USG Funding for EthiopiaDespite Ethiopia’s fast-growing economy, it is one of the most impoverished nations in Africa. However, the United States Government (USG) is making a significant effort to combat poverty in Ethiopia. On April 26, 2022, the U.S. announced that it would provide about $43.7 million in order for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) support along with health, nutrition and food aid to Ethiopians suffering from drought. Overall, USG funding for Ethiopia will help the nation make headway with poverty reduction.


According to USAID, drought, flooding, food insecurity, vector-borne disease and minimal access to health services are just a few of the acute shocks that Ethiopian populations routinely suffer. These issues are worsened by continued large-scale violence, conflict and displacement, leading to a complicated emergency humanitarian situation.

On top of these challenges, the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have not only brought about health impacts for countries but also economic repercussions. The World Bank predicted that Ethiopia’s poverty rate would stand at 27% by 2019. Like many other countries, Ethiopia suffered economically after the pandemic as its gross domestic product growth shrank from 6.1% in 2020 to 5.6% in 2021. Real wages for Ethiopians in Addis Ababa alone declined by 14% for high skilled workers at the onset of the pandemic.

How Will it Help?

According to the World Bank, Ethiopia is the “second most populated country in Africa” as of 2020. With this comes the increasing problem of water shortages. Besides water shortages, there is a lack of access to clean and safe water, which can lead to water-borne diseases, such as cholera, as individuals resort to consuming water from unsafe and potentially contaminated sources.

In fact, according to an article by Lifewater, “7.5[%]of the global water crisis is in Ethiopia alone” as of 2019. According to USAID, by April 2022, 8 million people in the southern parts of Ethiopia faced the impacts of drought conditions as a result of a third continuous “poor rainy season” in the latter part of 2021, which sparked severe water shortages and increased demand for emergency food aid.

WASH support aims to combat this by supplying safe water and preventing disease outbreaks. Food insecurity is also an issue in Ethiopia. According to the World Food Programme, despite Ethiopia’s progression, there are 20.4 million people who are still in need of food aid. The U.S. will ensure more people in Ethiopia have access to food by “providing assistance to drought-affected populations.”


Ethiopia continues to show effort in slowing down poverty. In fact, according to the World Bank, the government created a 10-year plan based on the 2019 Home-Grown Economic Reform Agenda for Ethiopia. With the intention of moving to a “private-sector-driven economy” and fostering “competition in key growth-enabling sectors” while promoting efficiency and a proper “business climate,” the plan will run for approximately 10 years from 2020/21 to 2029/30.

Ethiopia’s five-year growth and transformation plans aim to achieve “middle-income status” for the nation by 2025 by “sustaining high growth and speeding up structural transformation.” In the meanwhile, the USG funding for Ethiopia is actively lessening the burden on those who suffer from poverty in Ethiopia.

– Frema Mensah
Photo: Flickr

Beauty brands making a differenceMakeup brands are generally known for their aesthetically pleasing cosmetics and the confidence they provide their consumers. However, what is less well known is that many makeup brands are actively creating initiatives to help those in need. Most recently, many of these companies have spearheaded relief efforts to ease the impacts of the global pandemic. Here are five popular beauty brands making a difference amidst COVID-19.

5 Beauty Brands Making a Difference during COVID-19

  1. Milk Makeup. Milk Makeup is one of the beauty brands making a difference during this time. It is a popular brand best known for its minimalist makeup products. However, the company has gained recent attention for its assistance with COVID-19 in New York. On April 10, the brand partnered with the Wu-Tang Clan to donate 100 % of its proceeds from that day to the New York City COVID-19 relief effort: the event raised a total of $106,000 in just 24 hours. Additionally, the brand donated $250,000 in beauty products to frontline workers.
  2. L’Oreal. In response to COVID-19, this international drugstore brand has implemented a new initiative called “L’Oreal for the Future.” The program plans to donate 100 million euros to help combat global climate change. L’Oreal will also donate 50 million euros to support vulnerable women living in societies severely impacted by economic deficiencies. Further, the brand donated 400,000 hygiene products and 400,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to frontline hospital and retail staff in Great Britain and Ireland.
  3. MAC. MAC is another one of the beauty brands making a difference during these difficult times. Since 1994, MAC Cosmetics has held an annual “Viva Glam Campaign.” In previous years, the money from this campaign was dedicated to combating HIV/AIDS; however, in light of 2020’s recent events, the campaign has shifted to target COVID-19. Through this campaign, the beauty company has committed to donating $10 million to 250 U.S. and international organizations working to help those impacted by COVID-19.
  4. Avon. This cosmetics brand has partnered with Feed the Children for the past 16 years. However, in response to COVID-19, Avon has significantly strengthened its support of this nonprofit organization. The company has donated more than $2 million in personal care products and over $40 million in necessities to impacted families across the country.
  5. Thrive Causemetics. Thrive Causemetics is another one of the beauty brands making a difference. It has created a $1 million initiative to aid COVID-19 relief efforts. As part of this commitment, the company donated $10,000 to the University of Washington Virology Lab to help expand access to COVID-19 testing. Additionally, Thrive Causemetics gave $350,000 to various other United States organizations diligently working to fight COVID-19 such as Meals on Wheels, Baby2Baby and Feeding America.

