Arid Lands Information Network
ALIN is an award-winning non-governmental organization working in East Africa to facilitate the exchange of information in regions with limited access to technology. This vital access to technology-based information solutions can mean a world of difference to communities relying on crucial agricultural, environmental, and medical information to survive in arid land living conditions. ALIN has made it its mission to address the “… lack of knowledge exchange nodes in arid lands of East Africa” (alin.or.ke).
ALIN received the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 2011 Access to Learning Award for its work in bringing information and technology to rural areas in Eastern Africa. Their flagship publication is Baobab Magazine, a quarterly periodical to address “… agricultural production techniques, environment management, market information, gender, health and HIV and AIDS” (alin.or.ke). Arid land communities are susceptible to drought, famine, and other rough farming conditions, making information resources essential. The primary means by which ALIN nurtures technology and information access is through Maarifa Centres: “By investing in these centres, ALIN hopes to empower people to use technology to promote community development and bring services such as skills development, e-commerce and e-learning closer to the people. The Maarifa centres are also the hubs that create local opportunities for the people through Business Process Outsourcing” (alin.or.ke).
Arid Lands Information Network: Environment
From the ALIN website: “The information exchange activities focus on small-scale sustainable agriculture, climate change adaptation, natural resources management and other livelihood issues” (alin.or.ke).
The Asia Foundation
The Asia Foundation is a four-star rated, 501(c)(3) non-profit. Addressing issues at regional and national levels, the organization works on peace building efforts, development projects, and women’s empowerment solutions.
“In 2012, the Foundation provided more than $98 million in program support and distributed nearly on million books and journals valued at over $42 million.” Read their annual report for 2010.
The Asia Foundation: Environment
Explore The Asia Foundation’s environment-related projects.
The Aspen Institute
The Aspen Institute is a non-governmental organization, focused on education, policy, and leadership. According to the website, “The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.” The organization works on the understanding that communication is the foundation for progress. The Institute’s values are encapsulated in their mission statement.
According to their website, the Aspen Institute develops policy and leadership responses to critical issues in four primary ways: through seminars, young-leader fellowships and otherleadership programs, policy programs to discuss issues in a non-partisan light, and public conferences. One particularly important project that the organization works on is the Agent Orange in Vietnam Program, an initiative aimed at promoting dialogue and collaboration between the two countries on the often-contentious issues surrounding US responsibilities and culpability regarding the current effects of past Agent Orange use. Effects of Agent Orange currently felt include environmental pollution, as well as major health effects including birth defects and sickness, experienced by both US veterans and Vietnamese decades after its initial deployment in Vietnam. An article in the New York Times mentions the efforts of the Aspen Institute in brokering communication between the two countries.
*It should be noted that Catchafire appears to be a for-profit business. Non-profits and social institutions that are listed with Catchafire pay a fee based on a sliding scale*
Catchafire provides a matchmaking service to facilitate collaboration between talented professionals and non-profits or social institutions seeking quality pro bono services.
Catchafire may be one promising way to contribute your talents where they are needed most. The Catchafire company is also currently hiring. The company is looking for professionals who are “…hungry to change the world” (catchafire.org). By looking through projects and non-profits listed with Catchafire, you might find an area of interest in which to contribute your services. Projects can be filtered by professional field; simply make sure to check off each of your areas of expertise. Upload a resume to their database in order to be considered by non-profits and other organizations. If you represent a non-profit or socially oriented organization, you can search for qualified professionals from a range of fields through Catchafire for a sliding scale-based fee.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, the number of professionals volunteering their services through Catchafire is about 10,000, while there are around 2,500 organizations seeking professional volunteers (csmonitor.com). According to the Catchafire website, “Catchafire pro bono professionals have donated thousands of hours to provide over 3 million dollars in services to NYC social good organizations” (catchafire.org).
Centre for Science and Environment
Originally founded and directed by Anil Kumar Agarwal, the CSE is a major environmentalist organization in India, where pollution, waste management, and other environmental considerations have a profound and direct impact on the increasing urban populations. The New Delhi-based organization conducts research and acts as a public-interest advocate and lobby.
The CSE website offers a bounty of information. See how CSE suggests you can “be the change,” subscribe to their newsletter, look into jobs or internships with CSE, or consider shopping in the CSE store or donating to the organization to support their important monitoring, research, and advocacy work. The CSE is currently directed by Sunita Narain, who was the subject of a recent in-depth Christian Science Monitor article about her work in India.
