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For those individuals interested in the humanitarian work force, there are endless career possibilities. With over thousands of nonprofits and organizations to work with in virtually all countries across the globe, a wide variety of jobs are in abundance. But which jobs are the best? While everyone has their own preferences, these are the positions that seem to be most predominantly agreed upon as the best humanitarian jobs.

1. Volunteer

The most versatile and perhaps the most rewarding humanitarian job out there goes by the simple title of volunteer. Volunteers rarely make any money, but most all workers start at this position and are content with the opportunity to change lives.

2. Intern

A large number of nonprofits now offer internship programs, some paid and some unpaid. Depending on the organization, intern jobs can range from anything such as office work to traveling and even manual labor. Internships are a great starting place for people seeking careers in humanitarian work, as many internships feed directly into job opportunities.

3. Consultant

Nearly all humanitarian organizations are made up of several consultants—those who keep communication with important contacts and other outside individuals while answering any questions or concerns that the public might have. These positions are often paid.

4. Program Coordinator

Program coordinators play a vital role in nonprofits, as they are directly responsible for planning and executing specialized tasks for sub-organizations, events, etc. Depending on the organization at hand, these can be paid or unpaid positions.

5. Communications Specialist/Journalist

These jobs are often paid and include a number of important tasks ranging from making contact with other organizations to writing press releases for special functions, providing public relations tactics, and even publishing news as a journalist. This position typically allows for travel opportunities, as well.

– Meagan Hurley

Sources: Devex, Aid Worker Daily, Workforce Humanity
Photo: Cross-Cultural Solutions

10 Ways to Make a Difference
The world is a big place filled with billions of people. It is easy to think that one person can’t possibly do enough to change the world. When the weight of global issues simply feels too huge for one person to handle, we have to remember that we do have power to make a difference, even if it starts on a small scale. Listed below are 10 ways to make a difference that may not change the whole world, but will be sure to change someone else’s world.

 

Do Good: 10 Ways to Make a Difference

 

1. Smile! Being friendly to others is a great way to brighten someone else’s day. Whether it’s at the store, work, or simply walking along the street, a nice gesture like a smile could go a long way for someone having a bad day.

2. Do Some Volunteer Work. Volunteering is an amazing experience that gets us out of our daily routines, and makes us turn our efforts outwards. Go out and help feed the homeless, volunteer at local events, even picking up trash in your city is a great way to give back to the community!

3. Sponsor a Child. There are tons of organizations looking for people to sponsor children in need in countries around the world. These organizations are literally only a click away, and don’t take much time to sign up for. It is a small price to pay to make an incredible difference in a child’s life.

4. Invest and Listen. Society has become so drenched in the buzz of technology that real face-to-face interaction and relationship is growing scarce. Next time you throw out the standard, “Hi, how you doin?” make an effort to really invest in what is going in that person’s life. Ask questions that show you really care and want to listen.

5. Teach! Go out and teach a skill to someone who wants to learn. Whether it’s teaching someone how to drive, or helping a student with their homework, your lessons will make a huge impact on their lives.

6. Donate. If you’re anything like the typical American, you have a lot of stuff. When it comes time to get rid of something or buy something new, make a donation instead! There are many ways to make donations online and in your community.

7. Stop What You’re Doing and HELP. It’s easy to think that our priorities are the ones that matter the most. When you’re driving and see someone along the road struggling with a flat, stop to help. Wouldn’t you want a person to do the same for you? There are tons of ways for us to lend a helping hand throughout our day.

8. Team Up with Someone to Live Healthier. Oftentimes having a workout partner is the best kind of motivation out there. If someone you know keeps talking about how he/she wants to get in shape, join them! This will make a huge impact on their lives, and together, you’ll both be on your way to a healthier life.

9. Make a Care Package. Care packages are easy and affordable to make, and they can be used in so many different ways. They can be sent overseas, or used locally! Next time you’re out and about and see a homeless person with a sign offer them a care package. The packages are great to keep a supply of in your car, and they go a long way.

10. Have an Outward Gaze. We live in a pretty self-centered society. Many of us are taught at a young age to do what is going to make us most successful; this can lead us to do a lot things that are only self-serving. It’s time for a change of perspective! Start thinking in ways that turn that self-centered gaze outward. See what it’s like to put others’ needs before yours. You won’t regret it.

– Chante Owens

Sources: Zen Habits, Forbes
Photo: Compassion

Unique Philanthopy Programs
Many companies are embracing the idea of philanthropy for many reasons. It helps their image and it also helps recruit better employees who are socially responsible and want to give back more. Two of the most popular programs for employees to give back are companies matching employees’ donations, and offering grants to employees who spend their time outside of work volunteering for their favorite charities. But four companies are taking giving back a step further by introducing unique philanthropy programs to encourage more employees to do more for their communities and communities around the world.

