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scaling_up_nutrition
Countries around the world are joining efforts in a program called Scaling Up Nutrition to improve the way malnutrition is being treated. By using nutrition-specific interventions and nutrition-sensitive approaches, Scaling Up Nutrition is on the path to decreasing nutrition problems that have horrible effects on societies.

The program consists of governments, civil society, the United Nations, donors, businesses and researchers. Together, the program can provide all the necessary resources to decrease malnutrition globally.

Scaling Up Nutrition was founded on the principle that all people have the right to nutritious food. The program has a focus on improving women’s and maternal health. Studies show that proper nutrition is essential during the 1,000 days from the start of pregnancy through the child’s second birthday. Poor nutrition during this time frame can lead to stunted growth and impaired cognitive development. Scaling Up Nutrition aims to prevent these from happening by expanding the knowledge and resources for women during and after pregnancy.

Their nutrition-specific interventions include support for exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age and continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age, fortification of foods, micro-nutrient supplementation and treatment for severe malnutrition.

Malnutrition is not caused solely by the lack of access to proper food. Recognizing this, the program is also incorporating nutrition-sensitive approaches. These include things like agriculture, empowering women, clean water and sanitation, education and employment, health care and support for resilience.

By combining all these facets that go hand-in-hand with malnutrition, Scaling Up Nutrition is able to work as a united front to put the proper policies forward, implement effective programs and provide necessary resources for the improvement of malnutrition.

Malnutrition is a core problem that can have severe consequences on individuals, families and entire societies. Poor nutrition often coincides with poverty. By improving nutrition around the world, Scaling Up Nutrition is taking a large step toward eradicating poverty around the world.

— Hannah Cleveland 

Sources: Scaling Up Nutrition, UN
Photo: National Grocers

tibet_salute
Typically, when we think of skills training, we often have a career path in mind or we are seeking to enhance our job performance. But what if you wanted to perfect your ability to speak on behalf those in need?  For instance, maybe you are looking for more effective ways of getting your legislator’s attention, or perhaps you are a grassroots organizer wanting to train your team on how to successfully frame a political argument.

Have you thought of advocacy training?

Hosting organized workshops and retreats centered on effective political action techniques are a growing trend among organizations. One example of such training are the Free Tibet! Action Camps held by a Students for a Free Tibet (SFT).

These training sessions are held “to give participants an overview of the basic principles of grassroots organizing, non-violent direct action and strategic planning.” These week-long action camps are a highly interactive training program for members seeking to learn ways they can impact and represent the Tibetan Freedom movement.

While the content of advocacy training can differ greatly depending on the issue being advocated, it seems to all be contained within the idea that uniformed mobilization and direct activism is crucial for effective advocacy. Amnesty International’s Legislative Advocacy Training markets itself to “train you to become human rights advocates by learning how to speak about important human rights issues …. with your elected Members of Congress….”

While Advocacy International’s training content utilizes human rights specific wording, advocacy training content can vary greatly such as providing insight for gender, parenting and education issues.

Traditional in-person workshops are not the only delivery method advocacy training is taking.

For instance, United Way’s Center for NonProfit Excellence program offers online tools to measure an organizations advocacy capacity. Its “Advocacy Capacity Tool” has a simple goal: it “helps groups measure their readiness to engage in advocacy.”

The participating organization answers a series of questions that access their knowledge and resources to successfully impact legislation and run campaigns. They then provide a tool kit to for effective advocacy that claims to offer “step-by-step tools to assess, build capacity and evaluate advocacy…”

Since advocacy training is a new aspect to the field of grassroots organizing and advocacy, its scope and impact has yet to be evaluated. However, with leading grassroots organizations making such training a priority for its employees and members, we may see advocacy training expand and mold in the years to come.

– Angela Russo

Sources: Students for a Free Tibet, Amnesty International, Center for Nonprofit Excellence
Photo: China Tibet Online

Girls_Learn_International
One in six girls in the developing world will not complete an education past the sixth grade.  Add this sobering statistic to shocking numbers which illustrate that the entire continent of Africa has less than a 60% literacy rate, and one can see just how many challenges in completing an education the youth of the developing world face.  However, girls in particular face an even greater challenge due to the widespread gender inequalities that still exist.

