Posts

Suaahara II ProjectIn Nepal, 36% of children who are under the age of five remain underdeveloped in terms of growth and health despite progress in recent years. Through cooperation with USAID, the Nepalese Government and local private sector groups, Hellen Keller International (HKI) has provided impactful services that have helped rectify the systematic obstacles causing these health issues. Hellen Keller International is a non-profit organization that aims to reduce malnutrition. The Suaahara II project takes a pivotal role in these efforts.

What is the Suaahara II Project?

One of HKI’s most notable services is the Suaahara II project, which started in 2016 and was initially set to end in 2021. However, it will now extend to March 2023 due to COVID-19. Operating in 42 of Nepal’s districts with a $63 million budget, HKI partnered with these six organizations for the project:

  • Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, Inc. (CARE)
  • Family Health International 360 (FHI 360)
  • Environmental and Public Health Organization (ENPHO)
  • Equal Access Nepal (EAN)
  • Nepali Technical Assistance Group (NTAG)
  • Vijaya Development Resource Center (VDRC)

Hellen Keller International’s primary role in the Suaahara II project deals with the technical assistance of child and maternal nutrition. This means that its tasks are oriented around building the skills and knowledge of health workers. This includes teaching health workers how to adequately measure and evaluate assessments; additionally, another technical facet relies on promoting governance that invests in nutrition.

A Multi-Sectoral Approach

Kenda Cunningham, a senior technical adviser for Suaahara II who works under HKI, told The Borgen Project that the Suaahara II consortium has taken a “multi-sectoral approach.” She believes in the importance of this as it pushes individuals to “learn and think beyond their sector.” The Suaahara II Project’s demonstrates its integrated strategy in the initiatives below:

  1. The WASH program focuses on water, sanitation and hygiene through WASHmarts, which are small shops dispersed across districts that sell sanitary products like soap and reusable sanitary pads. Kenda explained how this has helped “bridge a gap” so that poorer households can access hygiene enhancing products. This also allows assistance from private actors, who can expand their markets in rural areas.
  2. The Homestead Food Production program (HFP) encourages households to grow and produce micronutrient-rich foods through vegetable gardening and raising chickens, for example. As a result, 35 districts have institutionalized HFP groups.
  3. The Bhancchin Aama Radio Program is a phone-in radio program that runs twice every week. It hosts discussions among marginalized communities and demonstrations for cooking nutritious foods. It has encouraged the Nepalese to socially and behaviorally alter their health habits.

Advancements from Suaahara I

The Suaahara II project’s contribution to improved health and nutrition in Nepal is also illustrated in its progression from the Suaahara I project’s framework. In addition to understanding the changes made in household systems and at a policy level from Suaahara I, Cunningham told The Borgen Project that technological developments have elevated the Suaahara II Project’s impact in Nepal.

Specifically, smartphones expedite the data collection process when studying trends pertaining to the 2 million households across the districts. The development of new apps provided more households with access to smartphones and key information. This therefore allowed officers to transition from pursuing “a mother-child focus to a family focus” in terms of the Suaahara II project’s accommodations and services.

Challenges with Suaahara II

While the Suaahara II Project has led to institutional and social enhancements regarding health and nutrition, some districts had access to the project earlier. This created a dissonance in the rate of health improvements amongst the districts. Cunningham reported that “far western areas are much more remote and therefore disadvantaged and food insecure.”

This inconsistency was largely due to the “Federalism” that took place in Nepal in 2017, which was a decentralization process that created 42 municipalities for 42 districts. Since every municipality has a different political leader, some districts had the advantage of assistance from foreign NGOs while others did not because their leaders rejected involving foreign NGOs. In these cases, as Cunningham explained, it is like “you are creating your own NGOs from the ground up.”

Suaahara II Achievements

These obstacles, however, have not been pertinent enough to counter the consortium’s efforts in fulfilling the Suaahara II project’s objectives. For example, a primary objective for Suaahra II is to increase breastfeeding amongst babies under six months of age. Exclusive breastfeeding of children under six has increased from 62.9% in 2017 to 68.9% in 2019, according to data that Cunningham shared with The Borgen Project.

