KOICA and USAID are Aiding the World
The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) is partnering with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to promote developmental change in 11 areas around the world. These areas include education, global health and economic security. The partnership will run from 2023 to 2025 and is benefitting areas around the world including in Africa, Latin America and the Indo-Pacific region.

The agencies first met in Washington D.C. at the USAID headquarters on December 5, 2022, to discuss measures related to their joint effort. This meeting was the first between the agencies’ leaders in eight years. According to U.S. Mission Korea, “Once a recipient of USAID support, South Korea is now a leading democracy and strong partner of the Agency and the broader U.S. government, providing $2.9 billion in development assistance globally in 2021.” Here is more information about how KOICA and USAID are aiding the world.

Overview of How South Korea is Aiding the World

South Korea or officially known as the Republic of Korea began donating to the international community in 1963. This donation was through Triangular Cooperation with USAID. Korea went from being an aid recipient of USAID to being, “the first former aid recipient to join OECD’s Developmental Assistance Committee.”

The KOICA originated in 1991 and to this day follows its guiding mission of “contributing to the common prosperity and the promotion of world peace through inclusive, mutual development cooperation leaving no one behind.”

Since KOICA’s founding, it has donated a total of $563 million to countries across the world. The most recent partnership with USAID will increase this total and further benefit those around the world.

How KOICA and USAID are Aiding the World

On top of the 11 areas the two agencies wish to focus upon, they will work towards 27 tasks in these 11 areas. The two agencies have also agreed to have a shared platform for exchanging results and implementing common projects between them. The utilization of Korea’s digital economy strength will benefit the two agencies, and the two countries’ “common values of human rights, rule of law, and civil society, and in the sector of private partnership.”

Both the President of KOICA, Sohn Hyuk-sang, and USAID administrator, Samantha Power had high praise for the most recent cooperation between the agencies. They both hope the most recent Work Plan will continue to sustain a positive relationship between the U.S. and Korea as well as use the two countries’ resources to help others across the globe.

President Sohn had this to say about the meeting, “As we meet the 70th anniversary of the ROK-U.S. alliance in 2023, I am pleased that the development cooperation agencies of our two countries can gather in one place to discuss sustainable and fruitful cooperation as a part of realizing our global comprehensive strategic alliance.”

About The Work Plan

The Work Plan will fall into place with Korea’s new Indo-Pacific strategy. According to KOICA’s website, “Through the implementation of the Work Plan, KOICA plans to focus on carrying out development cooperation to support developing countries in the Indo-Pacific region in responding to [changing weather patterns] and disasters.”

The Work Plan has the potential to deliver quality resources and aid to developing countries across the world. The way that KOICA and USAID are aiding the world will have an immensely positive effect on those in need. The goals of the project will greatly benefit those who are underserved including those who are in poverty as well as those experiencing the most challenges due to changing weather patterns.

– Sean McMullen
Photo: Flickr

Purchases that Give Back
As more businesses and companies become aware of their power, influence and resources capable of sparking global change, there are more ways for consumers to make purchases that give back to important causes.

Passive Fundraising Programs

Many search engines and online shopping companies utilize passive fundraising to encourage donations without any extra effort from consumers.

  • AmazonSmile – AmazonSmile donates 0.5% of consumers’ eligible purchases on Amazon to a charity of their choice simply by shopping as you would normally. With no need to create a separate account or pay any additional fees, AmazonSmile makes it easy for consumers to donate to nonprofits and charity organizations while completing their normal shopping. AmazonSmile gives consumers the option to donate to almost one 1 million different public charitable organizations, including The Borgen Project, the World Wildlife Fund and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
  • Ecosia – Ecosia is a search engine part of the Microsoft Search Network which donates most of its expendable funds to tree-planting organizations. Since its foundation in 2009, it has planted more than 70 million trees, as of 2019, by using revenue from ads, online traffic and collecting profits per click. The company also acquires its energy in an eco-friendly approach with solar farms that power the search engine itself.
  • Give with Bing – Give with Bing is another initiative by Microsoft which allows people to join the free Microsoft Rewards program to donate to charities of their choice. Reward points automatically go toward the cause when searching with Bing’s search engine, at no additional cost. It rewards consumers for completing activities that they would complete anyway, such as shopping, searching and gaming. Consumers can also redeem their points for gift cards or sweepstakes entries.
  • Altruisto – Altruisto is another passive fundraising tool, which comes in the form of a Google Chrome extension, which gives a portion of the money that consumers pay to selected charities. A community interest company called Well-Managed World C.I.C manages it. As consumers install the Chrome extension onto their devices and buy from Altruisto’s partners’ stores online, usually 2% to 6% of their total goes to charities and causes such as extreme poverty, COVID-19, malaria and the global water crisis – without any additional costs to buyers. This allows consumers to make purchases that give back to causes they believe in with no hassle.

