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Donate by SavingThere are countless efforts around the globe working to improve living conditions for those in extreme poverty. While per capita, Americans are the biggest charitable givers on Earth, charitable contributions can be increased. By cutting back on everyday living expenses, it is possible to donate by saving money.

Alternatives to Buying Bottled Water

Drinking water is a healthy habit, but bottled water is costly and creates single-use plastic waste.

One way to donate by saving is buying a reusable water bottle. For instance, the reusable Dopper bottle donates 5 percent of every purchase to the Dopper Foundation, an organization working to improve water resources in Nepal.

Upon saving money on single-use bottles, the amount saved can be diverted to a charitable cause. The average American spends around $266 on disposable water bottles, which can add up to over $17,000 in a lifetime. Those savings could be donated to support the work of organizations like Water is Life which pledges to provide clean drinking water to a billion people by 2020.

Water is Life helps communities around the world gain access to clean water through many means, including filters and wells. After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the organization sent filtration straws and portable filtration systems to the hardest-hit parts of the island. Currently, it is working on installing 40 solar-and-wind-powered water filtrations stations in the northwest part of the country. The stations are capable of providing 20,000 liters of drinking water a day.

Credit Card Fee Avoidance

A recent survey of 200 U.S. credit cards found that credit cards average 4.35 fees per card. Furthermore, every card in the survey charged at least one fee.

No-fee cash-back cards are available. Card issuers will also offer a cost break to customers with a long series of on-time payments by lowering their interest rates, waiving the very occasional late fee, or both.

Trading in a big-annual-fee card, asking for late waivers and lowering interest rates can save cardholders $100 – 200 per year. The amount saved is almost enough to fund a grant to a Kenyan or Ugandan entrepreneur through Village Enterprise, which can transform the lives of a family living in poverty.

Since its founding in 1987, Village Enterprise has trained more than 154,000 owners who have gone on to create 39,000 businesses. One such success story is Angela Adeke, a Ugandan woman who was denied the opportunity to attend school due to her family’s extreme poverty. After her own children were denied entry to school because they could not afford uniforms, Adeke took action. With the help of a $150 grant, she invested in fabric and sewing machines for her tailoring business. Adeke sewed her own children’s uniforms and made uniforms for more than 4,000 Ugandan children. She now trains disenfranchised young women to become tailors.

Household Maintenance

The average family spends $6,649 on home maintenance. From major repairs to even the price of lawn mowing, it all adds up. A recent survey from Homeadvisor shows that 72 percent of new home buyers are learning how to do their own repairs. Video tutorials are now available online for most projects, enabling families to save on expenses.

The savings can be donated to a charity like Heifer International, an organization that helps families help themselves. The organization has been active in 25 countries, helping more than 32 million families to overcome poverty and hunger. In Nepal, projects targeting women have contributed to improved gender equality. Nine out of 10 of the families in Nepal interviewed say they had increased their income as a result of Heifer International projects, and it is possible to donate by saving on expenses as manageable household maintenance.

Trimming the Food Bill

Most Americans spend nearly half of their monthly food budget on eating out. By preparing more meals at home and packing a lunch more often, these funds can be diverted to donations. A conservative estimate is that preparing one meal per week instead of eating out will save more than $800 per year. These savings can fight worldwide hunger when diverted to an organization like The Hunger Project (THP).

The Hunger Project works to end hunger through strategies that are sustainable, grassroots and women-centered. Mozambican citizen Moises Fenias Malhaule is an example of a THP success story: Malhaule joined THP education and microfinance programs, and in ten years, he has expanded his farm and paid for his children’s education. Malhaule has also taken many courses in development and construction and shared his knowledge with his community. Donations to organizations like this not only help individuals but often have ripple effects, making entire villages more resilient and self-sufficient.

Organizations like Water is Life, Village Enterprise, Heifer International and The Hunger Project are making a considerable impact in global poverty reduction, but their work relies on financial contributions.  While finding the extra money to donate can be challenging, with a few lifestyle tweaks, it is entirely possible to donate by saving money.

– Francesca Singer 
Photo: U.S. Air Force

Top 10 Global Poverty Advocacy Nonprofits
Progress is happening. In 2000, the world’s leaders set out to cut the number of people living in extreme poverty in half by the year 2015. Not only were they successful, but they achieved their goal seven years early thanks to global poverty advocacy nonprofits. Now, the world’s most prosperous nations have decided to end world hunger entirely by the year 2030.

