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Jolkona has spent the past five years dedicating to bringing transparent and high impact philanthropy to people in need all over the world. With the help of our giving community, we have raised over $700,000 dollars across 45 countries, impacting thousands. However, after gathering five years worth of data, we began to wonder if we were really providing as much impact as possible with such a global focus. What real difference does a thousand dollars make when distributed here and there? What could that money really achieve if it was dedicated to lifting up one country or region at a time?

This was the philosophy that led to the creation of our two newest programs, Lift Bangla and Project Catalyst. Beginning this month, Jolkona will make developing these two programs our primary focus, and we will no longer provide donation opportunities through Give Direct, or Give Together. We believe that these changes will allow us improve our real impact and stay innovative in philanthropy. We hope that you join us as we embark on this new journey.

Lift Bangla takes the model that Jolkona has developed over the last five years – a microgiving platform that provides real feed back for every donation. This time, we will focus on Bangladesh, a growing center of social innovation. We are partnering with Bangladeshi organizations that create new models for healthcare, provide education and many other areas. Previously, finding and funding these projects was a challenge, but we mean to change that with Lift Bangla. As this program develops, we aim to launch Lift in other innovative communities in need.

If you have been following Jolkona in June, you likely saw that the first term of Project Catalyst was a success. This program is another way that we can drive real impact in a developing nation, this time by providing an intensive business development incubator for young social innovators in Indonesia. To learn more about this program, and see the impact it has already had, read the blog pieces covering our first cohort. Our team will dive into selecting the next cohort this month, and the next term of Project Catalyst will begin in October.

Even though we are moving in a new direction, our philosophies are still the same. We are still dedicated to a transparent giving experience that shows real impact. We hope that you join us as we ‘lift’ a new leaf, and once again bring the spirit of innovation into philanthropy. Through August, we will welcome new team members and work on building a thriving community focused on driving social innovation in Bangladesh and Indonesia.

Once again, we want to thank our community for supporting us these past five years, and we hope you are as excited as we are to see the future of these new Jolkona initiatives. Stay tuned for more updates!

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It’s been nearly a month since our first cohort of Project Catalyst presented their business pitches after two weeks of hard work. And, in another several weeks, the Jolkona office will be busy sorting applications to select our next Project Catalyst cohort. What else to do in this down time, but reflect? Especially for a pilot project, the first session of Project Catalyst was a success. Not only did we experience overwhelming support from our community, but we also provided a positive experience for our cohort, and learned a lot about how we can improve our program for future sessions.

First of all, we would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who was involved in making Project Catalyst a success. From providing tours for Seattle’s businesses and nonprofits, to teaching workshops, providing valuable mentorship and welcoming home-stays, Jolkona asked over ninety people to help us with this program. Not a single person turned us down, and for that we are immensely thankful. In addition, we would also like to thank those who were able to attend the June 19th Showcase event. The support and donations you provided to our entrepreneurs, and to the Investor’s Choice winner, Mirah, helped Project Catalyst close on a high note.

Of course, we would like to thank the heart of this first session of Project Catalyst – our entrepreneurs. It wouldn’t have been nearly the same without the drive and enthusiasm of Nadine, Nadya, Dino, Hendriyadi and Mirah. Each brought a passion for social innovation, a clear sense of purpose, and an excitement for exploration. It was an honor to launch this exciting program with them, and spend two weeks exploring Seattle with them! According to Nadine, “Project Catalyst truly lived up to its name. I feel catalyzed to take my business and social impact to the next level.” If you would like to the perspective of a cohort member, check out Nadya’s blog post reflecting on her Project Catalyst experience.

If you would like to get involved in Project Catalyst, there are a number of ways you can make a difference:

  • Become a mentor, coach, teacher or sponsor.
  • Become a homestay host if you are in Seattle, WA.
  • Attend the Final Showcase where the participants pitch their business.
  • Support these social entrepreneurs fulfill their mission after they get back home.
  • Share Project Catalyst on your network; like us onFacebook and follow us on Twitter.

Be sure to volunteer by the application deadline on August 7th!

We are excited to see how Project Catalyst will progress, and we are so pleased that our first session went so well. Thank you again, to all who made it a success!

