ONE Members working hard to educate and advocate on behalf of the world’s poorest have been encountering this type of conversation with fellow constituents as a reason not to raise their voices to their elected officials: “I already give to (name of organization).” Donating to your favorite charity, organization or faith community is very important and encouraged, while at the same time, writing a letter, making a phone call or even meeting personally with your Member of Congress can supplement the work the donation is providing. This does not have to be a decision of “either/or”, but rather a “both/and.”
(Above: Somali women planting a banana tree in Siqley)
Eradicating extreme poverty takes a collaborated effort. Cooperation between Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s), Private Donors and Federally Funded Programs is an essential relationship to tackle this daunting and yet possible task.
Towards the end of last summer, I was able to witness this type of collaboration with a couple of ONE’s partners, World Concern and One Day’s Wages. We were in Eastern Kenya one year after the declaration of famine in the Horn of Africa due to the worst drought the area had seen in the last 60 years. We were able to meet with many Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) who lost most everything while traveling in search of safety, water and food. One woman named Sahara traveled over 300 kilometers, mostly by foot with her six children and lost an estimated 200 cattle, 300 goats and 100 camels over the course of the journey. She, her family along with thousands others are now in small communities peppered throughout Eastern Kenya with names like Benane, Balambala, Danyere, Saka, and Siqley.
In these communities, USAID Health Center buildings that hold antiretroviral pills funded by programs such as PEPFAR or Global Fund are also used to collect water using rainwater catchment systems built by the community through World Concern. Donations that constructed Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) latrines also allow women being educated on farming techniques to privately relieve themselves away from growing crops. Filtered water is pumped closer to schools so students can spend more time on education and learning rather than walking the long distance to the river to drink and wash. Successful stories such as these are occurring all over the world due to the combined effort of donors, private organizations, NGO’s and federally funded programs. Right now these effective programs are in danger of being cut putting real lives at real risk.
Speaking up right now can provide HIV/AIDS treatment for 276,500 more people. Procure 4.7 million insecticide-treated malaria nets to be made available saving 12,500 lives. Allow 1 million families to have food security and income gains. Won’t you lift your voice and make that phone call or write that letter that will allow your donation to go further and be supplemented by these effective and efficient programs?
Please continue to donate to one of ONE’s partner organizations and if you are still looking for a late present you can head over to World Concern’s Gift Guide for a truly transformative gift.