The United Kingdom experiences a significant amount of both household and child poverty. Oxfam reports that one in five people in the U.K. live below the official poverty line. Nearly 13 million people do not have enough money to live on because of unemployment or wages that are not high enough to provide basic necessities.

Save the Children reports that as of 2012, there were 3.5 million children living in poverty in the U.K.; that number is expected to rise to almost four million in the coming years.

Many of those in living in poverty are not unemployed and on social assistant but rather cannot support their families on their wages. In 2012, there were more working households living under the poverty line than there were unemployed households. The number of people with low paid jobs has risen dramatically since 2008; average incomes have fallen by 8 percent since 2008.

There are 1.4 million part-time workers who would like to be working full-time but cannot find work.

The political and economic structure in the U.K. is similar to that of the United States. Both the U.S. and the U.K. are liberal welfare states, meaning they place a high value on free trade and are driven by capitalism and put a low emphasis on social spending and government involvement. Unfortunately, this results in problems such as food insecurity and poor health.

The poverty rate in 2012 was 21 percent, the second highest has been in the past two decades.. The U.K. does not have high enough minimum wages or strong enough social safety nets to protect families from poverty.

Food Insecurity, or “Food Poverty”, is a significant problem in the U.K. and is leading to poor nutritional outcomes for children and obesity and diabetes in adults. From 2012 to 2013, 500,000 people relied on food parcels from charities. Oxfam reports that more than two million people in the U.K. are malnourished and three million are at risk of becoming malnourished.

In the U.K., one in six parents have gone without food in order to feed their children.

The poor have worse micro-nutrient intakes and dietary patterns than those who have higher incomes. A national survey showed that the poorest 15 percent in the country did not meet dietary standards and were overweight or obese. In addition, 30 percent of these had run out of money to buy food and 40 percent had worried about running out of money to buy food.

Rates of food insecurity among low-income families in Ireland range from 39 percent to 50 percent.

In both Ireland and England, the social assistance program is so poor that families on it would not be able to eat a healthful diet while depending on it. Oxfam is working on public policy changes to increase social spending so there are better social safety nets for families living in poverty. They are also advocating for a rise in the minimum wage.

There is significant stigma and discrimination around poverty in the U.K. and Oxfam is working on education to teach the public about the systemic causes of poverty in order to lessen this discrimination.

– Elizabeth Brown

Sources: Oxfam, BBC, OECD, Joseph Rowntreen Foundation
Photo: Warwick

Guatemala is located in Central America, with borders of Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. The country has an overall population of nearly 15 million people, and faces a chronic malnutrition rate for children under 5 of about 50%, which is incredibly high. In fact, the malnutrition rates of children in Guatemala are the 4th highest in the entire world. Guatemala helps account for a high amount of stunting, which is the inability to grow; as in, children are unable to fully grow due to lack of nutrition and proper food. In indigenous areas of Guatemala, chronic undernutrition affects about 70% of the population. Overall, over half of Guatemalans (53%) live in poverty, and about 13% live in extreme poverty. Children and women have the worst of it. There is also food insecurity and economic insecurity. Clearly, something needs to be done in order to reduce malnutrition within the country and to reduce the incredibly high rate of child mortality and stunting.

Save the Children is an organization that just launched a milk program in Guatemala in order to fight the chronic malnutrition. Save the Children fights for the rights and lives of vulnerable children and families; the organization takes part in several focus areas including emergency relief and long-term recovery programs. So far, Save the Children has help over 125 million children in almost 120 countries by working with partners and running programs to help them have better access to food and water, and to fight for their rights. Save the Children’s priorities are to “ensure that children in need are safe, educated and healthy, and are better to attain their rights.” In the case of the milk program in Guatemala, the program is meant to help children be healthy, which would result in giving them a better chance at life and success as they grow older.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. is Save the Children’s partner in the milk program in Guatemala, and so is USAID, the United States Agency for International Development. GMCR has award-winning coffee and is the creater of the popular Keurig brewing technology. Most importantly in the context of this article, they have business practices that reflect Corporate Social Responsibility. They aim to give their customers “convenience, variety and consistent great taste.” They were founded 32 years ago, and have recently released their 2012 sustainability report. Basically, GMCR wants to give back to the community, both in North America and the entire world. They have a business – “Brewing a Better World Together” – and wish to improve the world through it. Part of the way they are doing this is by supporting the milk program in Guatemala.