While The Borgen Project fights endlessly to assist in this goal, it also recognizes that this is a battle that cannot be fought alone. The Borgen Project takes this opportunity to acknowledge the crucial work being done by its fellow advocates by presenting its pick of the top 10 global poverty advocacy nonprofits.

 

Top 10 Global Poverty Advocacy Nonprofits

  1. Action Against Hunger – For the past 40 years, Action Against Hunger has been saving the lives of undernourished children. The organization has provided access to clean drinking water, food and healthcare services to more than 20 million people across 50 countries. Recognizing the amazing work being done, Charity Navigator has given Action Against Hunger its highest rating for the past 13 years. This organization was also awarded the title of “Best in America” from Independent Charities in America.
  2. The Hunger Project – The Hunger Project fights for “the sustainable end of world hunger.” In order to achieve this, the organization focuses on empowering women. It workshops with communities in order to determine what the community considers a priority and works in tandem to develop a long-term plan to achieve this goal. The Hunger Project operates across Africa, South Asia and Latin America. To date, the Hunger Project has worked with more than 16,000 communities.
  3. Global Food Banking Network The Global Food Banking Network delivers over 940 million pounds of food to those in need every year by redistributing surplus food. Their network of food banks spans across 29 countries. The organization works both to develop new food banks in impoverished communities as well as supporting the ones that already exist. In Hong Kong, the Global Food Banking Network started implementing an IT Starter Kit that will enable an additional 260,000 pounds of food to be delivered each year through improved efficiency. They hope, that with success, they will be able to spread this innovation to other countries.
  4. Heifer International – Heifer International has over 70 years of experience working with individuals in 25 different countries. Through its program Passing on the Gift, supporters are able to donate an animal. That animal is then gifted to a farming family, but in return, the family must give the animal’s first female offspring to another family in need. While over the years the logistics of the program have fluctuated, the notion of continuing the goodwill of others has remained a core component of their approach.
  5. Rise Against HungerIn 2017, Rise Against Hunger benefited 1.4 million people across 74 countries. The organization’s 398,000 volunteers package meals for food insecure peoples. To date, more than 441 million meals have been delivered. In addition, the organization assists communities in expanding their agricultural production capabilities, acquiring business skills and garnishing an understanding of how to best operate markets.
  6. The ONE Campaign – Similar to The Borgen Project, The ONE Campaign seeks to implement change through lobbying for the world’s poor. In 9 years, the organization’s 9 million volunteers have secured $37.5 billion for funding health initiatives that treat preventable diseases in African communities. The organization has lobbied for legislation in the U.S., Canada and EU that would help fight corruption.
  7. Freedom From Hunger – Freedom from Hunger micro-finances small businesses in impoverished communities. In 2016, 5.7 million people benefited from these programs. Recognizing the need for additional resources, the organization also provides information on agricultural techniques, savings programs, family planning and accessing healthcare. In 2012, Philanthropedia ranked Freedom from Hunger 5 out of 119 international microfinance organizations.
  8. The Alliance to End Hunger – The Alliance to End Hunger is a 90 member coalition of both private and public institutions that seek solutions to those living in extreme poverty. Its National Alliance Partnership Program supports communities in more than 60 countries, including Ghana, Guatemala, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The organization advocates by getting numerous diverse stakeholders to invest in the same cause. The Alliance to End Hunger works with USAID, USDA, WFP,  FAO and the IFAD.
  9. MEDLIFE – Founded in 2005, MEDLIFE is an organization that actively addresses medical concerns of impoverished communities. The organization operates in underserved areas outside of the capital cities of Peru and Nicaragua as well as rural areas throughout Ecuador and Tanzania. In these countries, the organization sends volunteers to run mobile clinics, provide basic health education and work on community development projects. These projects include providing classrooms, daycare centers and restroom facilities.
  10. Hunger Relief International – Hunger Relief International focuses on developing long-term plans to address the developmental needs of impoverished communities in Haiti and Guatemala, such as nutrition, water and sanitation and child protection. In 2016, the organization regularly supplied 27 Haitian orphanages with high-quality food baskets. In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, Hunger Relief International worked to ensure the safety of 1,500 children. The organization also distributed over 2,000 personal hygiene kits to children in need.