Sustainability and Environmentally-Friendly Programs

Businesses and companies are beginning to realize the importance of promoting sustainability programs considering the impact that large-scale production and consumption have on the environment. Though consumer practices also contribute to changing weather patterns, the majority of emissions come from big businesses, as only 100 companies are responsible for 71% of greenhouse gas emissions. As changing weather patterns continue to worsen, including the drought and severe heat which have characterized the summer of 2022 across many continents, businesses are putting in more effort to reduce their contribution to excessive waste, carbon emission levels, and other practices that put climate stability at risk. 

  • Nike – Nike has made efforts to increase its green initiatives by creating a line of sustainable products and using renewable energy sources for its products. Its main goals have been to reduce its carbon footprint, eliminate waste, conserve water, eliminate hazardous chemicals and responsibly source its products. As of the fiscal year of 2020, 78% of Nike’s owned or operated facilities use renewable energy and all of their footwear manufacturing waste is diverted from landfills. Nike has also endorsed its written environmental policies to 650 of its suppliers in 52 different countries.
  • Starbucks – Starbucks has committed to Carbon Neutral Green Coffee, water conservation and responsible sourcing of its coffee. As of 2022, the areas of focus include expanding plant-based menu options, utilizing reusable packaging as opposed to single-use packaging, investing in regenerative agriculture and forest conservation and improving waste management. Starbucks has also partnered with and joined organizations such as the U.N. Global Compact CEO Water Mandate, the Water Resilience Coalition and Conservation International to improve their water agenda and reach their goal of 50% conservation in water usage by 2030.
  • Disney – The entertainment company has taken a social responsibility in protecting the planet in its initiatives and goals to create zero emissions, reduce waste, lower impact products and build sustainably. The company has established policies for zero waste and emissions to reduce landfills as carbon fuels and to create a net positive environmental impact. With projects in progress to create solar facilities, Disney is currently expected to make 40% of its electricity come from renewable energy sources.

Companies and programs like Amazon Smile make it convenient and easy for consumers to donate to charities and nonprofit organizations that they are passionate about and make purchases that give back.

– Nethya Samarakkodige
Photo: Flickr

 Rise in Public GivingU.S. inflation reached 9.1% in June 2022, the highest inflation rate in nearly 40 years. An alarming rise in the cost of goods and services paired with stock market volatility reflects ongoing concerns of a burgeoning economic recession. Economists’ forecasts grow bleaker as the government races to tackle historic inflation rates. Even so, 2022 sees a rise in public giving despite mounting economic hardship.

2022 Fidelity Charitable Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs)

According to Fidelity Charitable, the largest grantmaker in the United States, Americans donated a record-high $4.8 billion to Fidelity Charitable accounts within the first six months of 2022. Approximately $128 million of these donations went to Ukrainian relief efforts, providing aid to alleviate the many crises Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused. Donations to prominent NGOs such as Jose Andres’s Central World Kitchen and the International Medical Corps also increased significantly when compared to previous years.

Fidelity Charitable’s 11% increase in donations is a significant divergence from the norm, as charitable giving is generally the first thing cut from the budget during times of financial duress. The 2008 financial crisis, for example, caused donation rates to plummet by approximately 12%, according to Fast Company.

Recent changes in America’s charitable activity can be attributed to the emerging prominence of Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs). DAFs allow individuals and corporations alike to deposit assets for donations to charity over time. Donors invest their charitable donations in advance, allowing them to tap into these funds later down the road when a crisis unfolds. DAFs are essentially donation reserves that allow donors to access funds that have been already been set aside, thus enabling a steady rise in public giving despite mounting economic hardship.

