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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!

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on Facebook and Twitter

EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS POST WAS UPDATED OCT. 2 WITH INFORMATION ABOUT A MATCH CAMPAIGN FOR THIS MONTH.

The world’s women and girls are one of the greatest sources of untapped potential for providing lasting global change. That’s why empowering women, promoting gender equality, and improving maternal health are emphasized in the Millennium Development Goals, the U.N. initiative to significantly reduce extreme poverty around the world.  Improving women’s lives has a positive impact on society; on average, 90 percent of each dollar invested in a woman is returned to her family and community.1377587_10151597205727396_451819059_n

Starting at just $10, join Jolkona and Give Together to three projects that not only change the lives of specific women locally and globally, but also help advance these Millennium Development Goals.

sudan madreMADRE

MADRE is an international human rights organization that addresses the urgent needs of women in crisis. By partnering with women locally, regionally and internationally, MADRE believes they can create lasting solutions to the world’s toughest problems, such as social injustice, inequality and sustainability issues.

Give Together‘s MADRE project supports women farmers in East Sudan, training them in sustainable agricultural practices to address malnutrition, provide basic education and access to literacy and health programs. Women contribute 80 percent of the food crops in Sudan, but are excluded from government aid programs. The Give Together community’s donations will give a woman farmer the means to support herself and her family despite the challenges of environmental degradation, the threat of armed conflict, and generational poverty. For every $250 we raise, MADRE can send two Sudanese women to a 2-day agricultural training program and buy enough sorghum, sesame and millet seed for 10 women this year.

Jubilee Women’s Center

The Jubilee Women’s Center is a Seattle-based organization that provides training and support to help women transition out of homelessness.

jubilee center

Where many homeless women come from a life of poverty and abuse and lack the job skills to be successful in today’s careers, the Jubilee Women’s Center has a proven record of success in helping these women achieve sustainable employment and independent living.

Give Together to help expand Jubilee’s Learning and Opportunity center so they can not only provide training to the center’s residents, but also women in the greater Seattle area. For every $250 that Give Together raises for this project, Jubilee can offer a 4-class career-building series to 12 women, including resume writing and job interview skills. With your help, these women will be able to find jobs and achieve independence.

Bo M. Karlsson Foundation

Most Nepali women are married by the age of 15, and only 27 percent are literate. These are huge barriers towards women becoming financially productive and independent.

Bo M. Karlsson Foundation

The Bo M. Karlsson Foundation provides young women and girls in Nepal with access to higher education, which reduces income inequality and empowers young women to become independent and productive agents of change in their communities. For every $250 we raise, the foundation can provide room and board for one female student for an entire year. Give Together to help a young Nepali woman attend a trade school or college.

Check the Jolkona Blog throughout the month for more detailed information about each project. UPDATE: This month’s donations will be matched by the Seattle International Foundation, so our contributions will go twice as far!

Join Jolkona to Give Together for Women & Girls in October, and make a big difference for women in Africa, Asia and the United States.

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

Is a leader strongest on her own, or as part of a global community? Can you yourself produce the greatest good by sending information and resources one way, or is there much more to be gained through collaboration, and partnership? As you invest in providing training and vital networking to a woman already changing her local community, what can you learn from such an inspiring person?

One of the central themes of the Give2Girls campaign is that investing in women makes an incredible difference, as, on average, they return 90% to their families, children, and community. There are so many projects that positively impact women throughout the world. iLEAP’s International Fellowship Program takes an innovative approach to that idea, by empowering local women, and giving them the tools they need to be local and global leaders.

The mission of iLEAP is to create global transformation through inspiring and engaging social leaders across the world. With a network of non-profits, business, universities, and other associations linking the US, Latin America, Asia, and Africa, their training programs aim to collaborate with leaders, create regional networks, and international partnerships. The programs emphasize hands on learning so participants can work directly with the leaders in their field. They connect people in a range of sectors, ranging from global health, and human rights to education and sustainable agriculture.

The Program

As part of the International Fellowship Program, 10 to 15 Women grassroots leaders from across Asia, Latin America, and Africa are selected from a highly competitive pool to come to Seattle, WA, and attend a rigorous and comprehensive 8-week leadership training program.

  • The training includes courses on topics like communication, technology and management.
  • Helps them to build a network of local businesses and NGOs and other development organizations in their area of interest.
  • Women learn about the interactions between NGOs, business and government agencies.
  • Whilst honing their skills through the program, the women also have the opportunity to become involved in Seattle’s community, and make personal connections.
  • They live with a home-stay family, attend events, and are sponsored by local organizations that work in the same area of interest so they can exchange ideas.