This list of the top 10 global poverty advocacy nonprofits provides only a glimpse into the numerous efforts being made to assist the world’s poor. The Borgen Project would like to extend its thanks to the countless other organizations working for this same cause and encourage the reader to join any these top 10 global poverty advocacy nonprofits and others in the campaign to end world hunger.

– Joanna Dooley

Photo: Flickr

CharitiesActivists often participate in endless debates about what they think will be the key to unlocking a world without hungry children and families. There are numerous charities that work to stop world hunger, and many of them are making real, sustainable impact in countries all over the world. One way to take a step towards a world with healthy, well-fed families is to spread awareness of these foundations. By spreading awareness, there is a higher chance these charities will get the funding they need to continue to meet their goals.

Five Charities Looking to End World Hunger:

1. Action Against Hunger

With more than 6,500 staff workers all over the globe, Action Against Hunger’s programs have been able to reach more than 13.6 million people as of 2014. Its programs not only save lives but also teaches impoverished people how to live safely long-term. With more than 35 years of experience in food crises and disaster, this foundation knows how to keep children healthy and understands where and when to expect malnutrition.

Regarding nutrition and health, Action Against Hunger has treated 5 million people around the world. This includes almost 3 million people from Nigeria, over 104,000 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo and over 93,000 people in South Sudan. They are able to impact millions of hungry people by evaluating nutritional needs, treating acute malnutrition, preventing acute malnutrition and building local capacity. This is done by collecting data on nutritional indicators like geography, infrastructure, local capacities, resources and cultural practices.

2. Bread for the World Institute

The Bread for the World Institute is a voice that urges national leaders throughout the world to end hunger in their own countries and others around the globe. The foundation has been able to help the hunger epidemic in the United States, Asia, Latin America and Africa. The institute works with members of Congress on issues that affect world hunger including immigration reform, incarceration and child nutrition. Basically, Bread for the World Institute wants the goal of eliminating world hunger to be a priority and believes that by doing so, world hunger can be eliminated by 2030.

Through their Vote to End Hunger campaign, Bread for the World Institute encourages voters to make world hunger one of their top priorities during the 2016 election campaigns and in the ballot box. Their goal is to elect a leader who will make ending world hunger a priority in congress.

3. Freedom from Hunger

Freedom from Hunger provides families the resources necessary to build a healthy future. By equipping families with the proper resources, they can live sufficiently on their own and build healthy lives without continuous aid. Freedom from Hunger believes in educating and empowering communities to fight world hunger. Education modules are influenced by the needs of chronically hungry women, a demographic deemed a priority during the research phase. Group activities, training sessions, guidance counselors and interactive discussions are implemented to inform and encourage the women in safe health practices, like HIV/AIDS prevention or breastfeeding practices and hygiene.

4. The Hunger Project

The Hunger Project focuses on ten principles fundamental to ending world hunger: human dignity, gender equality, empowerment, leverage, interconnectedness, sustainability, social transformation, holistic approach, decentralization and transformative leadership.

The Hunger Project believes there are three essential pillars their foundation must follow in order to make an impact on impoverished communities: empowering women as key change agents, mobilizing entire communities into self-reliant action and fostering effective governments to engage local government.

In Africa, India, Bangladesh, Mexico and Peru, The Hunger Project has supported community development and empowered local entrepreneurship.

5. Heifer International

Heifer International works with various impoverished communities to help boost their economies. Their approach focuses on developing income and assets, food security and nutrition, and the environment. They then work on empowering women and social capital in order to multiple the success of their efforts. The foundation has seen much success in bringing sustainable agriculture and commerce to families without food.

Heifer International supports the “passing on the gift” model. By giving a family a goat, a cow or even a water buffalo, a family can build a sustainable life. Cows produce milk, fertilizer for crops or the capacity to plow fields. When these animals create offspring, families are encouraged to pass on the first female baby to another family. This family then does the same with the offspring of their animals.

It is important to raise awareness and donate to these foundations, seeing that they have been making real-time change and investments. Like these vastly different organization, ending world hunger does not take a single fix-all approach. Different strategies, supported by generous gifts, provide hungry people with the tools and willpower they need to stop world hunger.

