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Japan is still suffering.

Image credit: kaspernybo on Flickr

Remembering Tohoku

Here at Jolkona, we’re reflecting on Tōhoku– Japan is still suffering. It has only been half a year since the 9.0 magnitude earthquake evolved into a devastating tsunami. Consuming cars, houses, and buildings in minutes, it resulted in more than 15,000 confirmed deaths and over 4,000 people missing. Efforts to bring support have generated recovery, and the reactions of Japanese natives away from home are inspiring.

Nurturing Hope

Ryo Ishikawa’s generous donations to relief efforts through the Master’s golf tournament in April, and the numerous disaster response teams have engendered hope for the Japanese people. Though the urgency of the horrific crisis has died down, there are still unresolved issues and complications.

Immediately following a disaster, many needs are funded after an analysis of the damage. This takes time and can stall the effects of your contribution or potentially negate any authenticity of your generous actions. This was depicted in many of the misconceptions that developed with the devastating earthquake in Haiti. The beginning of positive change is the rebuilding stage. We are excited to announce a new nonprofit partner who is introducing you to four new projects that fuel life-changing opportunities to help this process.

Welcome iLEAP, presenting transformative projects in Japan that support their currently challenging circumstances. iLEAP is a Seattle-based nonprofit that equips young entrepreneurs with training and educational knowledge, collaboration with global leaders. They send their equipped volunteers to inspire empowerment and give opportunities for growth to societies in need.

Support one, two, or all four projects through Jolkona:

Prevent Postpartum Depression for Mothers in Japan

Women who are giving birth after such a stressful chain of events are local heroes, bringing renewal and promise of a new generation to rebuild the world. Prevent emotionally painful postpartum depression among Japanese mothers by providing physical health through community fitness classes, for $50, or educational materials for $15.

Help Tsunami Affected Children Return to School

Onagawa Night School is providing education for children who have lost their homes, possessions, and families.
Philanthropic tip: Commute to work by bus for a month, and support three children as they attend night school in the Tsunami affected area for 60$.

Sponsor Young Fellows to Help Earthquake Victims

Young Fellows is a strong group of dedicated people who contribute community support to inspire confidence in those who are struggling. Philanthropic tip: Host a dinner party instead of going out, and donate $70 to sponsor a young fellow for an entire day in Japan.

Help Japanese Non-Profits Receive Tax Exempt Status

Giving is a chain that links eternally, inspiring the power of the human heart. Japanese non-profits require lengthy paperwork and certifications in order to gain tax-exempt status, which will often break the chain of any nonprofit. Your donation of $100 would bring one group to an educational event rich with experience to successfully begin their project.

Know Your Impact

With every donation you make through Jolkona, you will receive personalized feedback: a unique proof for the person or project that you have generously supported.

How do you wish to contribute? Can’t decide? Explore this flowchart to guide you:

Explore this flowchart!

Image by Mike Sturgeon, Graphic Design Jolkona Intern

To learn more about our projects for Japan relief, visit http://www.i4JAPAN.org

Note from the Editor: This is a guest post written by Angela Cherry, Community Relations, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE).

Waggener Edstrom Good Deeds Campaign on Jolkona

Earlier this month, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE) kicked off its second giving campaign — Good Deeds — with Jolkona. As a corporate sponsor, WE agreed to match up to $5,000 of individual donors’ contributions to projects showcased on the Jolkona website. We were thrilled when we met our goal of raising $10,000 for Jolkona in just two weeks. We were also nothing short of blown away when we saw the resulting impact, the impact that YOU created.

It just goes to show the substantial power of good deeds — large and small — for both individuals and the community. It’s also exemplifies why WE has deepened its partnership with Jolkona over the past year. In addition to sponsoring Good Deeds, last year WE sponsored the MatchED giving campaign, during which time WE raised $10,000 for Jolkona by matching contributions to education-related projects on its website. A few ways Jolkona recipients benefitted from funds raised include tutoring provided to students in Guatemala, books supplied to schools in Tibet, scholarships given in Zambia, and technology tools provided to U.S. schools. In addition, this summer WE facilitated an ideation session with Jolkona leaders, and this fall WE is organizing volunteering opportunities for agency employees with Seattle-based nonprofit organizations that Jolkona supports.

You can see a full list of the campaign’s impact below. Thank you for supporting these worthy projects and for making such a significant impact in the world with your good deeds!

