2012 Spring Newsletter
No matter what you think about the controversial video “Kony 2012,” one thing is clear: the Lira district of northern Uganda, previously unfamiliar to so many, is suddenly in the spotlight.
As the media focuses its lens, people everywhere are learning about Lira and the 20-year civil war that ravaged it. They are learning about the many dark truths of conflict zones: child soldiers, sex slaves, families displaced and destroyed, civil society undone.
The natural response after hearing about such suffering is to ask: What can I do about it?
At The Global Fund for Children, we believe the best way to get involved is to support those who are already doing good work on the ground. Ugandan organizations have been actively engaged in reconstruction and redevelopment since the ceasefire in 2006, providing local solutions in a complex environment.
One such organization is our new grantee partner Art for Children Uganda (ACU). On a budget of only $26,000, ACU directly serves more than 5,000 children in Lira, utilizing arts education to help them heal from trauma, improve their academic performance, and build positive relationships. Kids involved in the art programs produce Dwon Ottino, a child rights magazine published in English and Luo, a local language. ACU’s co-founders both grew up in refugee camps, where they used art to cope with the uncertainties of displacement and conflict.
Our partner Concerned Children and Youth Association (CCYA) was founded by young people, many of whom lost family members or were forced to be soldiers or sex slaves during the civil war. A child service organization since 2001, CCYA adapts its projects as social and political contexts shift. When a recent assessment highlighted children with disabilities as a particularly vulnerable population in Lira, CCYA instituted a targeted education and outreach program. The organization also recently established a fruit tree nursery to provide a source of food and promote sustainability.
The Global Fund for Children’s strength is to find these organizations, get them the support they need, and help them become sustainable resources; for both ACU and CCYA, we were the first US-based institutional funder. As attention finally focuses on Lira, we want people to know there is something they can do: support brilliant, effective local leaders who are recovering and rebuilding Uganda from the inside.
Of course, trauma is not limited to Uganda. Local organizations worldwide are directly serving children affected by trauma, whether as a result of political turmoil, natural disasters, or abuse. Our partners provide critical services to young people in conflict-torn Timor-Leste, to children orphaned by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and to girls who have been trafficked in Peru. The common thread is that these groups are providing efficient, effective responses that help children heal from trauma and prepare for the future.
For our spring gala this year, we couldn’t think of a better voice to speak on behalf of our partners than Twesigye Jackson Kaguri—distinguished speaker, author, internationally recognized human rights advocate, and founder of The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project in Uganda. With Uganda in the media spotlight, Jackson’s perspective resonates even more: in response to the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS in his home village, he created a free school for children who have lost one or both parents to AIDS. With our support, Nyaka has grown tremendously over the years and now includes a second school, a library, a farm and nutrition program, and a medical clinic.
At the gala on May 10, we will be proud to present Nyaka and 23 other grantees with Maya Ajmera Sustainability Awards, our capstone grant, and to hear Jackson’s story firsthand. We’ll also be honoring two of our most enthusiastic supporters, Michael and Blake Daffey, whose dedication to our mission has inspired countless others to join us in supporting vulnerable children around the globe.
To date, we’ve raised $1.2 million in connection with the gala, all of which will go toward supporting innovative grassroots organizations worldwide. We hope you can join us! As always, thank you for all you do to make our work possible.
IT’S GRADUATION TIME!
We are pleased to announce the 2012 recipients of the Maya Ajmera Sustainability Award. This is the first class to receive these $25,000 grants bearing the name of GFC’s founder, honoring her vital role in shepherding the organization through 16 years of growth. This capstone grant offers a special infusion of funds at a critical stage in a grantee’s development. Grantees who receive this award are no longer in the beginning stages of growth—they are organizationally sound, with strong management, a broad funding base, and expanded budgets and programs. Often, their innovative programs have been replicated across the region or in other parts of the world. Since 2004 we have awarded $2.95 million in Sustainability Awards to 118 organizations.
NEW SURVEY REFLECTS VALUE OF OUR GRANTMAKING MODEL
We believe money alone is not enough to build healthy, sustainable grassroots organizations. In addition to directly funding programs for children and youth, we support our partner organizations with additional services to help them grow, strategize, and strengthen.
We recently surveyed our active grantee partners and Sustainability Award winners about these “value-added services,” and we’re excited to share the results. Here are some of the takeaways:
Our model provides distinct, unique value.
- 91 percent agreed that we are a true partner in their organization’s growth and development.
- 89 percent agreed that we are different from other grantee funders because we provide value-added services in addition to our primary grants.
Our services are highly valued by our grantee partners.
