Tag Archives: Anti-Slavery

Slavery

According to Walk Free foundation there are almost 30 million slaves in the world. Of those about 14 million live in India, the country with the highest number of slaves, whereas in Mauritania about 4% of the population are enslaved. According to the same foundation slavery generates up to 32bn$ of profits for slaveholders around the world (about 1k$ per slave).

I came across this foundation and their figures (compiled in the Global Slavery Index) in an article from The Economist. You can see the following graphic published in the newspaper:

Graphic from The Economist, source: Walk Free foundation,

Graphic from The Economist, source: Walk Free foundation.

About at the same time I received a letter from the Africa Programme coordinator of another foundation I contribute to, Anti-Slavery (of which I have written before).

The letter tells the story of Ibrahim, a former slave from Mauritania. He was born a slave and found himself alone when his mother and siblings fled from their holder. When Ibrahim grew older, the master brought a woman-slave to mate Ibrahim so he would find it more difficult to leave a family behind. He nevertheless escaped. Ibrahim has tried to free his family without success. He found little help from local authorities and was beaten up in one of his tries.

Anti-Slavery role in the story is to help Ibrahim and others in his situation seek justice, to support them and help them rebuild their lives. Ibrahim is now receiving legal assistance so he can file criminal charges against his former master.

I normally don’t like very much when I receive letters from the charities and NGO’s I already support. My first thought is “if I already collaborate with you, save those euros of paper, envelopes, stamps, etc., and direct them to either projects or outreach towards people who don’t support you yet!”. This time I thought it twice and decided to try to voice the cause further.

Two final figures from that letter: it costs £48 to provide emergency accommodation for a month for a family released from slavery, and as little as £6 to provide a training session for a local support worker.

Leave a comment

Filed under Helping others

My charities for 2013 are…

January is the month of the year in which I take some time during a weekend to select which charities and non-profits I will donate some money (1). Let me introduce you to the 9 NGOs I have selected this year:

Kiva: this is a micro lending portal. This is the first non-profit to which I made a contribution. This is not truly a charity, as here you give loans to small entrepreneurs in developing countries. I have talked about in the blog sometimes. This year, for the 4th year in a row, I have added some more funds.

Vittana: another micro lending portal. This one is specialized on credits for education purposes, very similar to Kiva in its conception. This year, for the 3rd year in a row, I have added more funds, to help some students study nursing and engineering.

Médecins sans Frontières: I started donating cash to MSF in 2010 while still living in Spain, in 2011 I became member of the French branch. This year I learnt what you can afford with just 100€:

Oxfam: another well-known NGO. Oxfam mission is “to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice”, this is the 3rd year I help them :-).

Anti-Slavery: Can you stand slavery today? In the XXI century? I cannot. This is why since 3 years ago I am contributing to this NGO which works to eliminate all forms of slavery around the world. 

Fundación Hombres Nuevos. My father retired in autumn 2011. In January 2012 he was packing to spend 5 months in Bolivia working in the field teaching some underprivileged children maths, language… or just helping them do their homework. I think that only my sister had such a good opportunity in the past 2 decades!

My father discovered this foundation in a TV documentary about 2 years ago:

That sparkled again a vocational aspiration he had since completing his studies and he went on to fulfil it. I’ll try to get him to write about it… stay tuned.

Brief comment about the foundation: It was founded by Nicolás Castellanos who received the prize “Premio Príncipe de Asturias a la Concordia” in 1998 along with Vicente Ferrer or Muhammad Yunus (who later received the Nobel Peace Prize and is credited with the invention of micro credits).

Wikipedia: When was the last time you checked the Wikipedia? How often do you check it? Wikipedia’s self-description:

“Wikipedia is a multilingual, web-based, free-content encyclopedia project based on an openly editable model. The name “Wikipedia” is a portmanteau of the words wiki (a technology for creating collaborative websites, from the Hawaiian word wiki, meaning “quick”) and encyclopedia.”

For the second year running I contributed to #keepitfree.

Gapminder: you might have seen some talk from Hans Rosling, its founder. Gapminder is “a non-profit venture – a modern “museum” on the Internet – promoting sustainable global development and achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals”, or better “Fighting the most devastating myths by building a fact-based world view that everyone understands”.

Have you got 13 minutes? Why don’t you check this video about “Religion and babies” and let his performance convince you?

Finally, let me introduce you to the new addition to my list of NGOs:

Fundación Khanimambo. I was introduced to it by two friends, Nacho and Alberto. I loved the message of the NGO: “¿Necesitas sonreír? Déjate ayudar (Do you need to smile? Let us help you). It’s wonderful, the children from Praia Xai Xai, Mozambique, want to donate happiness to people worried and stressed in the rich countries. To do that, they need some money to enlarge their school, buy more pencils, papers, etc… Let them convince you (less than 2 minutes):

Final reflection:

I understand that in these times of economic stress many will not have the opportunity to spare some funds needed by their own families to help others in need. For those of us who have a job, I truly recommend you to take some moments and go through some websites of different NGOs, charities, non-profits, scientific endeavours… I am sure you will find an initiative that will resonate with you. Go and direct some funds to it. You might feel a bit wary the first time. It’s OK. Spend 25$, 50€… (it’s only the cost of a dinner with your partner). You will not only help someone in need, you will feel much better after having done it.

If not for them, do it for you :-).

 ***

(1) I already published two similar posts in 2011 and 2012. In previous year I had set first 0.7% and then 0.9% of my net income as the minimum bar; this year I increased the contribution to 1.1%.

