Thursday, November 04, 2010

Ideas worth reading about

Check out these ideas and links very thoroughly. They are worthwhile and demonstrate how the simplest idea can be transformative. It's an encouragement for me to move beyond my ideas and push them into reality.

D.I.Y. Foreign-Aid Revolution by Nicholas D. Kristof, a New York Times Op-Ed columnist.
I became interested in such figures while writing a book with my wife, Sheryl WuDunn, about educating and empowering women as a solution to many of the world’s problems. We ran into extraordinary men, like Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank, who pioneered microfinance in Bangladesh. Or Bill Drayton, an American who is a godfather of entrepreneurs working for social change and who now runs a group called Ashoka to support them. Or Greg Mortenson, whose struggles to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan are chronicled in “Three Cups of Tea.” But it struck us that women in particular were finding creative ways to help the world’s most vulnerable people, many of them also women.

How to Change the World from Nicholas D. Kristof's "On the Ground" blog.
First, dip your toe in the waters to get a sense of the work that is being done and to find what resonates most with you. Another approach is to browse a comprehensive site like Global Giving, where organizations around the world have posted their wish lists. Another easy first step is to sponsor someone abroad through a program that lets you contribute a certain amount each month to that person and exchange letters.

Meanwhile, keep an eye out for a cause and organization that particularly speaks to you, that exhilarates you. Then dive in and focus your efforts on that organization. Also, don’t limit your involvement to writing checks. People are also needed to sign petitions and write indignant letters to members of Congress. Try to visit a project that you’ve supported. This doesn’t work for everybody, but think about volunteering for a stint abroad. Or there are many other organizations that will take volunteers to teach English or do other work, and it truly can be a life-changing experience.

I also recommend the books by David Bornstein on social entrepreneurship. His best known is “How to Change the World,” which has become the bible of would be change-makers. There is also a list of recommended organizations by Kristof.

Finding Volunteer Trips that Actually Help. By Marnie Hunter, CNN.
The idea of volunteering away from home seems like a win-win to many travelers: a way to experience and help another community at the same time. But without a solid, well-designed program and reasonable expectations, volunteer travel can do more harm than good.

Showing up in parts unknown, hoping to make a big difference in a small amount of time, is likely to leave travelers and hosts disappointed.

"You're not going to change the world in a week or two. You're not going to eradicate poverty in a village. You're not going to teach a kid how to read," said Doug Cutchins, a former Peace Corps volunteer and co-author of "Volunteer Vacations: Short-term Adventures That Will Benefit You and Others."

The key to having a positive impact in a short amount of time is realizing that your efforts are part of a process, Cutchins said. Results are subtle and come about slowly through a long line of volunteers.

ConCERT Cambodia. ConCERT – "Connecting Communities, Environment & Responsible Tourism" - is a non profit organisation based in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Our aim is to reduce poverty, and we do this by bringing together people who want to help, and local organisations that need the kind of support they can give.

At ConCERT we have information on a range of organisations that are engaged in humanitarian activities, all of whom need your support. They are well managed and financially transparent, and work in partnership with local people.
We also have a wealth of information on the causes and effects of poverty in Cambodia; this information explains why there is such an urgent need for your support.

Global Giving. The world is full of problems. GlobalGiving is full of solutions. GlobalGiving connects you to the causes and countries you care about. You select projects you want to support, make a tax-deductible contribution, and get regular progress updates - so you can see how your gift is making a difference.

One Day's Wages. One Day’s Wages (ODW) is a new grassroots movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty. ODW promotes awareness, invites simple giving, and supports sustainable relief through partnerships, especially with smaller organizations in developing regions.

New Hope Cambodia. New Hope Cambodia is a grass roots, hands on and non government organization. “Whilst 'free education for all' is our priority, an important step in breaking the cycle of poverty, we cannot ignore the chronic malnutrition; ill health and appalling living conditions our students and families face every day”.

Ponheary Ly Foundation. The PLF is supported not only by private donations but by the dedicated work of both local Cambodian volunteers and visitors from abroad. Volunteers have taught, bathed, cooked for, played with and inspired children. They have bundled, loaded and delivered supplies to children and schools far and wide.

The PLF is about people showing up and paying attention. We hope if you’re ever in our neck of the woods, you’ll join us.

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