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Clara Lionel Foundation
While people may best know Rihanna for her music, she has also used her fame and influence to become a powerful force for global change. In 2012, she launched the Clara Lionel Foundation. This philanthropic organization works to strengthen vulnerable communities in Africa and the Caribbean. Here are a few ways the Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) has fought against global poverty.

Emergency Response

Every year, natural disasters around affect over 200 million people worldwide and push 26 million into poverty. In the wake of a natural disaster, donors and organizations often rush to provide support and resources to impacted areas. However, after donors eventually lose interest, these regions are left helpless; furthermore, numerous organizations trying to help can become ineffective if they do not communicate with each other.

The Clara Lionel Foundation’s climate resilience and emergency preparedness plan proactively helps vulnerable communities prepare for environmental disasters. Rather than focusing on reactionary rebuilding, they can get ahead of future problems. In 2018, the organization worked to strengthen existing infrastructure in the Caribbean to withstand future disasters and eliminate the need for extensive rebuilding.

The Foundation recognized that women’s health centers often go unincluded in typical emergency response assistance initiatives. Therefore, it partnered with the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Engineers Without Borders to improve access to reproductive health clinics in vulnerable Caribbean areas.

Additionally, the CLF issued a $25 million grant for emergency equipment at the beginning of the 2018 hurricane season. This money helped ensure that relief organizations could distribute these supplies whenever necessary. The aim of this proactive emergency response model is to turn the Caribbean into the world’s first climate-resilient zone, a strategy that could eventually scale up and adapt to protect other vulnerable communities around the world.

Global Education

The Clara Lionel Foundation has worked since 2016 to provide access to education for vulnerable children in the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on Malawi, Barbados and Senegal. CLF partners with the Campaign for Female Education in Malawi to support girls’ secondary education. They provide financial assistance and transportation. CLF also provided paid internships for secondary school graduates to become trained HIV testers. This initiative created employment opportunities and helped to address a prominent health crisis. In Senegal, CLF invests in repairing and constructing classrooms for children who lack a safe place of education.

In 2016, Rihanna and the CLF joined the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to advocate the importance of accessible education. As the GPE Global Ambassador, Rihanna visited impoverished schools in Malawi and encouraged world leaders to increase support for global education initiatives.

COVID-19

As communities worldwide face the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Clara Lionel Foundation has stepped in to help. The foundation donated $6.2 million in partnership with Jack Dorsey and the Shawn Carter Foundation to help marginalized communities in the U.S., Africa and the Caribbean fight COVID-19. This funding fueled frontline organizations such as Direct Relief, Partners in Health, the International Rescue Committee and the WHO’s COVID-19 Response Fund. CLF’s donation allowed for increased testing capacity, more personal protective equipment and the development of medical facilities equipped to handle the virus.

Through the Clara Lionel Foundation, Rihanna uses her fame to be an advocate, ally and role model in the fight against global poverty. Her actions have transformed the lives of many vulnerable people throughout the world. Rihanna and CLF will continue to have a wide impact as others hopefully adopt her philanthropic spirit.

– Allie Beutel
Photo: Flickr

social_entrepreneurs_in_education
Entrepreneurs are individuals that go beyond the status quo in order to make change happen. “They pursue poverty alleviation goals with entrepreneurial zeal, business methods and the courage to innovate and overcome traditional practices,” says the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs.

Reform and change are never made without a struggle. Social entrepreneurs in education are no different.

Many struggle with receiving the support and funding necessary to keep programs running. But despite hardships, they press forward in order to make improvements.

Occasionally, an entrepreneur will find a break in the form of investors. Schwab, Skoll and Ashoka are three such foundations that provide this relief to individuals making change happen around the world.

One such fellow, or entrepreneur, that found relief works for an organization by the name of abcdespanol. Based in Colombia, the organization worked to create a new methodology for teaching reading, writing and math skills.

Javier Gonzalez discovered that the issues across Latin America were not due to the people, but the methodology while playing a game of dominoes. “González then created abcdespañol and “ABC de la Matematica”, an innovative learning solution employing games as a teaching methodology.”

For many, this is how it works. Social entrepreneurs in education see an issue and then fight to find and put into practice new ideas to correct the issue. The journey doesn’t stop there, though.

Going back to Javier, “he continued searching for additional ways to make the learning process more interesting.”

Education isn’t an easy fix and is not a one solution fits all circumstance ordeal. Teaching the world’s future leaders takes innovation and improvement. Social entrepreneurs, like Javier, know this and continue to seek out a better way.

Ashoka fellow Flick Asvat of South Africa is another excellent example of this.

In the country of South Africa, Asvat found that many youths become more discouraged than not by the truism that education is the path out of poverty due to the strikes, violence, and other issues that have continuously interrupted such attempts.

To fight this, “Flick is putting children in control of their own out-of-school educational programs. She has developed a concept, Bugrado, based on the idea that human beings have the power to change their circumstances.”

Through innovative new techniques, real change was seen in schools. “Flick has successfully created five pilot programs around Johannesburg and is now focusing on Alexandra Township, where the program is operating in four schools, reaching approximately six thousand students.”

As a social entrepreneur in education, Flick resigned from her job as Minister of Education to solely focus on the implementation of the Bugrado program.

Such stories have become increasingly common. Through simply opening one’s eyes and caring about making a difference, individuals have made change happen. When one thing doesn’t work, new ones are tried. In this way, education is constantly improving.

Jeff Skoll, Founder and Chairman of the Skoll Foundation has expressed the importance of these social entrepreneurs around the world.

On their site, it is stated that it has become, “the premier global event for social entrepreneurship…the Forum has increasingly become a showcase to highlight large scale impact that social entrepreneurs are having on the big challenges facing the planet.”

By connecting social entrepreneurs with the resources and connections they need to improve conditions, the Skoll Foundation helps millions experience the impact of positive change.

In short, these entrepreneurs are alike in a fundamental thought process. As Skoll puts it, “I believe “a lot of good comes from a little bit of good,” or, in other words, where the positive social returns significantly outstrip the amount of time and money invested.”

Katherine Martin

Sources: Schwab Found 1, Schwab Found 2, Ashoka, Skoll
Photo: Wikimedia