The political climate of Sudan is one that has been unpredictable for several years, and resulted in many refugees fleeing the country. Thankfully, aid from Uganda and organizations has been successful in easing the burdens refugees face when they leave their country.

The Civil War in Sudan

Wars in Sudan have occurred since the 1960s, with the most recent civil war in Sudan beginning in 2014 over a political argument: Salva Kiir, the president of Sudan, believed Vice President Reik Machar was attempting to overthrow his presidency and undermine his power, and the disagreement divided the country.

Since 2014, attempts at peace have been interrupted: stolen oil and ethnic cleansing resulting from the civil war in Sudan and the nation’s violent political climate lead to a total of one million refugees leaving their homes by last fall.

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, many of these refugees escaped to Uganda and more than 1,800 refugees leave South Sudan every day. Fortunately, Uganda’s open border policy has made it possible for refugees to find temporary rest where land, food, water and education are accessible.


In an interview with UNHCR, Tabu Sunday, a South Sudanese refugee, discussed her experience in leaving her parents to find safety in Uganda.

“Where I was living they were killing people,” she said. “My parents said they didn’t have enough money for travelling. So we had to walk on foot with my aunt. It was a long and hard journey. We had to use the Congo route to reach Uganda. My aunt stayed for a week and decided to return home.”

There are several aid organizations assisting refugees fleeing the civil war in Sudan. For instance, the Cooperative Assistance and Relief Everywhere organization (CARE) provides nutrition assistance to refugees in addition to the efforts of Uganda’s families and governments. According to CARE, approximately two million citizens from South Sudan have fled their country.

UNICEF has been involved in Sudan with the goals to improve health, nutrition, water, sanitation, education and safety. Making education more accessible in South Sudan is an endeavor of which many organizations have seen success — through UNICEF “Education in Emergencies” programs and the establishment of United Nations Protection of Civilians Sites, a 2013 project was able to improve such accessibility.

However, aid organizations have overcome some challenges in assisting South Sudan in the past. In the spring of 2017, the government of South Sudan blocked aid organizations from providing food to the country. Not only was a Save the Children base stolen from, but aid was blocked by the government as a form of brutality.

Despite these challenges, aid organizations persist and maintain a strong focus on improving the present and future lives of refugees.  

The Future   

As aid organizations persist in their efforts to help refugees, several organizations will need to take into account the political climate where aid workers are placed; for instance, being aware of the potential famines that will most likely result from the political climate of the civil war in Sudan. However, knowing this ahead of time will assist organizations in providing better care to refugees in need.

According to the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, the violence in Sudan combined with famine and a history of an unstable political climate has made the issue of assisting the people in South Sudan very complex.

It is estimated that by March 2018, 8 million people will experience food insecurity. The European Union, and its partnerships, have contributed 43 percent of the aid to South Sudan.

Humanitarian Aid Efforts

The efforts of aid organizations make indisputable difference to refugees on the ground. According to UNOCHA, 5.4 million of the 7 million people in need of help received assistance by December 2017.

Below are a few of the organizations making a difference in addition to the European Union and its partnerships.

  1. The International Rescue Committee
  2. Save the Children
  3. USAID
  4. CARE

These organizations will continue to provide resources for people to learn about the issues in Sudan as well as give aid to the people there, steps that will continue the progress international groups have already set in motion.

– Gabriella Evans

Photo: Flickr

When outside aid organizations enter developing countries with the best intentions to help, it is important that these organizations partner with local businesses and individuals. Community cooperation is essential to effective and long-term global development. The alternative is short-lived relief that lasts only as long as the aid organization’s presence persists in the region.

Community cooperation, however, ensures that no vacuums are left in communities after aid is inevitably retracted. Creating self-sustaining communities is key to long term relief.

There are many organizations that have grasped hold of this idea. The following are a few examples of such:

Global Water Partnership (GWP)

Global Water Partnership is a global action network whose goal is to reach a water-secure world. The organization has over 3,000 partners in 183 countries. It focuses on educating countries and communities about water management. GWP believes that good governance concerning water management can only be accomplished with collaborative efforts.

Save the Children

Save the Children believes that education helps children to reach their full potential. Through its education programs, Save the Children has helped train teachers and parents on effective teaching practices, encouraged education practices outside of the classroom and ensured that students continue learning after crises occur.

World Vision

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization that seeks to “empower people out of poverty.” Partnering with locals is the core of World Vision’s approach to global development. Local partnerships allow “programs to be more effective by benefiting from greater legitimacy, local knowledge, resources, and long-term ownership.”

Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE)

CARE is a humanitarian aid organization that works around the globe to “save lives, defeat poverty and achieves social justice.” The organization’s approach to aid often involves partnering with locals. For instance, one of its facets for gender-based violence (GBV) relief involves equipping local activists with the tools needed to provide case managers for women and children who are survivors of GBV. CARE’s economic development programs also involve local education by teaching women and families sound financial habits and by creating entrepreneurs.

The purpose of many nonprofit and aid organizations is to effectually become unneeded. A nonprofit fighting illiteracy wants everyone to eventually know how to read. Once literacy rates reach 100 percent (or 99 percent, accounting for margin of error), aid can withdraw from regions around the world.

The longevity of the impact of these organizations is dependent on their ability to prepare future generations. If the hypothetical literacy-focused nonprofit withdrew without leaving behind any local teachers then future generations would be left in a disadvantageous state.

A helping hand without explanation and aid without education is hurtful in the long term. Community cooperation is key to effective relief.

Rebeca Ilisoi

Photo: Flickr

Ethos WaterWith more than 1 billion people around the world lacking access to safe drinking water,  Ethos Water founder Peter Thum is using proceeds from his bottled water sales to provide clean water to areas in need.

Ethos Water began in 2001 with the goal of helping children get clean water. Thum, the man behind the mission, founded the company after a business trip to South Africa where he saw the lack of clean water in many communities. Thum became consumed by the idea of creating a bottled water company that gave back to those in need of clean water; he then quit his job to pursue his plan.

Thum’s old classmate, Jonathan Greenblatt joined Thum in late 2002 to help create Ethos. Together they launched their bottled water company in August of 2003 and formed an organization called Ethos Water Fund to invest funds from their business into safe water programs.

With every bottle that gets sold, Ethos donates five cents (ten cents in Canada) to the Ethos Water Fund, in order to give clean drinking water to those who need it. Not only does Ethos donate money for clean drinking water, but it also raises awareness about the lack of clean drinking water in other countries.

In 2005 Ethos partnered with Starbucks in hopes to sell more water. Currently, a little over $12.3 million has been raised to give clean water to individuals who otherwise would not have it, according to Starbucks. That money will help over 500,000 people around the world.

In 2008 Ethos Water Fund and Starbucks Foundation decided to give two NGOs, CARE and Project Concern International, each $1 million over the period of three years from the Ethos Water Fund. These NGOs used that money to help support water, sanitation and hygiene education programs in water-stressed African communities, according to Starbucks. Collectively the expected benefits were estimated to help 54,000 people get access to clean water that previously did not have access.

CARE and Project Concern International were chosen to obtain these grants due to their emphasis on sustainability. Also, due to their agreement to not only provide access to clean water for villages but also to empower local residents to become part of the long-term solution.

CARE introduced sanitation and hygiene practices in Rwanda’s Musanze District while Project Concern International decided to focus their efforts on implementing low-cost, easy-to-maintain technologies in Tanzania’s Babati District.

These NGO’s were only able to do these fantastic acts of service through Ethos Water Fund. Howard Schultz, CEO, president and chairman of Starbucks, said “When our customers choose to buy Ethos water, they’re improving the lives of people who lack vital resources.”

In 2014 grants were made out to six NGOs in Tanzania ($750,000), Indonesia ($750,000), Colombia ($1.1 million), Guatemala ($480,000) and Nicaragua ($300,000). These grants have helped these countries gain clean water access and sanitation and hygiene education programs.

The effect Ethos water has had around the world is incredible, one single man’s idea which ended up helping thousands.

Bella Chaffey

Photo: YouTube

HIV cure research
Thirty-seven million people throughout the world currently suffer from HIV. Researchers stationed in Chapel Hill’s University of North Carolina (UNC) hope to change this fact through the use of a $23 million grant awarded to researchers at the university’s Collaboratory of AIDS Researchers for Eradication (CARE) by the National Institutes of Health for their HIV cure research.

This award came after a rigorous application process, and supports the continuation of their ground-breaking work towards completely eradicating HIV through HIV cure research.

Curing HIV has eluded scientists for years due to the disease’s latent, but viral behavior. The sexually transmitted disease buries itself deep within the body and lies dormant for years, making it challenging to detect or diagnose in its early stages. And although treatments have been able to transform HIV into a benign chronic health condition, the virus still remains in the bloodstream.

CARE hopes to completely eliminate HIV from the body through a revolutionary method known as “kick and kill.” The strategy is a relatively recent development created by a small Norwegian biotechnology firm. The strategy is to not simply transform the AIDS-causing virus, but to completely extract and destroy the infected cells within the bloodstream, thus expelling HIV-laden cells from the body.

