Young Entrepreneurs

The future of poverty and hunger alleviation may rest in the hands of today’s youth. Young entrepreneurs embarking into the business world have immense power in aiding those in need. Creative thinkers and digital-savvy youth have unique skills and ideas that may give them an advantage in giving back.

In an article recently published by The Huffington Post, it was found that many of the world’s hunger-aiding programs were inspired or founded by the youth of today. Young entrepreneurs are starting programs such as “The Future Isn’t Hungry” and “3B Brae’s Brown Bags” to counter national poverty in the United States, with many working to expand internationally.

Three young entrepreneurs, Jake Harriman, Beth Schmidt and Leila Janah, have already made their mark in the fight against poverty. While Harriman’s NGO works to end world hunger, Schmidt’s organization is reducing poverty by helping people living in poverty have better access to college. Janah’s company works with American companies to crowdsource staff from developing countries, providing countless people with jobs to lift them out of poverty.

All three of these entrepreneurs recognized a call for action and drastically changed their lives to help give everyone a fighting chance. These are just a few of today’s young entrepreneurs using their skills to combat poverty and hunger.

In a report published by the Overseas Development Institute, it was stated that teaming young entrepreneurs with volunteers between the ages of 18 and 25 can combat unemployment around the world. Volunteering abroad can help young business owners acquire new skills and knowledge to better understand the developing world. In turn, volunteers working with business people can help them gain a better understanding of business tactics that they can apply to the volunteer work they do internationally.

The study uncovered a positive correlation between young entrepreneurs volunteering or working abroad and the development of skills necessary to end poverty. Volunteers and entrepreneurs worked in countries, such as Tanzania and Nicaragua, where their skills and businesses were put to the test. In the end, both the entrepreneurs and the citizens of these countries benefited in the study.

The initiative to increase the number of entrepreneurs working to give back has already begun and is continuing to grow. In Africa alone, multiple NGOs are working to unleash the continent’s untapped potential through educational, microfinance and health nonprofits. And many of these are run by or work with young entrepreneurs. Jake Harriman’s goal, along with the world’s young business people who are following in his footsteps, is to alleviate poverty by 2030.

Julia Hettiger

Photo:  Flickr

Loans in Bangladesh

Nearly half of the population in Bangladesh work in the poor agricultural sector where they have traditionally been excluded from accessing credit facilities that could improve their livelihoods.

To help farmers lift themselves out of poverty, USAID’s Development Credit Authority has partnered with Bangladeshi banks to provide customized financing options that fit the needs of local communities. Here are Benefits of Small Loans in Bangladesh.

3 Benefits of Small Loans in Bangladesh

  1. Bank loans give farmers the opportunity to become self-sufficient. Many poor farmers lack the resources to invest in the land they work on and often spend a significant portion of their income on rent or lease  agreements. Through credit facilities, small farmers can purchase the land they work on providing them with stability and opportunities for growth.
  2. Some farmers have used loans to diversify or increase their crop production or to purchase livestock. Through loans, some workers have even been able to make the switch from being a laborer on someone else’s farm to developing a farm of their own. Each small investment that farmers are able to make moves them one step closer to economic stability.
  3. Entrepreneurs have the option to expand their businesses through bank loans. One of USAID’s success stories is of a man who had run a carp farm for 16 years. His business was well-established but in order to expand he required a loan, which he received through the USAID program. Farmers can increase their livelihoods when they have more land, because they can cultivate more crops or raise more livestock.

The availability of loans in Bangladesh that are customized for small borrowers will go a long way to benefit farmers, their families and local communities.

Emily Milakovic

Photo: Flickr

Can you name at least three musicians who fight poverty in unorthodox ways? In a recently announced project, major hitters in the music industry will be joining together to produce a new album aimed at reducing poverty around the world. Some of the musicians already attached to the project include stars like Kanye West, Ellie Goulding and Mumford & Sons.

The album, entitled Metamorphoses, will be sponsored by Global Citizen, a nonprofit that brings people together to fight global poverty. This project is a logical extension of the organization’s previous work, which often includes organizing major concerts to raise funds and build awareness for poverty-fighting efforts.

