Following­ the eruption of violence in 2018, Nicaragua, the poorest country in Central America, has seen its economic progress stagnate and its domestic life falter. The additional unrest is making Nicaraguans more vulnerable to violence and instability. While Nicaragua’s overall crime rate is low, certain areas, like the rape of minors and political violence, are high. These 10 facts about violence in Nicaragua provide a glimpse after one year of conflict.

10 Facts About Violence in Nicaragua

  1. Political violence occurred in 2018 in response to the government’s social security reforms. Protests occurred between April and July, and the government responded brutally. More than 300 people were killed and hundreds detained during three-month anti-government protests where citizens demanded that President Daniel Ortega — who has been in power since 2007 — step down. In the subsequent six months, the government arrested and jailed opposition leaders and those who challenged his authority, his human rights abuses, his consolidation of power and his low 10 percent approval rating.
  2. Sixty thousand Nicaraguans have sought asylum from the violence in Costa Rica. In July 2018, Costa Rica alone received about 200 requests by Nicaraguans for asylum per day. The U.N. is seeking to support countries who take Nicaraguan refugees.
  3. Violence between protesters and government-sponsored paramilitary groups disrupts access to resources. Roadblocks appear without apparent reason, mostly around cities, and limit the availability of food and fuel.
  4. Civil unrest continues unpredictably. Although protests are forbidden, they occur and government forces respond with violence. The poor infrastructure in parts of the country limits the potential of international assistance.
  5. Access to healthcare is limited due to the unrest. Government hospitals are understaffed and frequently deny treatment to suspected protestors. Ambulances are unreliable, denying treatment or not visiting certain areas.
  6. Sexual assault, especially against girls, is common. More than two-thirds of the 14,000 rapes reported between 1998 and 2008 were committed against girls under the age of 17, and nearly half of them were under the age of 14. More recent statistics during Ortega’s presidency are unavailable, but anecdotal reports suggest that gender-based violence is widespread. A stigma follows survivors of rape, but not perpetrators. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has expressed grave concern.
  7. Domestic violence against women is controversial in Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan Constitution contains both protections against and provisions for violence against women under certain circumstances, like marriage. Legal dialogue has fluctuated through the 2010s. In 2012, in response to high levels of femicide and little legal response, a women’s rights group pushed through Ley Integral Contra La Violencia Hacia Las Mujeres (Law 779) expanding the legal definition of violence against women, establishing specially-trained prosecutors to hear gender-based violence cases and further protect victims. Since then, 779 has been systematically weakened by a series of legislative and presidential decrees. Local conservative legislators and religious leaders see 779 as potentially destructive to families if women could seek reprisal for domestic violence. Although rape is illegal, domestic/intimate violence, child-marriage and dating violence is still high.
  8. Violence is hurting Nicaragua’s economic growth. Between 2014 and 2016, poverty in Nicaragua decreased from 29.6 to 24.9 percent and extreme poverty from 8.3 to 6.9 percent. But due to the social and political unrest since April 2018, the economy contracted in 2018 by 3.8 percent. The World Bank supported Nicaragua through the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, to support poverty reduction measures in the country.
  9. Violent street crime is spotty, but regional, and is greater in urban areas after dark. Street crime is more prevalent in Managua, Puerto Cabezas, Bluefields, San Juan del Sur, Popoyo, El Transito and the Corn Islands.
  10. The homicide rate is low and falling. The homicide rate held steady with 15 in 100,000 people 2014-16, but it fell to 6 in 100,000 in 2018—far lower than comparable economies. Men commit homicide six times more frequently than women and people ages 15-26 are the most likely to commit homicides.

Heather Hughes
Photo: U.N.

How the U.S. Benefits from the Summer Work and Travel Program
When universities go on break for the summer, college students from the United States usually go on vacations, travel or rest. Many students from the rest of the world travel as well, but they have other various options. For example, the students can come to the United States on visas that allow them to work in the country for three to four months during their break from university.