This method became quickly adapted by researchers at UNC. The $23 million grant serves as a refund for CARE, which was first funded in 2001 through its Martin Delaney Collaborations for HIV Cure Research program, the first funding effort to zero-in on curing HIV.

Professor of medicine at UNC and Principal Investigator of CARE, Dr. David Margolis commented, “I think we were refunded for several reasons. As we seek to both do discovery science and progress new therapies, our long-standing collaboration with Merck was extremely productive.”

Dr. Margolis is also optimistic in the strong alliances and partnerships CARE formed between other medical and research institutions such as GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), MacroGenics, Duke Human Vaccine Institute and Yerkes National Primate Researche Center stationed in Emory. Dr. Margolis states “these (partnerships) give us new tools to study viral persistence and clearance.”

Prospects for finding a cure to HIV remain bright, but while finding a cure is high on CARE’s radar, HIV prevention, education and treatment are also valuable and necessary to creating a HIV-free world.

Jenna Salisbury

Photo: Flickr

HealthHygiene-related illnesses cause more than 1.8 million deaths worldwide and the Global Soap Project (GSP) is taking a stand to reduce this number by taking advantage of the 2.6 million bars of soap are thrown away in hotels daily.

Founder Derreck Kayongo was inspired to provide hope to refugees around the world with his own experience as a refugee when he fled a civil war in Uganda for the U.S. at age ten.” Ask any refugee anywhere in the world, they’ll tell you that they lose dignity right off the bat,”  Kayongo stated in a passionate talk hosted by Keppler Speakers.

Since its inception in 2009, GSP has been improving the lives of people in 32 countries by distributing clean soap and educating communities on hygiene. The life-saving organization targets victims of disaster, refugees, the homeless and mothers and children living in extreme poverty. The goal? Making an impact on global health.

The Global Soap Project has implemented educational programs providing access to information otherwise unattainable, such as how and when to use soap and its importance to sanitation, hygiene and long-term health. The GSP and its partner, Clean the World, collects unused soap from hundreds of hotels that have united with the organization.

Then, GSP recycles and redistributes them, with help from organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Partners in Health and CARE.

The organization has created a micro-loan program that offers financial and training support to local, small-scale soap makers. To support this initiative, hotels send boxes of unused soap to GSP, where they are recycled, inspected and given to NGO’s for shipment to affiliations in impoverished areas.

NGO’s are not charged for the provided soap. After distribution, NGO partners relay reports of successful dispersion and educational programs. In Kenya, the Global Soap Project has had a sizable impact. The organization distributed soap to more than 300 families in Lindi, located within one of the largest slums in Africa. GSP also allocated soap to 1,320 students in Kenya.

According to the GSP, a head teacher from a receiving school, commented on the organization’s success and expressed gratefulness. He stated, “Most of my kids know how to use soap after toilet, after eating, after playing, after classes, and you will find them with soap in their hands and in school compound. So thank you HHRD and GSP for this so unique gift, because it has brought a big impact in our school.”

Within the international community, world health has been a topic of concern. The World Bank has worked with organizations such as WHO and UNICEF gathering the most recent information about hygiene in developing and impoverished areas.

According to the World Bank, hygiene and hand washing have an immense impact on the quality of health and the ability to avoid deadly sicknesses like diarrhea and pneumonia. With over 4 billion cases of diarrhea per year, about 1.6 million of those are found in children under the age of five.

The GSP’s ideals are solidified by the World Bank, as it is suggested that, “public health promotion and education strategies are needed to change behaviors.” School health programs are imperative in ensuring that students have sanitation standards that can be translated into community principals.

The organization promotes involvement by accepting donations and volunteers and makes it easy for hotels to contribute. It has grown exponentially, expanding as a global leader in health promotion and implementation and continues to serve around the world. “Our soap doesn’t just mean health,” Kayongo says, “it means hope.”

Kimber Kraus

Photo: Flickr



On April 16, 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Ecuador left many citizens displaced and without access to clean water.

According to The New York Times, at least 410 people died and over 2,000 were injured. As more long-term solutions are being sought and developed, temporary relief efforts are being made by international organizations and local communities alike.

The United Nations refugee agency sent supplies to help those displaced by the earthquake in Ecuador. The first supply plane was loaded in Copenhagen, with 900 tents, 15,000 sleeping mats, kitchen utensils and, with the threat of the Zika virus still looming, 18,000 repellent-soaked mosquito nets.