Why the program is important

Empowering women as leaders is vital to the UN Millennium Development goals of promoting gender equality, and encouraging global partnerships. Women bear the brunt of global poverty, due to gaps in income and education, as well as violence, and maternal mortality. Women leaders in developing countries are already taking steps to address these issues and lead the improvement in their communities. iLEAP’s fellowship provides these women with more in depth training and an international network of partners and mentors, so that they can continue their work more effectively, and with renewed inspiration.

The Give2Girls campaign is all about investing in girls and women, to create a better world tomorrow, and iLEAP’s International Fellowship Program is an incredible opportunity for determined and talented women grassroots leaders to network internationally, increase the impact of their work in their own communities, and become global citizens. Through amazing donations, Give2Girls has been fully funded, but a donation will still make an incredible difference. $100 provides the weekly stipend for a Fellow to stay in Seattle, and participate in the program. As a result, each graduate leaves with practical skills, and a global community of support. In turn, they contribute to sustainable social change.

You can also be a part of the Give2Girls movement by helping to spread the word by liking us on Facebook, and by following us on Twitter (#give2girls), and Pinterest

 

As a recent college graduate, I understand how important proper employment training is. The US economy has created a dog-eat-dog competition style in the job market where every ounce of experience and knowledge is incredibly valuable.

That’s why I have created a campaign with the goal of assisting at least 10 students in getting a month’s worth of various employment education classes in order to help increase their chances of getting a job after graduation.

Students are constantly being reminded about how tough the job market will be for them after graduation by the press, educators, peers and parents. Action needs to be taken now to support students and lift them up in an economy threatening to tear them down.

What You Can Do

Prepare Kids in USA to Become Employable Adults–The poor job market and status of the United States’ economy is a highly debated topic that is not likely to disappear anytime soon. Regardless of one’s opinion on how to best turn the economy around, it is clear that too many Americans are out of work.

Soccer in the Streets, who has partnered with Jolkona since 2010, conducts a project titled School of Life, which teaches the country’s youth about resume building, employment preparation, community service and much more.

The organization started in 1989 and has since positively influenced the lives of over 125,000 people. It is a member of the United Soccer Collaborative in the United States, and streetfootballworld internationally.

By giving a gift of just $25 to Soccer in the Streets School of Life program, you will help one student gain the skills needed to become employable upon graduation. A month’s worth of supplies will be provided to the School of Life program in order to help teach these skills.

Do Even More

For $150, you can provide a student with six months of life skill training programs and empower their future.

To help further, your gift of $300 will be used to sponsor a student in life skills training programs for an entire year, after which you will receive a video from the student describing all of their successes.

Let’s make good jobs a reality in our youths’ futures, not a dream.

The Bigger Picture

Although there seems to be nothing more important to some Americans than landing a good job during this time of economic disarray, this project contributes to a larger cause: achieving the United Nation’s goal of eradicating hunger and poverty by 2015.

With your small gift, you can help the UN reach this huge end by making sure our youth has the means to support themselves in the future, while influencing younger generations to give back to their communities.

Learn more about Soccer in the Streets by checking out its website, following them on Twitter, or liking them on Facebook.

By learning and teaching others about this amazing program, we can work to lower future unemployment rates–without relying on empty campaign promises. Take action for tomorrow today, right now.

Help my campaign, Jolkona and the UN accomplish our goals of creating a better future by giving to our youth.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

Image credit: http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com

Women have been ethically and emotionally suppressed throughout history. But even today, women make up 70% of those who are living in poverty. This is likely due to women’s shrinking employment rates over the years. 66% of illiterate adults are women as well. Tony Cade Bambara said, “revolution begins with the self, in the self.” Empowerment can fuel an entire community when one person decides that what they have to say is important. Amidst such inequality and lack of resources, women continue to transcend difficulties with grace,attitude, and determination. It is notwonder why March 8 is a day dedicated to lighting your revolution of the self. Join Jolkona and I in celebrating the power of the human voice and what we are capable of:International Women’s Day is here!

International Women’s Day began as a social and political event designed to bring greater awareness of the need for women to have equal rights among men. Over decades of monumental change, the meaning behind this day has grown into so much more than just a governmental responsibility: each person who celebrates brings a unique aspect to what International Women’s Day truly means.