Project Catalyst is an accelerator for international social ventures. This 2-week intensive workshop brings social entrepreneurs from developing countries to Seattle, where they can hone their business plans, gain valuable insights, and meet prospective investors and funders.

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By 9am last Friday morning, our Project Catalyst entrepreneurs were already hard at work prepping their business pitches with leadership coach Susan Bloch. For the past week and a half, our first cohort have been learning, practicing, and networking in preparation for the final Project Catalyst showcase on Thursday evening.

Nadine draws shield

Nadine Zamira designs her shield

A key part of all of this preparation was defining a personal brand and getting feedback from the Tell Your Story workshop with Susan Bloch. Susan’s illustrious background includes coaching senior executives and their boardroom teams, including those at Fortune 500 companies around the world, to enhance their leadership skills. She has authored four books on leadership, such as The Global You, which she gifted to each of our entrepreneurs. She dedicates much of her time consulting with Seattle area non-profits, and has focused much of her research on helping women reach the boardroom.

The morning began with creating a hypothetical design for a shield – essentially a sigil that would project an important visual message about each person. After creating their illustrations, our entrepreneurs shared their designs, and got feedback on the impact of their message. After this, Susan led a discussion on the aspects of a successful pitch, including the importance of the first impression, and the entrepreneurs were left with just ten minutes to develop the first five minutes of their pitch.

The last hour of the workshop was where a great deal of the prep work for Thursday’s event took place. Each entrepreneur took turns presenting the first five minutes of their pitch, and in turn received in-depth feedback from Susan, who was hearing their pitches for the first time, and from their team mates, who have heard each pitch develop throughout the week.

dino gives feedback

Dino Fitriza gives feedback on a pitch

This workshop was just one of many preparing our Project Catalyst entrepreneurs for their showcase on Thursday, June 19th, at 6pm at the University of Washington. This event is public, and Jolkona invites you to come and support Nadine Zamira’s communications agency, LeafPlus, Dino Fitriza’s reusable bag venture Vertesac, Nadya Saib’s natural toiletries company, Wangsa Jelita, Mirah Mahaswari’s book distribution organization Pack Your Spirit, and Hendriyadi Bahtiar’s Healthy Shredded Fish, which provides business opportunities for fishermen’s wives and other women.

If you would like to join Jolkona in celebrating the innovation and hard work these entrepreneurs have put into developing their social enterprises, head over to Eventbrite and grab a free ticket. Spaces are limited, so don’t delay! There will be light h’ordeuvres, followed by an Indonesian dinner. We would love to see you there!

Project Catalyst is an accelerator for international social ventures. This 2-week intensive workshop brings social entrepreneurs from developing countries to Seattle, where they can hone their business plans, gain valuable insights, and meet prospective investors and funders.

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This Sunday, May 11, is Mother’s Day: the day we celebrate moms and what they do for us and our communities. Many of us take this opportunity to shower our mothers with gifts, cards and affection — but what about giving a gift that also impacts a mother in need?

Jolkona is here to help you find a Mother’s Day gift that honors moms in more ways than one. Your donations can support three projects that improve maternal health in Palestine, Guatemala and India.

Support Safe Births in Palestine

Your gift through MADRE will provide a “safe birth” medical kit, and help train and equip Israeli and Palestinian midwives to deliver babies in the West Bank. Due to movement restrictions, an estimated 2500 Palestinian women face difficulties on their way to hospitals and birthing facilities. With your help, midwives can reduce maternal and infant mortality, by providing the resources needed for a safe pregnancy and successful delivery.

Provide Maternal and Prenatal care in Guatemala

Your gift through Project Concern International (PCI) will help indigenous Guatemalan women living in isolated rural communities have access to prenatal care, as well as safe and clean birthing facilities. With your help, PCI will train hundreds of community health workers to make sure both mothers and babies are healthy and safe before, during, and after delivery.

Provide Prenatal care in Calcutta

Your gift through Calcutta kids will help provide six months of prenatal care, a safe birthing facility, and post-partum care for a woman living in the slums of Calcutta. Calcutta Kids uses community-based programs to optimize the health of both mother and child throughout pregnancy, leading to higher birth weights, and better immune and neurological development.