What makes Metamorphoses unique is the fact that fans have been called upon to submit lyrics, poems, and even short stories for the musicians to incorporate into the 12 tracks. According to Global Citizen’s CEO, Hugh Evans, this highly interactive process will include material from people all over the world, making the project “a truly global tribute to our collective responsibility” to fight poverty.

How will the album ultimately help alleviate poverty? Producers are planning to employ slightly unorthodox methods that sidestep traditional fundraising techniques. Instead of buying the album with actual currency, fans can “purchase” Metamorphoses by making commitments to take action to fight poverty.

This kind of outreach has the potential to build lifelong warriors against poverty, as opposed to one-time donors. Those who “buy” the album are offering to engage with the anti-poverty movement through direct action, such as educating their elected officials about the issue and petitioning those with law-making power.

The project itself was dreamed up by Global Citizen in partnership with Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons. According to Lovett, the “crowd-sourcing” of material makes the project especially exciting. “Metamorphoses has the potential to break down our preconceptions of the voices of creativity, what different people around the world are thinking and who has the right to be heard,” Lovett claims.

Set to be released in the Fall of 2016, Metamorphoses is destined to be an exciting and unique album with the potential to do a lot of good and foster activism through the power and process of creating music, according to Global Citizen.

Jennifer Diamond

Photo: Flickr

On March 11, humanitarian leaders from the United Nations and the World Food Programme issued a press statement updating the world about the continuous danger created by the conflict in Syria.

Both organizations have led efforts to provide relief to the Syrian communities under the most duress because of the occupation of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). While these operations have been successful, the basic supplies have “yet to reach one in every five besieged Syrians who urgently need help and protection.”

Most of the unreachable people live in the areas of Homs and Aleppo where ISIS occupation makes it challenging to reach the individuals who don’t have access to basic necessities. The United Nations estimates that “500,000 people are caught behind active frontiers” and “two million are in areas controlled by ISIL.”

The statement was released just four days before the start of the conflict’s sixth year. Brutal military tactics and urban fighting has caused the deaths of “over a quarter of a million Syrians” and counting. The large Syrian population has been fragmented by the conflict with “4.6 million people…in places that few can leave and aid cannot reach” and about “4.8 million people” who have emigrated due to the violence.

The message left its depressing tone for a global call to action directed at all parties involved in the war and organizations seeking the opportunity to move in and help those in need. “However, until all parties to this conflict stop attacking civilians, schools, markets and hospitals, we will continue to press them on their obligations and hold them to account,” said the UN humanitarian leaders, condemning the hindrance of aid as “unacceptable.”

Their undertones of hope quickly turned to a stubborn sense of defiance. The authors of the statement were clearly frustrated by the length and severity of the Syrian civil war and feel troubled by their blocked attempts to provide supplies. To sidestep the problem, organizations are “trying new delivery methods” despite the added “danger and uncertainty.”

On the political side, the United States and Russia have begun new campaigns to establish a ceasefire between the warring parties before the sixth year of the conflict commences. Western countries have increasing relied on the power of the Russian government in Moscow to reach a Syrian delegation in Damascus. Despite new diplomatic pressure, the third parties have yet to convince the belligerents of a “direct” meeting reported the Wall Street Journal.

A gridlocked diplomatic landscape, though, does not deter the relief efforts of non-governmental organizations and the World Food Programme. The Wall Street Journal also reports that a senior adviser to the UN’s convoy to Syria has approved “deliveries to 15 new hard-to-reach areas.” Delayed or denied shipments have created a new urgency for these fresh aid packages to arrive in areas with the most destruction.

With all of the negative updates behind, the statement retains an optimistic tone to the end. The United Nations cites that 6 million individuals have been reached in the first three and a half months of 2016. In order to increase that number, crusaders for relief are willing to “negotiate” for access to the most deprived people.

By accessing these hard-to-reach communities, UN leaders hope to inspire the young population of Syria to “believe that their future lies in their homeland.” This resilient generation has to repel violence and poverty in their country if they choose to fight for relief and believe.

Jacob Hess

Sources: World Food Programme, WSJ

South Sudan
The Global Partnership for Education, an organization that builds education systems in developing and war-torn countries, is collaborating with USAID to focus on education for girls in South Sudan.

Educational opportunities are extremely limited for girls due to a combination of cultural biases and armed conflict.