  • 2 women received life skills class in USA
  • 2 months of primary education provided in Uganda
  • 4 stoves provided in Nepal
  • 400 trees planted in India
  • 6 students attended a night class in the tsunami-affect area of Japan
  • 2 girls saved from honor killing in Iraq
  • 8 orphans received clothes in Iraq
  • 6 women received farming training in Sudan
  • 2 girls received 1 year of education in Afghanistan
  • 2 businesses showcase opportunity provided in USA
  • 2 mothers and newborn received nutritional support in India
  • 2 months of primary education provided in Uganda
  • 2 women received access to clothes in USA
  • 6 weeks of food provided in Iraq
  • 100 trees planted in Ethiopia
  • 6 acres of rainforest conserved in Tanzania
  • 2 young women trained in Nepal
  • 2 stories sponsored in United States
  • 12 months of secondary education provided in Uganda
  • 2 months of support provided to a student in Rwanda
  • 4 jobs created in India
  • 2 women received training in bio-intensive farming in Kenya
  • 2 students received support for research project in USA
  • 12 months of computer training provided in Guatemala
  • 2 children sponsored in Bangladesh
  • 2 orphans received education in Kenya
  • 8 children saved from diarrhea in India
  • 6 school girls received uniforms in Liberia
  • 2 headsets provided to a classroom in USA
  • 2 rural Tibetan girls attended day school in China
  • 2 months of HIV treatment provided in Kenya
  • 2 Above & Beyond awards given to homeless person in USA
  • 160 children received 1 week of meal each in Uganda
  • 2 hygiene kits provided in Haiti
  • 2 homes fumigated in Bolivia
  • 2 family toilets provided in Nepal
  • 2 classes received notebooks in United States
  • 2 soccer camps participant supported in United States
  • 4 women trained in bio-intensive farming in Kenya
  • 2 women trained in Pakistan
  • 4 Jolkona projects added

About the author: Angela Cherry is a community relations senior specialist with Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE), one of the largest global independent communications firms in the world, where she drives nonprofit partnerships on behalf of the WE Corporate Citizenship team. Prior to joining WE’s Corporate Citizenship team earlier this year, Angela was an account manager on the agency team that supported Microsoft’s Developer & Platform Evangelism business, and she also has managed the agency’s pro bono account with NetHope. Before joining WE in 2007, Angela worked in the PR department of an integrated marketing firm in Des Moines, Iowa, where she managed several non-profit and government accounts. Angela graduated with honors from Drake University, and in the community she’s most connected to animal welfare causes serving as a volunteer at the Seattle Animal Shelter, as well as a pet-parent to two lively rescue dogs.

On Monday, October 10th we announced the Good Deeds campaign with a simple goal: incentivize our community to donate to any project on Jolkona and our partner, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, will match every donation, dollar-for-dollar, up to $5,000 on Monday, October 24th, whichever comes first.

I am pleased to announce that over the weekend we met that goal and our Good Deeds campaign is fully funded! We have had a few matching campaigns over the past year, Waggener Edstrom Good Deeds Campaign on Jolkonaand this campaign has resulted in supporting the most diverse number of projects than any matched giving campaign before.

  • 41 different projects were supported
  • 15 different countries
  • $5,000 donated by Jolkona donors
  • + $5,000 matched by Waggener Edstrom
  • = $10,000 raised in 2 weeks

The impact of $10,000 worth of ‘good deeds’

  • 2 women received life skills class in USA
  • 2 months of primary education provided in Uganda
  • 4 stoves provided in Nepal
  • 400 trees planted in India
  • 6 students attended a night class in the tsunami-affect area of Japan
  • 2 girls saved from honor killing in Iraq
  • 8 orphans received clothes in Iraq
  • 6 women received farming training in Sudan
  • 2 girls received 1 year of education in Afghanistan
  • 2 businesses showcase opportunity provided in USA
  • 2 mothers and newborn received nutritional support in India
  • 2 months of primary education provided in Uganda
  • 2 women received access to clothes in USA
  • 6 weeks of food provided in Iraq
  • 100 trees planted in Ethiopia
  • 6 acres of rainforest conserved in Tanzania
  • 2 young women trained in Nepal
  • 2 stories sponsored in United States
  • 12 months of secondary education provided in Uganda
  • 2 months of support provided to a student in Rwanda
  • 4 jobs created in India
  • 2 women received training in bio-intensive farming in Kenya
  • 2 students received support for research project in USA
  • 12 months of computer training provided in Guatemala
  • 2 children sponsored in Bangladesh
  • 2 orphans received education in Kenya
  • 8 children saved from diarrhea in India
  • 6 school girls received uniforms in Liberia
  • 2 headsets provided to a classroom in USA
  • 2 rural Tibetan girls attended day school in China
  • 2 months of HIV treatment provided in Kenya
  • 2 Above & Beyond awards given to homeless person in USA
  • 160 children received 1 week of meal each in Uganda
  • 2 hygiene kits provided in Haiti
  • 2 homes fumigated in Bolivia
  • 2 family toilets provided in Nepal
  • 2 classes received notebooks in United States
  • 2 soccer camps participant supported in United States
  • 4 women trained in bio-intensive farming in Kenya
  • 2 women trained in Pakistan
  • 4 Jolkona projects added

