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good-habits-to-save-the-world
While there are some habits that should be broken, there are a few habits that may be worth making in the name of ending global poverty. For example, if the bad habit in question is spending money on a large, frivolous coffee every day, then a good habit that could replace it would be using the money spent to fund a program that fights global poverty.

Jeremy Dean, author and founder of PsyBlog, offers years of experience in how to break a bad habit, and in one particular post entitled How to Help Other People Change Their Habits. According to Dean, there are three simple steps to helping someone break a habit. Following the steps below can help break a habit and make room for good habits that could change the world.

Step 1: Acknowledge that the person in question wants to change a habit and is open to help in doing so. As long as they are open to change, then they are ready for step two.

Step 2: Avoid a judgmental attitude. Find a balance between a voice of support and encouragement and a tone of judgment. It is a habit in and of its self to remain non-judgmental, but when assisting another in achieving a difficult goal, even footing is a must.

Step 3: Increase self-awareness and identify the situation that encourages the bad habit. Many habits are performed unconsciously, repeatedly and in recurring situations. Identifying the situation or emotions that trigger the behavior help to break a habit and the reversal can begin.

Remember to work together when breaking a bad habit, and try not force someone to change if there is no desire to do so. Through his research, Dean says that it could take up to two months to break a habit, but with support and perseverance, it can be done. Try channeling bad habit energy into good causes like blogging for the Borgen Project, taking the Pledge, or trading in the cost of your daily coffee for a vaccination sponsored by UNICEF.

– Kira Maixner

Source: PsyBlog
Photo: Precision Nutrition

On May 21, 2013, USAID issued a new global water strategy, the government’s first comprehensive integration of water security into all US development funding and programs.

“For many years in development work, water, sanitation and hygiene have been a bit forgotten. Instead, significant focus has been placed on education, maternal health and nutrition, overlooking the fact that water and sanitation are foundational building blocks for all of those other elements,” said Alanna Imbach, media officer with WaterAid America.

Aid organizations have long been insisting that access to clean water is a basic and essential consideration underlying all development issues. In developing countries, some 5,000 children are estimated to die every day from water-borne diseases, overwhelmingly due to diarrhea from bad drinking water, poor sanitation and inadequate hygiene.

The plan for the next five years is to provide at least 10 million people with “sustainable access” to an improved water supply, and six million people with access to improved sanitation during that period. New USAID guidance will emphasize local ownership and sustainability of US-funded aid projects, while offering greater flexibility on how that funding can be used. This new openness will allow for more innovation from partnering humanitarian groups, a positive change from the past.

“We know that every dollar we invest in clean water and basic sanitation yields eight dollars in benefits,” said Dick Durbin, a US senator pushing this legislation. “People are healthier, kids stay in school, food is safer, AIDS drugs and other critical health treatments are able to work.”

Read USAID’s Water Strategy Announcement:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah, joined members of Congress – Senator Richard Durbin, Senator Chris Coons, Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Congressman Ted Poe – to release the U.S. Government’s first Water and Development Strategy. This strategy recognizes the vital role water plays in ensuring the health and economic well-being of people around the world.  In addition, it sets out to represent a fundamental shift at our Agency toward a new model of development – defined by public and private partnerships, use of new technology, and emphasis long-term results.

Globally, over 780 million people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.5 billion people lack access to sanitation. Projections are that by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under severe water stress conditions.

“We will achieve greater impact by partnering with outside organizations and businesses that leverage innovative approaches and new technologies. This approach will also emphasize sustainability by building local capacities for operations, maintenance, and monitoring,” said Administrator Shah.

USAID’s Water and Development Strategy elevates the importance and visibility of water as a development priority within the Agency and highlights its importance in meeting the development imperatives to improve health and increase food security. The Strategy will address global water-related development needs by providing a clear understanding of USAID’s approach to water programming, emphasizing how sustainable use of water is critical to saving lives. To achieve this goal, the Strategy sets two strategic objectives:

  • Water for Health – Improve health outcomes through the provision of sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
  • Water for Food – Manage water for agriculture sustainably and more productively to enhance food security.

“This new U.S. Water and Development Strategy will help lift poor people around the world out of conflict and poverty.  It is smart, strategic and builds on our past successes using new breakthroughs in science and technology,” Senator Durbin said. “It will save water and it will save lives.  USAID’s new plan will bring water and sanitation – the most basic of human needs – to millions of people around the globe, dousing the flames of global poverty, disease and conflict.”

Improving human health and welfare, having adequate nutrition to thrive, and maintaining the sustainability of natural systems requires a coordinated global response to the challenges of water and sanitation access for present and future generations. This Strategy reflects the commitment of the U.S. government to work in partnership with the global community to meet these challenges.

– Mary Purcell

Source: The Jakarta Blobe

 

 

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These top 10 global poverty blogs are some of the best of the best in addressing the issues, solutions, and concerns surrounding the global battle against extreme poverty.

