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Important Poverty NonprofitsThe world is full of people trying to do good, some of whom are well known and acknowledged for the work they do. Many change-makers, however, fly under the radar and do not receive the recognition they deserve for the profound changes they have generated. Some important poverty nonprofits have been working to mitigate poverty and disease worldwide for years, and they are the ones who could benefit greatly from volunteers. The following are five groups whose efforts should not go unnoticed by the world.

Five Important Poverty Nonprofits

  1. Mothers2mothers – This group focuses on alleviating the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa while empowering women and mothers living with and/or around the disease. Africa is lacking heavily in healthcare workers. Mothers2mothers is an important poverty nonprofit that hires and trains HIV-positive women to fill these roles, thus providing them with the opportunity to gain financial security for their families and giving the community access to much-needed healthcare. Through this method, thousands of jobs have been created and hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved.
  2. Partners in Health (PIH) – Founded in 1987 by world-renowned doctor Paul Farmer, PIH has made great strides in eradicating life-threatening epidemics, such as multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, in third-world countries. PIH focuses on building lasting healthcare systems in countries that are severely lacking and providing this service to the poor, who would not typically be able to afford it. To do their incredible work, PIH relies heavily on donations.
  3. Kiva – Kiva is a nonprofit that provides low-income, entrepreneurial women and students with loans to start their own small businesses. They described their mission as “to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.” Kiva has proven that even small loans can create lasting change in the lives of those who need it. Recipients of loans through Kiva have gone on to build small businesses that allow them to support their families and stimulate the economy of their communities.
  4. Charity: water – This is a nonprofit that works to provide clean drinking water to developing countries. Charity: water uses donations to build wells that would eliminate the need for people to walk miles away to get to a water source. They also provide sand filters and rainwater catchments that promote cleanliness in drinking water, which helps to lessen the spread of disease in impoverished communities.
  5. Concern Worldwide – This organization focuses on long-term solutions in third-world countries. Concern Worldwide responds to emergencies like environmental disasters and genocide. Their past projects have included providing food and nutrition to the starving after the 1973 Ethiopian famine. They are currently working with Syrian refugees in The Middle East.

These five are just a few of many important poverty nonprofits that work to make a positive change in the world, no matter how small. Contributions to groups like these have the ability to create a ripple effect in the lives and communities of those who truly need it. Getting involved can come in any form from promoting the causes online to volunteering time to help with projects. When it comes to making a change, there is no contribution too small.

– Amelia Merchant
Photo: Flickr

Right to Water
In July 2010, the United Nations recognized and made a stance that clean water and access to sufficient water is a right for every human being. It has been eight years since the stance was made, and many since have asked: how far has the world come in regards to ensuring better water quality to every human being?

Right to Water

In 2010, there were 2.5 billion people worldwide who didn’t have access to proper sanitation and clean drinking water; eight years later, the figure stands at 2.1 billion people. By no means small, this improvement serves as a positive omen and beginning for a future of continued progress.

But complete improvement in water quality, unfortunately, doesn’t just happen overnight. There are currently at least 2 million people around the world whose water source is contaminated with feces. Although there are many organizations who have stepped up to help those in developing countries regain their right to water, here are three programs and initiatives that have made significant impacts on the current water crisis.

WASH

WASH is a program run by the World Health Organization (WHO) that stands for WHO’s focus on different aspects of water, sanitation and hygiene. The mission of WASH is to provide leadership in water, sanitation and hygiene by making statements, influencing policy and coordinating and collaborating with others.

The services from WASH can reduce healthcare-related infections, increase trust in provided services and increase efficiency in aid provided in healthcare institutions. Today, many facilities lack WASH services — 38 percent don’t have an improved water source, 19 percent don’t have improved sanitation and 35 percent lack water and soap for hand-washing.

The most recent campaign by WASH and WHO — “It’s in your hands. Prevent sepsis in healthcare” — educated others on how quickly sepsis can spread through poor hand hygiene. This education is extremely needed as roughly 30 million people deal with this organ disfunction around the world.

Water.org

Water.org is a non-profit that provides local water projects with local water partners in various countries. One of the key ideas of water.org is to have the communities responsible feel like owners of the specific project. Water.org strives to have the community involved in every aspect of their projects.

