The Clinton Foundation's ImpactThe Clinton Foundation’s impact has been felt for more than 20 years. When the former president left the White House in 2001, he looked toward a vision: “A nongovernmental organization that could leverage the unique capacities of governments, partner organizations and other individuals to address rising inequalities and deliver tangible results that improve people’s lives.” From this vision, the Clinton Foundation was born. Julie Guariglia, director of information and briefings, has been with the Clinton Foundation for 10 years. In an interview with The Borgen Project, she describes the Foundation’s goal as “developing innovative solutions to the world’s worst problems to improve life overall, specifically by creating economic opportunities and improving public health.”

First Mission

The Clinton Foundation’s first mission was the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa. In 2002, Clinton went to Nelson Mandela hoping to improve education in Africa. However, Mandela explained that if he wanted to help, he had to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic first. After that, the Foundation began its research. The Foundation found a niche in reducing the cost and increasing the accessibility of life-saving HIV/AIDS treatment.

Due to the efforts of the Clinton Foundation, 11.6 million people now have access to HIV/AIDS treatment, including 800,000 children born with HIV/AIDS. The Clinton Foundation ensures all the medicines are transported to the correct destination and are correctly stored at the appropriate temperature.

Clinton Global Initiative

In 2005, the Clinton Foundation established the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). This initiative brought the world’s leaders together to address global issues and create practical solutions. The CGI has brought together 20 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of CEOs, 190 sitting and former heads of state and other major players.  This collaboration is all with the intention of bringing together global leaders to develop and implement innovative solutions to global issues. Members of the CGI have helped more than 430 million people in more than 180 countries.

Guariglia says that CGI “Brings together diverse partners to create powerful solutions by having them come to the table all together to sit down.” With the Ebola crisis in 2014, CGI developed a plan with direct relief programs. Through the collaborative strengths of various participating organizations, CGI was able to secure medical supplies, airplanes for transportation and PPE to send to Africa.

Agricultural Development

The Clinton Foundation also focuses on economic development in Africa and South America. For instance, the foundation supports agricultural development by educating farmers. The farmers are given information about new crops, are able to access loans and can also access seeds for planting. The Foundation also assisted farmers with accessing markets and building warehouses. Overall, the Foundation helped 160,000 farmers improve their livelihoods.

What started as a goal to lower the cost of HIV/AIDS medicines transformed into an NGO with a significant impact in multiple areas. The success of the Foundation is the result of collaboration from multiple players. “The Foundation creates partnerships of great purpose to deliver sustainable solutions that last and transforms communities from what they are to what they can be.” The Clinton Foundation’s impact certainly shows its commitment to its initial vision. Through its efforts, quality of life will improve for people around the world.

Lauren Peacock
Photo: Flickr

Humanitarian Aid to Rwanda

We often hear stories about humanitarian aid that highlight waste, corruption and inefficiency. An example is in the wake of the horrific genocide in Rwanda in 1994 when the international community was too slow to react. There are important lessons to be learned from this failure and how to prevent similar atrocities in the future of delivering humanitarian aid to Rwanda.

However, there are also many success stories of aid being delivered effectively, saving lives and changing communities for the better. Despite the tragedy, there have been many positive steps taken to improve humanitarian aid delivery.


Humanitarian Aid to Rwanda Success Stories:

  1. The Clinton Foundation has been giving aid to farmers in Rwanda through the Clinton Development Initiative. During the 2016-2017 season, the foundation worked with over 35,000 farmers. The initiative focuses on increasing crop yields and income for farmers by providing them with the knowledge they need to meet their agricultural goals.
  2. The collaboration between the government and NGOs in Rwanda played a large part in Rwanda’s success in working towards the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Rwanda was one of the few countries to lead in the achievement of the MDGs. Progress was made to close the economic gender gap and free education was extended from 9 years to 12 years. Between 2000 and 2015, the infant mortality rate was cut in half and so was the number of people suffering from hunger.
  3. The USAID Mission in Rwanda began distributing humanitarian aid to Rwanda in 1964. Since that time the U.S. has given aid in many different areas including health, rural development, education and economic development. These funds have also helped develop democracy in Rwanda. The mission had to be halted in 1994 at the beginning of the genocide but was reopened several months later to provide emergency humanitarian aid. The transitional assistance in the wake of the conflict focused on food security as well as HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention. A fully-functioning mission was then reopened in 1998 with a focus on post-conflict reconstruction.

Tackling problems like poverty, hunger and conflict is an enormous undertaking. These issues require complex solutions and coordinated global effects. The size and scope of these efforts can often lead to tragic inefficiencies and lost lives, as was the case with the humanitarian response to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

There are also many stories in which humanitarian aid has helped save and improve lives. It is of paramount importance that we learn from the successes and failures of our efforts. The humanitarian aid to Rwanda is an example of both sides of this issue.