Girls Learn International (GLI) is a nonprofit, student-run organization and movement that encourages U.S. students to promote education for women throughout the world.  Lisa Alter founded the movement with her two teenage daughters in 2003.  Alongside Arielle and Jordana, Lisa began to inspire various youths to get involved in humanitarianism and women’s rights while still in school.  As a result, GLI currently has 114 chapters in over 26 states across the country. GLI also boasts partnerships with 47 schools in 11 countries, including Afghanistan, India, and Ghana.

Countries not providing equal access to education for women will end up losing out on $92 billion for their respective economies, according to Girls Learn International.  Additionally, 7 million cases of HIV/AIDS could be prevented if every child received a primary education, hence why GLI lives by the creed, “Women’s Education is a Basic Human Right.”

Furthermore, GLI has numerous partnerships and sponsors.  GLI is part of the Feminist Majority Foundation, the  Feminist Campus, and is a sister organization to Ms. Magazine.  The organization has also partnered with the Global Campaign for Education’s U.S. Chapter while also fielding a delegation to the United Nations Commission of the Status of Women.

The organization seeks to empower young women and have them take initiatives towards working for global education.  However, gender equality cannot be achieved without the contributions of idealistic young men as well.  To drive this point home, GLI boasts having an all boys’ chapter in Pennsylvania.  Regardless of gender, if you are a young person interested in providing education for women everywhere, GLI is the organization for you.

Taylor Diamond

Sources: Girls Learn International, Global Campaign for Education
Photo: The Alternative Press

Mission_Belts
“Buy a Belt–Feed a Family.”  That is the motto of Mission Belt, a company whose co-founder appeared on the critically acclaimed show Shark Tank and scored a deal with fashion mogul Daymond John.

With the simple idea of designing a belt with no holes, emerged a company designed to fight global hunger and poverty. The strategy? Micro-lending.

The company was named Mission Belt because it had one mission–to help people break out of the cycle of poverty.  The company policy is to donate 100 percent of one dollar from every Mission Belt sold. According to company statistics, the dollar they donate often represents 20 percent or more of their profit. They work with a “non-profit, peer-to-peer ‘micro-lending’ organization” called Kiva, which distributes money in the form of $25 micro loans to people in the developing world.

One dollar goes a long way in this case, because when the borrowers repay their loans, those funds can be lent out over and over.

So far, Mission Belt Co. has made 1,492 individual loans, with the majority going to the agricultural sector.  According to the Creative Director of the company, they chose the agricultural sector (primarily targeted towards helping women) so that they can directly help people feed themselves and their families.

“We like to think of it as corporate responsibility to give something back. We feel strongly about the work we do, and the contributions to this micro-loans have meant the world to so many people around the world.”

Nate Holzapfel, co-founder of Mission Belt Co., is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post online and recently wrote an article about his thoughts on the secret to life. He says that helping others is what has been the secret to his success personally, financially and emotionally. “Realization of ourselves and our humanity is the key to empathy, which is essential if you want to truly be happy.”

It is not uncommon to see U.S. companies engaging in corporate giving on a large scale. In a 2011 survey carried out by The Chronicle of Philanthropy magazine, data revealed that in 2010, total cash donations by 180 of the nation’s largest companies were $4.9 billion.

Among the top companies listed was the supermarket Kroger, which created a loyalty program where 2-5 percent of a shopper’s bill would be donated to a community group of the shopper’s choice. Wal-Mart Stores also topped the list, with an announcement of a $2 billion five-year strategy to fight hunger.

Goldman Sachs was also recognized, despite criticism remaining surrounding its generosity in light of the liquidity crisis. It was among the companies who donated the most cash in 2010, and is also known for a project called “10,000 Women,” a five-year investment which provides female entrepreneurs in the developing world with a business and management education.

– Rifk Ebeid

Sources: Sharktanksuccess, Mission Belt, Huffington Post, Forbes, Goldmansachs
Photo: Twisted Sifter

birmingham_partnership_walk
On September 22, 2013, over 2,200 people participated in the Birmingham Partnership Walk in order to raise awareness and money for those around the world living in poverty as well as the organizations that are pledged to help them.

The partnership walk was held at the city’s Railroad Park, and hosted a 5K run, a 1K youth run, a 100-yard dash, and a 3K family walk. Attendees could partake in these events while various groups, such as local marching bands and choirs, entertained the participants. Last year, 1,950 people participated in the partnership walk, raising $300,000. This year’s walk matched that goal.