Summer Work and Travel Program

The program that allows students to come and work in the U.S is called the Summer Work and Travel Program. This program is under the broader J-1 visa category. Initially introduced as a cultural exchange program, it started in 1961 with the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act. The J-1 type visa exchange is meant to encourage the “the interchange of persons, knowledge, and skills, in the fields of education, arts and science.” Over the last 10 years, over 310,000 individuals from 200 countries have visited the U.S. through the program.

What the Program Means for Participants

The students who choose to participate in the program are really serious about it. It requires a good deal of dedication to the process, some serious preparation and a considerable investment of funds to be able to apply for a visa. The requirements that participants need to meet include English language proficiency, full-time enrollment in a post-secondary educational institution and a secured job offer prior to traveling.

Toni Kovachev is a student from Bulgaria who has been to the United States three times as a J-1 participant. “Working in the states can be described as exhausting but having a lot of fun at the same time,” Kovachev shares with The Borgen Project. The decision to participate in the program came with his choice of a higher education institution.

Kovachev needed to find the means to be able to attend the American University in Bulgaria, a private liberal arts college, and the Summer Work and Travel Program made that possible. During his time in the U.S., he has been able to earn enough money for his tuition and improve his English language skills. Kovachev says, “It was a choice that changed my life and I am so glad that it happened that I went three summers already.”

The Summer Work and Travel program is an opportunity for international students to share their culture with different people and experience U.S. society and culture. These exchange of ideas, stories and ways of life are enriching for both sides. Being exposed to people from different backgrounds generates respect, understanding and tolerance towards others.

How the U.S. Benefits From Summer Work an Travel Program

Over the last two years, the program has been under scrutiny and criticism. The disapproval comes from the fear that visitors take job opportunities away from American youth. But these criticisms are misguided. J-1 students supplement the local economy during seasonal peak times or when American workers are not available. They help businesses to be more productive by being able to offer more and better services.

The students who obtain their visas to work in the U.S. for the summer usually occupy seasonal jobs in the hospitality sector. The majority of them are concentrated in the Southeast of the U.S. with Massachusetts and New York hosting the most J-1 students. Martha’s Vineyard, Provincetown and Nantucket experience an influx of visitors and tourists over the summer. Without international students cleaning hotel rooms, busing tables in restaurants and restocking supermarkets, businesses in those places would not be able to keep it up.

The program is beneficial for both the countries of origin of the J-1 students as well as the United States. A report commissioned by the Alliance for International Exchange shows that the majority of participants come to the U.S. to experience and learn about the way of life that then results in their positive opinion regarding the United States.

Almost all students reported that they believe they have obtained skills that would help them in the future. To add to that, 92.1 percent of employers agreed that the Summer Work and Travel Program participants improved the workplace. The estimated contribution of J-1 students to the economy in 2016 was around $509 million.

– Aleksandra Sirakova
Photo: Flickr


Although each shift in U.S. Presidential administrations inspires increases in civic participation by citizens, President Trump’s election in 2016 may prove to be one of the most inspirational of all. For the average citizen with no history of political advocacy, determining how and where to start can feel overwhelming, but knowing how to attend town hall meetings is as easy as following this step-by-step guide.

