Information and stories about nonprofit organizations and NGOs

nonprofits in ArmeniaSince Armenia has only been an independent country for less than 30 years, its economy has been slow-building. As of 2017, Armenia has a 29.8 percent poverty rate. The landscape of nonprofits in Armenia is a good example of how diverse strategies can contribute to the reduction of poverty. Here are the top five nonprofits in Armenia.

Top 5 Nonprofits in Armenia

  1. AGBU
    • What they do: The Armenian General Benevolent Union works to promote Armenian heritage around the world.
    • Who they serve: AGBU serves all Armenians by bringing attention to the country for its unique culture. At the same time, AGBU fundraises for causes, like Artsakh. Moreover, AGBU organizes women empowerment programs, work to improve medical care and support local farmers.
    • For more information, read about AGBU here.
  2. Eevah
    • What they do: Eevah aims to feed 33,000 hungry children around the world by 2020. The sale of handmade jewelry funds Eevah’s presence in Armenia. By combining creativity, fashion and charity, Eevah exemplifies how to utilize local talent to enact change.
    • Who they serve: Eevah serves children suffering from hunger around the world.
    • For more information, read about Eevah here.
  3. World Vision
    • What they do: World Vision identifies and eradicates root causes of poverty to benefit the lives of children across. To do so, World Vision empowers communities to become self-sufficient and sustainable.
    • Who they serve: To date, World Vision has helped over 200 million children in poverty. In Armenia, they focus on ensuring children live happy childhoods through programs enriching home and school life. Additionally, they put together clothing drives to provide warm clothes to families in need during the winter.
    • For more information, read about World Vision here.
  4. Air Serv International, Inc.
    • What they do: Air Serv provides safe transportation for people escaping vulnerable and dangerous areas. Accordingly, Air Serv transports them to humanitarian organizations for help.
    • Who they serve: In April 2019, Air Serv transported 1,061 passengers into relief spaces. They are present in Armenia and surrounding countries like Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Georgia. Moreover, they have worked with the World Food Programme to provide food to Armenia and its neighbors during times of war and conflict.
    • For more information, read about Air Serve here.
  5. ACDI/VOCA
    • What they do: ACDI/VOCA fights to implement capacity-building projects across the globe. Specifically, they focus on economic advancement to help communities thrive through local programs.
    • Who they serve: In Armenia, ACDI/VOCA has supported innovative growing projects for 60,000 farmers. As a result, these programs benefit local efforts and bolster the agricultural industry. They also supported programming to provide $7 million in loans to Armenian farmers.
    • For more information, read about ACDI/VOCA here.

A labor force migration, weak agricultural system and unemployment drive Armenia’s poverty rate. However, the creativity of local and global nonprofits help provide relief to the 29.8 percent of Armenians who live in poverty. These nonprofits in Armenia prove the many ways communities can benefit from the work of like-minded individuals who want to eradicate poverty.

Ava Gambero
Photo: Flickr

How Politics Affect Poverty
In the last decade, there have been many studies regarding how politics and various government institutions shape poverty.

For the poorest and most vulnerable, the way in which their governments operate makes a profound difference in their lives. The incapacity of government institutions to prevent conflict, provide basic security or basic services can have detrimental consequences for their citizens, especially for the poor.

How Politics Affect Poverty

The instability of economic growth can make countries depend indefinitely on foreign aid. In countries where cultural or ethnic groups feel that there is economic, political and social inequality, wars are more likely to occur, causing a vicious cycle that leads to poverty.

In many instances the poor are marginalized and their voices are not heard. The poor, more than any other group, rely on basic public services.

These services work better for the poor when poor citizens participate in reforms of service delivery. In conflict-affected states, the supply of these services is very scarce.

Political instability, poor governance and corruption are a major phenomenon affecting poverty in the world today.

The Case of Haiti and Madagascar

For example, rudimentary to the prevalent problem of poverty in Haiti is the extensive history of political turmoil and the lack of governance.

Corruption and the misuse of public funds resulted in a reduction in the quality of all public services for the country. This includes the fundamental areas of traditional governmental responsibility, such as the police, the justice system and the provision of elemental infrastructure.

