness made this very difficult.

Another obstacle for people with disabilities is the misunderstanding of physical and mental disabilities in many communities. In many cases, people are taught to fear and look down on people who have disabilities. There are situations in which parents of able-bodied children do not want to have students with disabilities in the same classroom as their child for fear that their child’s education will be harmed.

Furthermore, integration into schools for refugee students can be a difficult task due to political, cultural, religious or linguistic differences. It can be extremely hard for schools to deal with these differences and misconceptions if they lack necessary resources, and such status is incredibly harmful to refugee children with disabilities as it can make it very difficult for them to receive schooling. Refugees are also likely to have PTSD and other related mental disorders due to witnessed trauma, and such effects can harshly affect education if there are no treatments for mental disorders that make it difficult for children to pay attention in class or attend school at all.

Organizational Support

UNICEF and Mercy Corps helped 100 students in the Za’atari refugee camps in Jordan. The two organizations have given wheelchairs to students who have physical disabilities and cannot walk. In another part of the world, the Karen Women Organization (KWO) works in Burma to support special education in refugee camps and rights for the disabled. Not only does KWO aim to ensure increased levels of education, but the organization also aims to support and expand care to children who have disabilities and educate the community.

In 2003, the KWO started the Special Education (SE) Project that runs in every Karen refugee camp. SE Project gives instruction to teachers in the schools and families at home to fully maximize the disabled child’s well-being and reach their goal of integration into society. KWO also helps to combat the misconceptions by creating various activities and workshops for those who are able-bodied and those who are not.

A nongovernmental organization helping refugees receive mental healthcare is the International Medical Corps (IMC). The IMC knows that mental illness is a huge limiting factor for education and they work to make sure there are ways that refugee children can acquire treatment. The group works with local partners in refugee camps to create spaces to talk and provide activities for children and adolescents to develop healthy habits and create relationships. IMC connects children to local youth support and sets up sustainable mental healthcare.

An Unalienable Right

Education is an unalienable right of every person, and special education in refugee camps is crucial for enabling the most endangered people to achieve this right. It is critically important that various organizations and governments continue to build systems that support the abilities of all, especially those most vulnerable.

– Isabella Niemeyer

Photo: Flickr

Success in Educating Girls
Currently, there are 31 million young girls, starting at age five that are not in a school setting. In fact, there is a whole host of startling statistics about the condition of girls across the globe:

  • One in 9 girls are married before the age of 15
  • Internationally, 65 million girls are not attending school
  • 774 million people are illiterate across the globe, with two-thirds of that number being females

These numbers are not pleasant to acknowledge but their content is a reality. Thankfully, there are many movements and organizations today who are trying to empower woman and having success in educating girls.

Developments in Literacy

Developments in Literacy (DIL) is an organization managing 124 child-friendly schools across three Pakistani provinces. Currently, 24 percent of Pakistan’s population lives below the poverty line. With that sobering state of being in mind, DIL’s goal is simple: the organization strives to offer safe spaces for students to learn and teachers to train. DIL is providing education for students from nursery age all the way until grade 10.

Developments in Literacy is also steadfast in providing girl-friendly education. In DIL schools, the enrollment rate of girl students is at 67 percent and almost 90 percent of the staff is female. These centers offer a “child-centered approach with an emphasis on gender sensitivity and inclusiveness for all.” The main goal of this organization is to ensure that no child, male or female, be left behind or uneducated due to life circumstances in Pakistan.

Girl Effect

Girl Effect works in Asia and Africa and mostly focuses on a girl’s holistic journey into adulthood. Originally founded by the Nike Foundation in 2004, Girl Effect is now its own non-profit organization consisting of media, mobile and brand experts as well as developers. Girl Effect aims to create brands that can chart a course for a young girl from day one.

The organization also gives girls outlets to express themselves openly and research anything they may question. One of Girl Effect’s brands is Ni Nyampinga, the name meaning ‘beautiful girl inside and out who makes wise decisions’ in Rwanda’s native language. It is a multi-platform consisting of a magazine, radio show and a talk show all made by girls, for girls. Ni Nyampinga is a country-wide movement making an impact — 8 in 10 of the citizens of Rwanda have heard of it and half of the citizens over age 10 have listened to the program.