DAFs Bolster Americans Capacity to Give

DAFs are quite new and have grown in popularity since the financial crisis of 2008. Because DAFs create a ready supply of donations over time, they bolster donors and charities alike against future economic hardships. Rapid economic expansion in the decade since the 2008 market crash boosted general economic confidence and encouraged expansive investment in DAFs, which is translating into elevated levels of giving during times of crisis, according to Fast Company.

The purpose of DAFs is to increase the amount that individuals and corporations are able to give. They are incredibly flexible, allowing individuals to invest cash donations as well as assets such as stocks, bonds, cryptocurrencies, life insurance and retirement funds, according to Nerd Wallet. The versatility of DAFs is part of what makes them so successful, as they provide a plethora of investment options that appeal to everyone from the wealthy elite to the average middle-class American family.

Once an individual invests assets in a DAF, they cannot retrieve their contribution from the fund. This works to prevent individuals or companies from abusing DAFs for their tax-deduction qualities. Sponsoring organization controls DAFs, which controls the assets within DAFs as well as the investment options available to donors, according to Nerd Wallet. Once invested, DAF assets mature or appreciate tax-free until they are donated.

Some sponsor organizations do not have a mandatory distribution date, meaning that a donor can allow their funds to grow as long as they wish before donating. Other sponsor organizations require donors to contribute a portion of their funds to charity regularly in order to avoid fraudulent activity.

DAFs offer various tax benefits, permitting donors to receive tax deductions for their DAF contributions. Tax-related donor benefits contributed to the expansive rise in DAF investment in the past decade, fostering the current rise in public giving despite mounting economic hardship. The tax deductions attributed to DAFs faced criticism in the past as they provide a possible tax shelter for the wealthy. Despite these concerns, DAFs have proven a vital funding source for charities during times of economic volatility by bolstering Americans’ capacity to give.

An Evolution in How Americans Give

Although it is America’s largest DAF sponsor organization, expanding DAF investment is not unique to Fidelity Charitable. The 15th annual DAF report by the National Philanthropic Trust of 2021 analyzes data from 976 charitable DAF sponsor organizations from 2020. The report found that DAF donor grants reached approximately $34.67 billion in 2021, an astonishing 27% increase since 2019.

Additionally, the number of individual DAF accounts within the U.S. reached 1 million for the first time in history. This encouraging increase in charitable investment and DAF donations seems counterintuitive considering the economic austerity imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The success of DAFs in 2020 and 2021 reflects the current rise in public giving despite mounting economic hardship.

Experts are confident that donation rates will continue to rise as 2022 persists, surpassing all previous records. Historically, Americans tend to give more during the fourth quarter of the financial year. The President of Fidelity Charitable, Jacob Pruitt, expects this trend to continue, with hopes of surpassing 2021’s year-end record of $10.3 billion, Fast Company reports. These donations will be a pertinent source of aid for low-income nations that are most vulnerable to high inflation rates.

Most DAF sponsor organizations do not have a minimum initial contribution, meaning anyone is welcome to open an account, according to Nerd Wallet. A small initial investment followed by regular deposits will appreciate over time, allowing one to mature their donation reserve at a pace that fits their financial situation. DAFs are an investment, so starting one now will not reap immediate results nor will it provide instant gratification.

If the past few years have taught us anything, it is that the course of life is unpredictable and that there will always be someone, somewhere in need of assistance. DAFs were designed with this reality in mind, enabling charitable individuals to plan ahead and prepare a ready reserve that can be tapped into when the need arises. A small DAF contribution today could translate into a major impact in the future, so there really is no better time to start investing than the present.

– Mollie Lund
Photo: Flickr

Middle-Income Countries
In 2019, the United States donated $8.1 billion in official development assistance (ODA) to the global health sector, according to the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This kind of government aid, alongside other contributions, explicitly aims to promote economic development and welfare in developing nations as the OECD has defined. The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD, an international forum of some of the largest providers of aid, including the United States, adopted ODA as the “gold standard” of foreign aid in 1969 and continued to be the primary source of financial assistance for development in other nations. Foreign support for health often prioritizes low-income countries over middle-income countries (MICs). According to a policy report, the national average income level for nations fails to reveal poverty and inequality. Millions of people living in poverty in MICs end up behind as donors focus on the poorest countries.

