Posts Tagged ‘house’

 

It’s important to arm Nigerian girls, especially when the other guys won’t.

Posted by dennis on July 15th, 2010

It’s been obvious to me for a long time that the way to fuel sustainable, positive change in the world is to find, nurture, and fund local, grassroots solutions, like arming Nigerian girls…with the weapon of education.

So it’s always pleasantly surprising when I come across people who aren’t necessarily as steeped in the wonkiness of foreign aid and development as I am who completely get this intuitively.

Like Olivia Wilde, an actress who is currently on House. While I like the show, she really got my attention when she featured a GlobalGiving project on her blog.

Better yet, she explained why, writing, “Here’s the skinny: Small, grassroots organizations that focus on specific projects operated by the local community are often more effective and accountable than gargantuan, broad based, NGOs.”

Nice, Olivia.  It took you far less time than it took me to figure that out.

And now, I can only hope that with this kind of enthusiasm for the power of locally inspired projects and solutions ebbing up from all over–from Hollywood actresses to Alanna Shaikh–that eventually our major foreign aid institutions will follow suit and find ways to funnel more funding directly to them, as quickly as possible, and to allow the marketplace–not program officers or aid wonks–to decide what ideas should surface and which should sink.

So that instead of writing funding proposals and focusing on political relationships and attending meetings, the people with the great ideas can focus on doing what they do best: arming Nigerian girls with education and the like.

As Olivia astutely points out, that’s where the real effectiveness and accountability lie.

Dennis Whittle is Co-Founder and CEO of GlobalGiving.

For Sale: 1 House; Food for 30 Villages

Posted by alison on July 8th, 2008

house.jpgSaw 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?”