This makes Haiti the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest countries in the developing world.

Madagascar is another example of how politics affects poverty. Madagascar was a country with a lot of economic potential before the big crisis of 2008.

Before the crisis, Madagascar had economic growth of 5 percent per year but economic growth became stagnant from 2008 up until 2013.

Since 2009, Madagascar has been in an intense political turmoil created by an unconstitutional change of government.

The political crisis and instability created uncertainty for private investment. Throughout these years of political upheaval, Madagascar’s social and economic growth became severely damaged.

Discriminatory Laws

Racial, gender and ethnic discrimination are directly related to how politics affects poverty in some countries of the world and it needs to be addressed if it is to successfully decrease inequality and poverty.

For example, in Bangladesh, discriminatory family laws on marriage, separation and divorce push some women further into poverty.

In 20 years, Bangladesh has made great progress in its life expectancy and raised it by 10 years and has reduced infant mortality by more than half.

According to recent studies, both the rich and the poor are benefiting from these improvements.

However, according to the Human Rights Watch, women in the country do not benefit from these gains due to discriminatory family laws that push them deeper into poverty.

Migration is another aspect related to how politics affects poverty.

Migrant workers usually do not engage in political action about wages and conditions and they also lack the rights associated with citizenship and residency.

The laws governing immigration also often deprive these workers of labor or welfare protection, compel their ability to seek adequate working conditions.

Nongovernmental organizations’ Role

Nongovernmental organizations are an important part in helping alleviate poverty in many underdeveloped and third world countries.

For example, these organizations complement government in mobilizing additional resources in benefiting the greater number of people in need and enhancing program results through their participation in project management, monitoring and evaluation.

Typically, people fall into four categories of poverty that require different approaches.

The first category is made of people who are temporarily incapable of work, the second category consists of those who have some resources but lack business skills or efficiency.

The third category is made up of those who are capable of work but external conditions or resources like jobs are poor and the fourth category comprises those who are permanently incapacitated, such as the severely disabled.

Nongovernmental organizations can provide huge help for the first and the second category.

Unlike some development players, nongovernmental organizations are more willing to help and provide innovative solutions to the people’s problems allowing them to gain support sooner.

Policymakers must use conscientious new approaches to generate productive jobs, increase the minimum wage, ensure investment in low-income communities, improve education and training and create more opportunities for everyone to apply their talents.

In conclusion, it is important that all governmental institutions become aware of the problem that poverty brings to societies and the impact that it has in the economic growth and development of a nation.

By becoming fully aware and not ignoring it anymore, policymakers have the responsibility to create laws that will help alleviate poverty in their communities.

It is important to tackle it and not to continue blaming the individual citizen for his misfortune but to provide guidance and opportunities for poor people to step out of the hole they’re in.
Photo: Unsplash

Building Homes
The rule of three declares that a human cannot survive without a shelter any more than three hours.

If lost in the wilderness, an individual may choose to build a makeshift tent using the natural materials found around. In rural communities in the world, entire families are desperately relying on tents as their shelters.

These families live in survival mode daily, as their homes and living conditions can drastically change in a moment’s notice.

Living in inadequate housing leads to many health problems because of poor sanitation. With 1.5 million children under the age of 5 dying from water-borne illnesses like diarrhea, improved sanitation could cut down diarrhea-related deaths by more than a third.

Also, proper housing could ultimately increase the survival rate of people as concrete floors reduce the incidences of parasitic infections and a stable roof would protect families from extreme weather.

More than billion people worldwide suffer daily from living in the slums or in survival mode tents.

New Story’s housing project aims to change that. This nonprofit organization began a project that would bring together the donations and local workers to build sustainable and secure housing for rural communities.

Transparency of New Story’s Housing Project

New Story’s housing project also promises that every penny of a donation goes into building these homes.

As it can be difficult for some donors to trust a nonprofit organization to use the funds honestly, New Story works with complete transparency to earn the trust of the donors.

As a result, New Story publicizes its spending in detail for anyone to see. For example, the home cost breakdown for a New Story community in Nuevo Cuscátlan, El Salvador, totals to $6,014. This includes the cost of the foundation, roof, concrete walls, door and windows, interior and electrical wiring, bathroom fixings and a sewage system.