International Women’s Day Australina recorded thousand of people’s reactions and ideas about what this day means to them. Here is one such voice:

International Women’s Day is now, of course, a day of celebration. A day when women can get together, celebrate being women– all [that] they’ve come through with a reminder of how much further there still is to go. I know that International Women’s Day didn’t start that way, it started as part of an industrial struggle[;] while there’s still a lot of struggling to be done I think there should be a strong emphasis on celebration.

Here at Jolkona, we believe that recognizing today is vital for the advancement of women, and for celebrating the power women have brought and will continue to bring to our planet.

With CRAVE and women@google by our side, the Give2Girls campaign is our revolution to generating dynamic awareness and change within global communities. We are providing girls and women on every inch of planet Earth with a chance to grow confident, grow strong, and grow wise. No matter which Give2Girls project excites you, we will match your donation made on the site up to $500 per person until our $6,000 match runs out! Find your favorite project to give to on the Give2Girls campaign page.

Did we mention you will receive proofs for both of the donations? Share your story with family and friends when we update you with how your generous impact has transformed a woman’s life.

We would like to thank our very own volunteer Zanoon Nissar for spear-heading the campaign this year and raising our matching fund! Check out her video to learn why she believes in this campaign:

RSVP for our virtual event and help tell your friends about the Give2Girls campaign.

Get a Give2Girls gift card for a friend.

Follow us and share our updates on Facebook.

Tweet using the #give2girls hashtag.


viagra

The voice of literature in culture

Like many other people I’m sure, one of my very favorite books of all time is J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. I consider it truly brilliant, and it has had a remarkable influence on me. When Salinger died in January of 2010, the tributes lauding his talent flooded the media. One phrase I recall reading by several different writers was that Salinger “defined a generation.” (You could argue he defined two). Such praise is deservedly lofty and not handed out on a whim. But what does this have to do with Machik’s Women’s Writing Program? A lot.

And here’s why: giving a voice through literature is – and has been for a very long time – an integral part of what we understand as “culture.” Deeper than that, the voice of literature within culture is inextricably conjoined with identity, whether it be on a wide or personal scale, which is precisely why we say of writers, ‘he/she defined a generation.’ We say it because we identify with that particular literary voice; it’s as if the voice is speaking for us. We perhaps take this truth for granted, but when you stop to consider it, you can truly appreciate how invaluable those voices are to us, how much they have shaped the narrative of not only our own lives but that of an entire country. This, then, is what Machik’s Women’s Writing Program in Tibet is going some way to achieve for the culture and identity of Tibetans.

Two historic Tibetan publications

In 2004, under the auspices of Professor Palmo Tso, Machik sponsored the development of two historic publications: the first ever anthology of Tibetan women’s writing, and the first print newsmagazine on Tibetan women’s affairs, The Land of Snow Tibetan Women’s Journal. Yes, these are the first ever of their kind for women’s literature in Tibet. Just think of the myriad anthologies of British and American women’s literature in comparison. Then think how rich Tibetan language and culture is, and how powerful a component women’s voices must be (or should be) within that. And yet this surface has only just begun to be scratched.

Breaking the shackles of marginalization

Ultimately, though, beyond culture and identity, giving Tibetan women a recognized voice through literature is about empowerment; empowerment against gender inequality. Women’s literacy rate in Tibet, for example, is that of approximately one third compared to men’s. And in a country where voices are largely marginalized, women’s especially, it becomes abundantly clear the scale of the struggle Tibetan women face. In the light of such facts, Machik’s Women’s Writing Program, and the projects it has brought to fruition, become all the more extraordinary. Not only that, they become all the more critical. This is why we as the Intern Team here at Jolkona have chosen to support this project for the 12 Days of Giving Campaign. Here’s our very bookish campaign video:

Give Tibetan Woman a voice

We’re asking for donations starting at $5 in order to support the publication of twelve stories or essays by Tibetan women in the tri-annual Snowland Tibetan Women’s Journal, which is produced both in print and digitally. $40 covers the publishing costs of one story or essay. By donating you contribute to the improvement of women’s literacy and education, whilst helping give Tibetan women a conduit to greater empowerment and gender equality. In this way, you assist in shaping the narrative of not only the personal lives of the Tibetan women, but also the very narrative of Tibet as a whole. That is no small privilege.

So if you care about gender equality, if you love to read, or if you’ve ever read a book by a woman and enjoyed it, then give here via our campaign page.

Give Tibetan woman a voice – through literature.