When you celebrate Mother’s Day by giving a gift in your mom’s honor to one of these Jolkona partner projects, you know you are making your own mother proud by aiding another in need. Happy Mother’s Day!

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Imagine a city that is carbon neutral, has zero emissions, uses sustainable energy sources and  builds a comprehensive public transportation. This is the “city of the future,” according to the Earth Day Network’s Green Cities Campaign – and a future not too far away, especially here in Seattle.

Seattle is consistently ranked among the top Green Cities in the U.S. due to our ordinances to reduce the impacts of climate change and use of sustainable energy. Not only is Seattle home to the world’s greenest commercial building, the Bullit Center, but we also have the University of Washington’s campus-wide dedication to composting and a growing light rail system. Even more, Seattle is pioneering the use of coastal underwater turbines – a sustainable source of hydroelectric power that doesn’t impact important rivers and waterways. With our commitment to innovation in philanthropy, Jolkona is proud to call Seattle home.

The Green Cities campaign, a feature of Earth Day 2014, encourages cities to update their infrastructures and building codes to reduce emissions, increase efficiency and emphasize the development of key areas like public transportation, green buildings and renewable energy.

In honor of Earth Day 2014, YOU can take action in your community to promote the Green City vision. It is never too late to support a clean future for your home! Learn more from the Earth Day Network.

You can also support Earth Day globally by funding a project through Jolkona that supports the environment.

This Earth Day, join Jolkona in celebrating Seattle, the green city we call home, and work to improve sustainability both in your community and globally!

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Earth Day is less than a week away, and an excellent time to reflect on what we can do to celebrate our planet and keep it healthy.

When we focus on sustainable agricultural practices or conservation, we can improve global health and help lift people out of extreme poverty. Of course, meaningful change starts with what we do from day to day to take better care of our planet.

Here are some things Jolkona is doing to help the environment. What will you be doing?

  1. Jolkona HQ is getting new recycling bins, thanks to Partner Coordinator, Ross Polk. Now we can be more responsible with our office waste. Perhaps a compost bin is in the future?
  2. Aparna Rae, our Development Manager, receives a CSA box (community supported agriculture) where she gets a variety of fresh produce directly from local farmers. Learn more about CSAs in her guest post tomorrow!
  3. Nicole, our Communications Manager, is taking a thermos everywhere she goes, so that she can avoid using disposable coffee cups.
  4. Give to educate farmers in Kenya in bio-intensive farming, so they can better feed their families, farm sustainably, and support bio-diversity.
  5. Give to conserve the rainforest in Tanzania, and reduce poverty by empowering local villages to maintain and protect the forest.
  6. Give to conserve Rainforests in Bangladesh through Lift Bangla, by restoring water supply to the indigenous community so they can continue to farm sustainably.

Whether you make small changes in your own life, like getting a CSA box and reducing waste like Aparna and Nicole, or you donate $10 to a nonprofit project that supports our environment, you will make a difference for our planet. With only a couple days until Earth Day, why not start now?

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As part of National Volunteer Week, Jolkona is pleased to announce not just one, but two Volunteers of the Year! Congratulations, and thank you so much, to Nancy Xu and Chi Do.

Jolkona CEO Nadia Mahmud describes the service and dedication of our honorees:

Jolkona was started on a strong culture of volunteerism, and six years later, we continue to grow because of the skills, time and connections that our volunteers donate. In 2013, with me on maternity leave, having the support of volunteers was extra important to me and the organization. In my absence, so many people went above and beyond for Jolkona. I was not able to pick just one person to recognize, so I wanted to recognize two individuals for all of their contributions to Jolkona in 2013: Nancy Xu and Chi Do.

Nancy Xu

Nancy Xu

Nancy Xu has been a volunteer with Jolkona for the last four years, working on various projects related to video production, graphic design, and most recently working on the tech team to lead our website redesign. Last year, Nancy went above and beyond as a volunteer to help our ambitious website redesign get done by June. She created the updated design and helped coordinate the project so that we were ready for the launch. And, after the website launch, she managed a group of design and tech interns and volunteers complete initiatives for the next version of the website, and to make necessary updates. In addition to that, Nancy also helped with and attended the Jolkona expedition to West Africa earlier in the year.