Another great way that New Story offers irrefutable proofs of the fruits of the labor by the communities and donors is that the organization will videotape a family moving into the specific home that those specific funds had built.

Through these consistent and truthful updates, donors and witnesses alike can attest to the transparency of the organization.

In the upcoming period, New Story plans on using 3D-printing technology to potentially build an 800-square-foot home in just 24 hours for $4,000 or less.

The Effects of the New Story’s Housing Project

New Story emphasizes working together with the local community. This is because it believes that working with local partners and encouraging community involvement allows for the most effective operation of the construction.

The organization first finds out what the locals really need and what they consider to be important features for housing in their region. After that, the designing becomes focused on the people as homes are built to accommodate and provide for these families.

New Story’s housing project also stresses the importance of planning for a community as having a home is not the only factor that improves livelihoods. This is why New Story is committed to building several homes in one community as it would create a thriving community with schools, markets, and opportunities for the people.

The building process also brings in local workers and materials to stimulate the local economies while exposing the locals to a new set of skills such as construction and urban planning.

New Story’s project showed that proper housing opens new opportunities for people. Once families had homes that could protect them, sickness reduced drastically.

A safe home that was guaranteed to be habitable provided the chance for families to focus on income and their futures.

Positive Examples

Since 2015, this organization has been working in Haiti, El Salvador, Bolivia and Mexico. New Story states that it works with local people to find the most desperate and destitute communities to focus on.

In Haiti, New Story built 534 homes in eight communities for 1,848 people. In El Salvador, it built 190 homes in five communities for 769 people. In Bolivia, it built 59 homes in one community for 177 people.

One example of a participant of New Story’s housing is Maria-Rose Delice. After her home was destroyed as a consequence of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, she was living in tents with her four children.

When New Story’s housing project had created a home for her and her children, Delice’s life was instantaneously lifted from living in survival mode. Instead of survival, she can now focus on other activities that can further benefit her life financially and comfortable. The security of her own New Story home has given her new opportunities.

“I’d like to start a business,” said Delice. “I’ll also be able to build a fence and start a garden. Pinto beans, bananas white beans – everything!”

Nonprofit organizations such as New Story are giving new life and hope for people in rural areas.

The basic need of housing is finally being addressed properly and with integrity by New Story.

Initiatives such as New Story’s housing project connect donors with recipients around the world as well as improve and stimulate the local economy for future developments.

– Jenny S. Park
Photo: Flickr

Migrant Workers in Qatar When one thinks of the Gulf state of Qatar, sky-high skyscrapers, double-decker airplanes and sprawling shopping malls come to mind. Ever since the discovery of oil in the region in 1939, the Qatari economy has seen rapid growth. In 2018, the CIA World Factbook ranked Qatar as second highest for GDP per capita, making it one of the wealthiest nations in the world. But this also makes it important for people to learn about the state of migrant workers in Qatar.

Migrant Workers in Qatar

The progress in Qatar has its drawbacks. When FIFA selected Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup, the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar was brought to the spotlight. A research brief from the UK Parliament found that Qatar has 1.5 million migrant workers or 90 percent of its total labor force comprises migrant workers.

While foreign workers continue to report incidents of exploitation and segregation, Qatar has made substantial improvements to its labor laws and is cooperating with organizations like Amnesty International and the International Labor Organization in the process.

The Kafala System

Gulf states—including Qatar—use the kafala (Arabic for sponsorship) system as an employment framework to recruit migrant laborers from abroad to work in low-paying jobs.

Under the kafala system in Qatar, migrant workers have documented a range of abuses, among them, are delayed and unpaid wages, excessive working hours, confiscation of passports, inaccessibility to healthcare and justice, sexual violence as well as deception in the recruitment process. In short, the kafala system binds a migrant worker into an exploitative employer-employee relationship.

By giving an employer control over a migrant worker’s job and residential status, the kafala system encourages workplace abuses. With over 95 percent of Qatari families employing at least one housemaid, some migrants choose to become domestic workers in the homes of Qatari nationals, where they are often subjected to sexual violence.