 

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

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.

 

Today marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day (IWD). It’s a global day dedicated to honoring the economic, political, and social achievements women have made throughout history by celebrating the women in our lives today. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam, and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday.

This year, Jolkona is partnering with CRAVE and a number of women-owned businesses to launch Give to Girls (Give2Girls), a campaign dedicated to educating, empowering, and providing health for women and girls around the world.

But why are we launching this campaign if women already get one entire day dedicated to them?

Because we want to change the statistics*

  • When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
  • An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.
  • When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.
  • The total global population of girls ages 10 to 24 — already the largest in history — is expected to peak in the next decade.
  • One-quarter to one-half of girls in developing countries become mothers before age 18; 14 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth in developing countries each year.
  • Medical complications from pregnancy are the leading cause of death among girls ages 15 to 19 worldwide. Compared with women ages 20 to 24, girls ages 10 to 14 are five times more likely to die from childbirth, and girls 15 to 19 are up to twice as likely, worldwide.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We all have the ability to help make an impact in the lives of women and girls in our own community and around the globe. We all can celebrate International Women’s Day by looking beyond where we’re at today and think about where we want to be tomorrow.

Announcing the Give 2 Girls Campaign

We are committed to improving the lives of women and girls around the world. To jumpstart this investment in their future, we are partnering with CRAVE and a group of women-owned businesses who have created a fund that will match the first gifts made to women’s development projects on Jolkona, dollar for dollar, up to $2,000.

Will you be one of the first donors to join us in investing in the women of tomorrow by giving to the girls of today?

For each donation made, you will receive a proof of impact for your donation as well as the impact for the matched donation. Once exceed the matched donation, let’s keep the momentum going and see how much we can raise for these projects through the end of March.

Special Thank You

This campaign is made possible by the generous support of the following businesses that have combined their dollars to sponsor the matched fund for this campaign. Each one of these companies are owned by women and but their client base is not. We encourage you to check them out!

Gold level: Hias Gourmet
Silver level: Virtually Savvy
Bronze level: Flaunt, Inc.

We would also like to thank the team at CRAVE for partnering with us on this campaign and helping us put International Women’s Day on the map!

Join the movement – you can follow our progress and our total impact on our website, as well as the conversations that are happening on Facebook and on Twitter (via @Jolkona and #Give2Girls).

Other ways to get involved

  • Tonight, we’re kicking off the campaign by celebrating International Women’s Day with CRAVE at PNK Ultra Lounge. If you’re in Seattle, come join us for the fun and stay for the dessert bar (RSVP here!).

*Source: Girl Effect Fact Sheet

As you know, Jolkona was created to allow donors to support causes they care about and then receive feedback on how their donations are used. We exist to help our partner non-profits do more by raising money for them online from donors who demand transparency.

But how do we raise money to support our own operations? While we send 100% of donations made to partner projects and we rely on our donors to support our work by fundraising for our operations through a separate budget, the Kona Fund. One way to do this is during checkout, you can make an optional donation to Jolkona. We also have a separate fundraising strategy that includes traditional donor solicitations, corporate matching initiatives, and grants.

Today, we are excited to announce a new initiative that shows that Jolkona practices what we preach. We want donors to be able to support our work with micro-donations as well that are tied to specific impacts. So if you love what we do and want to support our growth, check out two new projects we’ve added to support our operations for very specific projects and see the type of feedback we can provide.

  1. Add a new project to Jolkona.org
  2. Provide Access to PR and Marketing Development for 1 Jolkona staff

And look for new giving opportunities to support Jolkona in the upcoming months. How cool would it be to say that you helped make it possible to add a new project and earn that partner nonprofit more money to do their work?

Photo Credit: krasi

Education is one the primary ways to escape poverty and improve the quality of life. According to a recent article in TIME Magazine, one additional year of secondary education can increase salaries for girls by 15-25%. In general, educating girls has a profound effect on reducing overpopulation and child marriage. Girls educated for seven or more years, on average, marry four years later and have 2.2 fewer children as per data from the Girl Effect.

Despite these overwhelming statistics, girls are often left behind. About 25% of girls in developing countries do not attend school (Girl Effect). Girls also receive less than $0.02 of every dollar given specifically for development assistance (TIME).