These new and unique programs include:

1. No-strings-attached donations

2. Time off for volunteering

3. Donations based on number of years of service

4. Charity programs for family members

Each of the four companies has implemented one of these unique philanthropy programs to become a leader in the corporate giving world.

BP

Ever since the major oil spill in 2010, BP has been trying to make right with its customers and the public. To try to make amends, the company created the no-strings-attached grants program. This program allows employees to choose to donate $300 to a nonprofit with no strings attached. The employees do not need to make a donation out of their own pockets, and they are not required by BP to volunteer for that money.

Nestle

Not many employees can resist extra vacation days, and Nestle has taken notice. So to reward their employees who work outside the company as volunteers, they implemented a program that will give a worker two extra vacation days when they spend the equivalent of one day volunteering.

RealNetworks

This company chose to reward loyalty with charity. Employees don’t have to give their own money or volunteer their time, but RealNetworks will donate $500 to a charity of the employee’s choice when they celebrate their 5th anniversary with the company.

CarMax

CarMax is expanding on the idea of matching employee donations by also matching the employee’s spouse and dependents’ donations to charities that are close to their hearts.

Each of these companies understands the importance of philanthropy, but they also understand that innovation is key in this new world of corporate giving.

Katie Brockman
Source: Triple Pundit

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What makes people give? University of Minnesota psychologist Mark Snyder, PhD, asked himself that very question when he first began researching volunteerism. Snyder had a hard time thinking of reasons to volunteer, while reasons not to volunteer seemed to come easily. Could it be a question of nature vs. nurture?

Snyder has been trying to discover what exactly motivates people to volunteer for over 20 years. Through their research, he and his colleagues have identified 5 primary motivators:

Values. Volunteering satisfies personal values or humanitarian concerns, and for some, religious beliefs.

Community concern. Volunteers often feel compelled to help groups they feel a personal connection to.

Esteem enhancement. Volunteering can make you feel better about yourself as a person.

Understanding. Some people volunteer to gain understanding about cultures beyond their own.

Personal development. Some volunteers are looking to build new relationships or further their career.

The identification of these primary motivations provides insight into why some people are more philanthropic. But what steers them toward a specific motivator? Have they been taught to place value on community involvement? Have they witnessed others excel in their careers as a result of volunteer work? Or is it more basic than that? Are some people born with a desire to help others engraved in their genes?

Consider identical twins; are they alike because of genetic similarity, or because they have been raised in the same conditions? Studies show that twins exhibit striking similarities, even when they have been raised apart (genetics). But these studies also showed identical twins are never exactly alike in all respects (nurture).

So is it nature or nurture? The answer is, we just don’t know. The age old argument has never been settled, but it is commonly believed that both genetics and environment play a role in shaping who a person becomes; nature provides us with abilities and traits, but nurture shapes those traits as we learn and mature.

– Dana Johnson

Sources: American Psychological Association, About.com
Photo: High Cotton Style

Peace Corps Case Study Senegal Pharmacy
In the wake of AidData’s unveiling of the huge data set of tracking Chinese Aid to Africa, there has been a rather unsettling backlash against the use of data in development. Data is not the problem, it is the overgeneralization of data that is problematic. The Peace Corps case study detailed here focuses on site and project and is time and space specific, resulting in quantifiable success.

One of the latest case studies out of Senegal is about a health system in Karang that was consistently out of stock of urgently needed medications. This Peace Corps Case Study of the Senegalese town on the northern border of the Gambia details the problem and data-driven solutions. The Karang health system has been under the charge of Pauline Sene for 12 years. During this period over 20,000 individuals have been impacted by out of stock medication. The privately owned pharmacy has brand name drugs that are far too expensive for many residents.

Peace Corps Volunteer William Leborgne and Ms. Sene undertook the case study to identify the problems, trends, and solutions to the stock outs.

Ms. Sene and the head pharmacist identified the problems. Peace Corps Volunteer, Mr. Leborgne, aided in research design, data collection, and proposing solutions.

The problems consisted of three parts. First, there was little oversight. The management structure of the health system gave Ms. Sene little ability to oversee the purchasing and daily needs of the medication distribution centers. Second, there was no inventory management system in place to alert upcoming shortages. Finally, the supplier also had stock outs.

The first stage of the case study was data collection. Data collection was conducted over a year and consisted of reorganizing the medicine cabinets, cataloging the inventory, and collecting data on monthly usage. Excel was used for data entry and management. Monthly minimums of medication stock were determined by minimum monthly consumption. Peace Corps Volunteer Leborgne set up an algorithm to alert the staff when a reorder was necessary. By using some of the most common software and accounting available to US retail establishments, Leborgne helped solve the first two problems: oversight and inventory management.