  1. Identify your political representatives. Your Congressional representatives comprise two Senators and one Representative. To find them, visit https://borgenproject.org/call-congress/ and plug your zip code into the box under step one to go straight to the Congressional directory.
  2. Find the next town hall meeting near you. From the directory, you can visit each Congressperson’s official website. Once there, look for a link labeled “Events,” “Meet your representative” or something similar. If you cannot find anything specific, scan the page for a “Contact Us” link and call or email the Congressperson’s staff for information on the next town hall meeting happening near you. Other third-party organizations such as Town Hall Project have streamlined many of these steps to make it even easier to determine how to attend town hall meetings.
  3. Prepare for the meeting. This step is vital to getting your point across and being taken seriously. Research your topic as well as your Congressperson, and be prepared to make an “elevator pitch” about your feelings on the issue. Your opinion is important, but to your Congressional representatives, your well-informed opinion that takes their position into account is unforgettable.
  4. Tell your personal story. Town hall meetings offer the chance to connect with your Congressperson in a human, immediate way. Explaining why you feel passionate about an issue because of its direct effects on you, your friends, or your family is a surefire way to make an impact.
  5. Be polite. There is a fine line between an impassioned plea and a Twitter-worthy rant. Rudeness, insults, or reminding your Congressperson that your tax dollars pay their salary will only damage your credibility and sever the lines of communication.
  6. Talk to the staffers. Staffers will always accompany members of Congress in meetings as part of their administrative duties. Take the time to seek them out. Introduce yourself by asking for their business card and explaining briefly why you chose to attend. Even if you do not get an opportunity to speak directly with your representative because of time constraints or a large volume of participants, talking to the staff can get your voice heard by your representative.
  7. Bring your friends. There is strength in numbers. Bringing a group of friends to the meeting will not only ease any anxiety you may feel, it will provide a visual demonstration to your representatives of how many other voters support your stance on an issue.
  8. Follow up afterward. Send additional emails and make follow-up phone calls to your Congressional representatives’ offices and state that you were in attendance at the recent town hall meeting. Better yet, put the next meeting on your calendar and repeat the whole process. This lets your Congressperson know you mean business, and you will continue to show up until your issue is resolved in a mutually satisfactory manner.

Using this guide to know how to attend town hall meetings will put you in a centuries-long tradition of civic involvement.

Dan Krajewski

Photo: Flickr

Ways to Help the World's Poor

Ways to Help the World’s Poor

Do you want to know some easy ways to help the world’s poor? Well, here are 10 simple ways to help the world’s poor, which can often be done without even having to leave your home!

 

1. Donate

One of the quickest and most obvious ways to help the world’s poor is to donate to charity. Click here to donate to The Borgen Project.

 

2. Call Congress

This way to help the world’s poor is surprisingly simple. Every person in the United States has 3 representatives in Congress (2 Senators and 1 Representative in the House). By calling these 3 peoples’ offices each week, individuals can show the Congressmen the issues that they care about. Calling your Congressmen is a simple process. Generally, an intern will answer the phone, or you can leave a message after hours.

The message you need to say is simple: “My name is ___, I live in ___, and I want to raise the funding for helping the world’s poor,” or something similar. As few as 7 people calling in can make a Congressman change his mind on a bill: Congressmen want those they are serving in the U.S. to be happy so if you let them know what you want, they are more likely to listen. Go here for more detailed instructions.

 

3. Inform Yourself

This is one of the simplest ways to help the world’s poor, and also it helps you to do the other things more effectively. Basically, all you need to do is stay informed on the issues. Pay attention to what is happening in Congress and read up on current poverty-related events. It may surprise you to find out that poverty has made some great strides in the past few years. Indeed, in the past 20 years, the world’s undernourished has decreased by 50%. Life expectancy has also increased by 1/3.

(Browse The Borgen Project to find out more interesting facts about poverty).

 

4. Build Buzz/Raise Awareness

Now that you’ve done your research, you can use your new information as tools to build buzz or to raise the awareness of those around you. If you care about the world’s poor, you can be sure that other people do too, but may just be unaware of how they can help. You can share info on different poverty-fighting organizations with your colleagues, family, and friends (see 1. Donate for ideas). You can also call into radio shows, write to editors, speak locally about the cause, send ideas to the media, or anything else that may bring the idea of helping the world’s poor to the forefront of people’s vision and thoughts.