Furthermore, The Guardian reported in October 2013 that many Nepalese workers have died since the beginning of construction projects for future World Cup sites. These Nepalese workers live in segregated labor camps outside Doha where they endure unsanitary conditions and scant water supplies.

Labor Laws in Qatar

Under pressure from international nonprofits, Qatar has implemented a series of labor laws to improve working conditions for workers. In December 2016, a new law allowed migrant workers to return to Qatar within two years if they had previously left without their employer’s permission. It also increased the penalty for employers found guilty of confiscating their employees’ passports and created a committee to review workers’ requests to leave Qatar.

While this made no reference to the kafala system, the law fell short of addressing kafala’s main shortcoming, i.e. workers still need permission from their employers to switch jobs.

In order to help domestic workers who are often victims of forced prostitution, Qatar introduced a domestic workers law in August 2017. Instating legal protections for over 173,000 migrant domestic workers, the law sets a limit of 10 hours for a workday and mandates 24 consecutive hours off every week, as well as three weeks of annual paid leave. Though in its early stages, the law promises to alleviate the alienation and abuse of domestic workers, some of whom work up to 100 hours per week.

The Qatari government is gradually repealing the kafala system. In October 2017, the government expanded the Wage Protection System and mandated payment of wages by electronic transfer.

On September 5, 2018, an Amnesty International press release reported that the Emir of Qatar issued Law No. 13, which bans employers from preventing migrant workers from leaving the country.

Conclusion

Qatar’s World Cup bid may have been a blessing in disguise. Qatar started its stadium projects using slave-like labor, and now it has slowly opened up to the critiques and suggestions from external nonprofit organizations. As an example, the International Labor Organization has forged a technical cooperation agreement with Qatar and together they have worked to unravel the kafala system. These changes will turn this wealthy country into a more equitable one.

– Mark Blekherman
Photo: Flickr

 

Similarities and Differences Between a Charity, Non-profit Organization and Philanthropy
To get a better understanding of the different ways in which one can contribute to the community, it’s important to know the similarities and differences between charities, nonprofit organizations and philanthropy.

A large part of progress in the world is due to humanitarian aid and contribution, whether it be people donating money or food to the less fortunate or people coming together to work for and promote human welfare. Charities, nonprofit organizations and philanthropy are important to communities because each is effective in bringing positive change and offers valuable opportunities and programs to people.

Giving USA reports that charitable donations surged to an estimated $410.02 billion in 2017, a major increase of 5.2 percent from $389.64 in 2016. This is the first time that Giving exceeded $400 billion in one year.

While charities, nonprofit organizations and philanthropy can be used interchangeably and are similar in that each brings positive change, they differ significantly in the way they operate.

Charities

A charity is an immediate but emotional monetary donation or short-term contribution usually intended for crisis and relief efforts and supported completely by the public.

People usually donate to a charity that they have a personal connection to or are emotionally affected by. For instance, if a person is deeply concerned about animals, he or she may give a monetary donation at a local animal shelter.

According to Score, one of the ways to understand the differences between charities, nonprofit organizations and philanthropy is to remember that a nonprofit’s purpose is educational or religious and if its funds promote a cause that affects the general public and uses public solicitation to operate, it is most likely a charity.

Examples of donations to a charity include giving money or food to a homeless shelter, donating to an animal shelter, giving money to The Salvation Army bell-ringers outside one’s local supermarket during the holiday season, etc.

Nonprofit Organizations

A nonprofit organization and a charity are similar in that they both operate on a not-for-profit basis but differ based on whether it is tax-deductible and even in the way it operates. A charitable donation can count as tax-deductible while nonprofit organizations have to meet certain requirements and file with the IRS as a charitable organization.

A popular nationwide nonprofit organization is the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross website states that a donor’s donation goes toward strengthening the Red Cross response to nearly 64,000 disasters a year, providing a safe place, food and other necessities to affected individuals and their families. In 2016, the Red Cross provided 385,000 emergency assistance services, gave millions CPR and AED training and supplied 7 million blood products to patients in need.

