lisa kays Posts

More Than Me on giving the gift of education through GlobalGiving.

The More Than Me Foundation provides scholarships to girls in Liberia who would not otherwise be able to go to school.

This photo captures what More Than Me’s work means to those girls. It was also the Grand Prize and Africa region winner of GlobalGiving’s first Facebook photo contest. It appeared captioned as shown.

Last month, More Than Me’s founders, Katie Meyler and Stephanie Hood, stopped by a GlobalGiving staff meeting to talk about their work and give staff a glimpse of how GlobalGiving is serving its project partners well and where we can improve.

We were also curious about the strategy they used to win the photo contest. As part of efforts to strengthen the capacity of the non-profits we work with, we like to constantly be learning about best practices we can relay on to others competing in challenges in the future.

I have to admit, theirs was quite unexpected.

Stephanie and Katie explained that they were consistently in the running for first place, but that it was a tight race due to a highly competitive photo of a very cute little turtle.

So, on the final day of the challenge, they took their campaign to the streets. Or, to the circle, to be exact. Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C.

It wasn’t necessarily a pre-conceived plan. As Katie sat in the circle furiously emailing friends and family to ask them to vote for the photo, she found that people were curious about her efforts.

When she explained what she was doing and why, people started to, quite literally, line up to vote.

“I had this line at my laptop through Dupont Circle,” Katie explained to the staff.

And that, she thinks, is how they won.

At first, Katie and Stephanie weren’t sure they should tell us that. They wondered if it was fair.

Sure it is. Whether online or off, the spirit of GlobalGiving and these types of competitions is to foster awareness of and participation in making the world a better place through local efforts that address the direct needs of the people being served.

As you’ll see in the video below, raising awareness that leads to action is just what Katie and Stephanie are doing through More Than Me, and their story reveals how GlobalGiving can be a powerful part of that work.

People may not have come to Dupont Circle that day for an education in girls’ education, but if they went away a bit more curious about or committed to it, then the photo challenge–and Katie and Stephanie–had done their jobs.

Thanks, Katie and Stephanie, for sharing your story about how a global marketplace of concerned citizens helps you do more than any of us could do alone.

Lisa Kays is GlobalGiving’s Acting Communications Director.

Nightline: Soccer program views goals in more ways than one.

As some of you know, in honor of World Cup fever, we’ve been highlighting ways that soccer projects around the world are changing lives.

Last night, Nightline went one better and covered one of those projects in South Africa, providing a great article and video piece on how Academy of Hope in South Africa is helping men in prison re-direct their lives by directing the ball around the soccer field.

As Project Leader Mark Slessenger explains to Nightline, “These guys love football. It’s what they enjoy and soccer is just a way to get the guys out of the gangs. And if a guy loves soccer, he’s willing to leave the gang to come and develop because of his love for the sport.”

The program has a great success rate as well. Of 18 prisoners who have gone through it and been released, the story explains, only two have returned to prison.

Andre Soetwateer participated in the program and was released three months ago, writes Nightline. Working as an electrician, he explains, “It’s very hard, very hard. A lot of friends (are) smoking and using drugs….So for me to come outside out of prison, not doing that, is very hard for me to get in with them and try to communicate with them.”

But, he says, “I’m doing so many good things for people.  I’m so happy.”

Nightline explains that Andre is in good company in beating the odds, as the prison he walked out of–where Academy of Hope’s program is based–is the same one that Nelson Mandela walked out of in 1990.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Nightline continues,  “And soccer was key to the anti-apartheid struggle. It was a league inside the Robben Island prison, where Mandela spent 18 of his years behind bars, that served as a rallying point for the anti-apartheid movement.”

So, the legacy of soccer as a tool for good continues. Score!

Learn more:
Academy of Hope: Hope To Youth In Prison Through Soccer In Africa
GlobalGiving Soccer Projects Around The World
Nightline story: Soccer Saves: Soccer Team Changes Lives At South African Prison

Lisa Kays is GlobalGiving’s Acting Communications Director. She grew up playing soccer and knows firsthand that it’s a force for good in the world.

Dislike the oil spill? Hit “Like” to help out the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund

No one likes the oil spill.

And SharkStores has decided to help do something about it. By “Liking” their page on Facebook, you can show that you dislike the oil spill and want to help with relief.

For every “Like” that SharkStores receives, they’re giving 25 cents to the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund via GlobalGiving.

And, if they hit 5,000 new “Likes” by July 8th, they’ll double their gift (for up to 15,000 new “Likes”)!

So, if you don’t like the oil spill and the damage it’s doing to the Gulf Coast, head over to their Facebook page and “Like” it before July 8th to help drive some dollars to help provide emergency grants to nonprofit organizations helping the victims of the oil spill and address long-term economic, environmental, cultural effects of the disaster.

Learn more about the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund.

