#GivingTuesday CharityThe results of #GivingTuesday show that 2016 turned out to be a successful year in giving back to charity. In contrast with the high spending that occurs on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday offers a chance for the public to give back to charitable causes. According to the statistics, #GivingTuesday has demonstrated “double-digit growth,” projecting much hope for future years. Below are seven ways in which #GivingTuesday exceeded expectations this past year.

  1. iDonate is a popular giving platform that participated in funding for this year’s #GivingTuesday. It was revealed that this fifth consecutive year of the campaign accrued more support than other years. In fact, since 2012 when the campaign began, #GivingTuesday surpassed the initial first-year earnings from $12 million to $168 million for 2016. In addition, $50 million has been donated since 2015, which shows a 44 percent increase in total proceeds.
  2. Early data shows that the campaign received around 1.56 million donations.  The average contribution was over $100, and online donations increased by 20 percent.
  3. #GivingTuesday has gained momentum partially due to the increased utilization of mobile phones and advocacy from celebrities and major companies. The top five issues advocated for this year were education, environment, animals, health care and international affairs.
  4. The use of infographics this year have illustrated the impact #GivingTuesday has had. Similarly, funding platform CrowdRise used a virtual reality app to construct a building in which each brick represented a donation. Final donations ended up constructing a “Giving Tower,” virtually rising 6,853 feet tall which realistically surpasses the world’s current tallest tower in Dubai.
  5. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation started off #GivingTuesday 2016 by agreeing to match one million dollars worth of donations given on at 50 percent. The Foundation’s initial goal of reaching 50 percent was achieved within the first few hours. The Foundation then raised its match point from $500,000 to $900,000. Ultimately, they succeeded in giving back to 9,800 charities.
  6. #GivingTuesday’s founding organization, 92y, compiled a report that revealed increased participation compared to previous years. In 2016, 98 countries participated in #GivingTuesday. Participation from 82 percent of the world’s largest companies, such as AOL and Macy’s, also increased.
  7. Other online funding platforms such as Blackbaud, Network for Good, CrowdRise, Razoo, GoFundMe and IndieGogo added to the advanced momentum. Blackbaud saw a 33 percent increase in nonprofit donations, Network for Good raised $7,654,954, CrowdRise raised over three million dollars from an accumulation of 26,018 donations, Razoo reached 2,556 charities, GoFundMe increased earnings by 46 percent from 2015, and IndieGogo hosted 132 campaigns, gaining 8,400 backers.

The Borgen Project participates yearly in #GivingTuesday and encourages readers to help give back to the world’s poor. Given the consistent growth seen over the past five years, Nov. 28, 2017, projects to be another prosperous year for giving back.

Amy Williams

Photo: Flickr

Healthcare in Bihar
Bihar is one of the poorest states in India as approximately 55 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. There is an overwhelming need for quality health care facilities and workers in this region. In the past ten years, the World Bank Group and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have made great strides toward the improvement of healthcare in Bihar.

The World Bank’s collaboration with the Bihar Government led to an increase in the accountability and accessibility of healthcare from 2005 to 2008. By 2008, the number of outpatients visiting a government hospital grew from 39 per month to almost 4,500. The number of babies delivered in healthcare facilities also increased from some 100,000 to 780,000.

Bihar’s infant and maternal mortality rates are higher than India’s national average. According to the Sample Registration Survey in India conducted in 2013, 208 women per 100,000 died during childbirth. Furthermore, 28 out of every 1,000 newborns die within their first month of life.

Most of these deaths are preventable if basic care is provided to women and newborns during and immediately following childbirth. Unfortunately, the infrastructure of healthcare in Bihar falls short in nearly all required categories, including the number of health assistants and nurses.

According to the Huffington Post, there are not enough nurses in Bihar to allow for lengthy off-site training to prepare nurses for treatment of postpartum hemorrhage or premature births while also keeping health facilities adequately staffed.

In order to improve maternal health and newborn care, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation along with the Bihar Government launched a Mobile Nurse Mentoring Program called AMANAT.