Water.org has reached 13 countries, including Honduras. In this nation, water.org reached 14,000 people who are in need of either safe water or improved sanitation. This non-profit is currently working on the construction of a community water system, and health and hygiene education in Honduras. By focusing on these goals, more than 3,600 people in two different Honduras communities will gain access to clean water.

charity: water

Using 100 percent of all public donations to fund water projects, charity: water has funded 28,389 water projects for 8.2 million people around the world. Charity: water’s  efforts have given these people their right to water, and have also funded water programs in 26 countries around the world.

The organization also has a variety of solutions they offer to communities who don’t have access to clean water, including rainwater catchments, water purification systems, hand-dug wells and bio-sand filters.

No matter where or who, good or bad, each person around the world is making some sort of impact on the current water crisis. From littering to pouring cooking oil down the drain, daily actions can have substantial impacts on rivers and waterways in local communities. While there are many organizations that provide funds and support to those without clean water, there are many ways an individual can help with the current water crisis. Here are five ways that water quality can be improved in local communities.

Five Ways to Improve Water Quality

  1. Don’t put anything in storm drains, this includes grass and tree clippings.
  2. Don’t pour grease down drains.
  3. Properly dispose of pet waste.
  4. Appropriately dispose of fluorescent light bulbs and automotive fluids.
  5. Never litter.

It is important for each and every person, no matter where they are, to do their part to maintain safe and clean water, and to always remember that the right to water applies to everyone.

– Victoria Fowler
Photo: Flickr

Access to Clean Water
Many communities in Latin America lack access to clean water transported through piped infrastructures, and water problems have been the source of much strife. Water in Bolivia made international news in 2000 when the country’s municipalities were privatized, causing costs to skyrocket and leading to four months of violent riots in Cochabamba.

Fortunately, recent movements have been more peaceful. They often take a community approach to change, transforming one neighborhood at a time. Three projects in three different Latin American countries have given communities reliable access to clean water.

Maria Auxiliadora in Aguilares, El Salvador
Ninety-eight percent of El Salvador’s water is contaminated. A growing movement is working to legislate access to clean water as a human right. In the meantime, one community has taken matters into its own hands.

Sixty percent of Maria Auxiliadora’s population used to lack clean drinking water. People were forced to pay high prices or rely on polluted water, all of which had to be trucked in. Franciscan foundation Tau partnered with the Association Foundation for Cooperation and Common Development in Salvador (CORDES) to change that. The organizations built a safe well that is maintained by the community’s 50 families, each of which has a water meter and pays for the amount it uses.

Alto Buena Vista Barrio in Cochabamba, Bolivia
The arid city of Cochabamba is making headlines again but this time in a positive way. While water transportation in Bolivia has improved, poorer neighborhoods don’t have access to piped water yet. Many are forced to rely on truck deliveries, facing constant shortages and contamination problems. The supply they receive is barely enough for drinking, let alone washing.

In southern Cochabamba, the people of Alto Buena Vista have decided to take matters into their own hands. Following the example of Maria Auxiliadora, El Salvador, they plan to build a well and use a similar metered system.

La Mosquitia, Honduras
La Mosquitia’s water sources are also polluted, causing widespread illness. Rain collection only provides relief for a season, and good wells are difficult to build because of contamination and brackish water. Two organizations, Charity: Water and the Arlington Rotary, have been building biosand filters to help. These systems filter water using sand and decomposing organic material. While there is still work to be done, the community’s plight has improved significantly.

While achieving countrywide access to clean water in Bolivia, Honduras and El Salvador is a work in progress, the three communities above are experiencing a better quality of life. Hopefully, they will pave the way for others to trade inefficient and ineffective methods of water transportation for clean and reliable ones.

Jeanette I. Burke

Photo: Flickr

hip nonprofits
With all the nonprofit organizations out there that work to alleviate poverty and combat climate change, it can be hard to choose which one to donate your time or money to. Here are seven hip nonprofits that you can consider donating to:

1. Earthjustice

Founded in 1971 as the Sierra Club Legal Fund, Earthjustice is a nonprofit law firm that works to protect our global earth. It has provided legal representation to more than 1,000 clients and all of its services are provided at no charge. Its three main priorities are promoting clean energy to combat global warming, protecting the health of communities and preserving wildlife and special areas.

