Building on the success of a winter coat drive, I took a risk by posting a sign in our company cafeteria calling for anyone who was involved with any kind of volunteer activity to attend a meeting. I expected about five people to attend and got twelve. 'Not bad', I thought, for a company of fifty.
For me, it's a world where no one goes hungry and everyone has the means to provide for themselves and their families. It's a world where we can be confident the environment will be clean and healthy for future generations.
The only thing "new" in this personal litany is to see it illumined by the emotionally hollow, worldly "new" that I witnessed on a long ago airplane ride. What is not new is how deeply satisfying I find my own treasures.
November 19th is World Toilet Day, a day to raise awareness about the 2.5 billion people who do not have access to improved sanitation. Unfortunately it is a bit of a broken record to talk about the 21,000 children that die around the world each day, as shocking as it is.
Calcium, protein, vitamin B-12 and iron are essential to human health. Animal-based foods are an important source of these micronutrients, and where we at Heifer work, they're sometimes the only source readily available.
For many women, even in the best of circumstances, motherhood is quite a challenge. However, when poverty, disease, violence, poor healthcare or a lack of education is present, mothers and their children both suffer.
Future generations matter. Long-term sustainability matters. But we will not win the long game if we do not recognize that protecting the lives of children today matters more. It makes us better people. It makes us better environmentalists.
If you look at the rhetoric these days, there is great disagreement on how to best, most effectively rid the world of poverty. How should anti-poverty programs be designed so they work, and for the long term?
This year, have you thought about a charitable donation? Not throwing money out into the void, hoping that some good will come of it, but giving to one of the charities that are taking the new "hand-up, not handout" approach to helping.
Imagine you're among the world's poorest: you've never had enough for your family, let alone to spare. But today, for the first time, you will become a giver, and you will give your neighbor roughly half your wealth.
The charities love it, too. The musicians who choose to support them through Music for Good aren't just individual donors, they're megaphones through which the charity reaches fans and friends via the ReverbNation website, email and social media.
What do you get when you combine the active voices of 3.5 million people who want to change the world with nearly 70 years of experience in on-the-ground programs that have helped lift 20.7 million families out of hunger and poverty?
Gender equity, where women and men are valued equally and enjoy the same opportunities to fulfill their potential, is a basic human right and an important component of international development work. When gender equity is present, we find accountability, efficiency and sustainability.