The annual paternship walk is an event conducted by Aga Khan Foundation USA (AKF USA), which conducts similar Partnership Walks in 10 other cities around the United States. Aga Khan Foundation USA is a nonprofit humanitarian organization that focuses on agriculture, education, healthcare and other forms of development in Africa and Central Asia. All of the money raised at the walks organized by AKF USA goes to fund projects that directly battle global poverty.

Volunteer organizer Salima Mulji remarked that people should consider themselves part of a single global community, and, as such, it is the responsibility of everyone to help those in need. As a native resident of Southeast Asia, Mulji knows the advantages of growing up in the United States. Volunteering with AKF during the partnership walk is her way of giving back.

Rahul Shah

Sources: ALL Alabama, Partnerships in Action, Alabama 13
Photo: Aga Khan Foundation USA

Plant_with_a_purpose

Who would have known that planting a single tree could pull individuals and entire communities out of poverty? Plant With Purpose has utilized this simple and effective method since the Christian environmental non-profit organization was founded in 1984 by Tom Woolard. After volunteering with a relief agency in the Dominican Republic, Woolard realized that despite their efforts, the crisis of poverty was worsening. He saw that there was a clear connection between poverty and the environment that was not being addressed. Woolard further recognized that much of the world’s poor are rural poor. Many are farmers and therefore rely on the environment for survival. Deforestation across these poor regions has created land that does not provide for production like it used to, creating new hardships for the farmers.

Plant With Purpose focuses on planting trees because they believe it is one of the most effective components of sustainable rural development. Trees provide a means by which farmers can grow crops and in turn support themselves and their families. Trees also play a vital role in protecting our water supply because without trees, water sources vanish. In addition to planting trees, they create economic opportunities through micro-credit loans, micro-enterprise and the implementation of agriculture programs.

Plant with Purpose uses a three-part environmental, economic, and spiritual approach to sustainable development. Their mission for each community is to: 1) improve quality of life, 2) restore relationships between communities, the environment and God, and 3) make self-sufficiency possible.

Since its founding, Plant With Purpose has succeeded in planting 10,092,380 trees. They work in a total of 250 communities throughout Haiti, Mexico, the Dominican Republican, Tanzania, Burundi, and Thailand, and are exploring working in additional countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, and Guatemala. To determine where Plant with Purpose is most needed, a variety of measures are used including the rate and extent of deforestation, governmental corruption, and the percentage of people living on less than one dollar per day.

“As our focus shifts from the sustainable development of families to the sustainable development of entire villages, the community takes over and Plant With Purpose takes on more of an advisory role,” says Wollard. The greatest reward for Plant With Purpose is a community that doesn’t need them anymore.

– Alexandra Warlich

Source: Interaction
Photo: Stay Classy

crafts_opt
Alleviating global poverty is a task that must grow from the bottom-up, states Concern America, an international development and refugee aid organization, maintains as it aims to provide long-term, community-based development to developing countries around the world.

While also accepting the validity of helping developing countries through direct monetary aid and governmental initiatives, Concern America chooses to focus on how individuals, rather than corporations, can play a key role in societal change.

Thus, the small team of 19 aid-workers at Concern America trains community members in impoverished countries in health, education, construction and more so that they can become better-functioning members of a productive society. With this, the organization hopes to instill momentum and hope in a society that can help assure economic stability and basic human rights that would otherwise be absent.

Some of Concern America’s projects include its Marketplace of Fair Trade Crafts, which gives families in need access to fair prices and dependable markets while also preserving traditional culture. Additionally, Concern America promotes various field programs that instruct community members in skills such as midwifery that can improve women’s health quality while decreasing infant mortality rates.

In a world where well-meaning developmental aid can get lost in corruption schemes and bribery at high levels of society, Concern America prides itself in investing in individuals on the ground.

Concern America’s initiatives show that, while giving materials and money to those in need is beneficial, giving knowledge and opportunities can more often bring a society out of poverty.

