Category Archives: Charity

Microloans Are Not Charity

Today’s guest post is from Seeds, a tech startup with a female founder working to build social good through microlending into every app that exists.

Most of us know what microloans are, right? They’re small loans — say $5 or $25 — given to people in need. These people can use the loans to buy livestock or supplies for their small businesses, and then pay back the loans with their proceeds.

What usually comes to everyone’s mind when they think about microloans is Kiva, the highly successful microlending nonprofit. (Fun fact: Bill Draper, one of Kiva’s investors, and Sam Birney, Kiva’s former Director of Engineering are investors in Seeds!) Kiva is awesome, but there’s actually a lot more to the world of microfinance than just what they do. We wanted to shed some light on this broader landscape today.

1. Microloans are not a type of nonprofit.

Because Kiva is a nonprofit, what seems to be a big misconception has propagated: that microlending is a category of nonprofit. In fact, it’s a type of lending and finance that happens to do a lot of social good. We think the “social good” part is what confuses people. People often don’t realize that social good doesn’t just come from nonprofits — it can also come from financial institutions, businesses and startups (like Seeds!)

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WATCH: Ed Sheeran Visits Liberia for Red Nose Day

The Red Nose Day campaign to end child poverty returns in the U.S. on Thursday, May 25, in conjunction with a night of special programming and the third annual “Red Nose Day Special” on NBC.

One of the best ways to help vulnerable children in low-and-middle-income countries is by telling their authentic stories to those who can help make their lives a little better.

Along with Comic Relief, Ed Sheeran recently traveled to West Point, one of west Africa’s largest and most dangerous slums, in Liberia’s capital Monrovia. There he saw children whose lives have been routinely ravaged by poverty, the Ebola crisis, and an economy that was devastated by the notorious disease that killed thousands. Today, an estimated 14,000 children (some as young as seven) are living and working on Monrovia’s streets.

In Liberia, Sheeran shot a video set to “What Do I Know,” a track from Ed’s latest album Divide to bring awareness to street kids who live in Monrovia.

Continue reading WATCH: Ed Sheeran Visits Liberia for Red Nose Day

New Maternal Health Mobile App for Tanzanian Women Seeks Crowdfunding

The more technology improves in low-and-middle income countries the quicker mobile apps will be invented and scaled to better people’s live. We already know that banking apps have transformed the exchange of money and have helped economies like Kenya’s thrive. Now, innovators are looking to create more and more mobile apps to transform health care and save more lives.

Sub-Saharan Africa has some of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. While those numbers have fallen considerably over the past decade, the numbers still remain incredibly high. In Tanzania, for example, the maternal mortality rate is 578 per every 100,000 live births according to the World Health Organization.  Most of these deaths occur due to postpartum hemorrhage, complications during delivery and postpartum infections. When women deliver their babies at home or do not get proper prenatal care during pregnancy the probability that they might die increases.

Smart Access to Health for All (SAHFA), a nonprofit organization that specifically creates applications for rural communities to be able to access quality health information from their mobile phones, wants to save more lives through its technology. JamboMama! is its first project and is seeking 10,000 euros in crowdfunding to complete.

The JamboMama! app provides health information to expecting women and connects them to their health workers. It provides pregnancy updates and sends women’s medical records to the hospital where they will give birth. JamboMama! also sends text updates about the mother’s pregnancy and prompts her to answer questions about how she is feeling and how her pregnancy is moving along. For women in rural communities who cannot always get to their community health posts, health clinics, or hospitals JamboMama! can be the difference between life and death.

 

SAHFA plans to launch JamboMama! in Tanzania as its first pilot program. To donate to the creation of JamboMama! visit SAHFA’s crowdfunding page at https://www.helloasso.com/associations/sahfa/collectes/jambomama.

While the payment instructions are in French, you can allow Google to translate the page.

Photo: Jennifer James

How You Can Help Mothers and Babies in Syria’s Idlib Camps

War is suffocating every corner of Syria and has been for the past several years. In areas that are close to neighboring countries like Idlib province that borders Turkey, Syrians from all over the country are fleeing there for safety believing that those border regions won’t fall under severe air attack. Unfortunately, as we learned last week, that just is not the case.

Chemicals, including sarin gas, rained upon civilians in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province last week and while it definitely happened as we saw in newspapers and on the news leaders involved in the region are striking fingers at their enemies. The United States is blaming Russia and the Assad regime for the chemical attacks, the Assad regime is blaming the rebels, the rebels are blaming the Assad regime, and Putin is now saying that the United States is putting “false flag” attempts on Syria blaming them for the chemical attacks in order to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Meanwhile, men, women, and children continue to suffer daily. In the Idlib camps for internally displaced people, NGOs are providing as much aid as possible to the thousands of families who fled cities like Aleppo, Damascus, and Homs with intense hopes of crossing into Turkey where they instead found the border had been strictly closed.

Aid agencies provide food, water, and medical attention to those living in the camps, but they need as much help as they can get. Four Chicago mothers know this well and have started a fund to send baby supplies to 1500 babies in the Idlib camps with the help of Chicago-based Heroic Hearts Organization. Called a Parcel of Love campaign, you can donate as much as you’d like from bath essentials for $20 to feeding essentials for $80 to a fully equipped baby box for $240.

The Parcel of Love campaign has already raised $92,000, but there is a long way to go to help improve the beginnings for the children who have already come into this world with so little. 

To donate visit: http://hchearts.org/campaigns/parcel-of-love. And, also please spread the word to your networks to help this worthy cause.