Together, Save the Children and GMCR launched the milk program in Guatemala; they opened a goat-raising center in Guatemala so that the goat milk program can fight child malnutrition. This center will raise goats in order to get goat milk, which will then be distributed to the families that are facing chronic, extreme malnutrition. In all, over 2,000 families will benefit from the goat milk program. In addition to the goat-raising center, Save the Children and GMCR will provide education of making money and sustainability; they will educate the families about selling surplus milk, and of making cheese and yogurt from the milk. The USAID Mission Director Kevin Kelly commented that the goat center would “generate income and food security among the extreme poor in Gatemala’s Western Highlands.” This center is just one small step towards fighting malnutrition in Guatemala.

– Corina Balsamo 
Sources: The Examiner, GMCR, Save the Children, World Food Programme
Photo: Universal Giving

The international NGO, Save the Children, and U.K.-based global health nonprofit Merlin, have joined together to create one organization.

As of July 16, Merlin’s board of trustees stepped down, and Merlin officially became a part of Save the Children, under a new board. Merlin’s CEO Carolyn Miller claimed that the new organization would be a “global humanitarian health force” that would benefit from Merlin’s expertise and Save the Children’s heritage and reach.

The hope, according to Save the Children’s CEO Justin Forsyth, is that the two will become a stronger entity with each other’s help. While the transition is occurring, Merlin will remain a separate legal entity and a transition team has already been put in place to help phase Merlin’s oversees overseas program and head office into Save the Children. The process is expected to be complete in 18 months.

Some are concerned that with the combination, programs will have to be cut in order to focus on the overall goal of the new organization. However, one nonprofit partnered with Save the Children, the Zone One Tondo Organization (ZOTO), which gives aid to children in the Philippines, says it sees promise in the joining of the two organizations. In addition to giving aid to children, ZOTO also focuses on disaster relief, an area that new resources from Merlin will be able to provide help.

While the news of Save the Children and Merlin teaming up has attracted much attention due to the size of the organizations (Save the Children works in 125 countries, and Merlin has over 5,000 employees) this is certainly not the first time NGOs have partnered up in order to make more of an impact. Save the Children’s press release called the new team an effort for a sustainable future in light of the “tough external environment for NGOs.” The economy is picking up after the latest recession, but it is still tough for nonprofits to survive.

NGO’s are also in competition with each other as they start up and grow in popularity. As a result, many of the smaller ones are being engulfed by the larger ones. The larger ones will also subcontract to the smaller ones, leaving them only doing part of their work, rather than directly helping those they’re trying to help.

However, while this has happened in several cases, Oxfam International’s Chief Executive Winnie Byanyima, is hesitant to call NGO mergers a “trend.” According to Byanyima, nonprofits have been coming together for decades in the form of partnerships and NGO coalitions to work together in order to maximize their voice. Most NGOs are looking to do the same basic thing – to help people – and sometimes the best way to do that is to join forces.

– Emma McKay

Sources: Devex, The Guardian, World Crunch

Live Below the Line
The Global Poverty Project challenges people around the world to change their perspective on global poverty by signing up to live on £1 per day for five days.

The Live Below the Line campaign began in Australia in 2010 when anti-poverty campaigner Richard Fleming lived for three weeks on the amount the World Bank defined as the extreme poverty line—the equivalent of U.S. $1.25 per day.

The campaign made its way to the U.K. in 2011, where it raised over £100,000 in its first year.  Live Below the Line has proven to be a powerful advocacy tool in addition to a fundraiser, as it forces participants to consider the real implications of living in impoverished conditions.

In 2013, over 6,000 people stepped up to the challenge of living on less than one Euro per day. This is good news, because the campaign’s managers have pointed out that getting people directly engaged in the campaign makes them more likely to continue campaigning or to take action in the future.

Beyond individuals, charities can also sign up to participate in the Live Below the Line challenge. In 2013, partners ranged from large organizations, like Save the Children, to smaller ones, like Positive Women, a group that aims to empower African women.

The Global Poverty Project is the same organization that launched the Global Citizens Music Festival, the End of Polio Campaign, and 1.4 Billion Reasons. The organization has worked tirelessly towards its vision of “a world without extreme poverty within a generation.”

By working to increase active participation along with general awareness, the Global Poverty Project shows its commitment to making a viable, positive difference in the fight against global poverty.

– Alexandra Bruschi

Source: Third Sector, Global Poverty Project
Photo: Style Quotidien

One of the Millennium Development Goals is to promote gender equality throughout the world. This is because it has been proven that empowering women often leads to the empowerment of communities. The education of women is key to progress, for a number of reasons.