And these projects impacted the following countries:

Jolkona Good Deeds Impact Map

View the total impact and donors by visiting the Good Deeds campaign page.

Thank you to everyone in the Jolkona community for your tremendous support!

@WE_Citizen spot donation #WEGoodDeeds

For those who donated, you will receive proof of impact for the donation you made and the donation Waggener Edstrom matched on your behalf. Matched gifts will be added to your account later this year and you will receive both proofs of impact once each project is implemented.

Thank you…

To our donors – Thank you for contributing to the campaign and showing that individuals can make a huge difference! All of your ‘good deeds’ have added up to create a big impact. Thank you!

To our sponsor – Thank you, Waggener Edstrom and the WE Citizenship team for their partnership, leadership, and support during this campaign. It’s a pleasure to work with a corporate partner who is so involved in the execution of the campaign, especially how they made additional spot-donations in the name of donors who tweeted about the campaign.

This is the second matched campaign we launched with Waggener Edstrom. Last year we partnered with them on the MatchED campaign, which matched donations to education projects.

And one final thank you to our team – Thank you for helping us get this campaign to 100% by sharing and promoting Good Deeds to your friends, family, and networks. You are a vital part of what makes Jolkona the organization that it is today. Thank you.

Don’t let your ‘good deed’ stop here

The philosophy that all giving matters is the spirit of our mission and the work we do every day. We recognize that you don’t have to be wealthy or have an unlimited amount of time to volunteer to make an impact; even small doses of passion turned to action make a difference and Waggener Edstrom believes in this as well.

While the matching fund has run out, you can inspire global change by continuing to support over 100 projects on Jolkona. Your impact can reach new heights.

The impact is YOU.

Late July of this last summer, Jolkona raised money through our Groupon campaign to fund women grassroots leaders to come to Seattle and participate in a 10 week training program. The deal was this: for every $500 raised, Jolkona would fund one week of training for one woman. In addition, all funds raised would be munificently matched by Seattle International Foundation, and then implemented by iLEAP. Let me say right now that it was – and continues to be – a brilliant success, and on so many levels. And here’s why:

The total raised from the 3 day Groupon campaign, plus the additional donations since then, including the generous match from SIF, is a vertiginous $20,000! (I’m not usually one for wielding exclamation points in my grammar, but that one is thoroughly warranted.) And with that amount raised, Jolkona was able to fund fellowships for two women for the entire 10 week training program. Please, allow me to introduce them to you:

Claudia Vanessa Siliezar (left) and Margaret Edwin Molomoo (right)

Claudia Vanessa Siliezar (left) and Margaret Edwin Molomoo (right)

Claudia Vanessa Siliezar is from Honduras – she is a Sociology and Law professor at CEUTEC-UNITEC in La Ceiba, and is coordinator at GOjoven Honduras, where she is involved in promoting women’s rights, especially those pertaining to reproductive and sexual health, as well as in combating violence against women.

And….

Margaret Edwin Molomoo is from India. She works for Tarumitra, where she educates students, farmers, and women about the methods and benefits of organic farming in villages surrounding Bahir. Her work has assisted many farming groups in changing their use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers in their farming practices.

Thanks to the funds raised, Claudia and Margaret, already stalwart pursuers of a fairer society, are now even better equipped to grow their successful, high-impact programs.

In connection with this, we are inviting you to the extraordinary annual Women in the World’s Breakfast, held at the Four Seasons in Seattle, where you can meet our fellows, Claudia and Margaret, in the flesh. Buy tickets here. And to whet your appetite, here’s the inspiring video of last year’s event:

The raising of the funds and the opportunity and skills it provided Claudia and Margaret were not the only success stories of this campaign. Another aspect deserving of sincere pats on the back was the campaign’s collaboration: the three-pronged spearhead of SIF, iLEAP, and Jolkona. You see, unfortunately, too many nonprofits try to go at campaigns alone, and what this campaign exemplifies is the exponential difference nonprofits can make when they work together. Remember: a problem shared is a problem halved.