100 percent of our value-added services earned an average ranking of valuable or extremely valuable from respondents that had received the specific service. For example, grantees were overwhelmingly grateful for our swift emergency grants, a service that ranked high on the list. A grantee in Thailand commented, “Because of monsoon rains and flooding, all bridges in the [refugee] camp were washed away. Hence, students in the camp … were not able to attending classes. Therefore, with this emergency grants from GFC, river bank erosion were blocked, roads were repaired and bridges were reconstructed so that students were able to continue their class.”
The relationship between our program officers and our grantee partners is exceptionally positive, and is elemental to guiding the growth and development of each grantee.
This relationship is built through site visits, phone calls, conference calls, emails, and reporting feedback loops, and it helps determine the best value-added service inputs for each grantee partner at the best time. One grantee reflected, “Our program officer … is very important person for our relationship with GFC. We know that we can access him via email anytime and ask for his opinion and advice. When he visited us earlier this year he gave us very helpful advices concerning our organizational development. We know that he is really interested in our strengthening and growth and greatly appreciate it.”
We are constantly striving to fine-tune and strengthen our services and relationships with our grantees, and we plan to conduct similar surveys in the coming years.
“I knew I wanted to do something for children in need because children are the future.”
These wise words come from someone who is quite young herself, but at 13, Anna Sophia Roberts is already making her mark as a social entrepreneur.
A seventh grader from New Jersey, Anna Sophia is CEO of InspiRings, a family-owned social enterprise that sells original jewelry made from wire, beads, and semiprecious stones. She donates all the profits from her sales to organizations working with children around the world, including The Global Fund for Children.
“I decided to give to GFC because I really like that it works directly with organizations that work directly with kids,” she says.
Art has been an interest of Anna Sophia’s for a long time, but she first discovered her passion for jewelry while at camp last summer. She soon realized that she could combine her creative inspirations with her growing interest in philanthropy, so she founded InspiRings. Still in the first year of her social venture, Anna Sophia has already contributed $500 to support Global Fund for Children grantee partners.
For her next project, Anna Sophia may begin selling jewelry-making kits so other young people can create their own charity channels. Most importantly, she hopes her work will inspire other kids to get involved in philanthropy.
“If everyone finds something they care about, we can all make a difference in the world,” she says.
We are so grateful to Anna Sophia for her creativity and generosity, and for serving as a role model for young philanthropists everywhere.
We are excited to announce the release of our latest book, What We Wear: Dressing Up Around the World. A celebration of clothing, creativity, and colors, What We Wear inspires young readers to explore how their clothing makes them feel and how it tells the world who they are. School Library Journal calls it a “resplendent homage to our common humanity.” Learn More
Acid Survivors Foundation (Islamabad, Pakistan) was featured in Saving Face, which won the 2012 Academy Award for best documentary (short subject). ASF estimates that as many as 200 acid attacks happen in Pakistan every year. Read more about Saving Face and ASF in the Los Angeles Times.
Sadiqa Basiri Saleem, founder of Oruj Learning Center (Kabul, Afghanistan), was featured in the
Ottawa Citizen: Women in Afghanistan Have a Champion in Ottawa.
Kristin Lindsey, our CEO, and James Kofi Annan, founder of Challenging Heights (Accra, Ghana), were interviewed by NPR affiliate WBEZ during their trip to Chicago last month. Listen at Child and Youth Trafficking in the US.
Twesigye Jackson Kaguri, founder of The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project (Nyakagyezi, Uganda), wrote a touching blog for the Huffington Post—Grannies Revisit Motherhood Because of Uganda’s HIV Epidemic—honoring International Women’s Day.
Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, founder of Akili Dada (Nairobi, Kenya), was honored by the White House earlier this year as one of 14 “Champions of Change.”
Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group (Delhi, India) won America’s first Innovation Award for the Empowerment of Women and Girls for training and organizing waste pickers and working to eliminate child labor from recycling. The award was announced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Big Brother Mouse (Luang Prabang, Laos) was recognized in Forbes India: Making Merit in Luang Prabang.
Associação Excola/Ex-Glue Sniffers Association (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) appeared in a feature story by British Airways: British Airways and Comic Relief’s work in Rio de Janiero.
Step Up/Verkh (Moscow, Russia) was mentioned in the Moscow Times: Russia Struggles to Reform Soviet-Era Orphanages.
Ciré Kane, director of Synapse Center (Senegal), a 2009 GFC Sustainability Award winner, was interviewed by the Financial Times: African Focus: Improved Employment Prospects Crucial for Stability.
GEMS/Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (New York, NY), a 2008 GFC Sustainability Award winner, was mentioned in Forbes: Girls for Sale! Changing the Conversation on Exploited Kids in the US.