These beauty brands are prime examples of companies utilizing their influences and platforms to impact their communities for good. In the future, cosmetics companies will hopefully continue working beyond their products to improve the lives of their consumers.

– Kira Lucas
Photo: Flickr

Hunger and starvation are a harsh reality for the Albanian people. The country, for many years, has had a significant portion of the population who are unable to feed themselves and their families. According to the Global Hunger Index, Albania is ranked 28th out of 117 countries struggling with hunger. The Global Hunger Index also gives Albania an overall score of seven. While a score of seven is not incredibly low, according to the Global Hunger Index, it could still be improved. In order to address the impacts of hunger in the country, multiple Albanian organizations are providing support to help their people. Here are three organizations working to positively impact hunger in Albania.

3 Organizations Making a Difference

  1. Nehemiah Gateway is working to reduce hunger in Albania. Nehemiah Gateway originally started in Albania but has expanded to help people in other countries as well. The organization provides not only food parcels, but also medical supplies and social care to people in need in Albania. It is currently running a fundraiser guided toward providing the necessary supplies to starving people in Albania. As of July 29, 2020, the organization has received more than $7,800 in donations out of a $9,000 goal. Nehemia Gateway is still accepting fundraiser donations.
  2. The Children’s Human Rights Center of Albania is another organization pursuing an end to hunger in Albania, especially with respect to youth in the country. Along with addressing hunger, the organization also represents the rights of children in other ways. The organization seeks to make sure the youth of Albania is educated, protected and participates politically within the country. In April of this year, The Children’s Human Rights Center of Albania made news when it made a plea to the European Commission, asking for relief efforts to help 100,000 children who are at risk of starvation. While the request for help has not yet been answered, the human rights center is still committed to fighting for the well being of Albania’s youth.
  3. Food Bank Albania is another organization that has been making extremely focused efforts to help those at risk of hunger. The food bank is based in Albania and its primary concern is making sure the people of the country are fed no matter the circumstances. Food Bank Albania gave an update on its activities during the recent earthquakes as well as during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The organization said that, since November of 2019, it has been able to provide people in need in Albania with about 223,000 kg of food. This is equivalent to about 500,000 meals. The organization is also confident that it can provide about 30 to 40 tons of fresh produce to people in need throughout the summer.

Hunger in Albania continues to be a major concern. The country is ranked 28th out of 117 countries struggling with hunger. As a result, a large portion of the population is still in need of help and further support. However, these three Albanian organizations have been resourceful in fighting to make sure that their people remain fed and provided for.

– Jacob E. Lee
Photo: Flickr

Dangote FoundationThe Dangote Foundation delivered food items worth millions of Nigerian naira to thousands of vulnerable internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria.

During a visit to the IDP camps of Abuja, Dangote Foundation chairman Alhaji Aliko Dangote was saddened by what he saw and pledged to alleviate the suffering of thousands of IDPs. The Dangote Foundation is a branch of the Dangote Group. The foundation provides charitable funds to a variety of causes in Nigeria and other African states.

Abuja currently has 13,481 internally displaced persons according to the latest assessment by the International Organization for Migration’s Displacement Tracking Matrix. The Dangote Foundation donated food items to the IDPs during Ramadan as a philanthropic action geared toward alleviating poverty in Nigeria.

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister Malam Muhammad Musa Bello directly received the donation and ensured that the IDPs would expressly benefit from the donations. These items included Dangote sugar, Dangote salt, Dangote Spaghetti, rice, Danvita and wheat meal.

The FCT Minister stated that the donation Abuja received was extremely generous and the country is grateful to the foundation. Moreover, the FCT Administration is committed to alleviating poverty and respects non-governmental organizations with a similar mission.