 

5. Social Media

Recently, social media has become one of the most fantastical ways a person can help the world’s poor (among other ventures). This is perhaps the easiest way to help, as well. Many Congressional leaders (your members of Congress) have Facebook pages, Twitters, or websites. All you need to do is either post on their pages to bring up the idea of helping the world’s poor, or post on your own about the various issues. Also, you can easily follow many different organizations, including The Borgen Project, and retweet them or post about them on Facebook or other websites. Overall, your voice will be heard. (The Social Media of Congress can be found here and here). (Also, follow us on Twitter!)

 

6. Get Political

Although you can call Congress or post on their Facebook pages, there are other ways to help the world’s poor and to “get political.” If you are willing, you can always arrange a meeting with Congressional staffers to tell them what issues (like reducing global poverty) you are interested in. You can also mobilize those around you; just one person calling into Congress will make a difference, but if multiple people in an area call Congress about the same issue and around the same time, there will be a bigger effect. Finally, you can “bird dog” Congress, which means to go to where a legislator is speaking, and ask them publicly about poverty (For example, “What are you doing to help poverty?” or “Will you support helping reduce global poverty?”, etc).

 

7. Fundraising

Another one of the ways to help the world’s poor is fundraising. Contact people about various organizations to donate to, or use sites like Crowd Rise to start a campaign. You can also run marathons or accomplish other feats as a way to raise money, as long as you ask people to be your sponsor. You can also ask for donations to different charities rather than receiving gifts for your birthdays, weddings, or other events.

 

8. Be a Consumer with a Cause

One of the surprising ways to help the world’s poor is simply by being a consumer, or something who buys things. This can be done by buying products from websites that donate a portion of their proceeds to charity, or from nonprofit organizations that sell shirts or other merchandise to help the cause. The Borgen Project even has a Visa Card that has no annual fee, and some unique card designs. Basically, when possible, buy from places that will help the cause.

 

9. Arrange Events

One of the harder ways to help the world’s poor is arranging events. Of course, this does not need to be too difficult: you could host parties (or movie/TV show marathons with your friends!) and have a $5 (suggested donation) to get in. This can be done by living your life as normal, but adding in charity donation so that everyone can get involved. On the other hand, you can also host poverty-based events or parties with the pure purpose of raising awareness on poverty and discussing its issues. Finally, you can have a “non-event” event, where instead of going out that night, everyone donates a certain amount and stays in.

 

10. Volunteer

Finally, one of the most difficult (but, arguably, most rewarding) ways to help the world’s poor is through volunteering. This can encompass many different things: volunteer for a political campaign, volunteer for a nonprofit organization, volunteer for a movement to fight poverty or grab an internship. Personally, I am an intern writing for The Borgen Project; I do not get paid, but it helps get the message out to the world. Overall, you can find volunteer opportunities online (for example, through Idealist), but there are also local opportunities that may be available if you ask around.

To see even more easy ways to help the world’s poor, look here.

– Corina Balsamo

Source: The Borgen Project
Photo: Flickr

news
Everyone has heard the phrase “ignorance is bliss” when they were younger. And it’s not a phrase that anyone can fully understand until they are suddenly faced with the gift of knowledge, and the world seems to fall out from underneath them.

Because it really is bliss, to live blandly and emptily and unaware of the world around you.

It’s hard for anyone to force themselves to become informed because it seems that by choosing to learn more about the world, what a person is really forced to do is to learn about all of the bad in the world and to be bombarded with negative images of all the horrific things that happen on the planet we inhabit every day.

Sometimes it feels like a wonder that anyone reads the news or tries to keep up with the times — every day it’s something new and uniquely terrible.

And it doesn’t help that sometimes all of this tragedy does is reinforce the idea that an individual is like a tiny drop in a massive bucket, not capable of making much of a difference. So we don’t educate ourselves because all it will do is make us sad, and what can a single person do anyway?

As Steven Shepherd states in a scholastic article on the perpetuation of ignorance, “Maintaining unfamiliarity is an ideal way to protect the psychologically comfortable (even if inaccurate) belief that [someone else] is taking care of the problem.”