Casey Marx

Photo: Flickr

Global_Education_Lesson_Plans
Anyone and everyone can change the world, even in the slightest way. An organization known as Read to Feed gives children the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of families living in poverty.

The program encourages childhood reading while raising awareness of extreme global poverty in young minds. Read to Feed teaches and informs students of the realities of malnutrition and poverty, inspiring them to help those in need and providing an educational incentive to do so.

Here’s how it works: A child chooses a sponsor for each book he or she reads during a period of time set by his or her Read to Feed leader. The sponsor agrees to provide a certain amount of money for each book read or hour spent reading. Then, after the books have been read and the funds collected, the child chooses an animal through Heifer International to give to a family experiencing poverty.

Heifer International is an organization dedicated to ending global poverty and world hunger. Heifer provides families in impoverished communities with livestock and training to combat malnutrition as well as build a sustainable lifestyle.

Furthermore, Heifer encourages the families they have helped to share the training they receive with other families in their communities and pass on the first female offspring of their livestock to another family in need, thus creating a cycle of sustainability that has the power to lift entire communities out of poverty.

The wide variety of livestock provides families with meat, milk, wool and manure to grow their own agriculture. Kids can participate in Read to Feed individually or in groups; however, the program most often takes place in a classroom setting.

Furthermore, Heifer provides Global Education Lesson Plans so that teachers can inform students of the realities of global poverty and the impact that they can make in changing its course.

Read to Feed ultimately provides children with a way to make a difference in many lives. Reading a book is a fun incentive to end extreme poverty, both stimulating a child’s mind by increasing the number of books they read, and their knowledge of the world. Anyone can make a difference and everyone– no matter what age– deserves the chance to try.

Sarah Sheppard

Sources: Heifer 1, Heifer 2, Learning to Give
Photo: Hiefer International

heifer_international
Heifer International follows the “teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime” philosophy.

The charity organization teaches families living in hunger and poverty how to practice sustainable agriculture and trade. Heifer International provides livestock and other agricultural resources that support financial independence. It also works with public and private partners to ingrain the entrepreneurial drive into the hearts of many developing nations.

Founded in 1944 by Dan West, Heifer is an exemplar in the fight against global poverty.

So far, Heifer has joined forces in more than 125 countries, helping more than 22.6 million families break the cycle of poverty.

In investing in local economies, Heifer has had incredible success.

In 2013, Heifer instituted its Global Impact Monitoring System that collects reference data related to its development work. With this system, the impact is more greatly measurable. This “values-based” system monitors all projects at the group-level and global-level. Heifer further reviews its work by evaluating its projects on five key elements: relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability.

Heifer projects cover Africa, Asia and the Americas.

The Sahel Program in Africa develops local livestock production in the Sahel region. By providing sheep and goats, the program will impact 516,000 families between 2014 and 2024. The goal is to build resilient and sustainable farming livelihoods.

The Southern Africa Goat Value Chain Program targets food and income security by establishing producers associations, cooperative management and market infrastructures, according to the Heifer site.

The Africa Climate Change Adaption and Mitigation (ACCAM) Program also tackles food security. On the Heifer website, the ACCAM profile lists its goals: creating adaptive climate resilient food systems, increased access to renewable energies, sustainable management of natural resources, increased access to water for agricultural production, sanitation and hygiene, and increased women’s participation in control of resources, leadership and decision-making.

In Asia, Heifer launched similar value chain programs in Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, Nepal, the Philippines and Vietnam. They focus on increasing supplies and management of local commodities such as beef, dairy, goat, swine, chicken and other staple foods.

The GANASOL Agricultural and Livestock Program in Central and South America connects local farmers to market resources. The PROMESA Coffee and Cocoa Program revolves around the coffee, cocoa, cardamom and honey value chains. The PROCOSTA Coastal and Mangrove Ecosystems program addresses climate change, income and food security, and the subsequent issues that affect the mangrove and coastal zones.

This work continues in several other programs, all of which foster self-reliant livelihoods in primarily agriculturally dependent regions.

Heifer International believes in achieving zero hunger by supporting small-scale farmers.

Lin Sabones

Sources: Heifer, Vimeo
Photo: The Global Journal

holiday gifts
According to the National Retail Federation, Americans are projected to spend over $600 billion on holiday gifts during the 2014 season alone. A staggering statistic when compared to the fact that an estimated $40 billion would be necessary to provide clean water and sanitation, reproductive health for women and basic education, health and nutrition to every person living in a developing country worldwide.