“The aim is to provide essential shelter and other aid material over the next days for some 40,000 people…in earthquake-affected communities,” the organization said in a statement, just after the natural disaster took place.

Soon after the disaster, UNICEF delivered 20,000 water purification tablets to the survivors of the earthquake. Water contamination after an earthquake greatly increases the rate at which diseases and illnesses spread.

Of note, stagnant water increases the number of breeding sites for mosquitoes. This means that the Zika virus and dengue fever, another mosquito-borne virus, pose immediate threats to Ecuador.

Portoviejo, the provincial capital of Manabi Province, was one of the cities that was affected the most by the earthquake. The city, with a population of 300,000, has a death toll of approximately 100 and 370 buildings were destroyed. With no homes to go back to, many are sleeping on the streets.

“Clean water is one of the biggest needs. People have made signs everywhere asking for water,” said Lucy Harman, CARE Emergency Team Leader. CARE is a humanitarian organization that provides disaster relief and fights poverty across the globe.

“Everything is destroyed, so everyone is sleeping outside in makeshift shelters and the smell of death permeates the air,” Harman reported from Jama, another one of the areas hardest hit by the earthquake. According to a report by Reuters, CARE is also distributing temporary water tanks as well as purification tablets.

Michelle Simon

Photo: Flickr

Top Humanitarian Aid Organizations
The Borgen Project has received lots of praise for an innovative approach that has taken the global poverty fight to the political level, but there are numerous aid organizations doing great work. The United Nations offers consultative status to 3,900 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with roughly one-third of these located within the United States.  While most NGOs offer humanitarian aid, some focus on issues regarding hunger while others on human trafficking. With so many different groups and issues to choose from, how does one decide which of the top humanitarian aid organizations to support?


Top Humanitarian Aid Organizations


1. World Food Programme (WFP) 

This organization is part of the U.N. system and is the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide.  Each year, the WFP reaches 90 million people with food assistance in 80 countries.  In 2012, the WFP provided 53 percent of global food aid and distributed 3.5 million tons of food.

2. Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE)

CARE is an organization dedicated to fighting global poverty.  The organization leads community-based efforts to improve basic education, prevent the spread of disease, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity, and protect natural resources.  CARE also provides emergency aid for war and natural disasters.  They have supported close to 1000 poverty-fighting development and humanitarian aid projects.

3. Oxfam International

Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 organizations working in approximately 90 countries worldwide to find solutions to poverty and related injustice around the world.  They focus on issues of active citizenship, agriculture, education, gender justice, health, peace and security and youth outreach.  Through advocacy, campaigning, policy research and development projects, Oxfam continues to change the lives of many.

4. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) 

IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, reaching 150 million people in 189 National Societies.  Their vast volunteering network of 13 million allows them to tackle issues in four main areas: disaster response, disaster preparedness, health and community care and promote humanitarian values of social inclusion and peace.

5. Action Against Hunger (AAH) 

AAH is a global humanitarian organization committed to ending world hunger, works to save the lives of malnourished children while providing communities with access to safe water and sustainable solutions to hunger.  In 2012, AAH provided 550,000 small farmers with tools, treated 42,000 malnourished children in the Democratic Republic of Congo and helped 170,000 people gain access to clean water in Kenya.

Any of these humanitarian organizations offer chances to donate, volunteer, and advocate for their respective causes.  For more information regarding humanitarian aid and charity organizations, visit

Research done by CARE found that girls in 26 countries are more likely to be forced into marriage before the age of 18 than to enroll in secondary school. The report Vows of Poverty was released on Oct. 11, 2015, the same day as International Day of the Girl.

The two stunning figures presented in the report were: 39,000 girls around the world are forced to marry each day, and 62 million girls are currently not in school, with half of them being adolescents.

The tradition of child marriage is what continues the cycle of poverty in developing countries. “Every time a girl under 18 is forced into marriage or prevented from attending school, it’s a missed opportunity to improve that girl’s life and strike at the roots of poverty,” said CARE Australia Chief Executive Dr. Julia Newton-Howes.

The U.S. Department of State initiated an Adolescent Girl Strategy in cooperation with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030. The strategy focuses on enhancing American foreign policy to end child marriage.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama encourage efforts to educate adolescent girls through the Let Girls Learn initiative, which focuses on “community-led solutions that reduce barriers between adolescent girls and their education, including the elimination of child marriage.”

On a national level, governments are reinforcing laws that prevent child marriage. The 2014 Girl Summit resulted in 43 nations signing commitments to end the practice of child marriage. Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Mali, Tanzania, Yemen and Zambia have recently initiated campaigns and legal reforms to end child marriage.

