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Poverty and What We Can Do

For a long time I believed that the complex problem of poverty was simply too big for one person, but that has changed dramatically over the last couple of years. We can now make a big difference in other people’s lives, and we now have the means to reach out in many different ways. For example: we can sponsor a child, donate money, send gifts, go over there and volunteer, etc.

A ‘recent’ development is that of on-line gift shops. You can find these with World Vision, but also with other organizations such as Oxfam, and ChildFund.

Here’s how it works:

1. Choose a gift from the website, and order it
This would typically be things like water pumps, animals, seeds, medication, etc.

Gifts to choose from

There’s a wide range of gifts to choose from, and most are inexpensive.

My favorite animal is the goat, because it just keeps on giving and giving (milk, fertilizer, breeding programs, pet for children, etc).

Check World Vision’s website for a complete overview. (See other links at the bottom of this article)

2. Gift goes to where it’s most needed
The actual gift will go to where it’s needed the most (typically a poverty country anywhere on the globe).

These special gifts, great and small, play a very big part in local communities.

Animals at work in communities

3. Receive a gift card
You will receive a card with a “thank you” on it, accompanied by an explanation of the concept behind the gift, and what kind of impact this has in poverty countries.

World Vision thank-you card

Presents
These kinds of gifts make excellent birthday and Christmas presents. In my experience, people like the thought that went into a gift like this (who needs all that material crap anyway), and are normally quite interested in what it’s all about. A great opportunity to raise awareness for poverty and what we can do, in other words.

Thinking outside of the (Christmas gift) box
There’s a lot more you can do with these kind of gifts of course. For example, you might be able to persuade your employer to add a goat in the traditional Christmas gift box (instead of a ham, or turkey for example). Even replacing the traditional Christmas cards with the $1 seed cards will help.

Milestone reward program
If you’re in a corporate environment you could introduce a milestone reward program, where for each milestone some reward is purchased from the on-line gift shop, and put it somewhere where everybody can see them. Since the gifts range from low to high prices, you can match them to the reward quite well, e.g. from a chicken, to a water pump, to a cow.

You could collect them on a pin board…

Collect them all

Or if you want to make it a bit classier, you could frame them individually, and add an explanation to what the impact of this particular reward is.

Obstacles
Before you approach your employer, and run the idea past him/her, make sure you’ve got some clear ideas in your head, and keep it simple. Your employer is probably quite busy, so you should make this process as simple as possible. A good email with lots of pictures, and what would be in it for the company usually works.

And don’t be disappointed if it takes a lot of time, or simply doesn’t work out. At least you tried. 🙂

In conclusion
It’s really quite amazing how much fun it is, to add some of these gifts to day-to-day activities.

The people that hear about these things for the first time are often genuinely interested and excited. I think that’s because rather than seeing your money go into a hole without knowing exactly where it went, at least now you can actually see where the money goes, and that makes it fun.

So reward yourself, and give yourself an animal. You deserve it! 🙂

Here are the links:
World Vision
Oxfam
ChildFund

June 21 2012 | Contribution | Comments Off on Poverty and What We Can Do