This donation has been one of many recent philanthropic actions by the Dangote Foundation in Nigeria. Within a span of five years, the foundation has donated N6.3 billion to various IDP camps in Nigeria. Currently, one US dollar equals 315.25 Nigerian Naira.

Previously, the Foundation made donations to Nigerian universities and women’s causes. They have also provided donations during ethnoreligious crises. In addition, the Dangote Foundation donated to the World Food Program to help Pakistan during massive flooding in 2010 and raised over N11billion for flood relief in Nigeria.

In coordination with the Gates Foundation; the Dangote Foundation, USAID and Nigerian governors joined together to secure political and financial resources to enhance immunization programs within Nigeria in order to keep the country polio-free.

The Dangote Foundation focuses on health, education, economic development and disaster relief through their commitment to decreasing the amount of people suffering or dying from poverty-related issues.  The Dangote Foundation’s donations work to rectify the lack of education for children, to create quality healthcare and support underprivileged adults by improving access to education and healthcare.

Kimber Kraus

Photo: Flickr

donation time
It is no secret that when people are in a better mood, they are more likely to be generous. Psychology Today and Lifehacker demonstrate that the best time to ask for a favor is when the sun in shining and right after meals. If the weather is permitting and a person is well fed, the chances of receiving a donation will increase.

Asking for a Donation: The Secret Formula

A study done by French researchers found that on sunny days, 22 percent of people were willing to help out, whereas on cloudy days only 14 percent were willing. These results are not drastic; however the difference between a yes and no could still depend on the sun. So, when asking for a donation, consider trying to plan for a bright, sunny day.

Timing is everything when asking for donations, and science shows that right after meals is the best time to get a yes. Psychology Today looked at the difference in how prisoners were sentenced after lunch and later in the day. They found that the judge was much more lenient after lunch. After the lunch break, 70 percent of prisoners were granted parole, whereas in the late afternoon that dropped to only 12 percent.

The proper time to ask for donations, mixed with the right methodology, could be the key to successful fundraising. Lifehacker points out that the best way to ask for a favor is by getting the donor to feel, not think. People are more likely to donate when they feel sympathetic towards the cause.

Notably, complementing the potential donor before asking for a donation is never a good strategy. The compliment falls flat once the donor realizes that there is an ulterior motive, so being genuine is crucial when fundraising.

When asking for a favor or donation, the best way to win someone over is by being authentic. Simon Sinek from Creative Mornings acknowledges that how the request is phrased, is crucial. An authentic request will have pleasantries come after asking for a favor, but pleasantries beforehand will appear insincere.

Nice weather, authentic character and at meal time have proven to be positive factors when seeking favors and donations. So take a potential donor out to coffee, sit outside, and tell them all about your organization.

Megan Hadley

Sources: Lifehacker 1, Lifehacker 2, Psychology Today, YouTube, Lifehacker 3

#GivingTuesdayTo many, the day after Cyber Monday is just that. To the philanthropic community, however, it’s the biggest spending day of the year. #GivingTuesday launches the holiday donation season by mobilizing donors across the globe to raise money for poverty reduction.

92Y, a cultural center in New York City, organized #GivingTuesday in 2012 as a means “to celebrate and encourage giving” among diverse groups and communities. Each year, the event grows in support and profit as donors take to social media to spread the word.

“#GivingTuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities,” claims the event’s website. “It also brings together the collective power of a unique blend of partners—nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses and corporations, as well as families and individuals—to encourage and amplify small acts of kindness.”

On December 1, #GivingTuesday raised $116.7 million, more than doubling the previous year’s profit. At least 30,000 donors in 68 countries made contributions to various charitable organizations in honor of the event. Supporters donated more than 1.08 million gifts at an average of $107.

Social media users tweeted the #GivingTuesday hashtag 1.3 million times in the course of 24 hours, exceeding 2014’s report by 86 percent. Education ranked among the top causes as a popular topic.

“This is truly a cause for celebration,” Henry Timms, executive director of 92Y, told the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

The donations raised during the event aided several poverty reduction programs across the globe.

The Malala Fund created an education campaign for girls in developing countries who rarely spend more than three years in school. Each year in school raises a girl’s potential earnings by 10-20 percent. Thanks to donors, 300 Kenyan girls will be able to continue their education with tech training programs and 200 Syrian refugees can return to school.

