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Will and Jada Smith Together BandTogether Band is an organization that raises money for various causes in an innovative and trendy way aimed at persuading younger generations to support issues they care about most. It works toward the United Nations’ 17 global goals to create a more sustainable world by 2030. Recently, Together Band also partnered with Will and Jada Smith.

Together Band

The U.N.’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals include no poverty, zero hunger, gender equality, clean energy, equal education, good health, clean water, economic growth, industry innovation, sustainable communities, responsible consumption and production, marine conservation, land conservation, justice, reduced inequalities and partnership.

Each U.N. SDG has an associated color and Together Band produces bracelets of each color. The bracelet color a customer purchases determines which goal their money targets. Together Band directs proceeds to The Freedom Fund, Renewable World, Women Working Worldwide and Power for the People, among others.

Not only do the proceeds go to humanitarian funds but the materials and production of the bracelets are impactful as well. The clasp on each bracelet is repurposed metal derived from seized illegal firearms in Central America. The aim of this sourcing is to end armed violence in conflict-torn countries. The band is made from 100% upcycled plastic found on shores in coastal communities and on remote islands. Finally, formerly trafficked Nepalese artisans use the materials to craft the final product. The jobs created help communities build stable economies.

Together Fund

Together Band created the Together Fund to combat COVID-19. Now, when a customer purchases a bracelet, 50% of the proceeds go to support COVID-19 relief while the other 50% continue to go to the original organizations that the bracelet supported before the pandemic. The organization splits COVID-19 relief funds between the U.N. COVID-19 Solidarity Fund for WHO and Médecins sans Frontières.

Together Band added COVID-19 relief to their initiatives because communities around the globe urgently need accessible healthcare. “It’s important that we act quickly in response to COVID-19 to ensure patients can access the care they need as well as supporting disease prevention and frontline health workers across the globe.”

Partnering With the Will and Jada Smith Foundation

Celebrities Will and Jada Smith created the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation in 1996 in order to make the world “better because we touched it.” The foundation has donated millions of dollars for innovative solutions to the world’s problems. Recently, the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation partnered with Together Band to tackle both COVID-19 and racial injustice. Working with WJSFF, Together Fund has expanded to support U.N. Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities and Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

Money can be donated to the fund directly from the WJSFF homepage. Half of the proceeds go to additional COVID-19 relief funds such as the World Health Organization, Alight and Doctors Without Borders. The remaining half supports nonprofits that fight racial injustice. They include My Brother’s Keeper, the Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Equal Justice Initiative and the Leadership Conference Education Fund.

In addition, Will and Jada Smith’s son, Jaden Smith, founded an eco-friendly version of bottled water called Just Water. Just Water customers now have the option to round up their purchases in support of the Together Fund.

Overall, the Smiths are an inspiring example of a celebrity family using their fame to support humanitarian causes and reduce global poverty.

Sarah Eichstadt
Photo: Flickr

Poverty Eradication in Somalia
Somalia, a country bordering both Ethiopia and Djibouti, has faced recent struggles in regards to poverty. An estimated 70% of its population under the age of 30 faces a wide range of social, economic and political challenges. Many of Somalia’s citizens are enduring hardships. However, certain programs have emerged, leading to massive innovations in poverty eradication in Somalia.

Issue in Numbers

Almost nine in 10 Somali households do not have a fundamental dimension. This dimension is access to income, electricity, education or water and sanitation. Basic necessities become rarer among the majority. As a result, Somalia needs help to see growth in the long term. One must also note that only 27% of children are enrolled in primary school. With these statistics projected to decline in the future, human capital development is at risk due to the issue of poverty. However, various forms of aid have jumpstarted Somalia’s economy while developing innovations in poverty eradication in Somalia.

International Aid

Somalia is currently $4.7 billion in debt. However, it has partnered with many other countries, significantly boosting its funding. Britain, the European Union and Qatar have offered to cover about $150 million of the roughly $330 million that Somalia owes. After Somalia handles its finances, it will receive grants worth about $300 million per year. This will help boost funding towards job opportunities, infrastructure and transportation.

Remittances for Poverty Reduction

In an attempt to aid the Somalian citizens who poverty impacts, Somalia utilized remittances. This is where the country provided families with financial assistance. It also distributed resources for families to meet basic needs and requirements. These remittances reduced the wage gap among impoverished citizens while giving them an outlet towards new jobs and opportunities.

Organizations Pushing for Change

Many nonprofit organizations have also stepped up to aid the ones in need. A massively impactful organization is Action Against Hunger, which has developed programs for adults and children battling poverty. By providing integrated nutrition, health and food security services as well as water, sanitation and hygiene services, 213,986 Somalians received treatment, with 103,407 being for minor illnesses and 41,502 being children under the age of 5 obtaining treatment for malnutrition. With the lack of resources becoming an ongoing issue, Action for Hunger contributed to 51,908 Somalians receiving clean water. It also contributed to 97,011 Somalians receiving sufficient resources through food security programs.

Another prominent organization is Alight, which has heavily focused on efforts aiding the youth. Through building support camps for refugees, it provided thousands of Somalians with water, protection and shelter. In addition to these camps, it partnered with the private sector, opening up 50,000 job opportunities for those in need. It also educated children on health services, where it shared information on improving hygiene.

Although various countries, organizations and financial plans have acted, Somalia still has over 4.9 million citizens battling poverty. With seven in 10 Somalian facing financial burdens, only governmental intervention will combat this issue on a larger scale. If the Somalian government can effectively partner with nonprofit organizations and countries to produce meaningful policies, then Somalia will see rapid economic growth. The country might only see effective innovations in poverty eradication in Somalia through these acts.

Aditya Padmaraj
Photo: Flickr