Our goal is to fund 5 women; so far we’ve funded 2. The campaign is still running and SIF is still matching every one of your donations, dollar for dollar. Make a difference. See the results. Give to the campaign here: Invest in Women Grassroots Leaders from Around the World.

Note from the Editor: This is a guest post written by Steve Schwartz, Director of Strategy & Operations for one of Jolkona’s newest partners, Upaya Social Ventures.

Meet Upaya Social Ventures from Steve Schwartz on Vimeo.

From the U.S., it is easy to see images of households in far away countries living in a way that looks different than our own and to assume that the differences — a tin roof, a barefoot schoolboy, a pot cooking over an open fire — fit neatly within a universal definition of “poverty.” But scratch the surface and you’ll find some families never worrying about where their next meal will come from, while 100 yards away others search endlessly to find enough work to eat again tomorrow. Not all poverty is created equal, and that relative difference is what Upaya Social Ventures was founded this year to address. An estimated 1.4 billion people worldwide are classified as “ultra poor,” living on less than $1.25 a day and struggling to find work that will pay them enough to afford stable shelter, clean water and three meals a day. The ultra poor often speak of feeling trapped in miserable conditions, with such meager earnings that any progress they make satisfying one need comes at the expense of meeting another. At the very heart of the problem are informal livelihoods — a cluster of irregular activities like shoe-shining, begging, day labor, hawking of second-hand items and trash picking that generate highly unpredictable incomes for those working in them.

Day laborers breaking rocks in a dry riverbed for an average ~$.50 per day

Day laborers breaking rocks in a dry riverbed for an average ~$.50 per day

The Upaya Approach

That’s where Upaya comes in. Taking its name from the Sanskrit word that means “skilled means” and connotes a creative solution to a challenging problem, Upaya is working with local social entrepreneurs to build businesses that will create jobs and improve the quality of life for the ultra poor. It’s a deceptively simple solution — increase a family’s earning potential through steady employment, and pair those jobs with access to affordable healthcare, education, housing and financial services so that the family makes sustained progress out of poverty.

But it is not always that simple, as the ultra poor are marginalized even within their own communities and skeptical of outsiders with “too good to be true” opportunities. For the entrepreneurs, too, there is a struggle to balance social responsibility with running a profitable business, and to attract funding to test their ideas.

Mothers reliant on begging to provide for their families

Mothers reliant on begging to provide for their families

This is why Upaya has created the Life-changing Interventions for the Ultra Poor (LiftUP) Project, a 24–36 month social business accelerator program that provides management support and financial resources to entrepreneurs who create jobs or improve access to basic services for the ultra poor. As a nonprofit organization, Upaya is able to make modest, longer-term equity investments — between $25,000 and $75,000 — in local entrepreneurs with early-stage ideas (any financial returns generated by investments are re-invested in future LiftUP Project partners). In addition to providing business development support, we also help these entrepreneurs create a “social accounting” system for tracking and analyzing the impact their activities are having on the lives of their employees or customers.

An Ideal Partner

And that is what brought Upaya to Jolkona. As Upaya works with businesses to monitor their social impact, we also have a unique opportunity to give donors a forum to track the progress of the causes and businesses they support. Through the Jolkona platform, donors will be able to see quarterly updates on employees’ quality of housing, improvements in the number and nutritional value of meals, status of children’s education and access to affordable healthcare. Upaya is taking a comprehensive approach to tackling the problems of extreme poverty, and Jolkona allows supporters to be active participants in that process.

www.upayasv.com

In part two of this series, we will profile Samridhi, a community dairy initiative in one of the poorest states in India that is creating jobs and providing regular salaries to women in households without any other form of steady income. Upaya has already raised $45,000 for Samridhi since the beginning of August and is looking to double that amount by the end of September.

About the author: Steve is the Director of Strategy & Operations for Upaya Social Ventures, and is one of the organization’s co-founders.  In a career that has run from Wall St. to the footpaths of smuggling routes in West Africa, Steve has long held the belief that all people deserve the opportunity to live their lives with dignity and means.

 

Waggener Edstrom Good Deeds Campaign on Jolkona

We are thrilled to launch Good Deeds, our second matched giving campaign with  Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. From now until October 24th, Waggener Edstrom will match every donation you make to any project featured on Jolkona, dollar-for-dollar, up to $5,000.