The average consumer of news underestimates how much of a difference they are able to make but not the power of other individuals to make a difference. By assuming that other people will take care of the world’s problems, they effectively admit that it is only through the power of people that change will be affected.

The fact of the matter is, in some sense, we are all individual drops in a bucket. But it is only if every drop agrees to do its part that we can and will make the world a better place. As Edward Everett Hale once said, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”

Once a person decides to make an active effort to change the world, then possibilities start to open up. “Seek and you shall find,” as the saying goes. There are causes and charities that are always accepting donations (use a website like Guidestar.com to verify the legitimacy of the organization, and check to see how much of their money goes toward the cause and how much to areas like administration).

There are rallies to attend, there is awareness to raise, there are petitions to sign, and there is understanding to spread. Because, though ignorance may be bliss, knowledge is power, and compassion is the most vital ingredient of our humanity.

The Borgen Project itself is a perfect resource for finding ways for the informed person to make a difference. Our “30 Ways to Right a Wrong” page is full of excellent ideas for anyone who wants to start making an active difference.

Pretending the problems of the world don’t exist won’t make the problems any better. In contrast, every individual who decides he or she is going to do what he or she can to right wrongs will make the problems better.

So yes, depressing news stories continue to flood the media waves can be depressing, however we should still pay attention:

  • Because it’s our responsibility to uphold the principles of humanity.
  • Because it is the only way that we can start to address problems.
  • Because by breaking out of our false sense of security, we can create a real sense of security all throughout the world. Our individual bubbles of privilege can be expanded to include all of the people across the earth.

Emily Dieckman

Sources: Before It’s News, APA
Photo: Pittsburgh Parent

Five Charities that Make a Different Kind of DifferenceCharities all work to accomplish different goals and, while their goals are all admirable, some seem to stand out a little more than others. The traditional philanthropic method typically involves collecting donations to be spent on aiding a group or cause either by giving away the raised funds or purchasing specific goods to give to those in need. While this charity formula is not wrong, there are other non-traditional ways to do good. Take a look at these five organizations that make a different kind of difference with your donation.

1. Development Media International (DMI) — DMI creates and broadcasts radio and television programs that help educate and encourage people to adopt healthy practices that can improve a community’s standard of living and individuals’ longevity. Instead of using their funding to distribute soap for hand washing or toothbrushes, they teach simple practices that can make long-term differences, practices that can be taught to children and passed along through generations.

2. Kiva — Kiva is a nonprofit that works to alleviate global poverty through individual micro-loans. Donors invest in the form of a small personal loan for individuals to accomplish a project or improve their businesses. Microfinance institutions allow individuals and communities to lift themselves out of poverty by giving them the tools to be economically successful.

3. The Global Alliance For Improved Nutrition (GAIN) — GAIN is an organization that works to eliminate iodine deficiency, which can lead to impaired cognitive development and is common in developing countries. GAIN’s Universal Salt Iodization program uses the funds they raise to provide technical assistance, supply needed equipment and train government officials. In addition, salt producers monitor the results of changes made in developing countries. GAIN targets the root of iodine deficiency and funnels its efforts toward rectifying it instead of simply managing the consequences.

4. VillageReach — VillageReach is a nonprofit that develops, tests and implements new systems, technologies and programs that improve health in rural or poor communities. In the past few decades, there have been great advancements in the medical field, but because of a lack of access to clinics, medicines and trained professionals, many people in the developing world are isolated from these advancements and do not reap the benefits of improved health and healthcare.

This is where Village Reach comes in; instead of focusing money on more vaccines or more doctors, they focus on removing barriers that stand in the way of communities receiving the healthcare they need. VillageReach partners with institutional stakeholders, such as governments and global health partners, to implement the change needed to extend the reach of adequate healthcare.