Without Nancy, our website launch would not have been possible last year, or would have cost Jolkona a lot of money. So, I wanted to recognize her for the skills and time she has donated to Jolkona to make our web presence and mission stronger than before.

Chi Do

Chi Do

Chi Do has also been a longtime volunteer, working with Jolkona for the past three years or so. She first started out working on our Partnership Team, and then moved on to Events. Last year, Chi went above and beyond as a volunteer by heading up the entire Events Team. Chi also took the initiative to help launch the Microsoft Giving Campaign in 2012 and the bigger and better version of 2013.

Aside from helping with a successful relaunch party and holiday party last year, she successfully helped manage one of Jolkona’s biggest fundraisers, the Giving in Style fashion show at Microsoft. The event was a huge success, with close to 100 people attending, over 30 volunteers helping, and thousands of dollars raised for Jolkona’s operational growth which is so critical for us to grow our mission.

Each one of our volunteers and interns plays a vital role in expanding our mission of inspiring more philanthropy through small donations. I wanted to again congratulate and recognize Chi and Nancy for their efforts in 2013 as our Volunteers of the Year! Thanks again for your dedication to service and for supporting Jolkona all these years, especially in 2013. Adnan and I look forward to celebrating this with you soon over dinner!

If you’re interested in volunteering with Jolkona, keep an eye on our website for internship opportunities, or just email volunteer@jolkona.org.

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Jolkona’s volunteers are absolutely essential to what we do — not only because of their skills, but also because of their dedication and positive energy. Even when it’s time to say goodbye, their professional contributions and personal friendships have a lasting impact on our team.

As part of National Volunteer Week, Jolkona is honoring Jessica Wicksnin, a talented web developer who is pursuing a career as a web apps engineer at Qazzow.

Nancy Xu, our Design/Tech Director, describes working with her:

Jessica joined us last year and has been such a great part of our tech team ever since. She worked on our Jolkona website (2 versions of them!), helped ramp up new team members and wrote great documentation of what we did (the rest of us somehow never get around to doing this). Her latest project – a philanthropy quiz – will be launched in the next week or so!

I love working with Jessica because she is very thoughtful when it comes to solving tough programming challenges, she is a great communicator and explains things really well, and she’s so warm and friendly so everyone here enjoys her presence!

Dhanya Satya, our HR Recruiter, adds:

Jessica is awesome! I like the energy and the positivity she has towards her dream, her pet, her blog, and basically everything. She is extremely determined and the very fact that she has transitioned so seamlessly and made a career change is a testament for that. I will surely miss having her here  at Jolkona. I am sure she is  going to shine wherever she goes.

Dedicated volunteers like Jessica have a huge impact on small organizations like Jolkona, and on the nonprofit sector as a whole. Be sure to join Jolkona in recognizing National Volunteer Week as an opportunity to thank the volunteers who give their time to improve your office and community.

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What do mosquitoes, freshwater snails and ticks have in common? All three are vectors – critters that transmit deadly diseases like malaria and dengue fever – and therefore major villains in this year’s vector-borne disease themed World Health Day, the April 7th World Health Organization observance that raises awareness of serious global health problems.

Three facts to think about over the weekend:

  • More than 1 billion people are infected and more than 1 million die from vector-borne diseases every year.
  • Vector-borne diseases account for more than 17 percent of all infectious diseases.
  • Malaria causes more than 600 000 deaths every year globally, most of them children under 5 years old.

Many of these diseases are preventable, primarily by improving access to clean water and sanitation. Jolkona’s partner MADRE works in Kenya to provide sources of clean water in rural, indigenous communities. This project builds communal collection points in villages in schools, and trains local people in hygiene, health, and water system maintenance.

Along with preventing and treating vector-borne diseases, our health partners also work hard to improve access to prenatal care, lifesaving surgeries and prosthetics. You can make a difference, too, by supporting any of these projects:

You can observe World Health Day on Monday by learning more about vector-borne diseases and contributing to a global health project — even with just $10. As we say here at Jolkona: every drop counts.