Lisa Kays is the Acting Communications Director at GlobalGiving. She dislikes the oil spill and has thus “Liked” SharkStores.

Today brings 50% match and world of difference to projects like Wuqu-Kawoq

Today is Bonus Day, when, until 11:59 p.m. EDT, GlobalGiving matches all gifts made at GlobalGiving.org up to $1,000 per project per donor at 50% up to $70,000 total–enabling donors to make their gifts go further and projects to receive significant inflows of funding that make a significant difference to their work.

This was the case for Wuqu-Kawoq, which was able to fully fund a child nutrition project due to our last Bonus Day in March. This year, they hope to do the same for a project focused on helping victims of Guatemala’s Tropical Storm Agatha.

Here’s their Bonus Day story in the words of Peter Rohloff, Wuqu-Kawoq’s Executive Director:

Wuqu-Kawoq addresses barriers to health care for Guatemala’s indigenous Maya population.

When Bonus Day came along last March, the result of our participation exceeded our wildest expectations.

Within one day, one of our projects–Child Malnutrition in the Bocacosta of Guatemala–had exceeded 100% of its fundraising goal, raising more than $10,000 on Bonus Day alone.

We were floored.

By leveraging the GlobalGiving community and matching funds, we were able to fully fund the project much faster than we could have otherwise.

Bonus Day helped reduce malnutrition among children
As a result, we were able to purchase “Sprinkles,” a micronutrient preparation for babies that tastes much better than the product we had been using. We were also able to install water filters in every home in the communities where we work–one of the most sustainable ways to prevent childhood disease and malnutrition.

It worked.

Over the life of the project,  malnutrition in children declined from 70% to 35% and we prevented and reversed stunting in children from 6 months to age three.

Our hope is for Bonus Day to fuel relief efforts for survivors of Tropical Storm Agatha
This year, we hope Bonus Day will help us raise critically important funds to help rebuild following Tropical Storm Agatha.

Our relief project will implement two phases of recovery in the communities where we work, where 1,000-2,000 families are now without homes and the storm destroyed all crops and municipal water systems.

After a thorough needs assessment, which we’ve been conducting over the past few weeks, we will focus on providing critical clean water and medical supplies, and then will turn to re-establishing a stable water source.

On behalf of my colleagues at Wuqu-Kawoq, I’d like to thank the GlobalGiving community for supporting our work in Guatemala.

To further assist survivors of Tropical Storm Agatha and to make your gift go further, please consider making a gift to our relief project on Bonus Day (today!).

Or, give to any project on GlobalGiving.org. All gifts made today through 11:59 p.m. EDT (or until the $70,000 limit is reached) on GlobalGiving.org will be matched at 50% up to $1,000 per donor per project.

Peter Rohloff is the Executive Director of Wuqu-Kawoq, a project of GlobalGiving.

World Cup inspires seeing soccer/football as mechanism for social change.

Yesterday, I got a Tweet from @Alyssa_Milano reminding me that, “Before the #WorldCup is won, 100k Africans will die from malaria.” She encouraged me to, “Join players & fans: http://bit.ly/WC_a_m6 #endmalaria.

The link clicks through to the United Nation’s “Unite Against Malaria” Facebook page.

This was quite timely, as the Tweet came through just as I was creating GlobalGiving’s World Cup landing page, featuring projects related to soccer.

Not long after, Tobias Eigen, President of Kabissa, an organization that bolsters civil society in Africa, sent out a message asking everyone what they were doing to leverage the World Cup in their awareness-raising and social change efforts in Africa.

Indeed, when it comes to this kind of thinking about how to leverage this year’s World Cup for good, it seems everyone is on the ball. (Pun intended, but with apologies nonetheless.)

It’s 10 a.m. on the day the World Cup is launching, and, in addition to those above, I’ve already seen Tweets or emails linking the World Cup to issues of global awareness and social action from @growingupglobal and even @usaid, and, of course, @peacecorpsconnect.

It’s fun and exciting to see an international sports platform being used in such creative, inventive ways to draw attention to issues which are less fun, but even more important than a soccer game, such as malaria, poverty alleviation, and HIV/AIDS.

The projects GlobalGiving is featuring on our World Cup landing page drive this home.

In just the sampling of projects we feature that tie to soccer, the issues being tackled include using soccer to help inmates in South African prisons reintegrate into society, reducing stigmas associated with amputees in Sierra Leone through amputee soccer, providing soccer as recreation for children in a refugee camp in Rafah, and using soccer as a means to build leadership and self-esteem for military daughters in the U.S.

Those are just a few of the ways that GlobalGiving projects are using soccer to create social change for people around the world. (Here’s the full list.)

We’re looking forward to seeing how the World Cup is used to fuel awareness of and support for projects and issues like these as much as we’re looking forward to the matches themselves.

And trust us, we’re really excited about the matches.