In the Amhara region of Ethiopia, communities have stopped at least 180 child marriages since 2013 thanks to the TESFA program. CARE partnered with the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and the Nike Foundation to break the cycle of poverty. The program focused on improving girls’ education, health, business and financial literacy.

In Bangladesh, the local women’s empowerment group, EKATA, works to end the tradition of child marriage by discussing with parents the adverse effects of the practice and urging them not to force their daughters into early marriage.

Seeing as poverty promotes child marriage practices, in South Sudan cash incentives are given to parents who enroll or keep their daughters in school. In Senegal, community and religious leaders publicly criticize the practice of child marriage.

“We focus on women and girls because we know that empowering women is the key to ending poverty,” stated Howes.

Marie Helene Ngom

Sources: Vows of Poverty Report, The Hill, Leadersinheels
Photo: Wikimedia

It might be hard to believe that hunger kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Roughly 800 million people in the world are chronically malnourished, with the majority living in developing countries. Here is a look at three nonprofit organizations that are fighting to end world hunger:

Action Against Hunger

This global humanitarian organization works not only towards ending global hunger, but also in creating long-term strategies that capitalize on self-sufficient workers. Malnutrition claims the lives of over a million children, although the disease is preventable and treatable. Most of Action Against Hunger’s funding goes directly to these life-saving programs. For every $1 they raise, $0.91 is spent on program activities. Charity Navigator has given the organization the highest four-star rating seven years in a row.

Stop Hunger Now

For the last 15 years, Stop Hunger Now has coordinated the distribution of food and other needed aid to children all over the world. They target vulnerable populations and aim to involve the global community in mobilizing the necessary resources. In 2005, the organization created the meal packaging program, which combines rice, beans, vegetables and the essential nutrients and vitamins all into one small package. With each meal costing roughly $0.29, SHN is able to ship and distribute the meals all over the world. In fact, one SHN packaging event can result in more than 1,000,000 meals.


A humanitarian organization that is fighting to end global poverty, CARE staff has worked in a multitude of countries serving some of the poorest communities and populations. Since it sent the first CARE package in 1946, the organization has been addressing the issues of food insecurity all over the globe. CARE often focuses on hunger caused by natural disasters and conflict. In countries such as Chad, Lesotho, Niger and South Sudan, CARE’s programs have helped reduce the risk of disasters and food insecurity by promoting environmental sustainability and empowering people economically.

– Leeda Jewayni

Sources: World Food Program, Action Against Hunger, Stop Hunger Now, CARE
Photo: Wesley-Luther

effects of poverty on the adult brain

A recent study examined the effects of poverty on the adult brain and how it is influenced by childhood development. Results of the study showed that children from poor families performed more poorly on academic tests later in life. Furthermore, the study found that children who dealt with stress inducing factors, such as poor housing, in addition to poverty performed the worst of all tested subjects.

What does this mean for the future of children that are presently living in extreme poverty? With more than 1 billion children worldwide who lack one or more essential needs critical to survival and development, this can present even more problems in the future.

Most children living in extreme poverty face stress-inducing factors in addition to poverty. According to UNICEF, 101 million children currently do not attend primary school, and 148 million children under the age of 5 are underweight. A total of 270 million children worldwide do not have access to health care, and one out of five do not have access to clean drinking water, according to CARE, a nonprofit aiding in the fight against extreme poverty.

With more than 300 million children worldwide chronically hungry and 90 percent suffering from long-term malnourishment, these stressors can have lasting effects on their intellectual performance, and subsequently their financial stability, as adults.

For every additional year of primary school in developing countries, a girl’s wages are raised by 10 to 20 percent. This shows a direct correlation between education and income.

Children from poorer households are three times more likely to not attend school than those from wealthy homes. The largest population of non-attending school aged children is in sub-Saharan Africa, where 45.5 million children do not attend primary school. Much of this is caused by poverty, as many parents and families cannot afford required school fees and supplies to send their children to school.

Extreme poverty certainly involves several stress inducing factors besides lack of money, and these issues compound the problem of intellectual performance further. According to Professor K. Luan Phan, the author of the study, “the stress-burden of growing up poor may be an underlying mechanism that accounts for the relationship between poverty as a child and how well your brain works as an adult.”

By this same logic, helping these children out of extreme poverty today will lead to more intellectual men and women of tomorrow – men and women who will have the education needed to help other children escape poverty.

– Christopher Kolezynski

Sources: PsyBlog, The Borgen Project, CARE, Compassion
Photo: Flickr