Dear Project of the Month Club,
I don’t know about you, but spring has officially sprung here in D.C.! The sun is shining, the cherry blossoms have bloomed, and the temperature is steadily rising. And while I’m excited to celebrate the beautiful weather, I’m even more excited to share some inspiring news with you.
Over the past six months, your donations have spanned across all six continents represented on GlobalGiving. You’ve helped provide education in Nepal, saved rainforests in Australia, and danced across Africa. What an incredible feat!
Before we get to our final continent, let’s see the impact your donations made in March.
Last month, 269 of you gave a total of $8,543 to support development in South America through Camino Verde’s Turning carbon footprints into healthy soils project, which is improving soil quality in Peru by adding charcoal (or “bio-char”) to soil. This captures carbon for hundreds of years and improves the soil’s ability to hold nutrients!
This month, your donations are traveling from South America to North America with the Chef Ann Foundation’s The Lunch Box Expansion Project. This project gives children in schools across America access to lunches that are not only delicious, but healthy, nourishing, and kid-approved.
Emily Miller, the Marketing and Education Manager at the Chef Ann Foundation, has this message for you:
“Chef Ann Foundation is so incredibly honored to have been chosen as GlobalGiving's project of the month. We are a small but mighty team of five working to improve childhood health and nutrition in America through school food, and your recognition of our work truly inspires and invigorates us! We are grateful for the Club members' support and can't wait to roll up our sleeves and get to work. Thank you.”
When we asked Emily what $9,000 would do for the Lunch Box Expansion Project, Emily knew exactly how it could be used:
“A sum of $9,000 will go such a long way for our project. To ensure that kids are eating healthy, fresh, and delicious food at school, one of the most essential resources that school nutrition departments need are easy to follow scratch cook recipes that meet USDA nutrition guidelines. Thelunchbox.org has a database of over 200 school lunch recipes, and the number one request we receive from school districts is to please add more!
“Recipes seem like a simple resource, but in reality, a lot of work goes into creating them. To develop a healthy school lunch recipe that kids love and that meets the USDA requirements, it takes a chef to create it, a dietitian to ensure the nutritional content meets government standards, and school food professionals to kid test each and every one. That adds up to a lot of man-hours. $9,000 will pay for nine scratch cook recipes that lunch ladies can scale up or down, depending on their student population, using our free online recipe tool.”
On top of creating new recipes for schools, your donations will be reaching almost every state across America! That’s the kind of life-changing impact you make each month, and I’m just as grateful as the Chef Ann Foundation team for your continuous support.
Mari Kuraishi + the GlobalGiving Team
Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone were declared Ebola-free in 2015, however, a few more cases have emerged in 2016. Last week in Liberia, a woman contracted the virus and passed away leaving her five-year-old son who has also become infected. GlobalGiving’s nonprofit partners in West Africa have worked tirelessly to bring the number of Ebola cases to zero and to support the survivors and communities.
Your donations have helped organizations on the ground make great strides toward ending this crisis. Since our last report, eight organizations received additional funding from GlobalGiving donors to work on Ebola prevention and recovery programs:
Accountability Lab is using film to improve awareness and understanding about the impacts of Ebola and to improve accountability of the response.
AdvocAid is delivering legal aid and welfare packages to 315 women and girls affected by the Ebola crisis.
Greatest Goal Ministries USA is supporting 30 survivors and widows, 14 orphanages, and 28 primary community schools in Sierra Leone.
GAIA Vaccine Foundation is creating and distributing ‘storytelling cloth’ to educate about Ebola in Sierra Leone.
MindLeaps is providing meal support for 1,000 people for six months in Kindia, Guinea.
Seed Programs International is providing vegetable seeds, tools, and training to 2,500 Ebola-impacted people in Liberia.
Kidsave International is helping to deinstitutionalize 65 Ebola orphans and train families to receive them in Pugehun, Sierra Leone, and to expand the use of a mobile app with the government to track Sierra Leonean Ebola orphans' statuses.
WeOwnTV is launching a documentary story challenge with filmmakers from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to help amplify local voices telling the story of the Ebola crisis within the West African indigenous media sector.
Donors like you also supported our nonprofit partners’ ongoing work in West Africa through a matching campaign. GlobalGiving provided a 1:1 match on donations made to our partners’ projects during this campaign. Hundreds of donors around the world came together to raise more than $200,000 for more than 40 organizations working to fight Ebola.
Thank you for contributing to the GlobalGiving Ebola Epidemic Relief Fund to support our nonprofit partners working in Ebola-affected communities in West Africa. Click “give now” below to continue programs like these in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.
Greetings from Antigua everyone,
I've finally made it back to Guatemala! As many of you know I was living in Antigua last Fall when I applied for this position with GlobalGiving, so I've really come full circle. I'm so glad I get to spend another month in this special place.
After cruising around the islands of Belize, visiting with some of our partners, and doing some snorkeling, I arrived in Guatemala by boat last Saturday. While in Livingston on the Carribbean Coast, I visited with the Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund). I had the opportunity to meet local fishermen and learn about the ways in which they are implementing sustainable fishing practices in their communities.
As the second largest coral reef system in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Mesoamerican Reef is surrounded by Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. In the last twenty years, the reef has seen considerable damage due to commercial fishing, invasive species like the lionfish, and most of all climate change. The MAR Fund partners with organizations in all four countries to strengthen and streamline conservation efforts and fight the effects of climate change. We spent the day talking with an organized group of local fisherman who are leading the way in protecting the area surrounding the Río Sarstún which forms the natural border between Belize and Guatemala.
As a community and with the help of the MAR Fund, they have established "no-take" zones where only fishing by hook and line is permitted. These protected areas allow overfished species, like the mojarra or local tilapia, to reproduce in an area safe from trawling and other harmful fishing practices. These refugios are able to replenish the area's stock year after year, sustaining the local food supply and the livelihood of the villagers. This group has also brought in livestock and planted fruit trees to provide for their community.
In a part of the world where most don't think twice about tossing an empty water bottle on the beach, it was truly inspiring to see these community leaders thinking long-term about their environmental impact. With the help of organizations like the MAR Fund, this community has been able to grow and thrive while ensuring the health of their natural resources for generations to come.
After a long day of bumpy boat rides and buses without air conditioning, I finally made it from Livingston to Antigua just in time for Semana Santa. Semana Santa or Holy Week is celebrated all over Latin America, but Antigua is the best place to be if you enjoy jam-packed streets, outrageous street vendors, and an exorbitant number of mysterious sweet treats. Guatemalans flock to the city to participate in elaborate processions that run around the clock, and local families and businesses join together to create exquisite alfombras or "carpets" up and down the cobblestone streets (see photos below). These carpets are painstakingly stenciled, layer by layer, from dyed sand, sawdust, flowers, fruit, vegetables, spices, and any other colorful materials at hand.
Since most local businesses are closed during Semana Santa, I've had some free time to wander the city and get reacquainted with some of my favorite spots. I was quickly reminded why Antigua is one of my favorite cities, from the colorful markets to the kindness of the people... Needless to say, it feels good to be back.
I wanted to say again how much I appreciate all of your support and your interest in my trip! I have already had the privilege of meeting some incredible community leaders and have been truly inspired by the ways in which they are shaping and creating a better world. It's amazing what we can accomplish when we work together.
I hope this report finds you well, and I look forward to sharing more of these stories with you in the coming months!