Wiser

Wiser imagines a world where young women and girls are healthy, educated and in control of their own decisions. In Kenya today, there are 3,000 secondary schools educating 620,000 students but only 40 percent of these students are girls. The basis of the Wiser organization is to work with girls who may be poverty-stricken, affected by HIV/AIDS or impacted by gender-based violence.

The Wiser Girls Secondary School in Kenya provides clothing, learning materials, housing and essential medicine to their borders. Kenya has a population of 43.5 million and 1.6 million are living with HIV. All the Wiser girls receive extensive sexual reproductive education, sanitary napkins and cleanliness training. The school has done so well that it has been ranked in the top 1 percent of secondary schools in Migori County.

Commit 2 Change

In India, Commit 2 Change (C2C) works with orphan girls who are 13-18 years old. The girls in these homes are more often than not abounded by their families. The reasons for desertion can range from having HIV, the family being too poor or simply being born a girl. Due to these reasons, many girls in India are now at risk for sex trafficking and early marriage. Commit 2 Change has seen that the best way to make an impact is by focusing on girls in secondary education.

Secondary education starts at the age of 14 and is where the highest drop-out rates occur; by catching the girls at this crucial point of development, C2C believes that they can help teach girls ways to tackle problems in the outside world. Commit 2 Change helps with tuition fees, school supplies and even training programs. Just by studying an extra year in secondary school, C2C has found that it boosts wages by 15 percent and 95 percent of the girls helped by Commit 2 Change believe their education is the pathway to success.

Success in Educating Girls

Successfully educating girls can increase their economic standing, decrease HIV risk and encourage later-in-life marriages. While there is still room for global improvement, these four organizations are going above and beyond in advocating for girls and serve as role models for organizations across the world.

– Jennifer O’Brien
Photo: Flickr

The Pele Foundation and the Empowerment of the Disenfranchised Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known widely by the moniker Pelé, is arguably the most popular Brazilian football player and had led his team to trebled triumph in the World Cup. But Pelé doesn’t have a one-track mind: he has one leg in the sports pool and the other leg in the social activism pool.

Previously, Pelé worked with FIFA as an ambassador against racism as well as with UNICEF to advocate children’s rights. He has moved on to inaugurating his own organization called The Pelé Foundation to empower impoverished, disenfranchised children around the world.

The Pelé Foundation

When first announcing the launch of his foundation Pelé said, “In 2018, I am launching The Pelé Foundation, a new charitable endeavor that will benefit organizations around the world and their dedicated efforts to empower children, specifically around poverty and education.”

Having grown up poor, Pelé developed an affinity for charity work. In the past, he had supported a multitude of different organizations including 46664, ABC Trust, FC Harlem, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Prince’s Rainforests Project and The Littlest Lamb.

In the future, Pelé’s organization plans to expand and cover issues such as gender equality and will eventually birth offshoot programs, not unlike other organizations of its nature.

Partner Organizations

Pelé isn’t alone in this endeavor. During the initial announcement, Pelé blazoned that he would be partnering with both charity:water and Pencils of Promise to fulfill his goals.

Founded in October 2008, Pencils of Promise (PoP) is a nonprofit dedicated to improving the state of education for children in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Ghana and Laos. Besides improving the quality of education, PoP also constructs schools and educational facilities, trains faculty, champions scholarships and supports sanitary programs. Backed by big names such as Justin Bieber and Scooter Braun, PoP is a big name itself in the humanitarian space.

Established in 2006 and having funded 24,537 different projects, charity:water is spearheaded by Scott Harrison. charity: water gives all donations to projects working to end the current water crises. Harrison said, “We’re excited to partner with The Pelé Foundation to bring clean water to thousands of people in the years to come. Having access to clean water not only saves hours of wasted time, but it also provides safety, health and hygiene. It directly impacts the future of children, and we believe it’s the first step out of poverty for rural communities all over the world.”

– Jordan De La Fuente
Photo: Flickr

 

Top 10 Global Poverty Advocacy Nonprofits
Progress is happening. In 2000, the world’s leaders set out to cut the number of people living in extreme poverty in half by the year 2015. Not only were they successful, but they achieved their goal seven years early thanks to global poverty advocacy nonprofits. Now, the world’s most prosperous nations have decided to end world hunger entirely by the year 2030.