5. The Borgen Project — Donations made to The Borgen Project have the intention of alleviating global poverty. While your donation will not directly purchase a meal for a hungry child, it has the power to feed, clothe and provide power for an entire community or country. Funds that are raised by The Borgen Project go toward program services, and fund development and operation expenses. This means that donations are used to fuel the machine that pushes political leaders to allocate funds in a way that benefits those living in poverty in developing countries. So your five dollars could influence the U.S. government to pass legislation that provides millions of people with clean drinking water.

Brittney Dimond

Sources: Give Well, KIVA, Village Reach
Photo: Flickr

Five Tips for Successful Fundraising
When I began my internship at The Borgen Project, I was admittedly intimidated, especially with regards to the required fundraising goal. Although I had had experience with fundraising during high school, I had never single-handedly maintained a fundraiser. I was nervous but also determined to prove my worth to the members of The Borgen Project.

Currently, on week nine of my internship, I am proud to say that I have raised $1,207.06. To do this, I wrote letters to family and friends, I spoke and visited with local restaurants and I opened a booth twice at my community’s weekly market.

My success has made me feel like a fundraising fairy. I am one of 180 Borgen Project interns across the United States. Of these 180 interns, there are only three who have raised over $1000. I am satisfied to say that I am one of them.

After speaking for our monthly conference, I learned that fundraising is a rickety and shaky boat during a storm for many interns. Interns attempt to sail forward with their goal but are often anchored to the spot, deterred by unknown conditions and direction.

To these interns: I promise that you can succeed. Below is a list of helpful fundraising tips that have made a difference for me. Hopefully, they will benefit you during your fundraising endeavors.

1. Be courageous.
Do not be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. Although writing letters to family and friends can be simple and successful, it should not be the only method of fundraising. Try writing letters to places you visit often in your community or to companies who have a history of donating to charities and nonprofits.

2. Be persuasive and understand emotions.
When writing your letters, consider how your audience will react and understand. For example, consider: “The population of people in poverty is large.” Now consider: “The number of people suffering from hunger is larger than the population of the United States, Europe and Canada combined.” The latter offers more depth and perspective; the statement is more tangible because it offers size, location and familiarity to your readers. When I wrote letters to restaurants, I focused on hungry families and food waste, two aspects that are sure to connect with restaurant owners and cooks. Remember to be specific with what you write and remember to make it relatable to your readers. Ultimately, you need to prove to them why they should care about global poverty.

3. Be sensible.
Do not forget to draw on the connections you have with others, especially because they may have connections and advice that can further your fundraising success. For example, I asked a friend about our community farmers’ market and she provided me with the information I needed to obtain a booth. Had I not sought her advice, I would have neglected a great fundraising opportunity! It is also helpful to have friends who are willing to participate in any events that you organize.

4. Be tenacious.
I know that fundraising can seem like soliciting, but if you approach each situation carefully, you will appear to be dedicated rather than annoying. Personally, I follow a three-time rule. This means I will make a phone call to my donor, a personal visit to my donor (if this is possible) and a follow-up or thank-you phone call to my donor. It is important to wait a few days between each of these. In my experience, this three-time rule proved that I am committed to my cause and encouraged donations.

5. Be respectful and grateful.
When it comes to fundraising, it is important to remember that potential donors have other expenses and daily tasks. If you plan to visit a business or organization, be aware that they have other duties to perform. In this situation, leave your contact information and check back in a few days. Even if someone is unable to donate, be sure to say thank you. This highlights both your character and that of The Borgen Project. Remember to show your appreciation with thank-you letters or phone calls.

My fundraising quest has been a valuable learning experience. I was able to educate both others and myself about important world issues; I spread awareness about The Borgen Project and made powerful allies for the fight against global poverty. Knowing that my intensive efforts will benefit those in need and contribute to changing the face of poverty is rewarding.

I hope that my five simple tips will assist others with fundraising. Fellow interns: our fundraising experience does not need to feel like a sinking ship. If you are positive, determined and creative, you can breeze past $500 and sail on into the distance.