Fortunately, many nonprofits, online marketplaces and charitable organizations are doing something to help redirect some of the money that Americans spend each holiday season to those who need it most. If you’re in the market for a gift that does double-duty this year, check out the following stores and nonprofit organizations for ample meaningful gift ideas:

1. Heifer International:

Give the gift of an animal in your friend or family’s name and help provide a family in a developing country with both food and a reliable source of income. Heifer International

2. Books for Africa:

Honor a friend or family with a book donation through Books for Africa (BFA), a non-profit dedicated to increasing literacy rates and children’s access to books in Africa. For donations of $50 or more, BFA will send a hand-written thank-you note to your honoree. $50 provides 100 books for a classroom. Books for Africa

3. Oxfam America Unwrapped:

Browse an endless array of gifts online—from goats and honeybees, to books and school meal programs for kids—and give to a family or child in need on behalf of a friend or family member. In return, a free, personalized card will be sent to the ‘gift-giver,’ along with a photo of the gift and information about how specifically it makes a difference in the lives of people living in poverty. Oxfam America Unwrapped

4. JADEtribe:

100 percent natural and ethical, JADEtribe’s bags, clothing and accessories truly embody the phrase “fashion with a conscience.” Each piece is handcrafted by women in South East Asia, and proceeds from JADEtribe purchases directly improve the lives of the female artisans who contribute to the company’s extensive selection. JADEtribe

5. Global Goods Partners:

Artisans living in third-world countries have an opportunity to sell their beautiful handmade goods on this online marketplace. Purchase a gift from this site, and a high percentage of sales will go directly back to the artisan who made it. Global Goods Partners

6. Ten Thousand Villages:

A fair-trade retailer since 1946, Ten Thousand Villages has stores across the United States, and an extensive collection of jewelry, clothing, kitchen and household items, and home décor, among many other gift ideas. The store partners with artisans around the world, in Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, Cambodia and Peru, among dozens of other countries. Its mission: sustain livelihoods, empower women, preserve cultural arts, and build global relationships. Ten Thousand Villages for online purchases or to find a store near you.

7. The Little Market:

Lauren Conrad’s e-commerce site, which is filled with vibrant, handmade goods, was created to serve as a platform for female artisans living in third-world countries worldwide to reach a wider audience. The proceeds for items such as jewelry, clothing, bags and ceramics go directly back to the women who made them. The Little Market

8. Bead for Life:

Bead for Life was founded to empower women in Uganda by helping them start their own bead-making businesses. The Beading Program provides women in impoverished countries with a steady source of income, derived from handcrafted beaded jewelry. Invite friends and family to shop for the cause by hosting a Beading Party from your home; a customized inventory of jewelry will be sent directly to your doorstep beforehand. Or order beads online. Bead for Life

Whether you’re giving a life-changing gift of an animal to a family in need, or wrapping a selection of handmade bags, scarves and jewelry that will help support the livelihood and businesses of female artisans worldwide, choosing a gift from the above list automatically makes you an ally in the fight against global poverty. Why not send a feel-good present or two this year, when it’s guaranteed to touch the friend or family member you’re choosing to honor, and to alter the lives of the person, family or community on its receiving end?

– Elizabeth Nutt

Sources: The Borgen Project, Info Wars
Photo: Nugget Market

volunteer_this_holiday_season
Many people think that they can’t help others if they don’t have money to donate, yet there are many other ways to give back to those in need. Most organizations would be grateful for a pair of helping hands if you have a little time to spare this holiday season. At a time when many people are caught up in the commercial aspect of the holidays, giving back to others can be a very fulfilling and rewarding experience. Here are five international organizations where you can volunteer this holiday season.

1. Stop Hunger Now

Stop Hunger Now is an international relief organization that provides food packages with over 23 essential nutrients to those in need. The organization has helped provide food and aid to people in 65 different countries. Stop Hunger has over 25 meal packaging locations across the U.S. where anyone is welcome to go and volunteer. You can also arrange a meal packaging drive in your local community where Stop Hunger Now will travel to you. The group makes meal packaging a fun activity and encourages teamwork between volunteers to raise production goals.