“The situation is especially alarming since women and girls in South Sudan are more likely to die during childbirth than complete primary education,” according to the Education National Statistics Booklet 2012 and the South Sudan Statistical Yearbook.

The world’s newest country, South Sudan, is in a time of crisis. Not only are basic services such as education fragmented but children are at risk of forced labor, extreme poverty and are subjected to the violence around them.

A six-year program funded by the British government, Girls’ Education South Sudan (GESS), operates on the belief that educating girls is an important aspect of relieving severe poverty in communities. It began in April 2013 and will continue until September 2018 to raise awareness about the issue, provide financial support and work with policymakers.

With the support of organizations like GESS, Global Partnership seeks to build 25 girl-friendly schools in South Sudan’s neediest regions. Out of 10,000 anticipated students, 3,000 are expected to be girls.

In order to remedy the cultural aspects that serve as a barrier to girls’ education, separate wash facilities will be provided for them and teachers will receive training to foster a gender-sensitive environment. In addition, the national curriculum will be revised and new textbooks provided.

“A focus on education in these countries promotes peacebuilding and conflict mitigation, and can foster economic growth,” explained Global Partnership.

Since joining the Global Partnership in 2012, South Sudan has received a $36.1 million grant for the education program that is implemented by UNICEF South Sudan. Additionally, a $66 million grant was provided by USAID. Establishing education systems is helping to provide a sense of stability and hope for the future for South Sudan.

Emily Ednoff

Sources: Global Partnership for Education, GESS
Photo: Flickr

According to a study made by the Mexican government agency, Consejo Nacional de Evaluación de la Política de Desarollo Social (CONEVAL), there were 53.3 million people living in poor conditions in 2012.

This number equates to 45.4 percent of Mexico’s total population.

In Mexico, poverty is strictly linked to the decisions and actions that the government takes. According to a newspaper from Guadalajara, Jalisco, the secretaries of social development from the different Mexican states only invest between the four and five percent of their budget to social programs that do not just focus on poverty.

Education, health care, nutrition, shelter and clean water are some of the aspects that many organizations are working on to bring to the Mexican poor citizens:


This is a non-profit organization based in Vermont that fights to offer education and job opportunities to the poor in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. The organization also offers basic human services to these people living in poor conditions.

2) Children International

This organization provides assistance to children and families that live in extreme poor conditions. Their mission is to bring real change to those living in poverty. This organization is based in Kansas, and operates in different countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Honduras and, of course, Mexico. Their agency in Mexico is located in Guadalajara, Jalisco.

3) Flying Samaritans

This is a non-profit organization, based in California, that operates free medical clinics in the state of Baja California, Mexico. The organization counts with different professionals such as nurses, dentists, physicians, pilots, and translators that offer their work at no charge to people in rural areas that have no access to medical care.

4) Project Amigo

This is an organization founded by California businessman Ted Rose based in Cofradia de Suchitlan, Colima. The organization focuses in providing marginalized, disadvantaged, poor children in the state of Colima, Mexico with education. Project Amigo has the belief that education is a powerful key that can benefit the children’s future. The organization provides scholarships, material support, health care and supports the children to continue studying even during a college level.


Techo is a non-profit organization present in Latin America and the Caribbean that focuses on eliminating poverty. This organization is lead by young volunteers that promote community development by providing solutions to families living in slums, foster social awareness and action, and advocate politically in order to promote changes that could stop poverty from emerging.

All these organizations focus on overcoming poverty and creating a better life quality for Latinos and Mexicans that live in poor conditions and lack of access to some basic needs.

According to CONEVAL, in the years of 2010 and 2012 there was a decrease in the percentage and number of people that had an educational backwardness, lacked access to health services, quality and living spaces, basic housing services, and nutrition.

The results and efforts that these individual non-profit organizations have obtained, each with their own beliefs, missions, and methods, are a big contribution to the Mexican poor community, creating change and providing opportunities to the ones in need.

– Diana Fernanda Leon

Sources: CONEVAL, INFORMADOR.MX, VAMOS!, Children International, Flying Samaritans, Project Amigo, Techo
Photo: Flickr

Convoy of Hope - Borgen Project
Convoy of Hope, founded in 1994 by the Donaldson family, is dedicated to helping those in need. It’s a simple and ambitious goal. To meet it, efforts concentrate on six areas of interest.