How this campaign works:

  1. Choose a project you’re passionate about from one of over 100 projects featured on Jolkona.
  2. Give and double your impact, with 100% of your donation going towards the project you choose and Waggener Edstrom will match it!
  3. Receive two proofs of impact – one proof for the donation you make and the second proof for the donation Waggener Edstrom matches.
  4. Share the your Good Deed on Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere you hang out – online and offline!

It’s that easy!

And as part of the campaign, Waggener Edstrom will also make several $25 bonus spot donations to Jolkona on behalf of people who tweet about their gift using the #WEGoodDeeds hashtag, so don’t forget to tell your tweeps about your donation!

Why Good Deeds?

The philosophy that all giving matters is the spirit of Jolkona’s mission and the work we do every day. We recognize that you don’t have to be wealthy or have an unlimited amount of time to volunteer to make an impact; even small doses of passion turned to action make a difference and Waggener Edstrom believes in this as well. As they like to think about it, the impact is YOU.

To read more about why Waggener Edstrom is supporting this campaign, read this post on their blog, Good Deeds: The Impact is You.

Let’s give!

You can support the Good Deeds campaign, follow our progress as we work towards raising $10,000 with the match in 2 weeks, and our total impact on the campaign page, as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@Jolkona, @WE_Citizen, #WEGoodDeeds).

We would like to thank Waggener Edstrom for their partnership and continued support with this campaign. Together, we are proving that small donations matter and together, we are creating a ripple effect of change.

What ‘good deed’ have you made today?

Jolkona_NextGen_Web Banner

Jolkona is thrilled to unveil NextGen, a new initiative aimed at engaging the next generation of philanthropists. To launch this exciting new endeavor, Jolkona co-founders Nadia Khawaja and Adnan Mahmud met with hundreds of college students from around the country to talk about the UN Development Goals at the Millennium Campus Conference last month in Boston. The overwhelming response shows that today’s students want to get involved to make a true difference in their global community.

NextGen, powered by Jolkona, enables the next generation of philanthropists to turn their small change into big change through two specific programs: Jolkona High, aimed at high school, and Jolkona U, aimed at college students.

Jolkona High utilizes the Jolkona microgiving platform to aid high school seniors in completing the required Washington State Senior Project. The Senior Project inspires high school students to explore engaging topics and find real-world solutions to global disparities. Since Jolkona partners with a wide range of organizations that tackle complex global development issues, students can easily find philanthropic causes which engage their interests. High school students will feel empowered to find a solution to a problem they see in the world.

College students who want to take charge to address global disparities can start their own Jolkona U chapter as a student-organized club on campus. By starting a chapter, students can help fund projects they feel passionate about while gaining valuable leadership skills. They will be empowered to provide solutions for a wide-range of global development issues. As champions for a cause, Jolkona U members will educate their local communities about global inequalities and use teamwork to effectively address their philanthropic interests. Together, they can create a better world.

We are excited to reach the next generation of philanthropists and empower them to make a tangible difference in the lives of people everywhere. Together, we can use small change to make big change!

Please visit www.jolkona/nextgen to get more information about the NextGen platform.

Global Partnership, MDG 8; Jolkona in Africa

Develop a global partnership for development

The final of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals is developing a global partnership for development. This does sound a little recursive, but it is actually significant for the achievement of the other seven goals.

Targets

The UN identifies 6 targets as metrics for achieving goal 8.

  1. Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system
  2. Address the special needs of the least developed countries
  3. Address the special needs of landlocked developing countries and small island developing states
  4. Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries
  5. In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries
  6. In cooperation with the private sector, make available new technologies, especially information and communications

Teamwork

At its heart, the focus of goal 8 is getting everyone on the “same page” when it comes to development work around the globe. This a solution to the fact that many of the problems faced by people in the developing world today are too big or complicated for a single actor–whether an NGO or a government–to take on alone. The aim of goal 8, then, is to demonstrate that organizations can better serve others when they can focus on one area of strength and find partners in other areas. One common disconnect for organizations is between donors and the field: many organizations excel at doing work in the field but struggle with how to connect with donors who can fund their projects.

Small donations having measurable impact

Part of what makes Jolkona so unique as a foundation is that ability to connect individual donors to the larger picture of progress being made on the Millennium Development Goals on many fronts. This is one MDG where Jolkona is directly involved in meeting the targets. By connecting donors and development organizations, not only is Jolkona funding important projects around the world, Jolkona is fostering partnerships.

How you can help

Since Jolkona is directly involved in building these essential partnerships, you can help achieve goal 8 by donating to the Kona fund. This is what keeps Jolkona operating, allows us to add new partners, and allows us to have staff, volunteers and interns working to achieve all of the MDGs.