Old Navy pledged one dollar to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) each time a Twitter user tweeted a picture of a good deed with the hashtag #UNselfie. BGCA helps struggling American youth complete their education and achieve responsible, productive futures.

For those who couldn’t afford monetary donations, #GivingTuesday offered a money-free opportunity. (RED), a nonprofit group committed to fighting AIDS, provided 10 days of free treatment for each social media post or video that mentioned the group.

The immense success of #GivingTuesday has created an atmosphere of hope around the globe.

Sarah Prellwitz

Sources: Philanthropy, BGCA, Giving Tuesday, Huffington Post, Malala, PRNewsWire
Photo: Build On

Donations for Education
When asking for donations, the phrase “every donation helps” seems to be a staple in every campaign, letter or advertisement. Many times, this statement is hard to believe, especially when thinking in terms of individual donations toward larger goals. Fortunately, in the fight for equal educational opportunities, small donations do make a large impact in impoverished areas. The following list describes causes that correspond with specific U.S. dollar amounts. This list proves that every donation really does make a difference.

Five dollars:

Five dollars is more than it costs to supply an individual in India with a year of clean water from public water systems put in place by the Water for the World Act. Clean water prevents diseases that keep children out of school or from performing at high levels during class.

Ten dollars:

Ten dollars can buy one kilogram of beeswax, an ingredient necessary for many simple medications and remedies for illnesses that keep children out of school. One kilogram of beeswax is enough for one hundred tubs of medication. By providing communities with medical supplies such as this, donors help children make the most of their education by keeping them healthy enough to attend classes.

Twenty dollars:

Twenty dollars covers the daily cost of transportation for three teachers in Ecuador who have to travel to mountainous regions to teach their students.

Fifty dollars:

Fifty dollars is enough to train a teacher in the rural areas of the Solomon Islands in Disaster Risk Management. Not only do students and other members of the classroom environment feel more secure when a teacher has this kind of training, the school becomes a safer and more credible institution. This encourages children to attend school, and increases attendance levels overall.

One Hundred dollars:

A donation of 100 dollars could provide a family in Sri Lanka with the money to buy two solar powered lamps so children who do not have electricity in their homes can do their homework at night.

Two Hundred dollars:

Donating 200 dollars to Volunteer for the Visayans’ “Adopt-A-School” project will ensure that a school in the Philippines has a year’s supply of paper, pens, pencils and chalk.

Three Hundred and Ninety-Five dollars:

Through the SOS Africa program, 395 dollars will send a child in Africa through a year of high quality education. This donation covers all of the student’s education-related fees.

Small donations have a significant impact on education. Even donations that do not directly relate to schooling, such as medical supplies, help in impoverished countries because they promote the overall well-being of children who have the potential to become successful through education.

Direct results are not always visible to donors because recipients are often far away. However, making a donation toward education is an effective way to contribute to something worthwhile.

– Emily Walthouse

Sources: Caritas, Unesco, Volunteer for the Visayans, SOS Africa, Global Giving
Photo: Generation Finance

On June 9, Norway contributed $98.5 million USD to UNICEF. The money was donated thematically, making it the largest amount of money donated in this fashion. The donation covers the entirety of Norway’s contributions for 2014.

The donation is targeted specifically at the thematic funds for Education, Child Protection and Social Inclusion and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. The thematic fund for Education has been the main focus area for the U.N., with this area receiving the majority of funding since 2003. It’s expected that the newly gained funds from Norway will be going towards the education fund, considering that Norway has been the largest supporter of this area since 2006 and many countries still have yet to hit the education-related Millennium Development Goals.

Thematic funding essentially is earmarked funding that is combined into larger pools, which helps saves costs and allows for streamlined management throughout the entire process. Thematic funding helps out longer-term planning and sustainability, and has a lower cost recovery thanks to the reduced transaction costs. Many nations that are member states of the U.N. view thematic funding as a progressive avenue to increase the predictability of U.N. funds and programs.

“We are thankful to Norway for being a champion of our work for children. Thematic funds help us to deliver programs when and where they are needed most,” says Dominique Hyde, who is the Deputy Director for UNICEF’s Public-Sector Alliances and Resource Mobilization Office, “We hope this will encourage other partners to follow suit as the strategic value of these funds for UNICEF in delivering results for children cannot be underestimated.”