Expanding children’s access to diverse and nutritious foods is another objective that has been achieved under the Suaahara II project. The dietary diversity among women of reproductive age (WRA) has increased from 35.6% in 2017 to 45.3% in 2019, according to Cunningham. Given the efficient rate of improvement in women and children’s health, governance and equity in only the first two years of the Suaahara II project, it can be inferred that the consortium will continue to progress in achieving its targets among the Nepalese in the three years that remain.

Regarding how HKI has responded to challenges with the Suaahara II project, Cunningham said  “[We] don’t use a one size fits all approach.” The advancements in Nepal’s health and nutrition systems can be largely attributed to HKI’s multifaceted and integrated strategy, a model that could yield prosperity in the rest of the developing world.

Joy Arkeh
Photo: Flickr

impact of conflict on poverty
Conflict can be a catalyst for an array of poverty-related events. It can impact poverty by depleting resources, interrupting supply chains, destroying infrastructure, taking lives and much more. Unfortunately, this trend has held in the country of Mali, which currently shows the significant impact of conflict on poverty.

Conflict Background and Economic Impact

The Mali War is an ongoing conflict that began in January of 2012. Since then, violence between the North and South of Mali has ebbed and flowed in severity but never subsided. Malian people, including the Tuareg, in the North of Mali, have expressed resentment and concern, as they feel that governmental groups and political factions have been neglecting their concerns and treating them unfairly. Ethnic divides, fundamentalist fighters and an unstable political system are a few issues that have caused this conflict.

There have been thousands of deaths and thousands of more people fleeing the conflict. As mentioned previously, many connect the weak economic sector in Mali to the outbreak of unrest and violence. Almost cyclically, this violence is now negatively impacting the economic sector. Before the conflict broke out, tourism accounted for more than 40% of Mali’s GDP. Researchers estimate that 8,000 people lost their job due to the drastic decrease in tourism after the conflict began. The economic connection highlights the ranging impact of conflict on poverty.

Many of those living in the North of Mali, mostly Tuareg and Arab groups, depend on the agricultural sector for their income. The government has invested very little in this sector and focuses primarily on tourism and the export of gold and cotton from the South. This has led many agricultural producers in the South to grow jaded towards the government due to their increased likelihood of experiencing extreme poverty.

The Impact on Public Health

Roughly 1 in 3 children in Mali are facing chronic malnutrition. An annual average of nearly four million people in Mali do not have access to an adequate amount of food. More than half of Mali’s children and young adults are illiterate and have been pushed out of school due to displacement. Many children in Mali are at great risk of being recruited into militant groups, further threatening their safety, educational resources, and ability to climb from poverty.

At its base level, the conflict in Mali threatens public health by the sheer loss of life it has caused. In 2018, hundreds of civilians were killed by armed groups. The byproducts of this violence caused even more people to experience extreme poverty, malnutrition and death. Additionally, more than 200,000 people have fled Mali altogether to avoid the violence. This stunts Mali’s economic growth, which reaffirms the dangerous impact of conflict on poverty.

Current Aid and Support Efforts

A military coup ousted the former President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, on August 19th, 2020. President Bah Ndaw became the interim leader of Mali and will hold the position until an election can be held. Some are hopeful that if a legitimate election can be held, much of the conflict in Mali will subside. In the meantime, many local and international nonprofit organizations have mobilized to aid in poverty-reduction efforts throughout Mali.

  1. For example, World Vision began providing aid in Mali in 1975, even before the conflict. In 2012 during the height of the conflict, World Vision provided aid in the form of food, clean water, and shelter to more than 150,000 people throughout Mali. Additionally, more than 60,000 children in Mali are currently benefiting from World Vision’s child sponsorship program. The program allows donors to provide monetary assistance to and communicate with an impoverished child. Many of these sponsored children in Mali reside within conflict-ridden areas.
  2. Peace Direct, another nonprofit organization, focuses on peacebuilding efforts in Mali. They support communities in their implementation of peacebuilding; in 2019 alone, they supported more than 20 projects throughout Mali. Peace Direct realizes the importance of community growth, both physically and emotionally, to peacebuilding. A lack of communal trust can be detrimental to poverty reduction, as teamwork makes progress more effective and efficient. Additionally, the building of trust and understanding among conflict groups is essential to support continued growth and stability throughout Mali. This trust will prevent future conflicts and allow Mali to focus on joint economic growth and poverty-reduction tactics throughout their country.