2. Girl Effect

The Girl Effect was created by the Nike Foundation in partnership with the NoVo Foundation, the United Nations Foundation and Coalition for Adolescent Girls. Girls play a crucial role in global development. When girls are included in economic development, health and education, there is a better chance to alleviate poverty and prevent HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy and child marriage. This campaign is about empowering girls and providing them with resources. Its website is pretty cool, too: Girl Effect’s home page uses a video to state their message, mission  statement and what the viewers can do to support it.

3. Sesame Workshop

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit organization responsible for Sesame Street and so many more education television shows. Its projects provide valuable lessons in respect, understanding, health and literacy to children in more than 150 countries. Sesame Workshop’s mission is to use the educational power of media to help children everywhere reach their highest potential. Its recipe for success is combining a curriculum that addresses children’s critical developmental needs with the sophisticated use of media and a large dose of fun.

4. Charity: Water

Founded in 2006, Charity: Water is a nonprofit organization that brings safe and clean drinking water to developing countries. Charity: Water’s goal is to eliminate diseases from unclean drinking water, and it has helped fund almost 7,000 projects in more than 20 countries. The organization has partnered with ONA products to produce a camera strap in which a percentage of the profit goes to Charity: Water.

5. Greenpeace

Greenpeace is the largest direct-action environmental organization in the world. Its goals are to promote peace and defend our earth by protecting our oceans and ancient forests and working to stop global warming. Climate change causes natural disasters that negatively affect food production, hindering efforts to reduce poverty and advance economic development. Greenpeace believes that alleviating poverty can be done without hurting the Earth. The environmental organization is determined that providing clean energy is essential in the fight to improve health and education and to reduce poverty. Greenpeace exposes and confronts the environmental abuse that is detrimental to lives around the world, while supporting environmentally-friendly solutions.

6. ONE

ONE is an international advocacy organization that works to alleviate poverty and preventable disease. ONE raises awareness and works with political leaders to demand greater transparency, increase investments in nutrition and agriculture and fight AIDS and other preventable diseases. ONE works with activists and policymakers to oversee the use of foreign aid, combat corruption, improve economic development and encourage poverty-reducing efforts. Their teams in Johannesburg, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, London, New York and Washington, D.C. lobby and educate governments to help shape policy decisions that will improve and save millions of lives.

7. Shining Hope for Communities

Shining Hope for Communities is a nonprofit organization that works to promote gender equality and alleviate poverty in the Kibera Slum, one of Africa’s largest slums in Nairobi, Kenya. SHOFCO provides free education for girls as well as poverty alleviation and empowerment programs. The organization provides health care, meals, access to clean water and toilets, school supplies, uniform and counseling to girls that attend The Kibera School for Girls. SHOFCO also provides services to the Kibera community through their community center in order to provide healthier lives for girls and their families and to inspire the community to commit to change.

– Colleen Moore

Sources: Alternative Press, Girl Effect, Sesame Workshop, Peta Pixel, CBC News, ONE.org, Global Giving
Photo: Animation Magazine

water NGOs
In industrial nations with established water purification and sanitation systems, people often take their ability to turn on the tap and drink a glass of clean water for granted. The reality is that nearly 1 billion people around the world do not have access to clean water and this is a serious problem.

Eighty percent of disease in developing countries is due to bacteria, worms and other organisms found in the unclean water that one-eighth of the world uses. Water-borne diseases are one of the top killers of children under 5, causing one in five deaths worldwide. In addition, an estimated 433 million school days a year are lost to sickness, caring for the sick or fetching water, all of which further perpetuate the poverty cycle. Fortunately, water is a solvable problem.

With the work of dedicated and forceful water NGOs and local governments, clean water has the potential to reach everyone around the globe. Here are some organizations that do particularly effective work.

1. Charity: water

Charity: water was founded by Kevin Rose in 2006 as a way of putting some direction into his life. Its overall mission is to bring clean drinking water to rural areas of developing nations. Charity: water also recognizes that women in developing nations may have to walk miles to get water for their families, and that the water they bring back often has disease carrying organisms. With this in mind, Charity: water aims to build water purification and gathering systems in local communities so that clean water is readily available.

