Category Archives: Helping others

Our NGOs for 2017 are…

“If you’re in the luckiest one per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.” Warren Buffett

Even if this time it has come rather late, if there is a blog post that I am looking forward to write each year is this one. Few things can give you more pleasure than helping others (1). And in doing so I try to be as public and noisy as I can,  hoping that I may serve the causes we contribute to also from the awareness point of view.

Let’s go and see the different causes we decided to support in this 2017 (2):

Why am I “noisy” or public about these donations?

I know that between 100 and 200 of you will read this blog post. I bet with any of you that at least 50% of you will be compelled to take a look at some of these organisations above, 10% of you will consider making a donation. Do you dare thinking that 1% of you won’t actually make such donation?

I learnt about Kiva from Bruno back in 2009. Started contributing to Médecins Sans Frontières in 2010 after a conversation with Juan a couple of years before. I learnt from Slavery International at a temporary exhibit at the Museum of London. I started contributing to the sustaining of the Wikipedia after a tweet from Amalia. Discovered the Fundacion Hombres Nuevos thanks to my father’s 6-month volunteering in Bolivia. Learnt of Gapminder in TED. I started donating myself happiness with Fundacion Khanimambo after Nacho and Alberto. I started supporting to cancer research in part as a way to honour late friends and family members and encourage work colleagues going through therapy. I received the #IceBucketChallenge from Alvaro and Teresa. Avocats sans Frontieres and Movement du Nid were are ideas from Luca, the latest addition to the list being SOS-Racisme. After most of the causes there has been someone who let me discover them.

If not one of those, I am sure that you will be able to find a cause, a NGO which resonates with you. Do yourself a favour and contribute to it. It can be just 25$, the cost of diner at a restaurant. You’ll feel much better.

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank


(1) See this article from the World Economic Forum “Why being generous is good for your health“.

(2) You may check out similar posts I wrote about our contributions to NGOs in 2016201520142013 and 2012.

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Our NGOs for 2016 are…

“If you’re in the luckiest one per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.” Warren Buffett

If there is a blog post that I am looking forward to write each year is this one. Few things can give you more pleasure than helping others (1). And in doing so I try to be as public and noisy as I can,  hoping that I may serve the causes we contribute to also from the awareness point of view.

Let’s go and see the different causes we decided to support in this 2016 (2):

Why am I “noisy” or public about these donations?

I know that between 100 and 200 of you will read this blog post. I bet with any of you that at least 50% of you will be compelled to take a look at some of these organisations above, 10% of you will consider making a donation. Do you dare thinking that 1% of you won’t actually make such donation?

I learnt about Kiva from Bruno back in 2009. Started contributing to Médecins Sans Frontières in 2010 after a conversation with Juan a couple of years before. I learnt from Slavery International at a temporary exhibit at the Museum of London. I started contributing to the sustaining of the Wikipedia after a tweet from Amalia. Discovered the Fundacion Hombres Nuevos thanks to my father’s 6-month volunteering in Bolivia. Learnt of Gapminder in TED. I started donating myself happiness with Fundacion Khanimambo after Nacho and Alberto. I started using the support to cancer research as a way to honour and encourage work colleagues going through therapy. I received the #IceBucketChallenge from Alvaro and Teresa. The latest additions, Avocats sans Frontieres and Movement du Nid, are ideas from Luca… and so on. After each cause there is someone who let me discover them.

If not one of those, I am sure that you will be able to find a cause, a NGO which resonates with you. Do yourself a favour and contribute to it. It can be just 25$, the cost of diner at a restaurant. You’ll feel much better.

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank

(1) See this recent article from the World Economic Forum “Why being generous is good for your health“.

(2) You may check out similar posts I wrote about our contributions to NGOs in 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012.

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Official Development Assistance 2014 (OECD report)

Four years ago, when I first wrote a blog post about the different NGOs that I supported, I briefly discussed the dire situation of Official Development Assistance (ODA) based on the OECD report from 2005.

OECD 2005 Development Aid

OECD 2005 Development Aid

Just 5 countries were then above the 0.7% threshold, that I recall was first suggested by:

[…] Lester B. Pearson (PDF, 40KB), former Prime Minister of Canada, who in 1969 recommended that resources equivalent to a minimum of 1% of the GNP of developed nations should flow to developing countries.

This 1%  would be made up of official development assistance, other official flows from the government, and private sector flows; the official development assistance component of the 1% commitment would be equivalent to 0.7% of GNP.

In this post I wanted to take a look at the latest data from the OECD which was released in a note published a few days ago, “Development aid stable in 2014 but flows to poorest countries still falling“. Together with the note you can download a file with all the statistics [XLS, 329KB] and a brief report explaining the figures [PDF, 349KB]. In my opinion the best way to understand the situation is to play with tool, of which I give a screenshot below:

OECD Official Development Assistance, 2014 data.