    3. “The Peacebuilding Stabilization and Reconciliation Project,” run through USAID, began in April of 2018 and is scheduled to be completed in March of 2023. This project focuses on rebuilding many of the conflict-ridden areas throughout Mali, providing rehabilitation resources to those impacted by the violence, increasing civic engagement and helping Mali’s government introduce barriers to prevent violent outbreaks in the future. USAID believes that providing community members with an active role in their governance will decrease dissent, enhance democratic values, reduce the likelihood of future conflict and decrease the joint poverty level throughout Mali. Success will also ideally increase GDP and overall well being while mitigating the impact of conflict on poverty in Mali.

The Future of the Region

The domino effect that violence can have on the prosperity of a nation is not a surprise. Violence decreases an individual’s ability to focus on economic growth or public health. It overtakes governmental initiatives and attention from the media, forcing poverty-related issues to take a backseat. The importance of the international community supporting peacebuilding efforts in Mali remains essential. The path toward peace will trickle-down benefits for many subsets of Mali’s society and will decrease the occurrence of extreme poverty throughout the nation.

Danielle Forrey
Photo: UN Multimedia

 Amref Health Africa
Amref Health Africa is a NGO based in Kenya that works to empower young Africans. They provide people with the skills necessary to become innovative and ethical leaders of Africa. The group created several leadership programs and research programs to renovate Africa. Their new program, LEAP, is a mobile phone training platform designed to train employees and students about health precautions and safety outside of the classroom setting.

Who is Amref Health Africa?

Amref Health Africa is an African led organization that works to train African workers. The NGO works to improve health care from the people in Africa while also strengthening health care systems. They partner with different organizations around the world to promote power and unity. Amref Health Africa currently collaborates with 22 global offices and 35 different programs in Africa to bolster health care efforts.

Through Amref Health Africa’s partnership with Accenture, Kentan Ministry of Health, M-Pesa Foundation, Safaricom and Mezzanine, LEAP — the mobile health learning application — was created. The application has allowed health care workers and students to work effectively outside of a classroom setting.

LEAP during the Pandemic

Recently, LEAP users employ the site to train in order to craft a COVID-19 response. The program instructs community health workers on how to raise awareness about the virus. LEAP also provides information on the best precaution methods for the community. Thanks to LEAP, health care workers have learned to take the necessary steps to promote safety and awareness in Africa. So far, over 78,000 community health workers and health workers have been trained and are using their education to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

In response to the pandemic, LEAP launched a two-month campaign in Kenya. Through the campaign,  health care workers were trained to identify, isolate and refer suspected COVID-19 cases. Participants were also taught how to identify high-risk areas and suppress the transmission of the disease.

Results

The app allows customization of the training content to fit the needs of the audience. It takes into consideration the skill level of the people using the app and modifications can be made to the language and audio section depending on user preference. LEAP allows personalization to ensure that the user has the best results with the program.

LEAP has strengthened the health care system in Africa by helping to stop the spread of the virus. The mobile training app also diminished the spread of misinformation on the virus. LEAP has provided Africa with the knowledge necessary to arm and defend themselves against COVID-19.

– Isha Bedi
Photo: Flickr

ugly foodSome countries are creatively battling hunger and food waste by repurposing and rebranding unappealing produce as “ugly food” in Africa. Two projects in Kenya and South Africa demonstrate an interest in reducing food waste to relieve food insecurity.

The Serious Problem with Food Waste

While hunger remains a pressing issue around the world, nearly one-third of all food that is grown or produced is thrown away before it can reach anyone’s dinner table. On the African continent, nonprofits and governments are confronting food waste as a barrier to relieving widespread hunger. These groups focus on improving data collection, promoting sustainable practices and improving food policy to reduce food waste after production.

Adaptability and innovation are key. The Minister for Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development of Zimbabwe, Joseph Made, recently stated, “Obviously, new strategies and approaches are needed to reduce food losses and waste, especially due to the rapidly changing nature of agri-food systems and rapid urbanization.”