– Kelsey Parrotte

Photo: The Fund Raiser

End Global Poverty
Have you ever dreamed about being a super hero? Did you once believe that you would grow up to end global poverty?

Well, today is your lucky day.

You may not have the time or money to fly to Africa, but you can still contribute to the fight against global poverty!

There are things that you can do without leaving your couch!

1)   Advocate: Post a link to an article about global poverty on Facebook or Twitter, or even bring global poverty up in a conversation. While this may not seem like a big deal, you will be reaching every single one of your friends or followers with the post. You may even inspire them to do something too! 

2)   Call or Email Congress: By contacting Congress you can support bills that will aid thousands and maybe even millions of people living in poverty abroad. Your call will be taken down on a sheet and the tallies will help your representatives decide to vote on a bill.

While this may sound like a daunting task, the Borgen Project makes it easy. Simply type in your zipcode into the Borgen Project website’s application and it will bring up your Congress people’s names, numbers, and emails. If you are intimidated by the thought of talking to someone, simply call after hours and leave a message.

https://borgenproject.org/action-center/

https://borgenproject.org/call-congress/

3)   Volunteer: The Borgen Project has many volunteer opportunities. You can volunteer with the Borgen Project, while spending most of your volunteer hours on your couch! Much of your volunteer time will be spent calling congress, writing, or fundraising. It is easy, but effective and worth while.

https://borgenproject.org/volunteer-opportunities/

4)   Fundraise: Create an online fundraiser for The Borgen Project or other global poverty organizations and post it on Facebook. Then text your friends about it.

https://www.crowdrise.com/borgenproject

5)   Donate: From the warm cushions of your couch, look at your budget. Can you spare one dollar a week? Maybe even three dollars? If so, then pick from The Borgen Project or other wonderful organizations and send in your donation. If you chose the one dollar option, then in 20 years you will have contributed over $1,000 towards ending global poverty!

https://borgenproject.org/donate/

If you have taken the first step and posted a link about ending global poverty (you can start with this one) then congratulations! Pat yourself on the back and sink back into your couch with the happy knowledge that you are now on the way to being a powerful advocate for those in poverty all across the world.

– Clare Holtzman

Sources: The Borgen Project 1, The Borgen Project 2, The Borgen Project 3, The Borgen Project 4, The Borgen Project 5, Crowdrise, The End of Poverty, wikiHow
Photo: Spark Productivity

 

5 NGOs Going Above and Beyond
There are many NGOs doing good for the world’s poor, but here are five that go above and beyond the rest.

1. The Garden of Hope Foundation

The Garden of Hope foundation was founded in Taiwan and acts to aid girls who were victims of the sex trade. This NGO provides psychiatric counseling and safe half-way houses for many girls while they recover from their abuse. The Garden of Hope foundation also works closely with the government to promote policymaking and discussions about the sex trade. Their main focus is to empower girls and women to stand up for themselves and realize that they, too, can have an impact on this world.

2. Save The Children

Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world what every child deserves: A healthy start, the opportunity to learn and care when disaster strikes. Save the Children acts on all fronts of poverty, ranging from education needs throughout the world to health and humanitarian issues, such as helping children with HIV and AIDS. Save the Children can be found worldwide after any major disaster attempting to rebuild communities and make them stronger. This NGO is wholeheartedly dedicated to improving the lives of the next generation and is a huge part of the bright future that we have to look forward to.

3. Water.org

According to their website, Water.org provides innovative, market-based solutions that change lives every day through safe water and sanitation. This NGO is supporting countless projects that will hopefully provide sanitary water to everyone around the world. There is a basic human need for clean water, but this instead seems like a luxury for every 1 in 9 individuals worldwide. Water.org has become so well organized that for every $1 donated there is a $4 economic return; this comes from the countless lives that are bettered when clean drinking water is available. Water.org has been very successful in involving high-profile celebrities with its cause and has gained international recognition as one of the strongest players in sanitation.