Who are the Middle-Income Countries

According to the World Bank, MICs are home to around 75% of the global population and 62% of the world’s poor. Middle-income countries also have two categories: lower-middle-income and upper-middle-income economies. Finally, the gross national income (GNI) per capita for MICs ranges between $4,046 and $12,535. Middle-income countries are diverse in terms of region, size, population and income level. Countries considered MICs could be nations with small populations such as Belize to larger countries such as China and India. Since the category of MIC expands to a multitude of different nations, there are a variety of other challenges. For those in the lower-middle-income category, one of the most significant issues may be providing citizens with essentials, such as water and electricity. The most critical challenges could potentially be corruption and governance for upper-middle-income nations.

How Health Donors Target Poverty

Duke University’s Center for Policy Impact in Global Health “analyzed donors’ allocation policies to determine if they reflect subnational poverty trends.” In addition, researchers aimed to identify ways funders can adapt their policies to ensure that no one ends up behind.

The researchers found four key features of the allocation policies including an overreliance on national poverty indicators, focus on critical and vulnerable populations, future subnational targeting and health system strengthening.

Health aid funders relied on national-level economic indicators for a country’s aid eligibility. There was also a high correlation to most health donors prioritizing epidemic control over poverty elimination, especially for organizations that target specific diseases. Through targeting diseases, health aid funders define populations by their epidemiological risk profile rather than making an explicit link to subnational poverty that may be causing a higher exposure to the diseases. Many donors also direct their funds to two different pathways of either “a ‘health systems strengthening (HSS) window or a cross-cutting HSS approach.” Organizations including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) use HSS to reach people considered the poorest. Unfortunately, the organizations do not often track poverty-specific metrics linked to their HSS portfolios even while trying to reduce poverty.

Due to a focus on elements that poverty or national-level economic indicators cause, donors often overlook the poor in middle-income countries.

The Importance of Donors

To ensure impoverished people can benefit from health aid, eliminating poverty should be a central goal for donors. They should use geospatial data sources and methods, consult the citizens living in poverty and use other indicators and factors to assess poverty. This would ensure that donors deliver the best aid to the community. However, donors should also acknowledge that poverty is a “complex, multidimensional and context-dependent social phenomenon that cannot be captured by monetary indicators alone.” Donors have to realize that the value for money approach may not align with the idea of ensuring that no one ends up behind.

Donors should also work alongside domestic policymakers to achieve long-term sustainability for a clear action plan for vulnerable groups. The donors have to define who will receive the program, how these people will access the program and what benchmarks will determine progress. The donors should also ensure that the community involves itself in a meaningful way to create change. In addition, medical interventions including vaccines should have mechanisms in place to set reasonable prices.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Middle-income countries have garnered the attention of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). As U.N. General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir said that “The international community must urgently address the structural obstacles holding back progress…” Specifically, when middle-income countries experience exclusion from relief initiatives, they cannot respond effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic and the other social and economic effects. UNCTAD Acting Secretary-General Isabelle Durant said, “If the international community fails to support middle-income countries, the debt crisis will threaten global efforts to tackle poverty, inequality and climate change for years to come.” To help, UNCTAD developed the Productive Capacities Index (PCI) that would measure “how far productive capacities and benchmark their achievements.” This will help nations to formulate and implement better policies and benchmarks in terms of development and country-specific conditions.

Hope exists that the correct aid will uplift the community and implement sustainable solutions to today’s health issues ranging from parasites to chronic and infectious diseases. Middle-income countries will continue to grow their health infrastructure to give their citizens the best future possible.

Gaby Mendoza
Photo: Flickr

The International Aid Transparency Initiative
The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) is a global coalition dedicated to improving the transparency of humanitarian and developmental programs and their effect on the areas receiving aid. The International Aid Transparency Initiative holds programs to its standardized expectations, working with the likes of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and others. The UNDP is dedicated to advocating for global development by giving countries the proper resources, understanding and familiarity with those resources that are designed to help those in need of help to maximize help and impact.