Community Events

In the United States, the organization partners with local businesses to provide the community’s poor with a “poverty-free day.” What is a poverty free day? A day which people receive free meals, access to health and dental care, job-placement services and family portrait sittings. The services depend on three things: the input of the partners, the needs of the community and the skills of available volunteers. In 2013, volunteers served more than 120,000 “guests-of-honor”.

Rural Compassion

Like in many places around the world, rural communities in the United States are hit hardest by poverty. By training pastors and community leaders, Convoy helps to spur on positive change.

Children’s Feeding

Convoy of Hope feeds more than 145,000 children in 11 different nations across Africa, Central America and the Philippines. Aware that the meal they provide is the only one some children get, every attention is paid to nutrition. The Convoy carefully monitors the health of each child enrolled in the program. Trying to create healthy living environments, Convoy teaches proper hygiene and sanitation. By collecting and purifying water, and distributing filtration systems, they hope to promote water security.

Agricultural Development

A relatively new Agricultural Initiative is being piloted in Haiti. There, nearly 3,000 farmers trained in applicable agricultural science and crop management, according to their economic and geographic situation. Crop yield has increased among Convoy-trained farmers exponentially. Black bean planting, in particular, is up by 100 percent.

Disaster Services

Working with over 200 partners, Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Response Team aids in both domestic and international disaster relief. They determine relief effort needs and assess the efficacy of Convoy volunteers on the field. These volunteers, grouped in teams, unload supplies from shipments made by their World Distribution Center. Convoy commits to the total recovery of communities, so feet remain on the ground for months, sometimes years.

Women’s Empowerment

Nearly 70 percent of people living in poverty are women. Giving them the chance to earn an income is a significant step towards reducing that poverty. So Convoy provides training to women in Ethiopia, Tanzania, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Philippines. With financial and educational support provided by Convoy, women can start their own businesses. Those in the “Mother’s Clubs” attend sessions on nutrition, health and literacy. Younger girls have access to programs on relevant topics like self-esteem and gender based violence.

By the sheer number of functioning programs run by Convoy, it is obvious that the organization is well established. Volunteers with a multitude of skills serve in many different capacities. Still, their purpose remains to aid those struggling, whenever and wherever they need help.

– Olivia Kostreva

Sources: Convoy of Hope Community Events, Convoy of Hope Children’s Feeding, Convoy of Hope Disaster Services, Convoy of Hope Agriculture, Convoy of Hope Women’s Empowerment, Convoy of Hope Rural Compassion, Charity Navigator, FeedOne
Photo: Dew Foundation

South Asia has experienced about six percent economic growth per year over the past 20 years. The proportion of poor people in the region is lower now than any time since 1981. The region is making strides in poverty reduction with improvements in health, food security and education.

Health Care

In Afghanistan, child mortality dropped from 257 to 97 per 1,000 live births between 2002-2012. Maternal health and contraceptive use have also increased, with a 20% usage rate in 2011, up from five percent in 2003. The Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund was established in 2002 to provide assistance to the Government of Afghanistan for national investment projects. The Fund supports health projects in Afghanistan, increasing the number of health facilities more than fourfold, from 496 in 2004 to 2,047 in 2012.

Food Security

In Nepal, one million people received support through the Food Crisis Response Program, which is funded by the International Development Association (IDA). The landlocked country is one of the most malnourished in South Asia. The program supported a partnership between the Government of Nepal and the World Food Programme to provide food and cash in areas facing immediate risks. Benefits of the program include restored short-term food security, increased local employment opportunities and higher income, rural road construction and rehabilitation of community assets.


In Bangladesh, secondary school graduation rate increased from 30% to 39% from 2008-2011. The Higher Education Quality Enhancement Project and the Secondary Education Quality and Access Enhancement Project support the government of Bangladesh in their effort to improve education in the country. Primary education is free for all children in Bangladesh with attendance between the ages of six and ten mandated by law. As one of the world’s most densely populated countries, it is one of the world’s greatest human resources for the future. An education for children in Bangladesh means employment opportunities and eventually, self-sufficiency for the country and its people.

Haley Sklut

Sources: World Bank, Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, UNICEF