The second stage of the case study was calculating how to minimize stock outs of important medications. Important medications were determined by manipulating the data collected over the year to find peak medication consumption periods. Peace Corps Volunteer Leborgne used the Senegalese government priorities for the medication categories of Malaria prevention, family planning, diarrhea prevention, and high blood pressure.

Findings and recommendations were as follows:
• “The two peak sales periods are Feb-May and Sept-Oct, the biggest month being Oct with sales of half a million CFA – purchasing price (approx. $1000).
• “The base months are Jul-Aug and Nov-Dec where sales drop drastically. The lowest month is December with half the sales of October – approx. $500.
• “We discern a gap in Sept and the start of Oct as these were the peak stock out periods, which coincides with the peak sales periods. This demonstrates the lack of foresight and planning for these peak sales periods.
• “We observe here that 90% of the sales are for just 10 of the 60+ types of medication for sale.”

Spotlighting the 10 medications and using predetermined categories provided by the Ministry of Health, Peace Corps Volunteer Leborgne made the following recommendations:

• “Completely restock the entire inventory in January and August, before the two peak sales cycles.
• “For the 10 top sellers – utilize the data to create an alert system immediately before their peak sales period.
• “Take into consideration the pinnacles of certain illnesses and prepare accordingly, e.g. resupply on Malaria prevention medication in August and Anti-Diarrheal in May.
• “When ordering more, consider the top sellers and the most likely to have shortages – order additional units of these as a precaution.
• “Exploit the alert algorithm within the Excel file in order to keep track of pharmacy stock and re order in a timely fashion.
• “If possible create a 2 month buffer’s worth of medication for the 30 top sellers to counteract the stock outs at the Sokone Hospital (their supplier).”

The grass-roots level of integrated collaboration between the Peace Corps Volunteer Mr. Leborgne, Senegal Government Health Post Ms. Sene, and local pharmacist Salimata Baudian made data collection and commitment to the solution successful. Once implemented by Ms. Sene and the pharmacists, Leborgne’s recommendations proved effective in mitigating stock outs. Between January –April 2013, there have not been any stock outs.

Katherine Zobre

Source: Peace Corps
Photo: Senegal Health Institute

Editor’s note: PCV William Leborgne gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the AP Statistics classroom at the Edmund Burke School in Washington DC: teacher Rachel Braun, and students Enesh Annaberdieva, and Elizabeth Bennett. As a side benefit, seeking their assistance in the production of statistical tables and summaries has allowed Mr. Leborgne to nurture enthusiasm for international public health among American high school students.

O'Sullivan's Travels
Chris O’Sullivan may not be a celebrity, but he definitely is not your average wait-for-the-employer-to-call college graduate. O’Sullivan’s Travels is much closer to Gulliver than Sullivan. Unlike Gulliver, however, he not only reaches out to the world but lets the world reach back—the world of South African students struggling with disadvantages and the world of donors given the opportunity to really make an impact and watch their money make a huge difference.

After graduating with a degree in Education from Shippensburg University, O’Sullivan traveled to the Stellenbosch region of South Africa to aid a school of 1,800 students divided amongst only 40 teachers with few supplies at their disposal. Despite the creativity, passion, perseverance, and best intentions, one teacher can only do so much with 50 students and limited resources.

O’Sullivan taught English and math to 6th grade students and experienced first hand the disadvantages these students and their teachers faced. In a world numbered one to three, first world students have pencils, pens, markers, crayons, posters, desks, charts, graphs, computers, iPhones, and 20 peers. In the second world students have pencils, pens, maps, graphs, paper, a few posters, a computer, mobile phones, and 35 peers. In the third world students have a pencil, some paper, their creativity, ambition, determination, and their teacher’s knowledge to rely on.

Two years later, 2 months from now, O’Sullivan is returning to Kayamandi to again lend his skills and experience. O’Sullivan is not returning empty-handed. He is bringing his network of support. His goals for this trip are twofold: First, he wants to give South Africa to the South Africans. Having a slim-to-none chance of ever going on vacation to a domestic or foreign destination, O’Sullivan wants to bring the beauty and wonder of South Africa to the students of Kayamandi. “Imagine living on the doorstep of Disney World and never being able to step inside.” So many of the students have never ridden in a van, slept in their own bed, eaten in a restaurant, or even seen the ocean (South Africa has 2,798 km of coastline!). His second goal is to stock the school with supplies. Pencils, paper, posters, books and magazines will go a long way towards improving the education the students receive.

The count down has begun. Two months to go. O’Sullivan has spent the last year working numerous part time jobs to pay for his trip and received support from friends, family, and a larger network.