A New Approach to Reducing Food Waste

One increasingly popular approach to food waste is encouraging the use of unappealing or “ugly” foods. Ugly foods are fruits, vegetables or other food products that farmers, markets and shoppers reject due to discoloration or misshapenness. While perfectly edible and nutritious, these foods are unmarketable, so markets throw them away. In countries such as the U.S. and France, a growing number of businesses are buying ugly produce from farmers and markets and reselling them to shoppers who want to end excessive food waste.

Nonprofit Work Meets Ugly Food in Africa

In many African countries, nonprofit organizations are finding ways to repurpose unappealing foods to reduce food waste and end hunger. In South Africa, for instance, food waste is a huge problem. About 44% of all foods wasted in South Africa are fruits or vegetables. However, Slow Food is a nonprofit changing that. Through an initiative called World Disco Soup Day, Slow Food sponsors festivals in many cities around the world, including Johannesburg, where ugly vegetables are brought in to make an eclectic, community soup. By feeding the community, World Disco Soup Day raises awareness about food waste and teaches people how to use unappealing produce.

Similarly, according to the United Nations, “farms in Kenya reject up to 83 tons of perfectly nutritious vegetables simply because they are considered too ugly and off-putting for consumers.” An initiative sponsored by the World Food Programme is trying to change that by feeding schoolchildren with fruits and vegetables that would have been thrown away. This project in Nairobi, Kenya has been able to provide school lunches for over 2,200 students.

While still new, the ugly food in Africa movement is growing as a means of reducing food waste and hunger. Organizations like Slow Food and the World Food Programme are leading the way by using creative approaches to feeding communities.

– Courtney Bergsieker
Photo: Unsplash

nonprofits in ArmeniaSince Armenia has only been an independent country for less than 30 years, its economy has been slow-building. As of 2017, Armenia has a 29.8 percent poverty rate. The landscape of nonprofits in Armenia is a good example of how diverse strategies can contribute to the reduction of poverty. Here are the top five nonprofits in Armenia.

Top 5 Nonprofits in Armenia

  1. AGBU
    • What they do: The Armenian General Benevolent Union works to promote Armenian heritage around the world.
    • Who they serve: AGBU serves all Armenians by bringing attention to the country for its unique culture. At the same time, AGBU fundraises for causes, like Artsakh. Moreover, AGBU organizes women empowerment programs, work to improve medical care and support local farmers.
    • For more information, read about AGBU here.
  2. Eevah
    • What they do: Eevah aims to feed 33,000 hungry children around the world by 2020. The sale of handmade jewelry funds Eevah’s presence in Armenia. By combining creativity, fashion and charity, Eevah exemplifies how to utilize local talent to enact change.
    • Who they serve: Eevah serves children suffering from hunger around the world.
    • For more information, read about Eevah here.
  3. World Vision
    • What they do: World Vision identifies and eradicates root causes of poverty to benefit the lives of children across. To do so, World Vision empowers communities to become self-sufficient and sustainable.
    • Who they serve: To date, World Vision has helped over 200 million children in poverty. In Armenia, they focus on ensuring children live happy childhoods through programs enriching home and school life. Additionally, they put together clothing drives to provide warm clothes to families in need during the winter.
    • For more information, read about World Vision here.
  4. Air Serv International, Inc.
    • What they do: Air Serv provides safe transportation for people escaping vulnerable and dangerous areas. Accordingly, Air Serv transports them to humanitarian organizations for help.
    • Who they serve: In April 2019, Air Serv transported 1,061 passengers into relief spaces. They are present in Armenia and surrounding countries like Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Georgia. Moreover, they have worked with the World Food Programme to provide food to Armenia and its neighbors during times of war and conflict.
    • For more information, read about Air Serve here.
  5. ACDI/VOCA
    • What they do: ACDI/VOCA fights to implement capacity-building projects across the globe. Specifically, they focus on economic advancement to help communities thrive through local programs.
    • Who they serve: In Armenia, ACDI/VOCA has supported innovative growing projects for 60,000 farmers. As a result, these programs benefit local efforts and bolster the agricultural industry. They also supported programming to provide $7 million in loans to Armenian farmers.
    • For more information, read about ACDI/VOCA here.

A labor force migration, weak agricultural system and unemployment drive Armenia’s poverty rate. However, the creativity of local and global nonprofits help provide relief to the 29.8 percent of Armenians who live in poverty. These nonprofits in Armenia prove the many ways communities can benefit from the work of like-minded individuals who want to eradicate poverty.