6 Comments

Filed under Helping others

Which NGOs will I support in 2012?

Every January I take one afternoon to direct at least 0.7% of my personal net income to different NGOs. I already explained this in a post last year. In that post I also explained the origin of the figure, 0.7%.

This year, I wondered how development aid was faring taking into account the crisis in which most of the big donor countries are in. You may check the figures at the extensive database of the OECD, or just to get the latest data on Official Development Aid you may check last year’s release announcing 2010 figures (or the report, PDF). The figures of 2011 won’t be released until April, but as far into the crisis as one year ago the fact was that development aid had actually increased, even if still far from the 0.7% committment.

Official Development Assistance in 2010 per country, source: OECD.

Evolution of Official Development Assistance through 2010, source: OECD.

Which NGOs will I support in 2012?

Last weekend I took sometime to make the numbers and select the different organizations. In previous years I directed 0.7% in January and along the year for different reasons I ended increasing this contribution. This year, I am directing already 0.9% of my income in January and again I expect that as the year goes by I will increase that figure. I take the Nordic OECD countries as an example and see the 0.7% as a minimum threshold, not as the maximum goal.

The organizations I have selected this time are:

  • Kiva: a micro lending portal, that I have talked about in the blog sometimes. I added some more funds.
  • Vittana: another micro lending portal, specialized on credits for education purposes, very similar to Kiva in its conception. I allocated some cash last year in it for the first time, and this year I have added more funds, to help some students study industrial engineering.
  • Médecins sans Frontières. I started donating cash to MSF in 2010, in 2011 I became member of the French branch. I renewed my membership.
  • Oxfam: a well-known NGO working “to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice” to which I already contributed last year.
  • Anti-Slavery: an NGO which works to eliminate all forms of slavery around the world. I find that only the thought of people being slaves in 2012 simply devastating. I already directed some funds to this NGO last year and I was positively impressed to find information about its activities when we visited the Museum of London last year.
  • Fundación Hombres Nuevos: a Spanish NGO working in development projects in Bolivia. It was founded by Nicolás Castellanos who received the prize “Premio Príncipe de Asturias a la Concordia” in 1998 along with Vicente Ferrer or Muhammad Yunus (who later received the Nobel Peace Prize and is credited with the invention of micro credits).
  • Wikipedia: I guess this does not need any introduction, but I will make use of Wikipedia’s self-description: “Wikipedia is a multilingual, web-based, free-content encyclopedia project based on an openly editable model. The name “Wikipedia” is a portmanteau of the words wiki (a technology for creating collaborative websites, from the Hawaiian word wiki, meaning “quick”) and encyclopedia.” This is the first time that I collaborate in its sustaining.
  • Gapminder: in their words “a non-profit venture – a modern “museum” on the Internet – promoting sustainable global development and achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals”, or better “Fighting the most devastating myths by building a fact-based world view that everyone understands”. If you have the chance, take a look at any of the videos of its founder, Hans Rosling, they are truly mind-blowing.

(Free material from http://www.gapminder.org – mind-blowing as I said)

Before ending this post, I wanted to make two reflections.

First, why do I or why do people/corporations make this kind of  contributions? Sometimes you hear criticism towards donations like “it’s for the tax deductions”, “it’s for marketing purposes”, “to show off”, etc. My personal view is that it doesn’t matter. It might be one or many of those reasons or none. What I believe is that the people in need do need the help and whatever the reason behind a contribution, it is welcomed. I do receive some tax deductions for the contributions for MSF and Oxfam as they’re based in France, not for the others. I also believe that the real contribution is the time dedicated by individuals working in cooperation, in the field, etc., in the end all what we give is a small percentage of our income / revenues.

Second, why do I write this post? Again, someone may think it’s show off. I’m fine with that. My goal is to get at least a reader to take a look at one of those NGOs, to think about dedicating her/his 0.7% to development aid… If I manage to do that, and I am sure I will (it worked in the past :-)), this post will be worth the time spent in writing it.

14 Comments

Filed under Helping others

My 0.7%

“0.7%” refers to the repeated commitment of the world’s governments to commit 0.7% of rich-countries’ gross national product (GNP) to Official Development Assistance. This figure was first pledged 35 years ago in a 1970 UN General Assembly Resolution.

Where does the figure “0.7%” come from?

I didn’t know, so I researched a bit and it seems that comes from 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.

By 2005 only 5 countries of the OECD were meeting or exceeding the target: Denmark, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, not a surprise. The rest of them were well below, some even decreasing the assistance.

OECD 2005 Official Development Aid

What can we do?

Since some years ago, I dedicate 0.7% of my personal net income to development aid. I make the calculation every year in January, when I have an idea of how much I pocketed the previous year.

I took sometime last weekend to make the calculation, research a little bit and direct the funds to the selected NGOs, which this year have been:

  • Kiva: a micro lending portal, that I have talked about in the blog sometimes. I added some more funds.
  • Médecins sans Frontières. Last year, I already donated some cash to the Spanish branch after the earthquake in Haiti; this year I’ve become member of the French one: as a friend who works in development assistance explained to me, this helps the NGO to plan their activities, rather than relying on occasional donations.
  • Vittana: a micro lending portal specialized on credits for education purposes, very similar to Kiva in its conception. I learnt about it last year already and twitted about it, but it has been now the first time I used it.
  • Ofxam: a well-known NGO working “to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice”.
  • Anti-Slavery: an NGO which works to eliminate all forms of slavery around the world… incredible, “slavery” :-(.

6 Comments

Filed under Investing