Charity: water achieves its goals by appealing to the local needs and skills. The organization fully funds, supports, trains and aids the target community in building sustainable, easy to run and simple to maintain water collection projects. In addition, Charity: water does extensive research on the target community to establish which project would be most effective for the locals’ needs. The organization then helps design plans and builds systems, including hand-dug or drilled wells, rainwater catchments and water purification systems. Charity: water gets clean water to needy communities by establishing a system for water collection, building it and teaching the locals to use it. The organization then monitors its success and maintenance. Charity:water has found great success, with thousands of projects in Africa alone, and others in Central and South America and South Asia.

2.  Global Water

Global Water is based off the understanding that a lack of access to clean drinking water is the cause of much of the world’s hunger, disease and poverty. Its goal is to build permanent and sustainable sanitation facilities and clean water access to promote health, knowledge and hygiene in developing nations.

Global Water takes several approaches to reach its goals, most of which rely extensively on partnerships with local NGOs and governments. The company realizes that it is most effective as a support for the local installation and implementation of programs rather than a group that parachutes in, builds a system on its own and leaves.

Therefore, Global Water works with local groups to design an effective project, provides equipment, expertise and assistance in the building process, and inspects and monitors the project. This significant partnership with local groups makes Global Water unique and its projects lasting and effective.

Global Water has been involved in successful well drilling projects in Africa, building everything from hand washing stations to spring catchments in Central America.

3. The Water Project

The Water Project aims for better water programs rather than a large number of unsatisfactory ones. The campaign believes that the local community should dictate what method is used to ensure that the program is enduring and life changing. As a result, The Water Project insists on taking community feedback every step of the way.

The Water Project has worked in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Uganda. While this is a more limited range of regions than other organizations of similar type, The Water Project focuses on sustainability and success rather than creating a vast array of defunct programs, and a limited range supports this work model. On top of building structures like wells, sand dams and rainwater catchment devices, The Water Project also aims to educate the local community on water safety and hygiene.

In fact, education is a fundamental part of the organization. The Water Project process starts by teaching local people about how proper sanitation and hygiene relate to health. In addition, The Water Project focuses on getting the community involved by providing support for the project, either through labor, money, food for workers, etc. Then comes the installation of the project, during which The Water Project helps get permits and dig wells. Lastly, the company conducts a final education on the new system and proudly hands over a new water system and chance for a better life to the local community. Throughout the following years, The Water Project continues to monitor and maintain its projects to ensure their lasting success.

Overall, NGOs and campaigns that provide clean water to developing nations are often the same in their final product, like the wells and lavatories they install. But each has its unique outlook on the problem and its own reputation in local communities. Without the combined efforts of these organizations and more like them, water safety around the world would be an insurmountable challenge. But because of the success of companies like Charity: water and The Water Project, it is becoming more and more possible for the  world to have access to clean water and effective sanitation.

 — Caitlin Thompson 

Sources: The Water Project, Global Water, Charity:water
Photo: Charity:water

Developing Toilets and Sanitation
How is poverty fought? Well, there are many different approaches that are currently being tried and some may seem more self-explanatory than others. For example, there is micro-lending, education aid, anti-corruption efforts, and attempts to create jobs and industry. But what about sanitation? Specifically, what about the toilets?

Toilets, and the access to toilets and established sanitation standards, are actually a very, very important issue in much of the developing world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated in 2010 that 2.5 billion people worldwide didn’t have access to a toilet. The lack of toilets can lead to many serious sanitation problems; exposed fecal matter can lead to any number of a long list of diseases and can cause infection, lead to dysentery, and provided a breeding ground for many parasites.

More than reducing levels of infection and disease, however, the sanitary importance of toilets offers an increased sense of dignity. The people living without toilet access are not all living in rural areas. Many live in city slums and must go about their business without the luxury of privacy. The availability of toilets is even shown to increase the school attendance of teenage girls, who may not go to school during their menstrual cycle. The non-governmental organization Charity Water works to provide clean water and sanitation in the developing world. Increased access to toilets has been one of their goals for years. Check them out here!

– Kevin Sullivan

Source: Charity Water
Photo: The Guardian