Ava Gambero
Photo: Flickr

Nonprofit or Non-profit
The not-for-profit business model is gaining ground worldwide, especially in the context of charity. So too is the debate surrounding the term non-profit. Mainly, is it non-profit or nonprofit? Clearly, the debate is a hot one, as there are varying opinions even in well-established dictionaries; whereas the Oxford English Dictionary uses the hyphenated version, the New Oxford Dictionary of North America recognizes the unhyphenated. Likewise, legal materials and entities in the United States seem to use the terms synonymously, including state corporation statutes and the IRS.

 

Non-profit or Nonprofit: Failing to Reach Consensus

 

Clearly, there is no global consensus. That said, the question remains whether there is some lingering significance in the disparity. Practically speaking, the many organizations and businesses that use the term do so interchangeably, which indicates there is no real difference. Directly questioned, the people at AskOxford, an email interface for addressing the OED, noted the use of the hyphen in the OED as a traditional respect for the term as originally developed, while the “new” American version has more quickly accepted the term as nonprofit.

Technically, however, there seems to be a rather clear and definite solution. Grammarians would likely argue that use of the term in it’s hyphenated form indicates its placement as an adjective, describing a following noun. For example, the non-profit business model is growing in its popularity. In its unhyphenated form, the term is used as a noun. Together, they could be used as follows: the non-profit business model is used as a foundation for many of the nonprofits across the globe.

Practically or grammatically, the terms are still taken in reference to the same idea. Neither term, however, means that the organization behind the term doesn’t make a profit. Rather, a non-profit organization, or a nonprofit, reinvests its profits in the organization or company.

– Herman Watson

Sources: Grammarist, Idealist
Photo: Ngoc Ho

Dubai CaresIn September 2017, philanthropic organization Dubai Cares celebrated their tenth anniversary. The global nonprofit was founded by Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Its mission is to provide education to citizens from countries where educational opportunities are sparse.

Currently, Dubai Cares has facilitated educational programs in 45 countries. According to The National, this has had a positive effect on 16 million youths. The organization has also partnered with other global organizations, like UNICEF, CARE International and the World Food Programme. Along with these, Dubai Cares has joined with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other nongovernmental organizations to influence the global community’s commitment toward better educational practices.

When the charity was first formed, it focused on funding educational programs created by others. After hiring Chief Executive Al Gurg, Dubai Cares began constructing their own solutions.

Dubai Cares operates under the belief that education is a fundamental right that should be available to everyone regardless of race, gender or religion. Lack of education is one of the biggest causes of global poverty. The organization is particularly interested in promoting education for girls around the world, 62 million of whom are not in school.

Over the past 10 years, Dubai Cares has built or renovated over 2,000 classrooms and trained nearly 64,000 teachers. The organization acknowledges, however, that there are many things that affect education beyond the schools or quality of education.

One of these issues involves health-related problems, including malnutrition and disease. To combat these, Dubai Cares has invested in providing healthy food, clean water and effective hygienic practices to students. Another issue that severely affects education is military conflict within the country. One recent philanthropic mission the organization undertook involved educating children dealing with national violence in Columbia.

The continued successes of Dubai Cares have cemented it as a pinnacle in the fight for global education.

Cortney Rowe

Photo: Flickr

15 Influential Organizations Committed to Fighting Poverty in Developing Countries Help
Naturally, The Borgen Project is our favorite organization fighting global poverty, but there are lots of amazing groups changing the world. Thanks to multilateral partnerships between nonprofit organizations, intergovernmental organizations and governments around the world, extreme poverty is down 50 percent since 1990. Below is a list of influential organizations that are fighting poverty in developing countries by working to better the lives of the world’s poor. This list is by no means exhaustive; this is just a sample of the exemplary organizations doing work in problem areas such as global health, water, sanitation, food, housing and education.