– Alexandra Bruschi

Source: Concern America, OC Register
Photo: Ohio Fair Trade Marketplace

Spotlight on Save the Children
“We cannot run the risk that they should weep, starve, despair and die, with never a hand stretched out to help them.” These were words spoken by Eglantyne Jebb, an Oxford-educated teacher and sociologist, who in 1919, founded the Save the Children Fund in the U.K. Her mission was to aid children in war-ravaged central Europe, believing that the defenseless cannot be left to moral and physical ruin. Jebb’s vision inspired a group of Americans who established Save the Children in the United States in 1932.

Their first goal was to help the children and families struggling to survive during the Great Depression in the mountains of Appalachia. Today, Save the Children USA transforms the lives of children in more than 120 countries, providing families and communities with the tools needed to escape the reigns of poverty.

Save the Children is the leading independent organization focusing on children in poverty both in the United States and around the world. They are quick to provide food, medical care, education, and recovery programs to communities struck by disaster. Meanwhile, the organization works every day to resolve the struggles of poverty, hunger, illiteracy, and disease.

In 2012, Save the Children USA reached 78 million children, surpassing their goal of helping 74 million annually. Their commitment to children has made them highly respected among other nonprofit organizations. The most recent rating for Save the Children by the American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP), a nonprofit charity watchdog that rates approximately 500 major U.S. charities, was an ‘A+’. They further earned the 2012 Top-Rated Award by Great Nonprofits and received an overall rating of 4 out of 4 Stars by Charity Navigator, among other awards.

Save the Children works side-by-side with children, parents, caregivers, community members, and members of their partner organizations to make sure that programs are carried out effectively. Their focus areas include child protection, child survival, education, emergency response, health and nutrition, HIV/AIDS, and hunger and livelihoods.

There are many ways to get involved in the mission of Save the Children. The organization has made it easy to donate in ways that work for you, such as giving online, donating in honor of friends and family, fundraising, or sponsoring a child. Save the Children assures that your gift is used wisely and efficiently. In 2012, 89% of all expenditures went to program services. That percentage is an average for all of Save the Children’s programs worldwide.

– Ali Warlich
Source: Save the Children, CNN
Photos: Global Giving

Women Billionaires
Recently, we have been hearing more about women billionaires giving away money to charity. Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, signed the Giving Pledge to promise to give away more than half of her wealth during her lifetime or after death. Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs has also been making headlines for stepping into the spotlight and making her philanthropy public.  But are women really better philanthropists?

Although the number of women billionaires donating huge sums of money to charities are few and far between, the number of women working at any level in the nonprofit sector is impressive. Almost three-quarters of employees in the nonprofit sector are women, and nearly half of the CEOs are women as well. Women also have a track record of being committed and invested in the projects they support, and they typically have a better understanding of some of the world’s most pressing issues–particularly women’s and girls’ rights. Women’s interest in these key issues seems to support the point that they would be more involved and determined to find solutions to problems that are relatable to them personally.

Many studies have shown that by empowering the females in a developing nation, the country is likely to see a vast improvement. When women are determined to help women, that goal may be more attainable. Women may or may not make better philanthropists than men, but with more women billionaires in powerful positions to make important decisions about key global issues, we could see an increase in the focus on women’s rights around the world.

– Katie Brockman
Source:: Fast Company

Start-A-Foundation
Have you ever considered starting your own charitable foundation to give back to your community? Charitable foundations are a great way to contribute lasting and meaningful social change in a community, and can be a much-needed resource to those in need. Creating and running a charity is very similar to creating and running a business, except for a couple differences. It requires much more financial support to keep a non-profit organization going, because most, if not all, of the proceeds are naturally not retained by the organization. There are also different laws that founders must be aware of when starting their own foundation, which can often be quite complex.

Here are 8 steps to take that will get you on your way to creating your own charitable foundation:

1. Make (and keep) your commitment to the foundation.

2. Get advice from an experienced attorney who is familiar with non-profit laws and regulations.

3. Create bylaws to govern your organization.

4. Develop criteria to determine which organizations or programs you will support with your funding.

5. Find an experienced group of people for your organization’s board.

6. Create a plan to keep your foundation alive as long as possible, which includes how you will fund the organization’s day-to-day needs and pay salaries, as well as how you will raise money for the programs you support.

7. Avoid conflicts that could turn your charitable foundation into a profitable business.

8. Know how to manage your funds and be sure that the money you use to run your organization is not the money you receive from donors.

Katie Brockman

Source Entrepreneur

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