Chris O’Sullivan is not a celebrity. Not by television standards anyway. But, ask any student in Kayamandi, South Africa, and you can bet they’ll know who he is.

Katherine Zobre

Sources: O’Sullivan’s Travels, CIA World Factbook
Photo: O’Sullivan’s Travels

History of the Peace Corps
Before Kennedy was even President, he had a vision for a stronger America through understanding the struggle of developing nations and peace building around the world. His speech at the University of Michigan formed the origin of the Peace Corps. From the first deployment of 51 volunteers to Accra, Ghana, in 1961, Americans have engaged in critical projects of building wells, schools, and clinics. They distribute information about AIDS/HIV prevention and environmental preservation. They strengthen capacity and resilience of crop and livestock by working with locals and their intimate knowledge of their needs and resources.

Over 52 years, the Peace Corps has engaged over 210,000 American volunteers in 139 countries and thousands of projects. Volunteers are asked to serve “under conditions of hardship” to help accomplish the mutual goal of improved livelihoods and welfare.

From the start, the Peace Corps was hugely popular with American citizens and partner countries. In the first few years of the Peace Corps, the number of volunteers expanded exponentially. Starting out with only 51 volunteers in March of 1961, by December the organization had more than 500 volunteers serving and 200 more training in the US. By 1962 there were 28 countries participating and nearly 3,000 volunteers. By 1966 the number of volunteers jumped to 15,000 volunteers and trainees. Former president Jimmy Carter’s mother volunteered in 1966 as a public health worker in India. By the early 1970s, Peace Corps volunteers were being elected to the House of Representatives in the US Congress and the first female and first African American was appointed to Peace Corps Director. 9,000 serving volunteers in 1970 is the record for most serving volunteers.

In 1981 the Peace Corps, which had been a congressional mandate, became an independent federal agency. In 1985 the Peace Corps was the subject of the John Candy, Tom Hanks, and Rita Wilson movie “Volunteers.” This was not the Peace Corps’ debut in pop-culture. References to the Peace Corps have also been made in “the ‘Pink Panther’ (1963), ‘Animal House’ (1978), ‘Airplane!’ (1980), ‘Dirty Dancing (1987), ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith’ (2005), ‘The Simpsons’, and ‘Family Guy.’” The number of women serving as Peace Corps volunteers jumped past the number of men serving in 1985.

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, for the first time volunteers were sent to eastern and central Europe starting in 1990. 1993 saw the first volunteers go to China as English teachers. 1993 also marked a divergence of Peace Corps Directors as appointed from outside the organization. Since Carol Bellamy, director from 1993-1995, and a returned volunteer, all the directors have been former volunteers. Started in 1995, the Peace Corps now also sends volunteers on short-term missions to respond to humanitarian crises caused by natural disasters; this included responses to Katrina in New Orleans. When the apartheid ended in South Africa, the Peace Corps sent the first group of 33 volunteers in 1997. The 2003 ad campaign was aimed at refreshing the image of the Peace Corps in the American mind. The new slogan read: “Life is calling. How far will you go?”

The next year the Peace Corps received the largest appropriation from Congress in the history of the Peace Corps: $400 million. The budget expansion coincided with a “40-year high in numbers of volunteers”—8,655 volunteers in 77 countries.

Who are volunteers? They are mothers, children, fathers, astronauts, scientists, members of Congress, and ambassadors. They are descedants of an organization born in the campaign of President Kennedy and shaped by the demanding needs of people suffering the indignity of poverty and underdevelopment and hard work of thousands of American citizens.

“The Peace Corps represents some, if not all, of the best virtues in this society. It stands for everything that America has ever stood for. It stands for everything we believe in and hope to achieve in the world”- Sargent Shriver.

Katherine Zobre

Source:
Photo:


The Seattle Ambassador program is giving Seattle residents the opportunity to see global poverty being fought firsthand.  The initiative was launched as a joint effort between the City of Seattle and the Seattle International Foundation.

The goal is to get Seattle residents involved in fighting global poverty. Home to over 3oo international organizations, Seattle is making a difference in over 144 different countries around the world. Already an impressive feat, Seattle is encouraging residents to take advantage of the opportunity to make a global difference. Out of that desire came the Seattle Ambassador program.

The Seattle Ambassador program is a very simple format. Residents sign up for text and email alerts from participating organizations. The organizations signed up with the program will send out updates on the work they are doing and opportunities to volunteer and get involved. In return, one resident will win a trip to go to either Africa, Asia, or Latin America to see and participate in the work being done in the host countries.

The first winner will be announced in June and up to three winners will be selected in the first year. Local media and communication have teamed up to share the program and help get residents involved.

For more information on the program check out the website at www.seattleambassador.org.

Amanda Kloeppel

Video: Seattle Ambassador

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