OECD Official Development Assistance, 2014 data.

In the graphic you can see that still today, as it was the case 10 years ago, only 5 countries (Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and the UK) exceeded the United Nations target of keeping ODA at 0.7% of GNI (the UK has taken the place of The Netherlands). In absolute terms, the bigger donors are the USA, the UK, Germany, France and Japan. The total net ODA from member countries of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) was 135.2bn$ (practically the same as in 2013) or a 0.29% of the gross national income (GNI) of those countries.

OECD ODA 2014, target, average country effort and total DAC.

OECD ODA 2014, target, average country effort and total DAC.

In the graphic below you can see the evolution of the total ODA in the past years, which with the crisis has suffered from continuous up and downs.

OECD ODA 2014 evolution

 

Finally, using the tool, I dived into the case of Spain (my country of origin). You can see that Spain’s official development assistance contributions peaked in 2008-2009, when it reached 0.46% and 6.41bn$. The crisis then took its particular toll in Spain and priorities were redefined by the political class, almost completely forgetting about ODA. In the 2014 it contributed 1.89bn$ which represented 0.14% of the GNI, or a fifth of the UN target.

Spain's ODA evolution in relative (% of GNI) and absolute ($bn) terms.

Spain’s ODA evolution in relative (% of GNI) and absolute ($bn) terms.

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International Women’s Day, Global Gender Gap and backing women dreams

Today, March 8th it’s International Women’s Day. In the last few days I have seen a significant buzz in social media about the day. In particular I read a couple of pieces that made contribute to the buzz with this post.

World Economic Forum:

Equal pay benefits men, too. Here are four reasons why, backed up by our Global Gender Gap Report. [PDF, 6.1MB]

I liked the approach: “What’s in it for me?” (from the perspective of men, of course) (1).

Take a look at the report (395 pages). I skimmed through it and picked some essentials, especially from a couple of graphics. The Global Gender Gap Index measures gaps in 4 sub-indices: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival and Political Empowerment. The sources for the data are the International Labour Organisation, World Economic Forum, UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Central Intelligence Agency, World Health Organisation and the Inter-Parliamentary Union. The authors (Ricardo Hausmann (Harvard University), Laura Tyson (Berkeley), Yasmina Bekhouche (World Economic Forum) and Saadia Zahidi (World Economic Forum)) explain their methodology as follows:

There are three basic concepts underlying the Global Gender Gap Index, forming the basis of the choice of indicators, how the data is treated and the scale used. First, it focuses on measuring gaps rather than levels. Second, it captures gaps in outcome variables rather than gaps in input variables. Third, it ranks countries according to gender equality rather than women’s empowerment.

I attach below a screenshot showing the top 30 countries in the list.

Global Gender Gap Index, 2014 ranking, top 30 countries.

Global Gender Gap Index, 2014 ranking, top 30 countries.

Some comments to it:

  • Scandinavian countries are in the top of the list (no surprise here).
  • Some readers will wonder about the top places occupied by Nicaragua, Rwanda… read again the methodology above: “it focuses on measuring gaps rather than levels”.
  • When I see this kind of indices, for personal reasons I focus on the positions occupied by: Denmark #5, Germany #12, Netherlands #14, France #16, Spain #29, Lithuania #44.
  • A curiosity: Spain #29 vs. Cuba #30.
  • No surprises either at the bottom of the list: Bahrain, Turkey, Algeria, Ethiopia, Oman, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, Guinea, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, Ivory Coast, Iran, Mali, Syria, Chad, Pakistan, Yemen… which they all have in common that are located in arid subtropical zone and that most of them have at least one letter a in the name.

Coming back to the question: “What’s in it for me?” The report shows how countries in which the gender gap is lower also have good scores in several other metrics which improve the conditions of life for men as well. There is the catch. See below the comparison for the Human Development Index and the Global Competitiveness Index:

Human Development Index vs. Global Gender Gap Index.

Human Development Index vs. Global Gender Gap Index.

Global Competitive Index vs. Global Gender Gap Index.

Global Competitiveness Index vs. Global Gender Gap Index.

What can you do to help to close the gender gap? In your community you can do much. See this other open letter also in World Economic Forum from Belinda Parmar, “To men, for International Women’s Day“:

We need you.

We need you to listen. When we tell you about a problem, we don’t want you to jump to a solution for us. We just want to say it out loud to solve it ourselves knowing that you will support us.

We need you to talk. To raise the issue of gender. Don’t worry about saying the wrong thing. Saying the wrong thing is better than saying nothing at all. It’s the only way to start the conversation.

We need you to value our differences. Realise that we bring a different perspective and encourage us to bring our personalities to work, to not feel like we have to put on a ‘male suit.’