  1. Donate to the Jolkona Kona fund
  2. Sponsor a volunteer meeting
  3. Add a new project to Jolkona.org

For more information on Jolkona and its mission (especially if you haven’t already!) take a look at our about us page.

Ensure environmental sustainability

As we near the end of our series on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and how they relate to Jolkona, we look this week at environmental sustainability.

Targets

There are four targets the UN sets for achievement of goal 7:

  1. Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies
  2. Reduce biodiversity loss
  3. Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation
  4. By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers

Expansive scope

With the exception of the first goal of eliminating extreme hunger and poverty, perhaps no other goal is as broad reaching as goal 7. Any one of the targets of goal 7 could likely be a goal unto themselves. Sustainable development and the preservation of rain forests has a huge impact on environment and economics of the developing world. And there are in fact hundreds of millions of people living in slum conditions around the world today. But the target we will focus on today is that of clean drinking water and sanitation.

Clean water

What makes clean water so important? Quite simply, water is life. While it varies somewhat, the average human can only survive three days without water. Because water is so vital to life, many people are forced to drink unclean water because that is all they have available. The problem is a host of horrible diseases–like Cholera and Hepatitis, for example–can be contracted through consumption of dirty or polluted water.

On top of the risk of disease, a huge economic drain is created when people (most often women and children) are forced to walk long distances to acquire water, whether it is clean or not. This travel time is time spent out of school or work. Some estimates place the economic cost, for Africa alone, at $28 BILLION dollars per year.

The good news is that many organizations are doing a great job of drilling wells and working on other clean water projects. The bad news is that even as there are many organizations working on this, it remains a huge issue for billions of people around the globe.

How you can help

Here are a list of Jolkona projects supporting goal 7:

  1. Plant trees in Ethiopia
  2. Provide clean water in Kenya
  3. Provide ceramic water filters in Kenya

For more information about the issue of access to clean water, check out Charity: Water’s great “Why water” page.

End malaria now_bestdamntech

Combat HIV/AIDs, Malaria and other diseases

Continuing our series on how the United Nations Millennium Development Goals relate to Jolkona, we look today at Goal 6.

One of the biggest challenges in development remains combatting the effects of pandemic, preventable disease. One UN report estimates that malaria alone saps up to 1.3% of the yearly economic growth of some African countries. That 1% might not sound like a lot, but when spread across an entire economy over several years, it could mean tens or hundreds of millions of dollars of lost economic productivity.

In part for this reason, the United Nations Millennium Development Goal #6 is fighting the effects of HIV/AIDs, Malaria and other diseases.

Target metrics

mdg 6

The UN identifies three target metrics for fighting communicable disease.

  1. Have halted and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDs by 2015
  2. Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDs
  3. Have halted and begun to reverse the incidence of Malaria and other major diseases by 2015

The fight against HIV/AIDs

Currently there are some 34 million people living in the world with HIV. While there is no cure, in the developed world HIV/AIDs rates among the general population remain low and there are treatment options available for managing the disease. In many developing countries however, rates of infection run much higher and few, if any, treatment options are available. Recognizing the role pandemic disease plays in slowing economic development the United Nations Development Programme is one of the agencies at the front of helping countries deal with HIV/AIDs.

Successes

While HIV/AIDs and Malaria continue to be huge problems in public health worldwide, it is important to remember that there have been successes in eradicating pandemic diseases before. Smallpox, which killed an estimated 300-500 million people during the 20th century was completely eradicated by 1979 thanks in part to efforts spearheaded by the World Health Organization. And while the fight against Malaria and HIV/AIDs can seem daunting, some hopeful estimates put Polio–another once pandemic disease–near eradication in the near future.

How you can help

Here are some current Jolkona projects working toward Goal 6.

  1. Supply medicine to children in Sierra Leone
  2. Give care to HIV-infected children in Cambodia
  3. Help build latrines in Haiti

Photo Credit: Drew Olanoff

Improve maternal health

Today we look at the fifth goal in our series on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Goal five is improving maternal health.

Two targets

In achieving goal 5, the UN has two metrics they use for measuring success.

  1. Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio
  2. Achieve universal access to reproductive healthcare

Maternal mortality

Childbirth is one of the most dangerous activities for women in the developing world. Any number of things can go wrong in the birthing process that endanger not just the health and life of the child, but the mother as well. From hemorrhaging to breech births to infection, thousands of women die every year giving birth.