Philanthropy

One way to remember the differences between charities, nonprofit organizations and philanthropy is by understanding that charities and nonprofits give/contribute while philanthropy involves action. For instance, while a charity can be a quick one-time donation to a school, philanthropy would work toward providing academic scholarships to students or funding to build a better school. Charities aim to lessen the suffering caused by social problems while philanthropists work toward ending social problems.

According to Medium, philanthropy is a long-term strategic investment and intervention dedicated to building long-lasting and successful change in individuals and communities.

While many think a philanthropist is someone who donates large amounts of money to an organization, a philanthropist can be somebody devoted to ending a certain social problem and promoting human welfare.

Impact and Importance

Although there are several differences between charities, nonprofit organizations and philanthropy, the important part is that all of these are effective in building a more efficient and progressive world. It doesn’t matter if someone donates to charities or nonprofit organizations or decides to become a philanthropist, what matters is their contribution serves to help those in need and is also another step toward progress.

– Kristen Uedoi
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

Top Five Nonprofits Combatting Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is a problem that affects the entire world. In 2017, 100,409 victims of human trafficking were identified worldwide. That is a dramatic increase from 2012, the year that saw the total number of victims reach 46,570 people. However, there are several organizations in the United States and abroad that are working to end human trafficking. In the text below, top five nonprofits combating human trafficking are presented.

Top 5 Nonprofits Combatting Human Trafficking

  1. The Polaris Project began in 2002, with the objective of tracking and ending human trafficking. This program aims to achieve this goal through several objectives. One of the objectives is running National Human Trafficking Hotline that provides support for victims inside the United States. Recently, the Polaris Project began to expand its work beyond the United States. The organization partnered with Consejo Ciudadano organization and begun work in Mexico and Latin America. The partnership with Consejo Ciudadano allowed both projects to merge their hotlines to track victims being smuggled to the United to Mexico and vice versa. In 2016, the partnership helped 508 victims find support after being trafficked. Support included psychological evaluation and legal advice. Also, calling the hotline number provided crucial details that lead to the identification of 559 traffickers.
  2. A21, since 2008, works to end slavery and human trafficking across the world and wants to ensure that freedom is a right secured to every human. A21 has 14 offices across the world including the United States, South Africa, Thailand and Ukraine. One of A21’s largest programs is the Walk for Freedom, which is a march that raises awareness of slavery and human trafficking. The march is also an opportunity for A21 to raise money to help its other causes like the Can You See Me campaign that aims to raise awareness of trafficking through social media. Last year, 400 marches took place in 50 countries. Seventy million people saw these marches either in person or through the media.
  3. Stop the Traffik, like other nonprofits combatting human trafficking, focuses on intelligence-led preventative measures that lead to disruption of human trafficking worldwide. The most important service that Stop the Traffik offers is the Stop App. This app can be downloaded by anyone in the world and is a place for victims of human trafficking to share their stories. The app allows victims to feel heard but also provides Stop the Traffik with valuable data. The information shared on the app allows Stop the Traffik to create hotspots and predict further activity in these areas. The data and findings are published online and are accessible to everyone. In August 2018, Stop the Traffik released a three-page report on child trafficking in Kenya that included the areas most affected by human trafficking, the most popular types of exploitation, the ways in which traffickers trick victims and how to spot the signs that someone is trafficked.
  4. Love146 fights to end child trafficking and exploitation through prevention and care for survivors. One of the many caring services that Love146 offers is the Round Home. The Round Home is a recovery house for girls who are victims of human trafficking. The goal of the house is to help girls renter society by helping them overcome trauma and realize their potential. The home is located in the Philippines and has several facilities including a volleyball court, a treehouse designated for therapy and a punching bag to help girls take out their aggression. While girls are staying at the house, Love146 helps locate the girls’ families to ensure they do not re-trafficked and that they can return to a stable living situation.
  5. Shared Hope’s goal is to bring an end to sex trafficking through prevention, justice and support. While Shared Hope focuses on human trafficking in the United States it also expanded its support programs to Nepal, India and Jamaica. In 2005, Shared Hope founded Asha Nepal, a Village of Hope that offers to house women who are victims of human trafficking. The village hosts 11 women and 15 children year round and offers counseling, HIV and STI treatment and vocational training. Like the Round House, the goal of Asha Nepal’s housing is to help victims of human trafficking re-enter the society with valuable skills so they do not get re-trafficked.