One step further: what can you do to help to close the gender gap in the countries at the bottom of the list? (those with the letter a in the names)

A few days ago I received an email from Jason Riggs of Kivathe world’s first and largest crowdfunding platform dedicated to alleviating poverty and expanding financial inclusion (about which I have written before in this blog (2)). Kiva has launched Kiva.org/Dreams to empower even more women to reach for their dreams and they asked me to help them in making this campaign more widespread. Thus, here is my contribution:

By visiting Kiva.org/Dreams, you can back a dream by choosing a woman whom Kiva should lend $25 to. There is no cost to you. By choosing her, you help her to follow her dream of starting or growing her business, sending her children to school, and ultimately, gaining financial independence.

When women have the resources to make their dreams a reality, the world changes. More children go to school, more food is grown, and nations are more peaceful and prosperous. A case in point: if women farmers had equal access to farming assets and finance, they could increase their crop yields up to 30% and 150 million people who go hungry every day would be able to eat.

By contributing to the success of an entrepreneurial woman who has overcome obstacles, we discover so much more about our own resiliency, possibility, and potential. Each of us has a part to play.

 Together we can make dreams a reality for thousands of women around the world. So in honor of International Women’s Day and the power of women, back a dream at Kiva.org/Dreams.

My suggestion: visit the site of Kiva, filter by Yemen, the country at the very bottom of the list and help dreams come true, gender gaps close and turning around the situation.

Happy International Women’s Day!

(1) I like the approach for its different persuasion approach, not like the closing the gap out of equal treatment, fairness, justice… wasn’t engouh.

(2) See other posts about Kiva: My 100th loan with Kiva“, “A Kiva success story

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My charities for 2015 are…

“If you’re in the luckiest one per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.” Warren Buffett

If there is a blog post that I am looking forward to write each year is this one. Few things can give you more pleasure than helping others. And in doing so I try to be as public and noisy as I can,  hoping that I may serve the causes I contribute to also from the awareness point of view.

I know that between 100 and 200 of you will read this blog post. I bet with any of you that at least 50% of you will be compelled to take a look at some of these organisations below, 10% of you will consider making a donation. Do you dare thinking that 1% of you won’t actually make such donation?

Let’s go and see the different causes I decided to support in this 2015 (1):

Kiva, Médecins Sans Frontières, Oxfam, Slavery International, Wikipedia, Fundacion Hombres Nuevos, Gapminder, Fundacion Khanimambo, American Association for Cancer Research Foundation and the new addition of 2015 Avocats Sans Frontières… those are the causes I decided to support this year. If not one of those, I am sure that you will be able to find one which resonates with you. Do yourself a favour and contribute to it. It can be just 25$, the cost of diner at a restaurant. You’ll feel much better.

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank

(1) You may check out similar posts I wrote about contributions to NGOs in 20142013 and 2012.

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My Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS

A couple of days ago, a friend, Alvaro, nominated me for the famous Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS (or ELA in Spanish). In this post I wanted to share the following video [in Spanish] with my subsequent challenge:

In summary,

  1. I contributed to the cause by making a donation to the Spanish foundation FUNDELA (Fundación Española para el Fomento de la Investigación de la Esclerosis Lateral Amiotrófica),
  2. I then dedicated my 30-kilometre running training session of today to the cause,
  3. After the training, I poured the so-called ice bucket, and
  4. I nominated my marathon buddies to complete the challenge, Jose Serna, my brother Jaime, Manu Vidal and Juan Hurtado.

See the below the home site of FUNDELA, as you can see making a contribution is going to take you no more than 1 mouse click:

FUNDELA foundation website.

FUNDELA foundation website.

See below the data recorded by my Garmin GPS-watch of the running training session I dedicated to the cause:

My 30km Ice Bucket Challenge run.

My 30km Ice Bucket Challenge run.

NOTE: If you feel already in the mood of contributing to charities, NGOs, etc., please, check out this other blog post with the other organizations that I am supporting in this year 2014.

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My charities for 2014 are…

“If you’re in the luckiest one per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.” Warren Buffett

I take for granted that most people are to some extent concerned by others and many contribute in different ways to alleviate others’ burdens. Some find it that these contributions should rather be kept private. In this regard, I take the opposite approach.

I try to be as public as I can, hoping that I may serve the causes I contribute to also from the awareness point of view. Take this blog post as an example. I expect that it will be read by over 100 people. If just a reader feels compelled by the message and decides to look for a cause to contribute to, the time spent by me writing this post will have been worth it.

Let’s go and see the different causes I decided to support in this 2014 (1):

AACR, the last organization I decided to support.

Kiva, Vittana, Oxfam, MSF, Slavery International, Wikipedia, Fundacion Hombres Nuevos, Gapminder, American Association for Cancer Research Foundation… those are the causes I decided to support this year. If not one of those, I am sure that you will be able to find one which resonates with you. Do yourself a favour and contribute to it. It can be just 25$, the cost of diner at a restaurant. You’ll feel much better. 

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank

(1) You may check out similar posts I wrote about contributions to NGOs in 2013 and 2012.

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