Just a quick glance at the statistics reveals how much a concern this is in development work. Compare countries like Chad, Somalia and Afghanistan—where over 1000 women die per 100,000 births—with a country like Germany—where just 7 women die per 100,000 births. (Statistics via the World Health Statistics 2011 report.)

Reproductive health

An important part of reducing the maternal mortality rate is making sure all women have access to reproductive healthcare. This ranges from family planning to skilled birthing assistants to clean, sterile birthing environments.

Family planning is one of the best and most certain ways of reducing maternal mortality–fewer births equal less risk for the mother. However, family planning is also a highly controversial topic in many countries where religious or cultural concerns over contraception and discussion of reproductive issues outside of the family is considered taboo.

Far less controversial is access to skilled birthing assistants, especially midwives and medical professionals. Having a trained birthing assistant with sterile medical equipment and a clean environment goes a long way toward eliminating the risk of infection for both the mother and child.

Take a look at this slideshow from the Gates Foundation for the story of a woman in Nepal and the difference access to a birthing assistant made for her.

How you can help

Here is a list of Jolkona projects that work to support the goal of improving maternal health.

  1. Provide medical supplies in Bangladesh
  2. Support safe births in Palestine
  3. Provide healthcare to Nepalese women
  4. Adopt a mother in India

Child health and mortality

Goal 4 of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals is reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate.

What is child mortality?

Child mortality, in this case, is the number of deaths per 1000 children under the age of 5.

Statistics

According to UNICEF, “Most child deaths every year are attributable to six causes: diarrhea, malaria, neonatal infection, pneumonia, pre-term delivery or lack of oxygen at birth.” Further, most of these deaths take place in the developing world. Modern public health efforts and medical technologies have largely eliminated the threats of disease and premature birth in the developed world.

This is abundantly clear when looking at the countries where child mortality is highest and lowest:

Bottom 5 –

  1. Chad – 209 deaths by age 5 per 1000 live births
  2. Afghanistan – 199 deaths
  3. Democratic Republic of the Congo – 199 deaths
  4. Guinea-Bissau – 193 deaths
  5. Sierra Leone – 192 deaths

Top 5 –

  1. Japan, Singapore, Cyprus, Finland, Iceland, Slovenia, and Sweden – 3 deaths
  2. Luxembourg and San Marino – 2

The average for countries in the America’s is 18, in Europe it is 13. In Africa, the country average number of child deaths by age 5 is 127!

(via World Health Statistics 2011 report)

What is being done

Fortunately progress is being made on several fronts to improve the health of children under 5 around the globe. Some of this progress is at a very structural level, increasing funding for hospitals and medical clinics to ensure emergency care is necessary in acute cases of illness. Some progress is also being made in vaccination programs, working to eliminate diseases like measles and polio through coordinated vaccine programs.

For more information, and a few laughs, take a look at Hans Rosling’s TEDxChange talk from September of 2010 about progress being made on Goal 4.

 

How you can help

Here are a list of Jolkona projects that are working toward achieving Goal 4

  1. Save a Young Child from Diarrhea in India
  2. Adopt a Mother in India
  3. Provide Maternal and Child Healthcare in Guatemala

The MDGs and Gender Equality

Promote gender equality and empower women

The third goal of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals is “Promote gender equality and empower women.” This includes equality in education, labor rights, health care, and legal and political access.

Often in the development context, even in situations where all indicators point to progress, women and girls lag behind. For example, a 2008 UNESCO report found that out of an estimated 774million adults who lack basic literacy, 64% are women.

Importance of education

As is often the case in the long-term development context, education is the foundation for real progress. The stated target of goal 3 is, in fact, to eliminate gender disparity in all levels of education no later than 2015.

Girls who receive an education have a higher income earning potential than those who do not, between 10% and 20% more for every year of education they complete. With higher income comes a healthier family, as women can buy better food for their children. They can afford to keep their children in school longer, instead of keeping them home to work. Educated women are also more likely to participate in politics, not just by voting but also by running for public office.

Change now

While education is important in the long-term for women in developing countries, they face many pressing short-term issues as well.

Women, whether they have received an education or not, face great discrimination in the work place. They lack equal pay for equal work, lack maternity leave, face sexual harassment, or are not allowed to hold the same jobs or do the same kinds of work as men. A report from UNICEF in 2007 found that while women perform 66% of the world’s “work” and produce 50% of all food, they earn just 10% of the income and own only 1% of the property.