Through AMANAT, nurses in public health facilities are mentored on-site by mobile nurse mentors, who ensure that basic standards of care are provided for pregnant women and newborns.

The program has greatly improved healthcare in Bihar for women and children before and after deliveries since its implementation in 2012. A few of these improvements include:

  • The administration of the correct use of oxytocin to induce labor has increased from 9 percent to 59 percent.
  • The use of sterile instruments by nurses during deliveries has increased from 13 percent to 43 percent.
  • The implementation of mothers breastfeeding has increased from 49 percent to 72 percent.

The number of stillbirths declined from 19 to 12 per 1,000 live births due to improvements in basic care practices. AMANAT was implemented in 160 public health facilities across Bihar and is expected to be administered in 240 over the course of this year.

There is a long way to go in creating a stable system of healthcare in Bihar. However, these crucial improvements made by the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Bihar’s Government have saved and will continue to save countless maternal and newborn lives.

Kristyn Rohrer

Photo: World Bank

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

women's land rights

The nonprofit organization Landesa is taking an important step in the battle against global poverty. Its goal is to increase female land rights in rural areas.

Though women make up about 43 percent of the agricultural labor force in the poorest regions of the world, they are often denied rights to own, control or inherit land. The lack of land rights can cause difficulties for women living in poverty who are “dispossessed,” meaning unmarried, widowed, divorced or disabled. These women are often forced to rely on extended family members for shelter, food and other necessities.

In Odisha, India alone, an estimated 500,000 single and landless women live in rural areas. Without access to land, they have few methods to adequately support themselves or lift themselves out of poverty.

Programs that aim to alleviate poverty by distributing land often fall into the trap of ignoring the ways in which experiences of land ownership and poverty are gendered. Odisha launched a government program called Vasundhara in 2005. The program allocated plots of government land to landless, rural families. However, due to government policies that overlooked the needs of rural, dispossessed women, many women were ineligible for the program.

Landesa, with support from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is working to rectify these oversights with a new woman-centric program that will help identify women in need through local health workers. They are working to create an inventory of single women in need of government land and social security entitlements. They are then served through Women Support Centers that help them apply for government services.

Over 5,000 dispossessed  women have been the beneficiaries of homestead land, and another 15,000 cases are currently being verified. The land rights project, though relatively new, is experiencing much success and is set to establish female land rights for thousands worldwide.

Jordan Little

Photo: Flickr

The Gates Foundation and the company TechnoServe have developed a solution to the endemic poverty of smallholder farmers in Africa — The Coffee Initiative. Across Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and more, the Initiative empowers each wrung of the business ladder involved in the coffee-making process, increasing income and lifting communities out of poverty.

Today, around 4.2 million households of smallholder coffee farmers (20 million households) live below the poverty line.

“Without access to technical knowledge, professional processing and milling services, reliable markets or working capital, these farming families are forced to sell their coffee at low prices. Under these circumstances, it is extremely difficult for these farmers to escape poverty, despite the backbreaking work they put into their coffee harvests,” explains the Gates Foundation on its website, Impatient Optimists.

The Coffee Initiative has helped to break this cycle in many communities. TechnoServe adapts its education programs and implementation strategy to the unique cultural, financial and physical context of each farm.

It aims to help communities realize their potential; East Africa is one of the most conducive places in the world for coffee to grow. Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania have rich soil, high altitude and temperate climates, enabling them to produce some of the most high-quality coffee in the world.

To help communities reach their full potential, TechnoServe teaches private, coffee export companies how to work with credit, quality assurance, administration and price risk management.

These export companies then sell their newly acquired services to small coffee cooperative farms, enabling increased effectiveness and efficiency for both farms and service providers.

Every level of business involved in the coffee-making process benefits from TechnoServe’s initiative and has the incentive to continue to implement the new techniques they have learned.