An annual report by the NGO Save the Children has shed light on a disturbing reality. Through a measurement of life expectancy, education, use of contraception, wages and political power, the organization measured the best and worst places in the world to be a woman. Overall, the results are mostly unsurprising, but show the complexity of the problem of gender inequality. Much progress has been made, but much work is still left to do.

Unsurprisingly, this year Western Europe and Scandinavia top the list of best countries to live with the countries of Finland, Sweden and Norway, followed by Iceland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Germany and Australia. At the bottom of the list, the worst places to be a women include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen, Somalia, Niger, Chad, Afghanistan, Mali, Eritrea, Sierra Leone and Madagascar.

Though countries like India and South Africa have received significant media coverage for the levels of sexual violence their female populations suffer, they are surprisingly high up on the list. South Africa has an impressive 60% of its population using modern contraceptives and 41% of its government seats held by women. India is significantly less well off, but still beats countries such as Singapore and Korea, with an encouraging life expectancy rate and close to half the population on contraceptives.

What this shows is the multifaceted nature of discrimination; it is not manifested solely in sexual violence, but in a myriad of ways which -– though they may not be as visible -– can be similarly devastating to a women’s physical and mental well-being.

One thing that does stand out is that the link between poverty and gender discrimination is clear. The list correlates surprisingly well as a ranking of wealth as well as status. It is not exact; other factors such as culture and religion play a large role. But all of the top-ranking countries are developed and established, while all of the bottom-ranking ones have many citizens struggling to eke out an existence.

At times, some think of foreign aid as the solution to a given problem — food for hunger, relief for a disaster, supplies for education. But the truth is that foreign aid, successfully delivered, contributes to development which has far reaching implications. Encouraging the development of countries, no matter what way, opens opportunities for its citizens in far more than one area. If we are to fight gender discrimination, we must also fight poverty, one of its root causes.

– Farahnaz Mohammed

Source: Foodtank, The Independent
Photo: Visit Europe


The accessibility of clean, safe water sources across the world varies greatly. Americans are afforded the luxury and don’t have to think twice about how they are going to collect water daily. It is so easy and natural to walk into a kitchen and fill up a glass of water or hop in the shower and bathe. For others, it is not that simple.

345 million people in Africa live without local water access, being forced to walk miles on end to collect where it can be found. The water is often dirty and contaminated with dangerous parasites, posing health risks to those who drink it. This may contribute to the extremely high mortality rates in Sudan.

Water for South Sudan has decided to address this issue. WSS has drilled over 168 borehole wells, providing remote villages in South Sudan with the basic human need of clean, safe water.

WSS has a deeply rooted belief that clean, accessible water is the framework for entrepreneurship and the growth of markets. Removing the huge issue of water from the equation opens up room to address other issues such as the economy and growth.

There are ways to help the people of Sudan through the Water for South Sudan organization. The H2O Project Challenge takes all of the money spent on beverages for two weeks and donates it to the charity. This means that for two weeks, the only drink a person can have is water. A little commitment such as this can have a profound impact on the lives of those in South Sudan.

– William Norris
Source: Water for South Sudan,, Save the Children
Photo: ICRC

Protecting Our Future: Save the Children
The dedicated workers of Save the Children have been affecting positive, lasting change in children’s lives for the past 81 years with no signs of slowing down. They partner with local governments and organizations in vulnerable communities to offer children support and protection from neglect, exploitation, violence, poverty, malnutrition, inferior medical care and education, and much more.

With offices spread across 120 countries, Save the Children has helped millions of children in Africa, Asia, America, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In 2012 alone, they helped more than 125 million children overcome obstacles including poverty, illiteracy, obesity, and abuse.

Save the Children focuses on the following key areas:

  • Child protection – Save the Children fosters child protection programs such as child trafficking awareness campaigns, and advocates for policy and services improvement to protect children affected by disasters, conflict, or development setting.
  • Newborn and child survival – Each year, close to 7 million children die before their 5th birthday. Save the Children works to prevent senseless deaths by training health workers to deliver inexpensive medical interventions.
  • Education – Save the Children coaches educators in effective teaching techniques, offer opportunities to continue education beyond the classroom, and ensures learning continues in times of crisis.
  • Emergency response – In times of natural disaster or civil conflict, Save the Children provides food, medical care, education, and support throughout the recovery process.
  • Health and nutrition – Save the Children works to make quality maternal and reproductive healthcare, newborn and child healthcare, nutrition education, adolescent sexual and reproductive healthcare, and emergency healthcare available to impoverished communities.
  • HIV/AIDS – Save the Children offers prevention education programs to stop the spread of AIDS beyond the 3.4 million children currently living with the disease. They also offer protection programs to children orphaned by the disease.
  • Hunger and livelihoods – Save the Children’s hunger and livelihood programs focus on increasing food supply, educating farmers to produce higher yields, teaching parents the benefits of a varied diet, and teaching children how to manage money and find work.