In recent years human trafficking increased worldwide. Despite these harsh facts, the nonprofit organizations like the Polaris Project, A21, Stop the Traffik, Love146 and Shared Hope are working hard to end it. These and many other organizations are fighting for a world where no will have to worry about being exploited for sex or labor.

– Drew Garbe

Photo: Flickr

 

Amazon Watch Protects the Indigenous LandsThe Amazon Rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world, covering 1.7 billion acres in the heart of Brazil. It is also the ancestral home of an estimated one million indigenous people who are apart of around 400 tribes. Each of these tribes has its own individual language, culture, and territory. Yet, these tribes and their homes are being threatened due to deforestation. At the current rates, The Amazon Rainforest will be severely degraded by the year 2020. 

Amazon Watch

Amazon Watch is protecting the indigenous lands of the Amazon. Founded in 1996, this nonprofit not only protects the rainforest but to also campaigns for the indigenous human rights of the people living in the Amazon. According to their website, Amazon Watch strives “for a world in which governments, corporations and civil society respect the collective rights of indigenous peoples to free, prior and informed consent over any activity affecting their territories and resources.”

Amazon Watch is protecting the indigenous lands of the Amazon by advancing solutions, including green development and autonomous solar power. The organization has launched an indigenous solar communications project with Empowered By Light. This project provides clean energy for lights and communication systems for indigenous people in Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador. Amazon Watch will continue to install these solar and communication systems while providing training about their uses and upkeep.  

Sending a Message to Large Corporations

Amazon Watch is protecting the indigenous lands of the Amazon one campaign at a time. Its current campaign, #EndAmazonCrude, is educating others on the dangers of oil drilling in the Amazon. Oil drilling threatens the survival of indigenous people as well as the land and indigenous species that live there. Each day, around ten million gallons of Amazon crude is delivered to The USA.

One of the biggest consumers of this fuel is Amazon.com, due to their transport operations. Many consider it unacceptable to be profiting off the name “Amazon” while destroying the real Amazon Rainforest. Amazon Watch is helping people spread the #EndAmazonCrude message via social media and sending emails Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about this issue.

Amazon Watch has also called out big companies, such as JPMorgan Chase and BlackRock, for funding the destruction of The Amazon Rainforest and violating indigenous rights. The organization’s petition demands that the CEOs stop financing oil and gas producers in the Amazon. The petition states, “Oil and gas operations that you invest in are actively violating indigenous rights and worsening our climate crisis. Stop financing Amazon destruction!” Over 12,000 people have signed it thus far.

Encouraging People to Act

Amazon Watch is protecting the indigenous lands of the Amazon by educating others on how to take action for the Earth and for the indigenous people. Their website provides information on how to take action to help protect the Amazon through email and/or social media. 

The organization is also asking others to stand in solidarity with Brazil’s indigenous rights agency. Indigenous people in Brazil are suffering under the country’s agribusiness industry. The National Indigenous Foundation (FUNAI) is a key target of the Brazilian government, which has undermined its critical role in protecting indigenous territories and severely cut its budget.

In 2017, Amazon Watch began working with Brazilian allies and international communities in order to fight environmental and human rights threats from Brazil’s “ruralista government leaders. Amazon Watch started a petition to reject President Temer and the Attorney General’s attacks on the rights and advocates of the Amazon’s indigenous people. Over 16,000 people have signed the petition so far.

Amazon Watch is protecting the indigenous lands of the Amazon by encouraging the public to get involved with their events. Every year in San Francisco, Amazon Watch holds its annual gala called “Amplify! A Celebration of Voices from the Amazon”. The special guests this year will be Achuar leaders from the Peruvian Amazon.

The government leaders in Brazil must start doing their part to protect the Amazon as well as the indigenous population within. By partnering with indigenous and environmental organizations, Amazon Watch is protecting the indigenous lands of the Amazon while campaigning for human rights and preservation of the Amazon’s ecosystem before it is too late. Hopefully, their work, plus the voices of those signing petitions to strengthen protections and rights, will also inspire the government to take action.  