“The smallholder farmers earn more, as they can sell the higher-quality beans for a premium to more reliable markets. (Beneficiaries of the program saw their coffee incomes increase by an average of 22% across the region, while that figure rose to 50% in Rwanda.) The coffee service providers, meanwhile, collect a percentage of the sales and thus have strong incentives to continue providing services and financing to the coffee farmers. And the financial institutions have gained a reliable customer base with a strong record of repayment, encouraging them to continue to provide financing,” explains Impatient Optimists.

Technoserve teaches smallholder farmers how to improve the quality, sustainability and yield size of their coffee. Farmers who participated in the education program increased their coffee yields on average by 42 percent.

TechnoServe has built over 266 wet mills, which process raw beans, since 2000. Over 250,000 farmers have benefited from this. TechnoServe also facilitated lasting relationships between small farms and large, corporate coffee roasting companies, which are now purchasing more coffee from East Africa.

“For instance, the ‘Uzuri African Blend’ from Peet’s Coffee & Tea consists entirely of coffee from Coffee Initiative clients and represents the company’s first African coffee blend. Similarly, high-end coffee roasters Intelligentsia and Stumptown Coffee Roasters have marketed individual Ethiopia wet mill client coffees as single-origin products with the cooperative name displayed on the coffee package,” explains TechnoServe.

The Coffee Initiative has made an enduring impact in Ethiopia. Ethiopians have grown coffee for centuries; however, they previously used traditional, dry processing methods. Little attention was given to quality.

Though the climate and altitude were perfect to produce high-quality beans, the region was known for bad coffee. Farmers received very little for their crops and, subsequently, remained impoverished.

In 2010, the Coffee Initiative took action in Ethiopia. One hundred local farms unified into a cooperative called Duromina. TechnoServe helped them with financial planning and built a wet mill so the coop could fully wash its coffee.

Just two years later, a panel of judges voted Duromina’s coffee the best in Africa. “Buyers from Stumptown Coffee Roasters described Duromina’s coffee as an ‘extremely complex yet clean cup that flaunts notes of lemon, cinnamon, sweet hops, ginger and nectarine accented by jasmine,’” says TechnoServe’s website.

Duromina repaid its loan in just one year, rather than the four-year plan. “In 2012, four major international roasters purchased 71 metric tons of green coffee through direct trade relationships with Duromine, paying an average of $3.68 per pound, a 65 percent premium over the international commodity price,” explains TechnoServe.

The community experienced economic stimulation, and with this new income, were able to improve the quality of life. For instance, the cooperative invested in a bridge. Before it was built, during the rainy season the river would flood and cut off community members’ access to markets and medical clinics.

“So many people were injured falling into the river when attempting to cross during heavy rain. We could not benefit from many government services because of the river, and some pregnant women even died because they could not reach the clinic,” said Nizamu Abamecha to TechnoServe, Duromina’s chairmen. Today, because of the Coffee Initiative, more remote community members are able to cross the river during the rainy season.

Farmers have also been able to invest in tin roofs, new furniture and solar power. Many are now able to send their children to primary school, and some can send their children to even secondary school or college.

– Aaron Andree

Sources: Global Dev Incubator, Impatient Optimists, Technoserve
Photo: TechnoServe

Climate Change
It is unfortunate for a family to go without food or water for extensive periods of time. However, the real disaster is climate change. In the world’s poorest countries, where carbon emissions are at their lowest, people experience the worst natural disasters. Droughts affect the production of crops and storms destroy developing regions.

According to Oxfam, “In the next 40 years, climate-related disasters are projected to displace between 150 million and one billion people.”

People living in poverty will experience the greatest loss when natural disasters occur, increasing their risk of starvation and lack of clean water. However, natural disasters will put all people, rich and poor, out of homes and ultimately make climate change one of the main barriers to ending world poverty.

“Just about everything we do has to be focused on tackling climate change, both in terms of mitigation and adaptation,” says World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

During his lecture at Georgetown University, Kim addressed the importance of tackling climate change in order to help the world’s poor and shared his five-point plan that will reduce carbon emissions.