While The Borgen Project fights endlessly to assist in this goal, it also recognizes that this is a battle that cannot be fought alone. The Borgen Project takes this opportunity to acknowledge the crucial work being done by its fellow advocates by presenting its pick of the top 10 global poverty advocacy nonprofits.

 

Top 10 Global Poverty Advocacy Nonprofits

  1. Action Against Hunger – For the past 40 years, Action Against Hunger has been saving the lives of undernourished children. The organization has provided access to clean drinking water, food and healthcare services to more than 20 million people across 50 countries. Recognizing the amazing work being done, Charity Navigator has given Action Against Hunger its highest rating for the past 13 years. This organization was also awarded the title of “Best in America” from Independent Charities in America.
  2. The Hunger Project – The Hunger Project fights for “the sustainable end of world hunger.” In order to achieve this, the organization focuses on empowering women. It workshops with communities in order to determine what the community considers a priority and works in tandem to develop a long-term plan to achieve this goal. The Hunger Project operates across Africa, South Asia and Latin America. To date, the Hunger Project has worked with more than 16,000 communities.
  3. Global Food Banking Network The Global Food Banking Network delivers over 940 million pounds of food to those in need every year by redistributing surplus food. Their network of food banks spans across 29 countries. The organization works both to develop new food banks in impoverished communities as well as supporting the ones that already exist. In Hong Kong, the Global Food Banking Network started implementing an IT Starter Kit that will enable an additional 260,000 pounds of food to be delivered each year through improved efficiency. They hope, that with success, they will be able to spread this innovation to other countries.
  4. Heifer International – Heifer International has over 70 years of experience working with individuals in 25 different countries. Through its program Passing on the Gift, supporters are able to donate an animal. That animal is then gifted to a farming family, but in return, the family must give the animal’s first female offspring to another family in need. While over the years the logistics of the program have fluctuated, the notion of continuing the goodwill of others has remained a core component of their approach.
  5. Rise Against HungerIn 2017, Rise Against Hunger benefited 1.4 million people across 74 countries. The organization’s 398,000 volunteers package meals for food insecure peoples. To date, more than 441 million meals have been delivered. In addition, the organization assists communities in expanding their agricultural production capabilities, acquiring business skills and garnishing an understanding of how to best operate markets.
  6. The ONE Campaign – Similar to The Borgen Project, The ONE Campaign seeks to implement change through lobbying for the world’s poor. In 9 years, the organization’s 9 million volunteers have secured $37.5 billion for funding health initiatives that treat preventable diseases in African communities. The organization has lobbied for legislation in the U.S., Canada and EU that would help fight corruption.
  7. Freedom From Hunger – Freedom from Hunger micro-finances small businesses in impoverished communities. In 2016, 5.7 million people benefited from these programs. Recognizing the need for additional resources, the organization also provides information on agricultural techniques, savings programs, family planning and accessing healthcare. In 2012, Philanthropedia ranked Freedom from Hunger 5 out of 119 international microfinance organizations.
  8. The Alliance to End Hunger – The Alliance to End Hunger is a 90 member coalition of both private and public institutions that seek solutions to those living in extreme poverty. Its National Alliance Partnership Program supports communities in more than 60 countries, including Ghana, Guatemala, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The organization advocates by getting numerous diverse stakeholders to invest in the same cause. The Alliance to End Hunger works with USAID, USDA, WFP,  FAO and the IFAD.
  9. MEDLIFE – Founded in 2005, MEDLIFE is an organization that actively addresses medical concerns of impoverished communities. The organization operates in underserved areas outside of the capital cities of Peru and Nicaragua as well as rural areas throughout Ecuador and Tanzania. In these countries, the organization sends volunteers to run mobile clinics, provide basic health education and work on community development projects. These projects include providing classrooms, daycare centers and restroom facilities.
  10. Hunger Relief International – Hunger Relief International focuses on developing long-term plans to address the developmental needs of impoverished communities in Haiti and Guatemala, such as nutrition, water and sanitation and child protection. In 2016, the organization regularly supplied 27 Haitian orphanages with high-quality food baskets. In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, Hunger Relief International worked to ensure the safety of 1,500 children. The organization also distributed over 2,000 personal hygiene kits to children in need.