The Use of Provided Data

Published data allow for fund transparency. This enables easy tracking of fund functions, location and impact. The data initiative allows for more informed decisions by donors, NGOs and governments toward countries or areas that are developing or in desperate need of aid. The transparency allowed by the data creates a place for politicians, journalists and the public to fully understand where their donations will be going.

The organization providing data determines how much they wish to share. If someone reading over the data realizes an inconsistency or error, they can reach out to the organization’s publisher to rectify an error.

The IATI’s Work

The International Aid Transparency Initiative has been a leader in transparency standards since it began in 2008 and ore than a decade later, its efforts continue. The IATI’s standards aim to better keep track of where aid goes, how much foreign aid is going to different countries and for what purpose. A leading member of the IATI is Transparency International, a current member of the International NGO Accountability Charter. This Charter strictly outlines guidelines regarding transparency.

With around 900 organizations from about 50 countries working alongside the International Aid Transparency Initiative, group efforts benefit the fight against global poverty. With access to a large amount of data and information, the public has widespread access to make a better-informed donation to specific organizations. Since global poverty is such a large problem for many people around the world, being able to see where funds go and who is directly benefiting from the aid is a useful ability to have. Many of the organizations and countries that work alongside the IATI are members of the initiative or use the data standard for their own uses.

The International Aid Transparency Initiative stands as a force for knowledge and education to help better show people how organizations and countries allocate aid. The information and data available through this initiative allows for more education toward the fight against global poverty. It is an invaluable tool to decipher how much aid an area is receiving and how much more it may need, as well as which areas are in more desperate need of funding. The knowledge that the IATI provides should l in turn allow donors to see potentially underlooked areas.

– Jake Herbetko
Photo: Flickr

Sponsor a child
More than 8 million children living in poverty receive sponsorship from benefactors throughout their childhood. These relationships develop through donations, letters and sometimes visits and volunteering. Once these relationships occur, they often make an insurmountable impact on the child and last a lifetime. One of the ways to build a relationship with and sponsor a child in need across the world is through the organization Compassion.

What is Compassion?

Compassion is a religion-based organization that aims to support children globally with basic needs such as medical assistance, clean water and food, youth development and birthday gifts. Compassion has implemented various ways people can help and donate. One way it encourages people to do this is by giving a child a yearly birthday gift along with medical care and food. Many donors choose a child with the same birthday as their own and celebrate it by sharing it with a child across the world.

What Does the Organization Do?

The organization provides a platform to help children across the world. In particular, the sponsorship program aims for people to sponsor one or multiple children. With this program, 40% of children are more likely to finish their secondary education, and sponsored children are more likely to stay in school for almost two years longer than unsponsored children.

Compassion has also been working tirelessly to help families and children during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has become an increasing problem with poverty, as it mainly affects income loss, food shortages, rising prices and medical treatment. Compassion is helping families with cooking essentials, medical treatment and rent assistance. Much of the work the organization does, besides donating and volunteering, is based around churches and businesses. It fosters partnerships between churches and businesses to hold events, raise awareness and help people become advocates.

A Donation-based Organization

This program is mainly donation-based. There are plenty of ways that people donate on the organization’s website. In fact, donors can choose where, and often who, their donation goes to. Individuals are able to either help sponsor a child or direct their money toward areas such as COVID-19 or disaster relief. However, this organization does not only revolve around donations, it also provides other areas for people to help such as volunteering, writing to children and even visiting children. This can have a huge effect on the children from infancy to adulthood, as many children remain in contact with their benefactors their entire life. Because the organization originated from its religious beliefs, it also provides a prayer calendar, where many can say a prayer for children in poverty.

Poverty begins and ends with children. When children have access to higher education, clean food and water and proper healthcare, they are more likely to lift themselves out of poverty. By giving children around the world access to basic needs, sponsors are beginning to break the cycle of poverty. When a person sponsors a child, they are giving them more than just a birthday present, they are also giving them hope.