The leading countries in carbon emissions are China and the U.S., therefore these nations are the most responsible for the ongoing production of greenhouse gases. However, these nations are taking action to reduce their carbon footprint. In 2014, the U.S. and China set a goal to reduce emissions by 2025.

“The announcement was a historic step for climate change action and for the U.S.-China relationship, as the world’s two largest economies, energy consumers, and carbon emitters came together to demonstrate leadership on an issue that affects the entire world,” said the White House.

Since climate change affects electricity in some regions, technology is being built to accommodate these issues. The Gates Foundation has invested in the Omniprocessor that not only produces clean water from human waste but also generates electricity without exerting carbon emissions. Additionally, 3D printers have become a potential resource to help developing regions. Given the versatility of 3D printers, they can be used, for example, to create tools to monitor the weather so that people can better prepare for storms or heat waves.

Although technology is being produced and people are fighting for laws that recognize and halt climate change, individuals can help. Saving energy, water and recycling are all steps that can be taken to help the environment and, ultimately, the nations being affected.

– Kimberly Quitzon

Sources: Georgetown University, Oxfam America, The White House
Photo: Flickr

Although the fight to end global poverty is still an uphill battle, there are a lot of people who are making a difference. From celebrities to CEOs, a variety of influential leaders have created organizations to bring more awareness to poverty around the globe. While some of these organizations work together to create a larger impact, it is the founders who have made it possible in coming closer to create better living conditions for people around the globe.

Bill and Melinda Gates are both influential leaders in the movement to end world poverty. The Gates Foundation tackles issues from global health to global development, focusing on creating the best living conditions in the most efficient ways possible. Bill Gates has recently partnered with engineer Peter Janicki, where they have developed a machine that turns human feces into clean water and electricity. “The machine’s purpose is to help the 783 million people living without clean water and the nearly 2.5 billion who don’t have adequate sanitation,” according to NPR’s Linda Poon. With Bill Gates’ technological knowledge, developments in better hygiene will further help people in poor countries.

Ten years ago, Bono’s organization ONE utilized the status of famous celebrities to raise awareness about the developing world. Its focus is in Africa, but the organization is passionate about ending poverty and preventable disease around the globe. The most popular accomplishment the organization has achieved is the (RED) campaign. By partnering with multibillion-dollar corporations they have “generated more than $300 million for The Global Fund to support HIV/AIDS grants.”

In May 2013, Mark Goldring was appointed chief executive of Oxfam International. The organization focuses on six key issues to help the developing world. Equality, sustainability and giving voices to the voiceless are some of the topics the organization has tackled. The organization works around the world with 17 congregations to maximize its progress. “Oxfam is determined to change [the] world by mobilizing the power of people against poverty,” according to the organization’s website.

These are only a few of the people taking a stand against world poverty. Organizations like The Hunger Project, UNICEF and Care are bringing the world closer to a poverty-free world. As more developments and strategies are created, these organizations will be able to generate awareness in ending global poverty.

Kimberly Quitzon

Sources: NPR, ONE, Oxfam
Photo: Flickr

Scientists are developing a solar powered device which quickly produces steam, and could be used to sanitize things quickly and easily in places where a lack of clean water for washing makes it difficult to keep things sanitary.

The steam is generated by solar power, so this appliance can be used in places that remain off the grid. Heat conductive nano-particles are the key to this sterilization system, which float around in a tank of water and harness the heating energy of the sun, creating steam that is dispersed through a long tube. The efficiency of this system is impressive, as it is able to convert more energy than solar panels. Thanks to funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rice University researchers have already built working prototypes, and are prepared to give their solar steam a trial run in Kenya to see how effective the new technology will be for families and villages.

Lack of proper sanitation continues to be a major problem in the developing world, with 2.5 billion people living in dangerously unhygienic conditions. For many people, toilets, safe and reliable waste disposal, and sinks for hand-washing are luxuries rather than the norm. Without access to these basic technologies, which those in the developed world often take for granted as mundane and commonplace, billions of people go about their daily routines with high risk of contracting deadly bacterial diseases. Proper waste disposal systems saved burgeoning Western cities like London from recurring cholera epidemics at the turn of the 20th century. But today 2.1 billion people in the world still rely on unsafe waste disposal systems, and contaminated drinking water continues to plague the world’s poorest places.