– Ariane Komyati
Photo: Flickr

HIVAIDS“We all deserve a quality life with HIV and without it,” declared Russian activist Maria Godlevskaya at the International AIDS Conference. Godlevskaya is a loving mother and dedicated peer counselor who has been living with HIV for 18 years. Advances in the prevention and treatment of HIV mean that the number of new HIV infections is decreasing globally. Only two regions lag behind; in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, new cases of HIV are on the rise.

The State of the AIDS Crisis

To combat the global epidemic, UNAIDS has issued “90-90-90 targets” to be reached globally by 2020. The goal is that of all of the people living with HIV, 90 percent should be aware of their status. Of these people, 90 percent should receive treatment. And of those receiving treatment, 90 percent should achieve viral suppression.

Eastern Europe and Central Asia are currently the furthest from reaching this goal. In these regions, 73 percent of people infected with HIV are aware of their status, 36 percent of those people are receiving treatment and 26 percent have achieved viral suppression.

There is no indication that the epidemic of HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia has even reached its peak. There is, however, hope. By understanding the key populations affected by the epidemic and funding prevention, testing and treatment methods, transmission can be slowed and even stopped altogether.

Advances Against AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Currently, only about three percent of HIV/AIDS funding in the region is targeted toward key vulnerable populations, including men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers, and people who use intravenous drugs. The stigma against these populations often makes them invisible to the government and to the healthcare system.

About one-third of new HIV infections in Eastern Europe and Central Asia are in people who use intravenous drugs. Fortunately, strategies to reduce the risk of spreading the disease have been helping. Needle-syringe programs are an example of effective harm reduction strategies. They distribute free, sterile needles to drug users.

Additionally, opioid substitution therapy allows drug users to stay away from needle use. The therapy provides methadone, which is taken orally and eases drug withdrawal symptoms. Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine have significantly ramped up such harm-reduction programs; as a result, they have seen a decrease in HIV infections among people using intravenous drugs.

Mother-to-child transmission of HIV  has accounted for only one percent of all incidences in 2017. In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that mother-to-child transmission was stopped altogether in Armenia and Belarus.

In the fight against AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Saint Petersburg has become a model city. As a result of increased funding for prevention initiatives and harm-reduction programs for drug users, the number of new HIV infections has decreased. On a national level, however, the Russian Federation has neglected to fund effective prevention and treatment services.

Grassroots Nonprofits Helping Their Communities

When the government turns a blind eye, ordinary people step up. Maria Godlevskaya founded E.V.A, a nonprofit that advocates for women affected by HIV. From providing peer counseling to helping women communicate with medical officials, E.V.A gives marginalized women hope. The organization is about building bridges from woman to woman and from this network of women to their government.

The fight against HIV/AIDS knows no gender, no race and no age. Adolescents are coming together to fight HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Across the region, 80 adolescents are part of a nonprofit called Teenergizer. They visit local HIV clinics and record any roadblocks to testing they experience. The teenagers then use this information to create an interactive map of testing and treatment facilities for other youth in their region. Teenergizer reduces stigma and empowers youth to take their health into their own hands: as a result of the initiative, nearly two thousand adolescents from Eastern Europe and Central Asia have been tested for HIV.

The crisis of AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia has been bleak, and the future is uncertain. But, the leadership of several countries, nonprofit organizations and dedicated citizens has the potential to crush social stigmas and the associated legislative obstacles to funding prevention and treatment. Armen Agadjanov of Teenergizer affirms that a brighter future is on the horizon. “I’m convinced that the future is in the hands of adolescents—they are the people who will change and build a new world.”

– Ivana Bozic
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Disaster Relief Nonprofits

In 2017, 318 natural disasters were recorded worldwide with repercussions in at least 122 countries. These disasters killed over 9,500 people and affected 96 million. The majority of those affected by natural disasters reside in India and Sierra Leone.

Natural Disasters and Poverty

According to the World Bank, natural disasters force 26 million people into poverty annually and can erase years of poverty reduction progress. The estimated effects that natural disasters can have on welfare in most countries is equivalent to a loss of $520 billion per year in consumption.