Photo Credit: WHO/S. Hollyman

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Jolkona’s mission is to engage a new generation of philanthropists, by making giving easy, meaningful and transparent. Millennials like me (ages 22-35) yearn for something more when it comes to philanthropy: we want to go beyond making donations, to be truly engaged with social change. According to Nonprofit Quarterly, while older generations value giving time and financial support to organizations, we millennials want to be excited and passionate about a cause — learning new skills and expanding our networks along the way.

The evolution of Jolkona’s Give Together campaign, our monthly giving program, reflects our mission and millennial perspective. Starting at $10/month, members are invited to our private Facebook group, where you can view project proposals from our nonprofit partners, discuss the pros and cons, and lobby for your favorite. It’s a unique way to learn about different causes, engage in the grant-making process, and network with a community of passionate, like-minded donors.

In the same way that engaging millennials is the driving force in 21st century philanthropy, empowering women is the driving force of global development. This month’s Give Together theme is “Women & Girls,” tied to our March Give to Girls campaign, with nine projects targeting women’s education, maternal health and empowerment. Give Together is our bonus tenth option: we’re considering three proposals to change girls’ lives in Afghanistan (Barakat), Nepal (Bo M. Karlsson Foundation) and Nicaragua (MADRE). Join Give Together before March 31, and help us choose which innovative project gets this month’s grant.

When you Give Together, you can be part of the changing face of philanthropy. You can give with a network of other passionate philanthropists, and be more knowledgable than ever about the projects you support. Give Together for Girls.

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Jolkona’s Give to Girls campaign revolves around the idea that the world’s women — over half the global population — are a significant untapped resource. Women represent 70 percent of the world’s poor, disproportionately suffering in times of crisis: natural disasters, economic downturns, wars. On the other hand, as more women gain equality in the workforce, the faster a country’s economy will recover and grow.

This doesn’t only apply to the developing world; America’s GDP would jump by 9 percent if we had equal pay. Empowering women, along with giving them access to better healthcare and education, is the key to local and global development.

You can help three Jolkona partners empower women:

Give Life and Tech Skills to Homeless Women in the U.S.

Many homeless women in the U.S. can’t get back on their feet because they lack the skills needed to find jobs in today’s economy. Jolkona’s partner the Jubilee Women’s Center, works to help Seattle women transition out of extreme poverty, with a comprehensive life and tech skills program including classes in Microsoft Office, interview and job retention practices.

Support Rape Survivors in Haiti Displacement Camp

Four years after Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake, more than 100,000 people are still living in tent camps — unstable conditions that have made women even more vulnerable to sexual violence. Jolkona’s partner MADRE provides peer-counseling groups to help rape survivors empower each other and heal together, and works with local organizations to build effective community anti-violence strategies.

Support Women Farmers in Sudan

Women in Sudan grow 80 percent of the food crops, yet are excluded from government farm aid programs. The country’s farmers also struggle to survive the ongoing war, environmental degradation from unsustainable practices, and droughts and floods from climate change. Jolkona’s partner MADRE provides women farmers with tools, seeds, and ongoing training — enabling them to feed their families and achieve financial independence.

With the right set of tools, any woman can become empowered, and empowered women are one of the greatest potential forces for global change. Give to Girls today!

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Giving birth is one of the most dangerous things a woman can do, especially in a developing country. But with your help, Jolkona’s Give to Girls campaign is raising funds this month for programs focused on improving maternal health in Palestine, Guatemala, and India.

According to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, around 300,000 women die in childbirth every year; according to the World Health Organization (WHO) nearly 5 million babies die before their first birthday every year. This doesn’t include the women and children who suffer permanent injuries, malnutrition and physical and neurological under development. The good news is that many of these deaths and injuries are preventable, if we can improve access to adequate prenatal and maternal health services.

Each of these Give to Girls projects aim to help women have safe pregnancies and healthy babies:

Support Safe Births in Palestine

Due to its status as a conflict zone, Palestine is a difficult place for a woman to give birth; maternal health conditions have actually been in decline since 2000. Jolkona’s partner MADRE works to provide prenatal care and safe births and prevent unnecessary deaths for women in West Bank, who are unable to access a hospital or adequate care.