Top Organization Fighting Poverty in Developing Countries

  1. Oxfam: Oxfam is currently fighting poverty in developing countries by taking on issues of inequality, discrimination and unequal access to resources. The organization provides assistance during humanitarian crises. Oxfam is also very involved in educating the world’s poor about human rights and civic engagement in order to change the root causes of poverty at the political level.
  2. United Nations Development Program (UNDP): Founded on the belief that all people should have a chance to live with dignity, opportunity and safety, the UNDP helps countries develop policies. These lead to sustainable development, democratic governance, peace building and climate and disaster resilience. The UNDP is a giant agency that delegates country-specific activities and programs through its Resident Coordinator System with offices in 130 countries. The organization’s highest goal is to implement the Sustainable Development Goals in all countries of operation.
  3. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF): UNICEF fights for children’s rights and welfare by strengthening legislation and social services. Initiatives include early childhood development, nutrition, immunization, water, sanitation and hygiene, children with disabilities and education.
  4. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA): UNOCHA is responsible for coordinating humanitarian relief efforts during natural disasters and conflict, as well as raising awareness and encouraging involvement among U.N. member states.
  5. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA): The UN DESA creates and analyzes data pertaining to the economic and social aspects of sustainable development, which U.N. member states draw from when creating U.N. resolutions as well as drafting local policy plans in each respective home country. The UN DESA’s in-depth policy analysis has helped to resolve many of the world’s most pressing socioeconomic issues.
  6. The Borgen Project: The Borgen Project is an influential U.S.-based nonprofit fighting poverty in developing countries through civic engagement and education. The organization believes that developed countries have a moral obligation to help the world’s poor. The organization advocates on Capitol Hill for poverty reduction legislation, increasing the international affairs budget and making poverty reduction a primary focus of U.S. foreign policy.
  7. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID): USAID facilitates development abroad by allocating the U.S. international aid budget toward projects that increase agricultural productivity, lower child mortality rates and deadly diseases, provide humanitarian assistance during a natural disaster and prolonged conflict, as well as promote democracy, economic growth, environmental resiliency and women’s empowerment.
  8. Overseas Development Institute (ODI): ODI is an independent think tank that researches a myriad of topics such as climate, energy, poverty and inequality. The institute’s goal is to facilitate international development by providing policy advice, consultancy services and training programs to fight poverty.
  9. Concern Worldwide: Concern Worldwide is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that fights poverty in developing countries by providing lifesaving humanitarian aid primarily focused on alleviating world hunger, increasing world health, and responding to emergencies and natural disasters.
  10. The Hunger Project: Two-thirds of the world’s illiterate population is female. Sixty percent of HIV/AIDS cases today affect women. The Hunger Project recognizes that poverty is sexist, and believes that empowering women is essential to ending world hunger and poverty. The project fights for clean drinking water, nutrition, and sanitation, as well as economic growth.
  11. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF): The BMGF has been instrumental in saving the lives of 122 million children since 1990. This is largely made possible through its efforts to increase access to healthcare and vaccinations, which have all but eradicated polio and halved malaria and tuberculosis rates around the world.
  12. World Bank Group: The World Bank Group is a crucial piece of our international development; it funds development projects around the world through traditional loans, interest-free credits and grants. The World Bank Group produces some of the world’s leading research and publications concerning development policies and programs. The group also offers policy advice, analysis and technical assistance to developing countries throughout the project application process.
  13. The Earth Institute: The Earth Institute is part of New York University and is directed by Jeffrey Sachs. It is comprised of two dozen research facilities in the fields of Earth and climate science, public health, economics, law, business and public policy. All of the organization’s research is focused on the future sustainability of our planet. The institute uses its research to develop policies and solutions to the world’s problems, especially in the areas of sustainable development and the alleviation of poverty.
  14. The Red Cross: The Red Cross in an international NGO that provides urgent assistance to those affected by disaster through vaccination campaigns, disaster preparedness and by reconnecting families separated by conflict and natural disasters.
  15. Engineers Without Borders (EWB): Engineers Without Borders is fighting poverty in developing countries by providing real-world engineering solutions to tough problems all over the world. Whether that be through increasing access to clean drinking water in rural communities or building roads and dams, EWB is committed to community-driven development by working alongside community members.

There are thousands of other organizations that are working to do their part on local and international scales. These groups are all increasing standards of living and fighting poverty in developing countries.

Josh Ward

Photo: Flickr

Kopernik: Using Technology to Improve the Developing World

Billions of people all over the world lack the technology allowing them access to light, fuel-friendly cooking and clean drinking water. This is why Kopernik, a nonprofit technology company, is working to distribute simple, life-improving technologies to the world’s poorest communities.