2. Heifer International

Hiefer has helped bring over 20.1 million families out of hunger and poverty through the use of animals, water purification, women’s empowerment and sustainable farming. The organization’s unique donation system allows donors to fund life-saving projects as well as partial and complete animal donations (mainly cows, goats, sheep, llamas and bees). These animals can help provide a community with valuable resources so they can learn to feed themselves.

In addition, Hiefer offers a multitude of volunteering experiences that range from simply getting the word out about the cause to working on one of Heifer’s animal farms. For those who want to stay local, volunteers can conduct fundraising campaigns like the Read to Feed drive, which promotes a love of reading in children as well as community service. Volunteers can also help advocate Heifer International at local and national events or even travel to one of Heifer’s U.S. farms where they can chose from a variety of volunteer programs lasting from several hours to five days long. You can even sign up to stay and work on the farm for several months if you aren’t quite ready to leave.

3. Oxfam International

Oxfam has established development programs in over 90 countries which work to improve human rights, food security, healthcare and education. The organization allows volunteers to work towards global human rights and poverty-elimination at the local level. Volunteers have the opportunity to join the organization’s Action Corps, a group of trained grassroots advocates that work together locally to gain support for life-saving policies, defend human rights and help communities across the world to overcome hunger and climate change. Action Corps members primarily work as advocates at local events, as event organizers and as leaders. Oxfam’s volunteer program has received great feedback, helping many to develop valuable leadership skills and standout in the job market.

If you aren’t looking to make the commitment to the Action Corps program, Oxfam also looks for volunteers to represent the group at concerts and festivals as well as local events such as farmers markets.

4. Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity strives to provide safe, affordable housing for low-income families throughout the world. The organization prides itself on an open door policy which brings people together from all walks of life. Habitat has local branches throughout all 50 states, making it easy and convenient for volunteers. Individuals can volunteer at their local branch or even participate in an international Global Village volunteer trip. Volunteers work as a team to build and repair houses for those in need and they can devote as little as one day since there are no time requirements to help out. Volunteering at Habitat helps individuals build skills, meet other like-minded people, while providing a rewarding experience to those involved.

5. Mercy Corps

Similar to Heifer International, Mercy Corps offers many charitable gift ideas that go to those living in poverty. This includes donations of livestock, clean water systems, solar power, vaccinations and education for women and children. Mercy Corps’ gift site makes it easy and fun to give rewarding and charitable gifts- a unique idea for this holiday season!

Mercy Corps Action Center volunteers are able to use their people skills by speaking at events and managing information tables for the organization. In addition, the organization’s MicroMentor system connects business mentors, volunteers and entrepreneurs.

Volunteering at one of these organizations is a great way to give back this holiday season. Though, don’t forget that these groups need help throughout the rest of the year as well.

– Meagan Douches

Sources: Habitat For Humanity, Heifer International, Mercy Corps, Oxfam, Stop Hunger Now
Photo: Wikipedia

heifer-international
Dan West was a farmer from America’s heartland when a church mission called him to the front lines of the Spanish Civil War. There he served war-weary refugees. Each were given a cup of milk per day, an amount West considered woefully inadequate. His solution was not more milk. It was more cows. In 1944, he founded Heifers for Relief, which proceeded to later become Heifer International. The organization seeks to end world hunger and poverty, one cow, sheep, goat and duck at a time.

The bulk of Heifer services is manifest through livestock. Donors can access an online catalogue of animals and purchase one for a family in need.

In many parts of the world, cattle provide a steady source of milk as well as a steady source of income through the selling of the excess. Sheep’s wool is spun into wool for clothing; the extra is sold. Water buffalo provide both milk and power by pulling plows to till soil. Yet Heifer International does not deal exclusively with large animals; they also have ducks, rabbits, fish and honeybees for purchase.

All animals come to families on two conditions. The first is that the family “pass on the gift.” The first female offspring of a family’s Heifer International livestock must be given to a neighboring family. Entire communities have been enriched this way. Heifer has touched over 20.7 million families. In fact, some Heifer animals can be traced back 22 generations.

The second condition is that the families receive animal-care training. Not all families aided by Heifer International are farmers, so they are taught to build pens and grow fodder, everything essential for the well-being of their animal.

While the organization is best known for its animal catalogue, it is involved in a wide variety of projects. For example, Heifer teaches communities sustainable farming practices and water conservation. Women are thus empowered to use their skills to become self-sufficient within their own communities.