– Maddie Rhodes
Photo: Unsplash

Effective altruismHow can we do the most good in the world? This is the guiding question of a new philosophical and moral movement called “effective altruism” (EA). Effective altruism, a concept coined by philosopher Peter Singer, is an attempt to use common sense and research to determine how each person can maximize his or her positive impact.

What is Effective Altruism?

The basic idea is simple. There are many things a person can do to improve the world. An individual can donate to charities, volunteer or support positive government action. Effective altruists, however, believe that it is not just a matter of doing good wherever it is most convenient. Take charities, for example. Some causes achieve their goals more efficiently than others. Donating $10,000 to an emergency surgery fund might save one life. But, donating that same money to a group that, for instance, teaches impoverished children how to read, could have a vastly greater effect. One of the issues effective altruists care the most about is global poverty.

Global Poverty: A High-Priority Cause

Addressing poverty is one of the most cost-effective and reliable ways to reduce suffering. Unlike some other issues, global poverty is a problem with proven solutions. Over the past 40 years, extreme poverty rates have dropped from 42% to less than 10%. With such a successful track record, it is easy to imagine that future efforts to reduce poverty will continue to pay off.

Looking at the measures taken on the ground, it is not difficult to see how a little money can have a big impact in solving global poverty. Parasitic diseases, for instance, are a huge drain on wealth and stability in large parts of the developing world, but they can be cured with a pill that costs less than a dollar. Mosquito nets are just as affordable, with the ability to protect more than half a million potential malaria victims a year.

Prioritizing Maximum Impact

According to effective altruism, it is not enough to devote time or money to a cause that generally has a good track record. An individual must look at exactly where their money is going. Even poverty-reducing measures have significant differences in efficiency and results. For example, a recent study compared the cost-benefit ratios of sustainable livelihoods graduation programs, livelihood development programs and cash transfers. Although graduation programs tend to cost more, they have far greater long-term success in lifting people out of poverty.

People are becoming far more conscientious of the causes and charities to which they choose to devote their time and money. Effective altruism is emerging in this environment. GiveWell, an effective altruism organization, analyzes the progress reports of well-known charities and conducts independent investigations into their effectiveness.

GiveWell is not afraid of courting controversy either. GiveWell recommends that individuals stop giving to some of the most well-known poverty reduction charities. According to GiveWell, these organizations lack transparency, show unimpressive results or already have more funds than they can effectively use. In the spirit of effective altruism, GiveWell instead recommends a list of alternate organizations that can fulfill similar goals far more efficiently.

Considering Effective Altruism

Effective altruism, as well as philosophically-related organizations like GiveWell, are not without critics. Some, particularly those involved with more traditional models of charity and activism, argue that effective altruism puts too many limits on an individual’s ability to donate however they choose. But, such criticisms notwithstanding, effective altruism offers a fresh perspective on how to approach pressing issues like global poverty.

– Thomas Brodey
Photo: Wikimedia

Mesut Özil’s Charity WorkMesut Özil is one of the world’s wealthiest soccer players. In addition, Mesut Özil’s charity work has related strongly to his athletic efforts. He previously played for Arenal London and recently joined the Turkish club Fenerbahce Istanbul. Arsenal London declared a 12.5% pay cut for its players and manager Mikel Arteta due to the pandemic. However, Özil rejected this cut. As a result, he created discrepancies between him and the club and Özil no longer underwent selection for games. While Özil received some criticism from online communities, many fans continued to support him because he donates significantly to charities.

Özil Recognizes His Privileged Position

Mesut Özil was born in Germany as the fourth child of Turkish immigrants. Özil’s family struggled financially throughout his entire childhood and his mother had to take on several different cleaning jobs to make ends meet. As a result, Özil recognized his incredibly privileged position as a successful soccer player. He is extremely compassionate toward impoverished communities. Thus, Özil has been giving back to those who desperately need aid.

Supporting Impoverished Communities

Özil’s salary at Arsenal London was an estimated $25 million a year in 2013. Thus, the 12.5% cut would have decreased his salary by about $3.2 million a year. Additionally, the club and its billionaire owner Stan Kroenke would gain his loss. Furthermore, Özil and other players were doubtful that their pay cuts would actually aid staff members. Özil stated that he was even willing to give up more of his salary if the club could prove it was necessary. In the end, he decided to increase his charity work instead.