– Aaron Childree

Photo: Flickr

The Clinton Foundation
Bill Clinton will always be remembered first and foremost for his eight years in the White House, but he has another legacy that deserves just as much attention: The Clinton Foundation.

Founded in 1997 with a focus on Little Rock, Arkansas, the foundation has grown into an international powerhouse that has raised more than $2 billion to fund charity work around the world.

Like most ex-presidents, Clinton initially faded from the public eye. According to the Washington Post, he spent much of his time watching TiVo. Then, in 2002, he moved the Clinton Foundation to Harlem, New York, following Hillary Clinton’s successful election bid for U.S. Senate.

The foundation brought in consultants from Booz Allen Hamilton to give advice to small business owners in the local community, and the projects piled on from there. Using his celebrity power, Clinton was able to consistently recruit top-notch partners. Besides Booz Allen, he also brought in Princeton Review to bolster local students’ SAT scores.

It was not until 2002, however, that Clinton’s international work began. He met an old friend, former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, at an AIDS conference. Mandela reminded Clinton of a promise he made while still in office, a promise to help Africa after he left.

That promise materialized into the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI). According to the Clinton Foundation Website, CHAI has helped reduce the cost of lifesaving HIV/AIDS medication from $10,000 annually for one patient to only $100 to $200. This has helped over eight million people in developing countries, many of them in Africa, afford medication without which they’d die.

CHAI was so successful that it became its own organization, but the Clinton Foundation actively promotes nine other initiatives: the Clinton Climate Initiative, the Clinton Development Initiative, the Clinton Foundation in Haiti, the Clinton Glustra Enterprise Partnership, the Clinton Global Initiative, the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, the Clinton Presidential Center and Too Small to Fail and No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project.

The Clinton Foundation is unique in that its initiatives are its own. It consists of over 2,000 employees that serve both as administrators and field workers. As such, it operates more as a nonprofit consulting firm than a grant-making agency. A New York Times story from 2015, for example, reports that the group’s work in Rwanda includes such diverse efforts as teaching farmers to double their yields, training nurses and specialists and supporting factories that turn soybeans into cooking oil.

Behind the power of the Clinton Foundation is Bill’s celebrity. As ex-President of the most powerful country in the world, he truly is a star among stars. With this power, he has been able to raise funds that few others on Earth could hope to achieve and partner with the best organizations to put the money to good use.

As the 2016 presidential election approaches, increasing scrutiny is being paid to the foundation. With Hillary as the first female President and Bill as the first “First Man,” some people would worry about influence-buying through the foundation. Still, the breadth and depth of the good work of the Clinton Foundation cannot be denied. Bill could’ve easily faded into the background after his presidency. Instead, he used his influence and recognition to benefit not just the United States, but the entire world.

Dennis Sawyers

Sources: New York Times, The Clinton Foundation, The Washington Post

fight against poverty
In the fight against something as daunting as extreme poverty, success often gets buried under all of the staggering statistics. Looking at how far the world has come in the fight against extreme poverty involves observing what has been done and what is possible in the coming years. This lens makes it clear that the humanitarian efforts of thousands of people have made a very clear difference in the lives of millions exposed to poverty.

In 1990, the global poverty rate was at 36 percent, which decreased to 18 percent in 2010. This fulfilled a Millennium Challenge Goal to cut the global poverty rate in half, and it did so five years ahead of schedule. The call to action outlined in the Millennium Challenge Goals has inspired many to rally around the cause and make improvements.

In addition to the poverty rate changing, the number of children who die from preventable diseases every year has decreased by 30 percent in the past 15 years, indicating an improvement in the standards of living for thousands of children.

Education in developing countries has seen improvement with higher annual enrollment rates, which will see more apparent return in the future when these children are more prepared and qualified to support their families and contribute to a more stable society.

The future of the fight against poverty smacks of success, given that the fight maintains momentum. Were progress to continue at the current rate, or better yet, speed up, the goal of lifting one billion people out of poverty could be met between 2025 and 2030. Bill Gates posited that there could be almost no impoverished countries by 2035.

There are various initiatives being developed by various humanitarian organizations that show promise of success. In December of 2013, 46 countries all over the world stepped up to accelerate the fight against extreme poverty by committing to a composite $52 billion donation over a period of three years that will go directly to the International Development Association, a fund established by the World Bank to support the world’s poorest.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Clinton Foundation, Warren Buffett, Feed the Future — the list of people and organizations willing to help is endless. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. In a world that is more technologically capable than ever with the resources necessary to feed the whole world and the money to establish stable communities around the world, the fight against extreme poverty is more manageable.

The fight is not over, nor will it be an easy fight to win. Worldwide, there are nearly 1 billion people who survive on $1.25 or less every day. Proportionally compared to the world population, we are facing a smaller fraction, but it is still an overwhelming number. Keeping in mind the progress of the past and the promise of the future, the world can continue to successfully fight against extreme poverty.

– Maggie Wagner

Sources: The World Bank, MSNBC, The World Bank,
Photo: Konnect Africa