Heifer International recently marked its 70th anniversary battling poverty and hunger. According to President and CEO Pierre Ferrari, “We know that smallholder farmers are the solution. We are proud of Heifer’s success, but there is still much to do.”

Olivia Kostreva

Sources: Heifer International 2, Heifer International 3, Charity Navigator
Photo: Heifer International Flickr

digital space
When the terms “donate” and “global poverty” are present in the same sentence, many people tend to think of money or supplies. For some, the idea of volunteering one’s time to help the poor may even be the first thought to come to mind. In an age of growing technology, however, donating digital space can be as effective as donating time, money or supplies.

A study conducted by the Pew Internet Project in September of 2013 found that 73 percent of adults using the Internet were using some form of online social networking. Since then, the statistic has increased. The number of Internet users with accounts on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram is at an all-time high, meaning that personal digital space is viewed frequently.

Because users can post close to whatever they choose on their own pages of these social media sites, organizations and charitable foundations have begun to seek these personal pages as a stage for advocacy and awareness. Like a sign on a physical front lawn, a Facebook wall-post about an organization’s efforts to provide education to children in Africa generates awareness amongst viewers and other Facebook users.

On many of these sites, account users have the option of setting a photograph as a profile picture. This picture represents the user and becomes visible in many locations on the social media channel’s website. One way for social media users to donate digital space is to use a flyer, campaign poster or other visual as their profile pictures.

Heifer International is an organization that has caught on to this trend. On the Heifer International website, supporters can download Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus “Profile Packs” that include photos to use as profile pictures and cover photos. These photos promote Heifer International’s mission of ending global hunger and describe ways for people to get involved in the organization’s efforts. Anyone that views the particular social media user’s page can see that he or she supports Heifer International. Additionally, the photos could spark interest in the fight against global hunger.

The trend of donating digital space is becoming very popular. Local artists will change their profile pictures to promote performances, students running for school government positions will make their cover photos images of their campaign slogans and sororities and fraternities will advertise for philanthropic fundraisers by changing their profile pictures to flyers containing event details.

The power of the profile picture is not something to underestimate, which explains why donating digital space can have such a significant impact. By choosing to provide online space for charitable organizations like Heifer International to get the word out to the masses, anyone can help promote awareness of global poverty.

– Emily Walthouse

Sources: Heifer International, Pew Internet
Photo: Social Media Delivered

fight poverty
It’s summer. That means wedding season and wedding season means thousands of couples will be getting married across the country. If you, like them, are in love and about to walk down the aisle, here are five ways you can fight poverty with your wedding:

1. Forgo traditional gifts.

Use your big day to fight poverty by asking guests to donate money to advocacy organizations such as The Borgen Project. Follow these instructions on how to set up a page to donate your wedding

2. Register with fair trade companies.

If you are financially unable to forgo gifts, then make a fair trade registry and make sure your gifts have a purpose and are ethical. Companies such as Amani ya Juu, Serrv and Ten Thousand Villages offer registries you can use to support impoverished workers from Kenya to Guatemala to Vietnam.

3. Have a dollar dance.

In many cultures, the bride and groom traditionally have a dollar dance where they tell guests they can pay a dollar or two to dance briefly with the bride or groom. Pick a few fun songs and set up baskets on both sides of the dancefloor. Donate the money from your dance to your cause of choice.

4. Take a responsible, eco-friendly honeymoon.

Every time you travel, you have the opportunity to help the people around you. Take a honeymoon that not only makes memories for you and your spouse but also creates a better place for locals to live. Use websites, like Responsible Travel,to make sure you support conservationism and human rights while you “travel like a local.” Companies, like Tribes, plant trees on your behalf and guarantee living-wage incomes to local employees.

5. Give to charities instead of favors.

Instead of giving your guests personalized candles or bags of coffee, make donations in their names to The Borgen Project or nonprofits like it. Through Heifer International, you can donate shares of larger animals for $10 to $85 or flocks of chicks for $20. Your wedding could provide eggs from hundreds of chickens to impoverished families across the world.

Sally Nelson

Sources: The Borgen Project, Amani, Serrv, Ten Thousand Villages, Responsible Travel, Tribes, Heifer International
Photo: Wikipedia