The Centre’s website describes their work as falling under five main categories:communications, research and advocacy, education and training, knowledge, and pollution monitoring. Environmental issues that CSE programs deal with include air pollution, water management, industry & environment, food safety and toxins, and climate change. The CSE has successfully battled against major corporations in support of sustainable and sound environmental policy.
eBay Giving Works
While eBay itself is not a non-profit organization, it does offer a few phenomenal easy ways to benefit non-profits through their Giving Works program. Since 2003, eBay Giving Works has been used as a way for the eBay market and community to donate to non-profit causes.
The Giving Works program offers a few different ways to contribute. For starters, you can purchase from a wide variety of eBay sellers and shops, all of which are donating a percentage of their profit to a non-profit organization. If you have items you would like tosell on eBay, you can donate up to a hundred percent of what you make to a non-profit through Giving Works. Additionally, eBay allows you to simply donate directly to a non-profit of your choice through their website. Non-profits who are not listed with eBay may register with MissionFish in order to raise money through Giving Works.
So far, over 267 million dollars have been donated to non-profits through the Giving Works platform. Read about the success stories and impact that Giving Works has had on specific organizations and individuals.
Environmental Justice Foundation
“The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) is a UK- based non-profit organisation working intentionally to protect the environment and defend human rights.” EJF is a registered charity in England and Wales under charity no. 1088128 (2001).
According to the Guardian article, the Environmental Justice Foundation raised 50,000 in British pounds to purchase and equip a small surveillance boat for the local villagers to monitor and record the illegal fishing happening in their waters. Already, village fisherman in the Sherbro river area of Sierra Leone have filmed 10 international trawlers working illegally, allowing them to make 252 separate reports of illegal fishing to the proper authorities, the article describes.
Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs
SEE is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that works to augment charitable projects involved in field work. SEE takes some of the fundraising and administrative hassle out of non-profit work, allowing organizations to focus on field work that makes a true impact.
By providing accounting, administrative, and other clerical work for a multitude of charitable activists and organizations, change-makers are freed up to focus on their fieldwork, becoming involved where they can truly have the most impact.
If you choose to use Socialvest, please be aware that it is a for-profit organization. Socialvest is one of a few new programs out there seeking to integrate the online consumer experience with social awareness and charitable giving.
Using Socialvest is simple: after signing up through the website, shop online through the site. For every purchase you make, a percentage is rebated into your Socialvest account to go towards a charity of your choice.
The fun of Socialvest is that the impact is both 1) passively accruing and 2) can be directed to any organization you want. You earn money without doing anything, except the shopping you were already planning on. The money that is saved in your Socialvest account can be given to any 501(c)(3), meaning your purchases make an impact wherever you choose.
Solar Household Energy, Inc.
A solar cooking oven is an affordable way to prepare food and saves on the need for potentially hazardous cooking fuel. This is particularly important for those who do not have easy access to the necessary fuels, but instead must travel or scavenge for basic cooking fuel. SHE works to help provide solar cookers and conducts training in their use.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation
TEF is an African non-profit working to develop Africa’s private sector through business leadership and entrepreneurship programs. Founded by businessman and philanthropist Tony Elumelu, TEF works to support investment in African businesses.
Read more about TEF’s work, keep up-to-date on the movement with the Africapitalist Newsletter, explore a variety of related academic and media resources, or apply to one of the Foundation’s available jobs and internships.
TEF works in three distinct areas in its quest to develop Africa: “impact investing,” leadership development, and within the realm of public policy. TEF is pioneering a new investment model; “impact investing” directs for-profit investments towards social and environmental issues. Working with strategic partners and organizations, TEF develops African business leaders through their work as a member of the Aspen Network to support small and growing businesses, as well as their African Markets Internship Programme. Finally, TEF works with governmental organizations, as well as a wide variety of groups and individuals, advocating public policy in support of the African private sector.
Voolla is a new, non-profit web service working with a threefold goal: to simultaneously provide money to charities in need, services of many kinds to those who need them, and an outlet for people looking to volunteer their skills and time.
Are you a talented professional or skilled amateur looking to donate your time? Post aprofile on Voolla and search for a way to volunteer your talents – whatever they may be (any type of work or service can be donated). Individuals or organizations looking for volunteered work can search profiles listed on Voolla for volunteered work. They then pay the fee to a charitable cause rather than the volunteer providing the service. Voolla is also one of the non-profit services listed with Catchafire, a very similar, albeit slightly different (and for profit), program matching up volunteer professionals with organizations in need. Consider putting your talents to use for work on Voolla itself.
Through the Voolla giving process, a charity is helped, the person looking for a service finds the help they need at a price that benefits a good cause, and the person providing the service knows that their volunteer work has made a difference to two groups.
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