Save the Children is recognized by regulatory services as a leader among nonprofit organizations; The American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) awarded Save the Children an A+ rating. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance has determined that Save the Children meets all of the standards for charity accountability. Charity Navigator awarded Save the Children their 11th consecutive overall 4 out of 4 stars rating in 2012. The Forbes 200 Largest U.S. Charities List rated Save the Children’s fundraising efficiency at 92%, and their charitable commitment at 91%. Great Nonprofits named them the recipient of a 2012 Top-Rated Award. And America’s Greatest Brands featured Save the Children as one of the strongest and most trusted humanitarian relief and development philanthropies.

The amazing work being done by Save the Children can be multiplied even further by charitable contributions to their Global Action Fund. To make a donation, please visit the Global Action Fund webpage.

– Dana Johnson

Source: Save the Children, Global Action Fund

Charlie McDonnell has embraced the publicity of being a “YouTube sensation” despite the negative connotation that can come with that title. The British musician debuted his YouTube talent in 2009 with a video, Duet With Myself.  The clip has been viewed close to 8.5 million times and his YouTube  site has gained over 2 million subscribers.  By his own admission, McDonnell does not claim his videos are brilliant, but he is making money and using his online presence to make an impact.

McDonnell was chosen by nonprofit group Save the Children to promote the fight against hunger with an official title as “YouTube Ambassador.” With that he does what he does best, making YouTube videos that reach a large audience. His current task is playing a key role in the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign which is backed by Save the Children among other charities. The IF campaign calls on leaders of the world’s rich countries to continue to fight global hunger.

In 2005, wealthy nations pledged to spend 0.7% of their incomes on aid, but few have followed through with their promise. Britain has made it to 0.55% while the US is only at 0.2%.  The IF campaign is calling on these countries to increase foreign aid and reduce corporate land takeovers in developing nations. A rally in Hyde Park is scheduled ahead of the G8 meeting later in June and McDonnell will take part in a live web chat with Bill Gates, who will be there talking about the work the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is doing.

Earlier in 2013, McDonnell and his mother traveled to Tanzania with Save the Children to see firsthand the impact of global poverty.  McDonnell said that it was his first time to really see the impact of hunger. While in Tanzania, McDonnell met 16-year-old Frank Kapeta, a Save the Children Youth Ambassador who as a young boy ate as little as one meal a day.  The two traveled to Frank’s village where his grandmother showed McDonnell how to make ugali, a staple food in the village. It is ground flour and water and has little to no nutritional value.

McDonnell and his mother have been leading the #IFYouTube campaign focused at calling the online community to action concerning hunger. For McDonnell, this issue is very important and must be tackled. His experience in Tanzania humbled him and led him to use his online presence to fight hunger and encourage others to do likewise. His is an example of a “YouTube Sensation” gone right.

– Amanda Kloeppel
Source: Metro

Not all countries are created equally when it comes to raising children. While some countries have better opportunities for their mothers and children, including education, day care services, and early childhood development programs, others do not have proper healthcare or other resources to help keep mothers and babies healthy.

Each year, Save the Children releases the Mothers’ Index as part of their State of the World’s Mothers report. To determine the best places to be a mother, the study examines nations to judge how well their mothers and babies are cared for based on five areas: maternal health, children’s well-being, educational status, economic status, and political status.

Here are the organization’s results of the top 30 countries to be a mother:

30. United States
29. Luxembourg
28. Poland
27. Lithuania
26. Belarus
25. Israel
24. Czech Republic
23. United Kingdom
22. Canada
21. Estonia
20. Ireland
19. Greece
18. New Zealand
17. Italy
16. France
15. Singapore
14. Slovenia
13. Portugal
12. Switzerland
11. Austria
10. Australia
9. Germany
8. Belgium
7. Spain
6. Denmark
5. Netherlands
4. Iceland
3. Norway
2. Sweden
1. Finland

Many of these countries met all five standards set by Save the Children, with high expectations for the children’s school career, outstanding medical and health care for new and expecting mothers, a high per capita income level, and many job opportunities for mothers and women, particularly in leadership roles and in the government.

Katie Brockman

Source: Huffington Post

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