Mesut Özil’s Charity Work

Özil’s refusal to accept the pay cut placed him in the center of media attention in 2020. However, many have known him for his incredibly generous nature for a long time. For example, Özil donated his prize money of $329,000 after winning the World Cup in 2014. He donated to the BigShoe project and financed vital surgeries for 23 children in Brazil. Additionally, Özil and his wife donated to 16 refugee camps in Turkey and Syria after their wedding. Their contribution provided food to about 100,000 people. Furthermore, the couple funded important surgeries for about 1,000 children around the world.

The Way Özil Spent the Money he Refused to Give Up

Özil donated money to support people in need all across the globe after rejecting Arsenal’s pay cut. Homeless shelters and schools in North London received nutritious food in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, he increased his financial contributions to the BigShoe project to provide children with much-needed surgeries. He also donated $111,542 to the Turkish Red Crescent in May 2020. The money went toward feeding families in Turkey and Syria during Ramadan. Mesut Özil’s charity work also introduced a new range of footwear and donated all of the money that the footwear earned. It granted children in Italy access to digital education materials during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fans and the media continue to criticize Özil’s refusal of the pay cut. Many consider the money he donated to impoverished communities to be more important than giving it back to Arsenal. However, Özil’s charity work has had an undeniable positive impact on many people’s lives.

– Bianca Adelman
Photo: Flickr

Awareness Around Global Poverty Helps
Raising awareness is a key strategy of ending global poverty. Raising awareness around global poverty helps bring people together who share the goal of eliminating global poverty. There are several factors to consider when channeling awareness. Public interest and celebrity involvement can play a factor in successful events involving raising awareness.

Social Media

Social media is an effective method many nonprofits use to help raise awareness about global poverty. A U.S. study revealed that 47% of those surveyed were able to learn about important causes such as global poverty via social media. Moreover, it showed that 15% gained an awareness of issues relating to ending poverty through social media. Additionally, social media compelled 56% of its consumers to contribute to missions relating to global poverty eradication. The study showed that 59% of people who engaged with a post donated money, while about 53% acted by volunteering, 52% donated items such as clothing or food, 43% became involved in an event for the cause and about 40% purchased a product that supported the cause monetarily.

More than half of all Facebook users have said that they support a charity or cause pertaining to ending global poverty so that their friends can see their support. Also, those engaging in fundraising efforts have seen results up to 10 times greater when incorporating Twitter. While the numbers show how effective using social media to raise awareness can be, it is important that nonprofits strategically approach issues and carefully consider target audiences.

International Focus Days

Days like Giving Tuesday are often effective in raising awareness and donations pertaining to global issues. Donations on Giving Tuesday have grown by more than $360 million from 2012 to 2018. Facebook and PayPal match millions of dollars in donations in honor of the day.

The United Nations raised awareness on the issues of global poverty by marking October 17, 2020, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. It used the day to raise awareness of how those living in poverty suffer and what others can do to make a differente. The U.N. used #Endpoverty to raise awareness and educate the public about global poverty. The U.N. recognizes and promotes many international focus days throughout the year which raises awareness on issues that those living in extreme poverty face. These international focus days include World Tuberculosis Day and World Refugee Day.

The Make Poverty History Campaign

The involvement of celebrities in various initiatives often attracts attention, aiding in raising awareness about global poverty. In 2005, the world stood together for the Make Poverty History campaign, a global campaign with the aim of addressing major issues that those living in extreme poverty face. More than 40 celebrities endorsed the event and rallied their fans’ support. Among those celebrities were Pink, Nelson Mandela, George Clooney and Brad Pitt. Celebrities held rallies and performed concerts to help raise awareness. Their endorsements initiated action.

Informing World Leaders

The efforts focused on bringing the issues of poverty to the attention of world leaders. The objective was to encourage them to take action. In the 10 years following the Make Poverty History campaign, aid to Africa increased by more than 60%. In fact, European aid to impoverished countries increased by 48%. This aid led to 36 targeted countries wiping out more than $90 billion in debt for their citizens, HIV cases dropping by 33% in targeted parts of Africa, malaria reducing deaths by more than 50% in Africa and polio reducing cases to less than 500 globally by 2013. Additionally, more than 30 million African children started school, whereas poverty previously affected their enrollment.