MADRE works with Palestinian and Israeli midwives to provide training, prenatal supplements, portable ultrasound devices and birth kits, so that as many women as possible can deliver their babies safely.

Reduce Infant Mortality in Guatemala

Guatemala has the highest infant mortality rate in South America. The majority of these deaths occur in rural indigenous populations, among the poorest 20 percent of people in Guatemala. Jolkona’s partner Project Concern International provides an integrated infant and maternal health program to bring proper clinical care for women, and and low-tech care techniques to parents and care-takers to ensure a higher chance of infant survival.

Effecting over 1500 women and children, your donation to PCI will provide a clean environment and clinical care to the mother, as well as transportation to a hospital for her birth.

Provide Prenatal Care in India

Even though India is rapidly industrializing, it has an infant mortality rate 100 times higher than other industrial nations. Adequate prenatal care not only helps thousands of babies survive their first year, but also reduces susceptibility to malnutrition, disease, and underdevelopment. Jolkona’s partner Calcutta Kids is focused on increasing access to health and nutrition services, providing health information and encouraging positive health-changing behaviors.

Calcutta Kids provides six months of prenatal care for a pregnant woman in the slums of Calcutta, as well as delivery in a private facility, and follow up care for two years following birth.

When you Give to Girls to support maternal health, you not only help women and babies survive delivery, but also set them up for a healthier future. Please Give to Girls today!

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Everyone knows that educating girls improves their career opportunities. But did you also know that educating girls reduces child mortality and kickstarts developing countries?

The Global Education Fund reports that each year that a girl spends in secondary school, her future income increases by 15 to 25 percent. An educated girl invests 90 percent of her income in her family and community. When a mother has received a basic education, her children are 40 percent more likely to survive past the age of five. When looking at the 50 million girls that currently live in poverty, just imagine the impact that educating these girls could have on the world!

Through Jolkona’s Give to Girls campaign this month, you can support education projects in Afghanistan, Liberia and Nepal. For these three countries, which have some of the lowest GDPs and literacy rates, improving education for girls is absolutely essential.

education_square medium

Improve Female Literacy in Afghanistan

Only 11 to 13 percent of girls and women in Afghanistan are literate, due the distances to travel to schools, caring for infants, and the social and cultural taboos related to attending co-ed schools, having contact with male teachers, and female education in general. But educating and empowering Afghanistan’s women is essential to lifting the country out of decades of war.

Barakat, Jolkona’s nonprofit partner on the ground, has an innovative curriculum that enables girls and women to become literate in a safe environment: all-female classes and teachers, community spaces, no restrictions on age or bringing babies to class. Barakat already engages 3,000 girls and women with their literacy programs. A Give to Girls gift of $60 will provide a Lower Level Literacy Education for one girl. 

Educate Girls in Liberia

More than 60 percent of Liberia’s school-aged children are not in school, including the most vulnerable girls in the country: orphans, homeless children, sex workers, and children of single parents. Jolkona’s nonprofit partner More Than Me believes that these low rates of education are directly related to the low life expectancy and other health problems Liberians face.

MTM’s program provides vulnerable girls in Liberia the opportunity to go to school, while also learning about nutrition, disease prevention and vaccination — giving them the tools they need to lead fuller, healthier lives. A donation of just $25 will provide two girls with school supplies, and $100 will provide a whole semester of education.

Educate Enslaved Nepali Girls

Struggling with extreme poverty, many families in Western Nepal take their daughters out of school and sell them into bonded service, known as Kamlari. The Nepal Youth Foundation works to rescue these girls by returning them to their family, helping the family develop another source of income, and prevent future trafficking through education.

NYF has rescued and educated more than 10,000 girls since its inception in 1990, and with your help, they can help even more. A gift of $100 will rescue one Nepali girl. Even just $5 can make a huge difference. 

Here at Jolkona, we are excited to support women’s education this month, since so many other causes hinge on the education and professional success of girls. Join us, and Give to Girls today.