4. Acumen Fund

Acumen raises charitable donations to invest in companies, leaders and ideas that are changing the way the world tackles poverty. This group seems to be searching out the best of the best and providing them with the funding they need to change the world for good. Acumen states that their main goal is “dignity” rather than the usual goal of profitability. They want to help people believe that dreams do come true and to provide them with an arena in which to do this. By funding leaders and innovators in developing communities, the Acumen Fund is able to build rural communities from the bottom up, allowing them to compete in the global market and, in turn, become more developed. This is one great idea that has clearly allowed people all over the world to realize that dreams really do come true.

5. The Borgen Project

The Borgen Project was founded by one man with one computer and one very big dream. Founder Clint Borgen and his team are seeking to make a mark on global poverty by going right to the source: the lawmakers. The Borgen Project seeks to educate individuals on worldwide poverty and what is being done to make an impact. They also communicate one-on-one with lawmakers to gain support for bills that will better the global community. The Borgen team has met with almost every member of Congress and the House and is continuing to inform lawmakers and the public about changes that could be made to make this world a better place to live in.

– Sumita Tellakat

Sources: The Global Journal, The Garden of Hope Foundation, Save the Children, Water.org, Acumen
Photo: Western University

summer internships
As the winter season starts to wind down, students from across the country are beginning their search of summer internships. Summer internships are a great way to gain new experiences, travel to places you’ve always wanted to visit, and meet new people—all while gaining valuable skills that will give you the edge in securing employment in the future.

Landing a summer internship can seem like a daunting task. What am I interested in? How do I apply? If you have arrived at these questions, you are already on the right path! Most companies offer students the chance to play a role in their daily functions and learn about their work environment. For those interested in global poverty reduction, human rights activism, and other service based careers, here are potential summer internship opportunities for you

Political Affairs Internship, The Borgen Project

  • Meet with members of Congress and/or Congressional staffers in your State and District to discuss global poverty issues
  • Represent The Borgen Project and various business, political, and community events
  • Mobilize individuals to contact their members of Congress in support of anti-poverty legislation and assist with fundraising
  • For more information on how to apply please visit Telecommute Internships.

Summer Internship Program, American Red Cross

  • Get introduced to the mission of the American Red Cross with real-world work experience in a non-profit
  • Assist with day-to-day functions building reports, presentations, guides etc.
  • Choose from a diverse selection of positions including human resources, government relations, humanitarian services, public health & safety, biomedical services, disaster services, finance, marketing and more!
  • For more information on how to apply, visit Red Cross.

Community Engagement Intern Program, Feeding Children Everywhere

  • Get hands on experience battling on the front lines of the fight against hunger. Recruit volunteers nationwide for various “Hunger Projects”
  • Build and lead programs while performing community outreach
  • Travel to different “Hunger Projects” and network with various volunteers while preparing and packaging meals to feed hungry children
  • Please visit their Intern Program for more information and locations.

Intern, ONE Campaign

  • ONE offers students a diverse experience working in grassroots mobilization, field organizing, digital projects, communications, ans global operations
  • Interns will have to perform research and fact-checking, trips and events preparation, collection of press clips, database management, and administrative tasks
  • For more information please visit ONE.org.

Student Internship Program, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

  • USAID offers a variety of summer internship positions in the Bureau for Legislative and Public Affairs, the Office of the General Counsel, the Office of Transition Initiatives, the Bureau of Africa and more.
  • Interns will be required to conduct research, draft program memoranda and other documents
  • Facilitate meetings and special events, attend program discussions in various government agencies and communicate with stakeholders and public
  • Work in fields like agriculture, education, health, environment, democracy, conflict prevention, and humanitarian assistance

These summer internships offer students from diverse backgrounds with various interests a chance to develop new skills and gain valuable experience working to alleviate social problems of today.

View telecommuting internships at The Borgen Project.

– Sunny Bhatt

Sources: The Borgen Project, Red Cross, Feeding Children EverywhereIdealist.org
Photo: Wdet