1. The Borgen Project – Works with US Congressional leaders to improve the USAID response to the global poverty crisis; advocacy to secure crucial poverty-reducing legislation, mobilization and awareness campaigns making poverty a political priority. The blog addresses the impact of poverty from every angle, and highlights innovative and dynamic development successes.

2. The Impatient Optimist – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation blog features the work of the foundation’s grantees, partners, leadership, and staff, as well as other bloggers, to provide commentary and insight on the issues of poverty. Stories and updates from the people working every day to help alleviate poverty, help promote health, and to help every student in the United States realize his or her full potential through education.

3. The Huffington Post – The highly respected news agency developed their Impact blog with reputable contributors from around the world, renowned journalists, stories about celebrities and average people, domestic and global poverty concerns and innovations, and good-news-stories. Type in the search word “poverty” and find a vast archive of videos and articles covering poverty concerns.

4. The World Bank – “Working for a world free of poverty,” this blog is a forum for discussing development issues and provides open access to WB data. Open access to data is a key part of the WB’s commitment to sharing knowledge to improve people’s lives.  The Open Data Initiative believes that “statistics tell the story of people in developing countries, and can play an important part in helping to overcome poverty” – WB’s President, Robert Zoellick.

5. The United Nations Development Programme – Details the UNDP’s 6,000+ development projects and 8,000 outputs in 177 countries and territories worldwide; comprehensive, qualitative and timely information about how aid flows and its results. The blog is also part of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) to which UNDP is a signatory, advocating voluntary transparency aimed at making information about aid spending easier to access, understand and use.

6. The U.S. Department of State – Mission: to create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community. Blogs.state.gov offers up to the minute news coverage of U.S. foreign policy information; their blog offers the opportunity for participants to discuss important foreign policy issues with senior Department officials. Blog.usaid.gov shows exactly what America is doing around the world to help reduce poverty and improve development.

7. InterAction – An alliance organization of more than 180 U.S. based non-governmental organizations (NGOs), working around the world. InterAction serves as a convener, thought leader and voice of their member community. Their blog represents the collective mobilization of its members in: international development, humanitarian aid, accountability and policy creation.

8. ONE – Is a global mobilization of over three million people, unifying to fight “the absurdity of extreme poverty.” Co-founder Bono is part of the group’s influential leadership team, joined by other political and humanitarian experts from around the world. Their blog aims to educate and facilitate the general public in direct action for poverty reduction, and subsequent issues resulting from poverty.

9. Oxfam America – “Working together to end poverty and injustice,” Oxfam America is a global organization working to right the wrongs of poverty, hunger, and injustice and to develop long-term solutions for social change. The international Oxfam confederation works in more than 90 countries, and their blog is a comprehensive look at all political, economic, humanitarian angles of poverty issues.

10. Business Fights Poverty – The world’s largest network of business and development professionals, NGOs and academia all focused on fighting poverty through business. Their blog highlights how business can combat poverty, providing resources, methods and tools for business and thus economic development, showing impact and opportunities.

– Mary Purcell

Photo Source: Impatient Optimist

crowdfunding-borgen-project

Crowdfunding is an approach to raising money for new projects and businesses by soliciting contributions from large numbers of ordinary people – online. In 2011 alone, this industry raised $1.5 billion dollars, both in for-profit and non-profit ventures. Due to new regulations, some estimate the trend could grow to $500 billion annually. This could mean huge changes and development through social-venture enterprises; more start-ups and funding for projects that have a beneficial social impact.

The money raised through crowdfunding falls into three different categories: 1. Philanthropy, where there is no expected return for the donation, 2. Lending, where the money is paid back, or some other gift (usually the business product) is given as a reward, or 3. Investment, in exchange for profit or revenue sharing (equity).

Much to industry surprise, the category that received the most funding was philanthropic which equaled 49 percent of all funds raised; despite the fact that most funding sites are for lending or investing.  A few sites, like Crowdrise.com and Causes.com, are exclusively for 501 registered charities. North America is the largest contributor, $837.2 million, over half of the global total, and also the fastest growing region.

The dramatic news is that earlier this year new legislation was submitted to the SEC, allowing for even greater investing to be made through crowdfunding. So, if the current trends prevail, projects benefiting social causes could start to receive massive amounts of capital. The average equity-based campaign is aiming to raise about $85,000, compared to just $700 for donations. When the new regulations are approved, more funding is expected to flood into “impact investing.”

Jonathan Blanchard, founder of WeSparkt a crowdfunding platform focusing on social-entrepreneurship, believes investing will start to focus on a “double bottom line – profit and social good – to raise equity.” Blanchard sites a Monitor study suggesting that crowdfunding will reach $500 billion annually.  His site will target impact investors hoping to create social change.

You can participate right now, get in with the crowd – fund a project for the global poor!

– Mary Purcell

Source: Forbes, Forbes
Photo: Hong Kiat

 

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