If women are to meet the short-term metrics of the MDGs, significant political and economic reform must take place in many developing countries. There is hope for change though. CGAP, an independent policy and research center housed at the World Bank, says the following about what happens when women are the focus of micro-finance development programs:

“Women often become more assertive and confident. In regions where women’s mobility is strictly regulated, women have often become more visible and are better able to negotiate the public sphere. Women involved in microfinance may also own assets, including land and housing, and play a stronger role in decision making. In some programs that have been active over many years, there are even reports of declining levels of violence against women.” (via CGAP.org)

 

Making change happen

How you can help

As I am sure you have noticed, Jolkona launched a new campaign with the Seattle International Foundation to provide grassroots leadership training to women from around the world. Though the Groupon deal that helped launch the campaign has ended, you can still contribute through the Jolkona project page.

Here are a list of additional projects Jolkona currently supports that are in line with the Millennium Development Goal of promoting gender equality and empowering women.

  1. Provide education to the females of Afghanistan
  2. Support women farmers in Sudan
  3. Ignite girls’ leadership in Pakistan

For more information on the work the United Nations is doing focused on goal 3, take a look at the UN Women MDG page.

MDG 2: Achieve universal primary education

Achieve universal primary education

Today we continue looking at the connection between the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and Jolkona. The second of the MDGs is achieving universal primary education. This means that every child receives the equivalent of an American sixth grade education.

A sixth grade education does not sound like much, and for those of us in the West we often think of someone who’s formal schooling stops at elementary school as being at a massive disadvantage compared to others with a high school or college diploma or other advanced academic degree.

But with a sixth grade education comes at least basic literacy and arithmetic skills—skills vital for economic development. Farmers need to know what price they are paying for seeds, store owners need to read property leases, and parents need to read and understand medical dosage information for treating their sick children.

Current progress

According to the United Nations 2011 MDG Report, as of 2009 about 67 million children are still out of school, down from 106 million in 1999. Of that 67 million, about 48 million live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia (32 million in Africa, 16 million in Asia). The biggest barriers for the 67 million children still out of school remain gender (being female), poverty and/or being located in a rural community.

Still, some of the poorest countries in Africa (including Burundi, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Togo, and the United Republic of Tanzania) have managed to achieve the goal, giving hope that even the least developed countries can still achieve universal primary education by 2015.

How you can help

Jolkona supports a variety of projects aimed at achieving universal primary education. Here are a few:

  1. Provide tutoring to indigenous children in Guatemala
  2. Help teachers at a school in rural Zambia
  3. Support children’s education in India

For more information you can visit the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) education web site.

MDG 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger

Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

A few weeks back we began our discussion of the Millennium Development Goals and Jolkona. Today we will continue by looking in depth at the first of the MDGs.

The first of the MDGs is the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger.

Targets for eradicating extreme poverty

There are two target metrics the UN has set for the eradication of extreme poverty.

  1. Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1/day
  2. Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people

Economists use two bars for determining who in the world is considered economically poor. The first, people living on $2/day, are considered “merely” poor. The second, those living on $1/day, are considered the “extremely poor”.

This may seem like a strange distinction to make but it’s important because while we would all like to see everyone living in poverty to have a chance at a better life, it is those living on $1/day or less who are the most vulnerable to climate change, natural disaster and economic hardships like recessions or changes in food prices.

The best way to lift these people out of poverty is meaningful work. Article 23 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.”

Target for eradicating hunger

  1. Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people suffering from hunger

The most obvious cases of hunger are usually acute famines, such as what is currently transpiring in East Africa. A mix of political instability and climate change can create a situation in which crops are unable to grow, and people and livestock die as a result.

Food security is also an issue closely tied to poverty. People who are poor or extremely poor often cannot afford to buy the food they need for themselves or their families, especially in light of food prices that have risen sharply in the past few years. For some people, undernourishment or malnourishment is a way of life.

Poor nutrition hits children especially hard, and has long lasting effects. Children who do not receive a proper diet suffer from physical and mental developmental issues. This can range from simply being under-height and weight when they reach adulthood, to severe mental retardation as a result. According to one USAID report, even before the 2008 global financial collapse and concurrent rise in food prices, 178 million children (about 1/3 of all children) were suffering from chronic malnutrition.

What you can do to help

Eliminating extreme poverty and hunger would not just meet the first of the MDGs, it can have a huge impact on all the others as well. Here are some ways you can get involved through Jolkona supported projects:

  1. Provide seeds or farming tools to a family in Nicaragua
  2. Provide healthy meals for children in Uganda
  3. Help families fleeing famine in Somalia

For more information, take a look at the United Nations Development Program’s Millennium Development Goals page.

GET INVOLVED!