This list of the top 10 global poverty advocacy nonprofits provides only a glimpse into the numerous efforts being made to assist the world’s poor. The Borgen Project would like to extend its thanks to the countless other organizations working for this same cause and encourage the reader to join any these top 10 global poverty advocacy nonprofits and others in the campaign to end world hunger.

– Joanna Dooley

Photo: Flickr

sports changing the world
Sports provide unique opportunities in a child’s life; sometimes, they are the only opportunity some children have to escape poverty. The following is a list of four sports organizations that are changing the world by using sports and sport-driven programs to help youth and communities across the globe enact social change and improve their impoverished situations.

Lengo Football Academy

Lengo Football Academy offers impoverished children and orphans in Tanzania opportunities through football. Emanuel Saakai started the first Lengo (Swahili for ‘goal’) Academy in the northern town of Arusha to give new opportunities to disadvantaged and street kids (both boys and girls). Saakai believes that the hard work necessary to excel in sports helps youths instill a sense of teamwork, respect and passion that will then translate to successes in other avenues of their lives. He has since created an eight-week program in Australia — where he acts as a qualified Football Federation Australia coach — whose proceeds go toward the program in Tanzania.

Lengo Football Academy helps its youth off the field as well. All of its participants are financially aided through primary and secondary education by Lengo. More importantly, enrollment in school is a requirement to participate in Lengo, ensuring its young footballers will go to class.

Lengo is also developing a 12-month employment program for graduating students to combat the rampant unemployment in Tanzania. The graduating students will be able to take jobs as coaches, referees, drivers, administrators and operators. They are also provided money management skills to ensure they are on their way to developing stable, successful lifestyles after the program ends.

Love.fútbol

The task of love.fútbol is to create durable, low-maintenance fútbol pitches in impoverished communities around the world. It is a community-driven endeavor. It provides the raw materials and support, but it insists that the local community helps with the building projects. For its inaugural build in Guatemala, love.fútbol saw a 90 percent participation rate in the rural village of Villa Nueva.

Love.fútbol is about more than sport. During the building process, it works with each community using asset mapping exercises to help the communities identify and use their strengths to their full potential. It also develops social capital networks, engaging the community to “connect with shared resources, building collective goodwill and strengthening relationships across numerous local individuals and organizations.” Love.fútbol and its 5,800 volunteers have had an impact on 29 communities in 8 different countries since its inception, using sports and play to bring about social change in poor communities across the globe.

Street Football World

Street Football World is like Love.fútbol in that it uses football and the model of community-driven football projects to enact social change. It even joined forces with love.fútbol in the lead up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Street Football World strives to use football-driven programs to enact social change around the world in eight key areas, ranging from employability and education to health and the environment. Street Football World even creates ‘pop-up’ stadiums and arenas for communities to use for special events and programs, providing theatres of play for impoverished youths in underprivileged areas.

The organization has a multitude of programs that span all seven continents, aiding and enabling millions of people all across the world by using football as a catalyst. Street Football World partners with a number of football institutions, companies, governments and foundations, ranging from FIFA to The U.S. Department of State. It was recently chosen as Berlin’s ambassador for Germany’s bid to host the UEFA Euro 2024 games. In 2015, founder and CEO Jürgen Griesbeck was featured alongside Nelson Mandela and Michelle Obama in Beyond Sport’s ‘Inspirational 50,’ a list celebrating those using sport to “push boundaries, inspire generations and ultimately, make the world a better place.”

Beyond Sport

Beyond Sport, based in The U.K., differs from the rest of these four sports organizations that are changing the world in that it is an advocacy group. Beyond Sport is a global organization that advocates and celebrates the use of sports to address social issues with the ultimate goal of making the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals a reality. It works with sports organizations directly, along with governments and businesses alike, on how sports can help achieve both social and business goals and successes.

Over the last decade, it has provided more than $1.5 million in funds and distributed $7 million toward long-term strategic goals. Beyond Sport has a vast network of partners, including the major U.S. sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, NHL and WNBA) that boast a whopping 2,822 projects with 2,690 organizations in 154 countries across 56 sports.

These four sports organizations that are changing the world are great examples of how engaging kids in sports activities can not only change the individual lives of those playing but also those in the communities involved. Through sports and community building activities, these organizations are improving lives around the world.

– Nick Hodges

Photo: Flickr