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In honor of International Women’s Day, March 8, Jolkona is launching our 4th annual Give to Girls campaign. All month long, we will bring you opportunities to help girls and women in nine countries.

By supporting women’s education, health and empowerment, we can create sustainable economic development and reduce poverty locally and globally. By working with Jolkona and our Give to Girls partners, you can help, too — starting with just $5. As U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon states:

This International Women’s Day, we are highlighting the importance of achieving equality for women and girls not simply because it is a matter of fairness and fundamental human rights, but because progress in so many other areas depends on it.

Welcome to Give to Girls 2014! This year’s projects:

Education

Maternal Health

Empowerment

Give Together Bonus

Starting at $10, you can also Give Together — contributing to a collective grant and helping us choose which project related to women and girls gets the community’s pool of donations this month.

With your support in these three key areas, not only will more women have social and economic opportunities, but the whole world will benefit from a ripple effect of change. Thank you for your support!

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This holiday season, we were thrilled to support Peace Winds America‘s relief and recovery efforts for the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan (also known as Typhoon Yolanda) in the Philippines. Jolkona donors gave PWA a good start at our holiday party, and have continued giving to fund long-term, high-impact aid to those devastated by the storm.

Jon Ehrenfeld, PWA’s Civil-Military Program Manager, has sent us an impact report on the ongoing efforts to help thousands of Filipinos get back on their feet:

Relief on Busuanga Island: Updated Information on Typhoon Damage and Relief Activities

It is now three months since Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) struck the Philippines. After the initial rush of relief died down, Peace Winds America has been able to work with its partners on the ground to gain a clearer picture of damages as well as relief activities. Presently our relief remains centered on Busuanga Island (Palawan Region), a rural community in the far from the media spotlight still centered on Samar and Leyte.

Busuanga Island – A Picture of the Damage

Ongoing situation reports and needs assessments have brought the effects of Haiyan into sharper focus. Through the efforts of local governments, the Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC) and the Southern Tagalog Peoples’ Resource Center (STPRC), multiple Damage, Needs, and Capabilities Assessments (DNCAs) have been carried out. The picture they paint is stark. All 14 barangays on the island were damaged, affecting 28,640 people and rendering 4,405 families homeless. Significant damage was done to rice paddies and fishing boats as well as tourist sites (primarily scuba diving). In the targeted communities of Salvacion, Cheey, and Buluang alone there are nearly 10,000 affected people. Between crop damage, loss of housing, loss of major buildings (e.g., schools) and destruction of stored goods, these communities were selected for intensive relief efforts.

pwapic2

Disaster Relief – A National and Community Effort

PWA knows from experience that disaster relief works best when local expertise guides the procurement and provision of needed items. In Busuanga local organizations, volunteers, businesses, and support groups helped generate the needs assessments and direct relief. This enabled CDRC and STPRC to procure goods in Manila (they were unavailable locally), ship them via Coron, and repack and distribute them upon arrival in Busuanga.

Thanks to CDRC and STPRC efforts to obtain discounts, PWA’s relief funding provided for 1,050 families, 50 above the targeted number. In total PWA provided:

• 210 cavans of rice (approximately 23,100 lbs.)

• 1,015 kg of dried fish

• 63 boxes sardines

• 2,100 packs cooking oil (200 ml)

• 1050 sleeping mat kits

• 1050 blankets

• 1000 sets kitchen utensils (1,000 kettles and 6,000 plates)

These goods were packed into kits and distributed by CDRC/STPRC staff as well as members of the local government and volunteers. Prior to each distribution the relief recipients were given a brief training session on emergency response and preparedness for future disasters.

Looking Ahead – Toward Recovery

The damage and needs assessments painted a picture of acute and long-term need in these communities on Busuanga. Moving forward, there will be serious efforts in the areas of shelter and livelihoods. Peace Winds America has committed to providing support for these recovery efforts. Together with our partners on the ground we will explore housing repair and rebuilding, fishing boat repair, and support for rice farmers whose fields, tools, and seed stock were damaged in the Typhoon.

We thank all of our donors for their generosity. Together, we have been able to provide desperately needed relief. Together, we can continue to help these communities recover: Standing With the Philippines.

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