The sizable donation should come as no surprise considering Norway’s generous history when it comes to foreign aid. While Norway hasn’t donated the largest amount in terms of sheer monetary value, the amount they have donated in comparison to the size of their economy is rivaled only by their Scandinavian neighbors. In 2013 Norway had the highest net aid volume as a share of the economy, and donated no tied or partially tied aid. Furthermore, their aid has been steadily increasing in successive years, with an increase of 17.4 percent from 2012 to 2013. Norway also provided 77 percent of the funding for the entire focus area of Education in 2013.

While the UN is still struggling to hit its goals for donations from developed countries, Norway has set an impressive benchmark for other nations to strive towards. With any luck this record donation could motivate other nations to step up and increase their funding for UNICEF and similar programs.

– Andre Gobbo

Sources: Center for Global Development, Statistics Norway, UNICEF(1), UNICEF(2), UNICEF(3)

Most people would never think to pack a stethoscope or a package of rulers for their vacation. Unless they are a doctor or a teacher, these items may not even be things they own, but a non-profit organization known as Pack for a Purpose is asking international travelers to find a little more space for items like these in their suitcases.

By coordinating with local tourism agencies and hotels, Pack for a Purpose compiles a list of basic medical and educational equipment needs that travelers can easily squeeze into their bags when they travel abroad.

Some of these supplies are simply for recreation like deflated soccer balls, and others, like blood pressure cuffs, are essential instruments for quality medical treatment in impoverished nations.

Founded by retired schoolteacher, Rebecca Rothney, Pack for a Purpose has provided needed school and medical supplies to thousands around the globe. They have been able to do this simply by connecting travelers with a little extra luggage space to relief and aid programs all over the world.

On Pack for a Purpose’s website, a map directs travelers to different regions and shows them what hotels and tourism groups participate in Pack for Purposes exchanges so that charitable travelers can choose their destinations based on local needs.

In a recent, radio interview with WUBR’s Here and Now, Rothney describes her earliest experiences bringing supplies to schools on the African continent. In one of these stories, Rothney describes how a package of rulers nearly brought a school’s principal to tears.

Pack for a Purpose’s contention is ultimately that small efforts to support struggling communities can have tremendous impacts. In fact, many people don’t realize jut how powerful a device like a stethoscope can be for a local clinic, and in part that is because of how commonplace they are in the developed world.

In the four years of its operation, Pack for a Purpose has delivered over 16,000 kilos of supplies worldwide. The truly remarkable thing about this number is that it was all done by individual effort. Travelers from all different backgrounds and origins who simply made a little extra room in their bags have, in doing so, made a measurable difference in thousands of lives.

– Chase Colton

Sources: Here and Now, Pack for a Purpose, Boston Globe
Photo: Forbes

What is the first thing you feel when you remember you have to buy a gift for a special occasion?

For most people, shopping for a gift can be a daunting endeavor as they juggle a multitude of considerations to reach a final decision and make the purchase. However, in the end, the buyer has no real indication of whether their gift was well-received.

This gift giver’s dilemma has recently been assuaged by the emergence of the one and only gift card phenomenon. Recent statistics indicate that in the 2013 holiday season alone, 60 percent of consumers wanted gift cards. While you can pretty much never go wrong with a gift card, critics have pointed out how most gift cards either end up half-used or not even used at all.

There is a new trend emerging, however, that trumps the simplicity and safety of a gift card. People hailing from all walks of life are now taking advantage of special occasions as an opportunity for both the gift giver and receiver to pay it forward.

Those who are passionate about an issue or a cause have most likely experienced how challenging it is to mobilize those around them to care as much as they do about something. There is one thing, however, that is easy to get your network of friends, family, and colleagues to care about: you! In lieu of gifts, people are now asking their social network to raise money for their favorite cause.

This trend has even made its way to celebrity and pop culture, social networking sites, and a variety of NGOs, which all serve as a means to spread the word and inspire global action.

The NGO Charity: Water, for example, has been described as reinventing the world of charitable giving. Its founder, Scott Harrison, turned his birthday party into a fundraiser that raised $15,000 to build water wells in Rwanda.

OneDaysWages is another intriguing group, which works “to raise awareness and funds around the issues of extreme poverty and specifically those related to the Millennium Development Goals.” Through the organization’s website, individuals can calculate and make a donation of their one day’s wage to pledge, as well as pledge their birthday, to raise funds for a specific cause. The organization also lists a variety of options of different charities/nonprofits to which to donate.

– Rifk Ebeid

Sources: One Day’s Wages, SignUp Genius, First Giving, Charity Water, HubSpot, PR Week, NTen, GRI Financial Services, TIME
Photo: Westphillys Finest