Natural disasters and poverty are linked together as impoverished populations are unequally affected and have an inability to subsist. The poor are more likely to be exposed to natural hazards due to climate change. Furthermore, those affected lose a portion of their income and are often unable to receive aid from the government and financial systems.

An example of the disproportionate burden of natural disasters endured by the poor is Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. Following the cyclone in 2008, at least 50 percent of poor farmers were forced to sell land as means to pay off debt after the storm. The cyclone’s social and economic consequences still exist 10 years later.

President Jim Yong Kim of World Bank Group said: “Storms, floods and droughts have dire human and economic consequences, with poor people often paying the heaviest price. Building resilience not only makes economic sense, it is a moral imperative.”

In order to rebuild a country after a natural disaster, there must be an immediate response from governments and disaster relief programs. Those affected need access to resources like food, shelter and medical care. Various disaster relief nonprofits are working to lessen the burden of the impacts of natural disasters around the world.

Top 10 Disaster Relief Nonprofits

  1. The International Red Cross (IRC) acts as the globe’s largest humanitarian network, delivering instant aid with trained disaster responders and relief supplies. By supplying water containers, shelter tools and cooking kits, IRC helps 100 million people who are affected by natural disasters every year. To date, IRC has also reunited over 9,900 families separated by natural disasters.
  2. All Hands and Hearts is one of the world’s leading disaster relief nonprofits. After All Hands and Happy Hearts merged into one group, they began working nationally and internationally to provide disaster relief. The group created the “Smart Response” method to acknowledge the immediate and long-term effects of natural disasters. Over 35,000 volunteers act as first responders to rebuild disaster-resilient homes and schools for affected communities.
  3. Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) provides emergency response medical aid to communities affected by natural disasters, epidemics and conflict. Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, MSF began treating those injured within minutes. MSF offers long-term care to affected populations and distributes medical disaster kits to countries even before they arrive on the ground.
  4. Samaritan’s Purse is a non-denominational evangelical Christian organization that works with ministry partners to meet the urgent needs of crisis areas. Samaritan’s Purse distributes staple food kits, relief essentials, emergency medical care and, when needed, constructs traditional shelters for families in recovery.
  5. Active in over 80 countries, Direct Relief International improves the lives of those affected during emergencies by providing shelter, water, food and medicine. Direct Relief tailors medical aid to the location’s circumstances while prioritizing search-and-rescue, emergency medical services and logistical flexibility.
  6. Currently responding to the global food security crisis, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) also responds to global disasters, funding relief kits, shelter and food to disaster-hit areas. MCC works to rebuild homes, provide employment, help individuals cope with trauma and prepare for future natural disasters. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, MCC educated populations on secure building construction.
  7. REACT International is a nonprofit organization consisting of volunteers who work to increase local resources in an effort to expand disaster relief work. REACT teams use communication technology to provide first-aid, special equipment and tend to other needs of the community.
  8. AmeriCares has three main courses of action: Ready, Respond and Recover. This group tries to anticipate need based on vulnerable areas and have supplies on hand so that they can respond as quickly as possible. Responders work with government and health sectors to prepare local hospitals and position medical supplies. AmeriCares remains in the affected location as long as necessary to help the health system recover and prepare for future disasters.
  9. Since 1988, International Relief Teams (IRT) has been mobilizing volunteers to provide immediate and long-term relief, medical supplies and funding to partner organizations. In the last 30 years, IRT has deployed 420 disaster relief teams, distributed over $100 million in emergency supplies and assisted families in 95 global disasters, including the Armenian earthquake in 1988.
  10. ShelterBox puts families first and believes that no family should be without shelter. They provide emergency shelter and tools to lessen the impact following a disaster and enable a faster recovery for families.

Listed above are only a few nonprofit organizations making an effort to relieve communities of as much suffering as possible after a disaster. Though there are many more disaster relief nonprofits dedicated to providing aid, this list highlights some of the support is available after a disaster. For a more comprehensive list of disaster relief nonprofits, take a look at The Humanitarian Travel website.

Since natural disasters can have catastrophic effects, the issue is being taken seriously as various improvements are being made annually. In order to successfully rebuild communities, it is crucial to support disaster relief nonprofits with a long-term impact and policies in favor of foreign aid.

– Diane Adame

Photo: Flickr