Koro is a six-year old girl who arrived at A Child for All’s orphanage (ACFA) without a home or family, her thin body extremely malnourished. The founder of ACFA, Kadiatou Sidibe, remembers the first meal Koro had with the organization in 2010. “It was lunch-time, and you know how in Mali, we all eat around one large plate of food. Koro saw the food; her eyes grew big. Then she took the whole dish and ran away—she didn’t know that there would be another meal later.”
Koro’s health has improved dramatically with the help of ACFA and its donors throughout the world. It’s hard to think that engineers and marketing managers 7,000 miles away in Mountain View, California are key to improving the life chances of Koro and other children at ACFA. But the fact is, they are.
Recently Google, Inc. partnered with GlobalGiving to launch its Hunger Relief Campaign, an initiative that encouraged employee donations to hunger relief agencies globally. Googlers took a short online quiz on food security to receive a GlobalGiving gift code that allowed them to donate US$10 online to a hunger-related project of their choice.
And no, they didn’t have to answer the quiz questions correctly.
ACFA is just one of fourteen projects listed on Globalgiving.org as part of Google’s campaign. Googlers could give to unique projects in India, Haiti, Guatemala, and Kenya (to name a few) but also to U.S.-based ones like the River Fund Mobile Pantry’s project to aid Hyperstorm Sandy victims.
“We love working with new partners like Google that innovatively deploy our gift card program to support their employees’ passions,” explains Mari Kuraishi, Co-founder and President of the GlobalGiving Foundation.
For ACFA, ten dollars goes a long way. “All of the children that come to us are malnourished. Ten dollars can provide multivitamins for two months,” says Sidibe. The Google Hunger Relief Campaign drew awareness to these issues and often, after redeeming the gift card and learning about the projects, employees chose to give an additional donation that their company matched.
Mali, where Koro is from, has one of the highest child mortality rates of children under age five in the world (178/1000). Over half of these deaths are related to malnutrition.
And the situation isn’t getting any easier. Droughts throughout the Sahel and rebel uprisings have struck simultaneously, leading to more than 400,000 displaced and in search of food or safety. The United Nations claims that the current situation has left 600,000 children under the age of 5 threatened by severe malnutrition.
“The children are staying at my father’s house, the same house that I grew up in.” The partnership with Google and GlobalGiving allows Sidibe to work towards what she’s long dreamed: a five-acre lot that can house up to one-hundred children and provide a medical facility, a school for grades one through nine, a library, and sports facilities. “All of this will help support the larger local community as well. People currently have to walk two kilometers to get to the closest medical facility.”
ACFA has already received a disbursement of US$4,750 through Google employee gift cards, a small fraction of total Google employee giving. This amount represents two months of ACFA’s operating budget and more than the annual nutrition needs for the current twelve children.
The Google Hunger Relief Campaign concluded at the end of 2012 and the result is absolutely amazing. Google employees donated nearly US$160,000 to provide more than 800,000 meals to communities around the world.