As a public health major, I am extremely disappointed that female empowerment is not valued as a proven, effective intervention to combat global disparities. As the daughter of immigrant parents, I am horrified. I have been back to India and seen first-hand the impact of gender disparities. Women are scarce at night. Girls are expected to get married or become a burden to their parents. Education is certainly deemed important but school fees are expensive, and since males are dominant in society, their needs are generally met first. It is sad to see that so little of development assistance goes towards making girls feel safe and, even more importantly, appreciated in their own society.

What can you do to bridge this gap and promote education for girls through Jolkona?

There are numerous projects you can support. You can Provide Education to the Females of Afghanistan, where their literacy rate is only 14% because many parents are wary of sending their daughters to co-ed schools with male teachers. For only $40, you can sponsor a girl’s literacy course for a 10-month term in a safe, female-only, environment. Plus, you will receive the name and photo of the girl whose life you changed.

You can also Free and Educate Enslaved Nepali Girls, sold by their farm laborer parents who have limited financial resources. A donation of $100 will not only bring a young girl back to her family, but also pay for school fees and kerosene lamps to ensure that she can study at night. Through the generosity of Jolkona donors, 29 girls have already been saved. Can you make that number higher?

And remember, with the Give 2 Educate campaign in full swing, your donations will be matched, doubling your impact and empowering girls everywhere!

Photo Credit: A. gonzalez

Thanks to the generous support of the Jolkona community, we have raised almost $4,000 for our partner, Barakat, to help families displaced by the floods in Pakistan! As a result of your donations, the 70-75 households that took shelter in Attock, Punjab have all been taken care of. We’re excited to announce that this project is now completely sold out!

In our last blog post about Pakistan, we discussed how much of the $1.3 billion raised for Haiti’s earthquake relief still remains unused. Jolkona and our partner have learned from this experience and have decided to cap the Pakistan project at this point since our non-profit partner does not have the capacity to distribute additional funds for flood relief outside of the village they work in. You can rest assured that YOUR donations to this project are being used for aid and distributed to the families affected by the floods. Everyone who has made a donation will receive a proof of impact as soon as the gifts are implemented.

Thanks to your help, we were able to meet the immediate needs of the affected families who took refuge in Attock. We are working hard with our partner to add another project which will provide long-term benefits for these families.

Unfortunately, the need in Pakistan is still great. The UN reports that the flooding in the Sindh province of Pakistan is going from “bad to worse.” Whether you’ve given to our project or not, we encourage you to give what you can to other relief organizations working in Pakistan. See the short list of organizations we recommend below:

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Within 30 seconds of reading this you can get a seven-day weather forecast for Rio de Janeiro, Delhi, or Tokyo. You can learn how vaccinations work, get instructions on how to construct a pig pen, and even learn the definition of poverty… in Japanese. The point being, we live in an information rich world. With 1.7 billion internet users, some of us clearly have access to limitless amounts of information that the remaining 5.3 billion do not. However, when one goes further and looks at the billions who do not even have access a public library, the world’s 72 million children who are not enrolled in school, or 774 million that are illiterate, this information gap becomes almost unimaginable, but its consequences are very real.

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Taylor Corbett is a student at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA, pursuing a double major in Economics and Diplomacy and World Affairs. This post is part of a series he wrote as part of an internship with BRAC’s Targeting the Ultra-poor program in Bangladesh.

As an American student in Bangladesh I have quickly learned that there is one question that I inevitably face in every greeting. Wedged somewhere between the handshake and friendly smiles slips the question, “What are you doing here?” It’s something I have been asked by customs agents, taxi drivers, chai wallahs, school teachers, businessmen, village leaders, and even friends. In Bangladesh this is a completely justified question. With virtually no tourism industry and monsoon season fast approaching, many wonder why someone would come to their country to tromp around isolated villages for days at a time. The simplicity of my response has, thus far, never failed to solicit a smile. “I have come to learn from you,” I always tell them.

The context of my response can be found eight months prior as I read Nicholas Kristof’s column titled “More Schools, Not Troops.” In his column, Kristof compares the different developmental paths of Bangladesh and Pakistan in the 30 years since their partition in 1971. Pakistan, choosing to spend its aid dollars on military spending has come to face a militarized and divided society. In contrast, Bangladesh has chosen to focus on educational and societal development, which Kristof argues, has led to healthier, better educated, and less radicalized society. He went on to attribute this progress, in part, to an NGO called BRAC for their education and development initiatives. As an international relations and economics major, studying how development organizations can provide effective solutions to pervasive transnational issues (such as terrorism or insurgencies) is my academic dream. Clearly interested, I did what any information hungry American does, I Googled-it.

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