What is it like to make a financial investment in an up and coming social change leader, every single day of the year? Since January 1, 2013, through my work at the Pollination Project, I've been giving daily micro grants to emerging projects and inspiring people all over the world. Now over 40 people have joined me, each of them giving at least $1 every day to our awe-inspiring grantees.
Here are the extraordinary people and projects that our Daily Giving Community is honored to support this week.
Women's Health in the DRC. Growing up in a developing country, Dominique Vidale-Plaza knows what it is like to have big dreams yet to feel disempowered to achieve them. Believing that simple, community-based solutions can create an impact, she created the Kwetu Initiative to address the critical health issues of women in Mwenga in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In addition to the sexual violence it has become known for, the DRC has among the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world. The Kwetu Initiative will equip a local clinic and village activists to prevent maternal deaths.
Amazing Mothers in Uganda. As a teacher working in the rural areas of Busia, Uganda, Wafula Sunday Everline saw mothers struggling to provide for their children's basic needs like food, clothing and educational materials. Amazing Moulders, is a group of mothers who came together after experiencing hardship while taking care of their families. Their goal is to develop self-sustaining families in their village. They plant different types of vegetables and passion fruits, which help to improve families' nutrition, and sell some of the produce to buy clothes and books.
Creating Support for a Wildlife Park in Uganda For four years, Lillian Asiimwe and Jim Tanton have run the JALI Community Craft Project to create high quality crafts in Kichwamba, in the Rubirizi District of Southwest Uganda. The area boasts a wildlife park, but residents in the community are mainly poor subsistence farmers who don't directly see the benefit of having wild animals in their backyard, and instead believe the park is a burden to the community. Increasing the number of people who directly benefit from having a national park close to their homes creates more local advocates for the protection of the animals. The JALI Community Craft Project is working to engage the communities of Kichwamba and Kyambura, by creating unique jewelry for an income-generating project. The project has an active membership, plus eager lodges and hotels as customers.
Empowering Single Mothers in Kenya. Coming from a poor background with limited resources, Daniel Marita lacked the most basic essentials such as food, clothing and education. Growing up with a single mother who faced violence, he was unable to continue his high school education and began working at an early age to help support his mother and younger brothers and sisters. In March of 2014, Daniel founded the Agro-Business for Rural Women Project to offer sustainable economic development opportunities to very poor families in Nairobi. These families, led by single mothers, have suffered heavily from gender-based violence and have had few options to earn income, often subsisting on the crops produced from their own land. The aim of the project is to economically empower, to raise the status, and to build the capacity of women who have suffered from gender-based violence. The women will be trained in small-scale agri-business enterprise, income generating skills, and in home-based care for women living with AIDS and support for AIDS orphans. Fifty women will be trained in a workshop as an alternative to employment in the sex trade.
Supporting Victims of Incarceration in Montana. Patricia Swan-Smith is an advocate for families with loved ones who are incarcerated. Her Montana-based organization, Friends and Families Matter, helps coordinate prison and jail visits and educate the public on the lack of rehabilitation opportunities in prisons. "Many of the families hit with having a loved one incarcerated deal with increased poverty, hardships and stigmatization," Patricia said. "Our corrections system has miserably failed to habilitate/rehabilitate, and it continues to create millions of victims. While there are many support systems for victims of crimes, which there should be, there needs to be more support for the other victims of incarceration." The project offers support groups for families and friends and rehabilitation opportunities for loved ones coming out of the prison system, alongside lobbying for the needs of those inside Montana's prisons and the families and friends outside.
Advancing Animal Rights in Ireland. Irish animal rights organization ARAN (Animal Rights Action Network) , has been fighting for animal rights across the Emerald Isle for almost 20 years. Now the group is looking to start a new campaign -- getting the country to go embrace a plant-based diet. "We have massive experience at running the most effective campaigns and engaging people in those efforts. We are so passionate about this project because Ireland is an extremely agriculture based country, so our work to get people to go veggie is needed more than ever before," says project leader, John Carmody. The group wants to put together a vegetarian and vegan starter kit to distribute across Ireland, complete with an educational booklet featuring photos of rescued animals.
Safe Drinking Water for All in Kenya. Beth Koigi knows the effects of dirty water all too well, when polluted water in Kenya's Chuka District made her sick. After watching children drinking dirty water, Beth started a project to give families inexpensive access to clean water. Her project, Technologia Mashinani, will provide affordable charcoal water filters made from recycled materials (such as plastics and charcoal dust). The materials will be bought from the community itself. Beth explains, "the filter will promote health by encouraging people to use clean water; hence, improving health conditions." Purchasing filters is usually out of reach for most families because they are usually expensive, but with Beth's project, families will be able to purchase the filters through a payment plan of $1 per month for a year.
Congratulations to our grantees this week for their outstanding work to bring justice, peace, health and compassion to their communities. These are just a few examples of what a little seed money can do when put in the hands of someone with a vision and a plan to change the world.
Want to be part of the joy of giving? Join our Daily Giving Community, or simply create your own giving practice. It will change your life!