For more information on steam sanitation technology, check out this video from the Rice University website to see the system in action, as it converts water and sunlight into bacteria-killing steam.

– Jennifer Bills

Sources: Rice University, Fast Co Exist
Photo: Gizmag

One of the most inventive programs created by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the Grand Challenges Explorations initiative. GCE is a grant program that encourages bold concepts designed to improve the lives of the world’s poorest people. In March, the foundation called for anyone with inventive ideas to apply for Round 11 of the initiative; 58 projects across 18 countries were accepted for funding.

This year, the Gates Foundation will invest $8.1 million in innovative ideas that will address global health and development problems. Each project will receive $100,000 to conduct their studies and experiments. Chris Wilson, director of Global Health Discovery and Translational Sciences at the Gates Foundation, said in a statement, “The impressive concepts from around the world…are pushing the envelope when it comes to innovation to tackle ongoing challenges for the poor using approaches ranging from agricultural development to communications for social good.”

One category potential recipients could submit their ideas under was “Labor Saving Innovations for Women Smallholder Farms.” Grantees will be working to find holistic solutions to boost productivity on smallholder farms. Some projects accepted for funding include:

  • Mobilized Solar-Powered Grain Driers that would double the storage life of harvested crops to reduce spoilage
  • Electric Multi-Crop Threshers that would enable farmers to thresh their crops faster and save hours of manual labor
  • Drip Irrigation Tubes, made from recycled plastic shopping bags, to be used by smallholder farmers in developing countries

A second topic for submission was “Aid is Working. Tell the World.” Inventors working in this field will seek new approaches to communications that would motivate wealthy nations to support foreign aid investment. A few of the projects in this category include:

  • The BeHere-BeThere Project, which will use location-based network applications and local retailers to connect consumers with aid projects
  • Mobilizing the Unheard Voices of Aid Recipients- a campaign to collect 10,000 personal narratives of aid recipients in rural India to be shared through social media sites
  • The Hactivating Development Aid project, which will develop a crowdsourcing program that would target young people around the world to educate them about global development challenges and solutions

Finally, GCE will also be awarding additional funding to projects that have showed promise from previous GCE rounds. These are more inventive initiatives and include:

  • Vaginal contraceptive gel that would use nanoparticles to inhibit the mobility of sperm tails
  • Acoustical Newborn Diagnostic Tool, a software-based diagnostic tool which analyzes a newborn’s cry to detect serious medical conditions
  • Production of more potent vaccines with increased heat stability to reduce the need for refrigerated storage
  • Development of a blood protein test for preeclampsia in pregnant women

Since its inception in 2008, GCE has funded over 800 grants in 52 nations. Applications for the next round of Grand Challenges Explorations will open up in September.

– Allana Welch

Sources: Gates Foundation, Gates Foundation – Media 
Photo: The Guardian

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation contributed $3.4 million to help in the fight against schistosomiasis, a tropical debilitating disease that has infected over 200 million people all over the world. The University of Georgia Research Foundation received the Foundation’s grant and the Director of UGA’s Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases remarked that the project has seen much success in reducing infections as continuous work is put towards eliminating the disease once and for all.

The Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases was established to foster research, education and services related to tropical and emerging infectious diseases and this grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will help the Center in its mission particularly as it relates to the fight against schistosomiasis, a disease caused by parasitic worms and second only to malaria as the most devastating parasitic disease.

Schistosomiasis is contracted when a person’s skin comes in contact with water that has been contaminated with the disease. Contamination occurs when cercariae, the infectious form of the parasite, emerges from certain types of freshwater snails.

The fight against schistosomiasis is extremely important in combating one of the most debilitating diseases in the world and thanks to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, $3.4 million will go to that cause.

– Taheera S. Randolph

Source: GPB News, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UGA Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases