Archive for July, 2008


Girl in a Whirl

Posted by alison on July 11th, 2008

This spring, we were sad to say goodbye to our intern, Julia.  But like most GG staff, goodbye isn’t forever.  Julia has kept us up-to-date on her adventures, including some GG related.  Recently, she returned from a trip through Central America with her boyfriend to celebrate their graduate school graduations.  Check out what she had to say, and visit her blog to find out more!

In May, my boyfriend, Marcus, and I took a trip to Central America in honor of our graduate school graduations. For him, it was a chance to explore and unwind, but for me, it was so much more. You see, I’ve spent the last eight years griping about world poverty and the last four studying it. But, until May, I had never been to a developing nation in my life, and I had never seen with my own eyes the problems or the solutions in action.

Just outside of Antigua, Guatemala, about a 45-minute drive through the mountains, there is a small town called Santiago, which is home to AFEDES, the Women’s Association for the Development of the Sacatepéquez Region. Here, 11 indigenous women run an organization with roughly 34 chapters and 1,000 members. A true grassroots organization, AFEDES was founded by women who believed that they could improve the quality of life in their region by working together. And so they have.

AFEDES runs programs that empower women academically, economically, politically, psychologically, and socially. The women of AFEDES provide loans to help families send young girls to school and loans to help local women with their small businesses. They run workshops to educate women on women’s rights, sexual health, civic engagement, and financial management; they provide a forum for women to discuss issues of gender, self-esteem, and community. In May, I visited the organization to learn more about one specific program-a program that I helped fund through GlobalGiving.

When Marcus and I decided to travel to Central America, we also decided that we wanted to do it responsibly-we wanted to give something back to the people and the places that would give us new experiences and lifelong memories. So, we each made donations to a grassroots program in every country that we would visit. AFEDES’s Foot Loom Training Program was my Guatemalan pick, and they, together with GlobalGiving, invited me to visit the Santiago office in person, so that I could finally see with my own eyes a solution in action.

Read the rest of her story here.

A World Without Torture

Posted by alison on July 9th, 2008

Karen Tse, a GlobalGiving Project Leader and CEO and founder of International Bridges to Justice (IBJ) asked us to help get the word out about JusticeMakers – an online competition for innovations that end torture, arbitrary detainment and abuse. This initiative was inspired by people such as IBJ Fellow Ouk Vandeth of Cambodia – a former policeman turned criminal defender – and many other passionate individuals who deliver due process rights to the accused.”Ending torture isn’t an unattainable goal,” said Ouk. “It is just about guaranteeing people the legal protections afforded to them by law.”

The competition will award $5,000 to the 8 best proposals for concrete, achievable action, and is open to anyone with an idea and a familiarity with his or her country’s criminal justice system. JusticeMakers launched on June 26, and the goal is to get 300 entries by
August 14. (Check out their video to learn more).

So be creative – submit your idea online, and you could walk away with $5,000 to make the concept a reality. Even if you don’t want to compete, you can engage with criminal legal experts from around the world or provide feedback to competitors. If you know passionate, entrepreneurial advocates for criminal justice, spread the word!

And help move the world one step closer to ending torture in the 21st century.

For Sale: 1 House; Food for 30 Villages

Posted by alison on July 8th, 2008

Saw this story on CNN:

The Salwen family is no stranger to service.  Kevin is on the board of Atlanta Habitat for Humanity; Joan works as a teacher; 15-year-old Hannah volunteers at the Atlanta Community Food Bank and has been working at Cafe 458, a restaurant that serves homeless people, since she was in the 5th grade; and 13-year-old Joseph has worked at the Food Bank since he was 8.

Still, they felt like there was more to do, so they started “Hannah’s Lunchbox“.  The idea started wtih a brainstorm of what things they could do without, how could they make a difference.  And they settled on their 6,500 square-foot house – complete with 5 bedrooms, 8 fireplaces and even an elevator.  They decided to sell the house, move into one half its size and give half of the proceeds – roughly $800,000 – away to charity.

Ultimately, the Salwens chose The Hunger Project to receive the money from their house.  Over a 6-year period, it will end up in Ghana, helping 30 villages grow food and build clinics and schools.

Their house is the American dream, but the Salwens are hoping to redefine what that means.  How much do we really need?  And how committed are we to paying more than lip-service to makinga  difference?  “We as Americans have so much,” said Kevin, a former Wall Street Journal writer. “We love the concept of half. We are going from a house that’s 6,000 square feet to a house that’s half the size, and we’re giving away half the money.”

The Salwen family is a great example and unequivocally answer the question of “What are you willing to give up to make a difference?”

Dancing Around The World

Posted by Donna Callejon on July 7th, 2008

 The other day I was reading BoingBoing and found an incredible video that seemed perfect to share with the GlobalGiving community. 

“Matthew Harding spent 14 months visiting 42 countries in order to produce “Where the Hell is Matt?”, a four-and-a-half minute video featuring Harding (and anyone else he could rope into it) doing an incredibly silly, high-energy dance in some of the most breathtaking scenery around the world. This may be the best four minutes and twenty-eight seconds of your week.” 

Check it out: [vimeo][/vimeo] Matt’s web site provides the following background:

“Matt is a 31-year-old deadbeat from Connecticut who used to think that all he ever wanted to do in life was make and play videogames. Matt achieved this goal pretty early and enjoyed it for a while, but eventually realized there might be other stuff he was missing out on. In February of 2003, he quit his job in Brisbane, Australia and used the money he’d saved to wander around Asia until it ran out. He made this site so he could keep his family and friends updated about where he is.  

“A few months into his trip, a travel buddy gave Matt an idea. They were standing around taking pictures in Hanoi, and his friend said “Hey, why don’t you stand over there and do that dance. I’ll record it.” He was referring to a particular dance Matt does. It’s actually the only dance Matt does. He does it badly. Anyway, this turned out to be a very good idea.

“A couple years later, someone found the video online and passed it to someone else, who passed it to someone else, and so on. Now Matt is quasi-famous as “That guy who dances on the internet. No, not that guy. The other one. No, not him either. I’ll send you the link. It’s funny.”

“The response to the first video brought Matt to the attention of the nice people at Stride gum. They asked Matt if he’d be interested in taking another trip around the world to make a new video. Matt asked if they’d be paying for it. They said yes. Matt thought this sounded like another very good idea” 



Posted by bill brower on July 4th, 2008

On Tuesday, GlobalGiving staffers headed to the N Street Village uproot overgrown weeds and add some zest to the neighborhood garden.

N Street Village empowers homeless and low-income women to claim their highest quality of life by offering a broad spectrum of services and advocacy in an atmosphere of dignity and respect. The Village also provides affordable rental housing for low and moderate-income individuals and families.

Liz Odera receives the French Order of Youth and Sports Medal!

Posted by saima on July 2nd, 2008

We’d like to congratulate Liz Odera of Sadili Oval and the Malezi Foundation for receiving the French Order of Youth and Sports Medal from the French Government for her work in the development of youth sports in Kenya, and her commitment to excellence in education. Liz has three great projects on GlobalGiving: Train 3000 Kibera youth in sport & life skills, The African Child Sport & Education Fund Needs You, Provide Kibera Slum Children with 1500 Solar Lamps . I met Liz in the spring of 2007 when I traveled to Nairobi for a Sport for Social Change Network meeting where Nike was one of the sponsors. I was there to talk about online giving at GlobalGiving and to get a few projects up and running on our website. Over time, I have gotten to know Liz and she is one of the kindest, most dedicated persons I know. Kenya is so lucky to have Liz and I feel incredibly lucky to have met and befriended her. She has several times invited me to visit again and I certainly hope I will be able to do so soon. “I really do hope to have you in Kenya one day in the near future. Do let me know whenever you wish to come. We have a guest house with very simple setup, nothing like what you have in the USA, but you are always welcome to come with Arshad and stay there at no cost. I remember that you had really difficulty finding food that you could eat when we were at the workshop, you will be able to cook for yourselves, or eat out at some of our many restaurants in the city.”

Besides Liz just being a wonderful awesome person she has many amazing accomplishments:

  • Liz is an international tennis player
  • Through initial support by the IOC (through the Kenyan National Olympic Committee) and Professional Tennis Registry, she initiated the Tennis Africa Cup, which is now the single largest network of junior players.
  • Her work in establishing East Africa’s first performance academy programs has seen the national rugby 7s and 15s grow to high world rankings.
  • She has taken Kenya’s tennis juniors, Rahab Mbugua and Maurice Wamukowa, to play Division I University Tennis and attain full scholarships in the USA.
  • Under her active encouragement, the Sadili Flames Basketball team was the first junior team ever to break through the Division I to enter the Kenyan National Classic League in 2004, and many of the team members went on to play top college and league basketball in Kenya, USA and Australia.
  • She successfully piloted the Nature and Sports Camps together with UNEP and GSA, a children’s sport and environmental leadership initiative that is expected to roll out to other underprivileged communities in the world.
  • Liz holds degree qualifications in sports sciences, immunology, parasitology and education.

Again, congratulations Liz!