How Awareness Around Global Poverty Helps

While there is evidence that shows the effectiveness of raising awareness, there are those that argue the effectiveness. In an article entitled “Stop Raising Awareness Already” by Ann Christiano and Annie Niemand, the writers caution about the dangers of raising awareness and that it can have the opposite of the desired effect causing people to disregard the message if it does not receive proper execution and result in action. While proper execution of raising awareness is crucial to action, no action can occur without awareness.

Again, raising awareness around global poverty helps bring communities together to help create change on issues. Awareness can bring enthusiasm to people and help them feel inspired to create change or act. While awareness alone cannot end global poverty, it is a crucial and effective first step.

– Carolyn Lyrenmann
Photo: Flickr

Agencies Accept Shoe Donations Even During COVID-19 Pandemic
Donating old clothes is often one of the easiest ways people can help the less fortunate. From coat drives in the winter to fight hypothermia to toddler outfits for newborns in poverty, there has always been an immense amount of value in used clothes. However, during the global pandemic, both organizations and donors have shied away from accepting or donating pre-owned clothes in hopes of stopping the spread of COVID-19. Yet, shoe donations remain a safe way to donate to those in need. For people living in extreme poverty, owning just one pair can be life-changing. Hundreds of millions of people across the globe are unable to afford shoes. This includes countless school children. A simple shoe donation can protect someone from hookworm, puncture wounds, sores and blisters, and provide overall comfort. In regions of the world where cars and public transportation are scarce, walking is a means of survival.

The Importance of Shoes in the Developing World

Resources are not as readily available in impoverished regions and can require a person to travel long distances to obtain them. In Africa and Asia, the average distance to reach clean water is 3.7 miles on foot. For medical resources, the journey is even longer. A study in Niger revealed that 61% of the population needed to walk for more than one hour to reach a hospital. This includes pregnant women trying to receive proper health care and anyone experiencing a health emergency. Traveling more than two hours on foot for medical care is excruciating and requires addressing. Luckily, these important charities are working to bring shoes to those who need them most.

Put Foot Foundation

School children are the primary focus of the Put Foot Foundation. Growing up with proper footwear can help children’s feet avoid injury and allow them to play worry-free. The foundation locates schools in South Africa that have student populations unable to obtain shoes and launches a “shoe drop.” Armed with comfortable all-purpose shoes in various sizes for both girls and boys, these shoe drops provide entire schools with footwear for all children. In many cases, the Put Foot Foundation provides children with their very first pair of shoes.


Born out of a runner’s trip to Africa, Shoe4Africa began in the mid-1990s. In the 25 years since the nonprofit began, it opened multiple schools and a hospital that has treated more than 200,000 patients. This was possible because of all the donations that it received at its numerous events, centered mostly around running. While its work has changed to include health care and educational improvements, Shoe4Africa does not forget its roots in shoe donations. Seeing women and children walk miles barefoot for basic human resources motivated this organization to begin, and to this day, it still delivers shoes to Africans in need.

Soles For Jesus

The work that church congregations in Africa are doing is crucial to improving living conditions. The nonprofit organization Soles For Jesus noticed the significant need for footwear in Africa and made it a part of its church mission to alleviate the issue. Donations of new and gently used shoes go to a warehouse where people separate pairs by size and place them in new boxes. After it collects a total of 8,000 pairs, a freight ship carries the load to its destination. The shoes then undergo distribution to the numerous church congregations that Soles For Jesus has relationships with. This ensures that it sends pairs all across the African continent, rather than to one specific country. More than half a million pairs of shoes that Soles For Jesus has sent out have reached people who rely on walking to access basic needs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down donations of material goods all across the world. Yet, shoe donations remain a safe, helpful and easy way to improve the lives of those in the direst situations. These three charity organizations continue to accept donations of new and pre-owned shoes throughout the year. People who must travel 3.7 miles on foot to get fresh water cannot stop because of the pandemic and neither can the organizations trying to send them the proper footwear for their journeys.

Zachary Hardenstine
Photo: Flickr