The company provides these communities with items such as water filters, solar power lights and cooking stoves. Nicolaus Copernicus is the organization’s namesake since Kopernik is meant to be a catalyst for change and new ways of seeing the world. Kopernik distributes the best technology for the developing world through sourcing, connecting and reinvesting.

Sourcing

Kopernik uses its website to spread awareness about its technology. In response, countries submit proposals for the items they need the most. Then Kopernik publishes projects on the website in order to raise funds.

Connecting

Once the projects are fully funded — usually by donors — Kopernik ships the technology to its local partners. People then buy that technology at an affordable price through those local partners.

Reinvesting

Next, the local partners repay the money from technology sales to Kopernik. This money is then reinvested into new technology. Kopernik also works with local partners to assess the technology’s impact and share feedback with technology producers.

Funding

Kopernik is a nonprofit organization with a for-profit arm. The for-profit part of the organization is a consulting firm that works with technology companies in product development. The profits from the consulting business are then channeled toward the nonprofit operations.

Kopernik receives funding from companies, government development programs and individuals. Its partners also provide in-kind support such as free or discounted services. This keeps the organization’s operating costs low.

Technology

Kopernik is helping women access clean birth supplies and information about safe birthing practices. For example, in the Chittagong district of Bangladesh as well as Laos, the nonprofit provides JANMA clean birth kits to women. These birth kits contain sterile tools to reduce the risk of infection during childbirth.

In Vietnam, the organization has also connected 90 families with hearing-impaired children with affordable hearing aid technology. This makes it possible for children to learn to speak and form a better bond with their families and communities.

Impact

So far, Kopernik has served 396,325 people and distributed 90,359 technologies. It has funded 170 projects and reached 26 countries, among them Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Ghana and Nigeria.

According to Patrick Vinck of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, “New applications of technologies to humanitarian action may be the most important factor influencing humanitarian effectiveness over the next decade.” In this regard, Kopernik’s emphasis on technology distribution represents great gains for the world’s anti-poverty organizations with only more progress to come.

Liliana Rehorn

Photo: Flickr

SunSaluter: Energy, Water and Jobs Rolled Into One
There are upwards of 780 million people in the world who do not have access to clean water. On top of this, an estimated 1.2 billion people lack access to electricity — that is nearly 17 percent of the world’s population. Individuals living under such circumstances suffer chronic exposure to waterborne illnesses, and hundreds of millions more must walk hours each day to collect potable water.

SunSaluter, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to improving energy and water access in the developing world, aims to remedy these issues in a simple and affordable way.

The goal of SunSaluter is to make energy and water more accessible through one simple device. The SunSaluter device itself uses gravity and water, rotating a solar panel throughout the day. The device generates 30 percent more electricity, is 30 times cheaper and is far more durable than motorized solar trackers.

The SunSaluter has been deployed in 16 countries and has impacted nearly 8,000 people worldwide. By boosting solar panel efficiency by 30 percent, fewer solar panels are needed and the overall system costs are reduced by 10-20 percent. This lowering of cost alone has helped the impoverished families eliminate the use of kerosene gas.

How does it work? The SunSaluter enables solar panels to produce energy more consistently through the day, beginning earlier in the morning and lasting later at night. This is critical for rural families who often wake early in the day. It helps decrease the need for batteries to store energy that is usually produced mostly around high noon.

The SunSaluter also contains a water purifier within its system. Each day the device is capable of producing four liters of clean drinking water. By combining both energy and water collection into one simple device, the SunSaluter kills two birds with one stone. It improves consistent usage of the purifier as well, which tends to be the biggest hurdle to overcome for clean water programs.

Consequently, SunSaluter is not just working to help with the lack of energy and water in the developing world. “Our goal is to provide entrepreneurial opportunities for individuals in underdeveloped countries,” Eden Full told Business Insider in a recent interview. “We give them guidance, mentorship, and some funding, and the idea is to spread this technology.”

Currently, the company’s core manufacturing operations are in India. It is looking to move into Malawi as well. SunSaluter and its impact on the developing world have only just begun!

Keaton McCalla

Photo: Flickr