Today’s paper contained a great article in Kristof’s about foreign aid, through the prism of Beatrice Biira, a Ugandan girl who was able to go to school because of a goat given to her family through Heifer International.
Kristof gave a list of suggestions on his blog, reprinted below, for readers who want to help their own Beatrice. Donations to these types of groups would make for fantastic gifts for our future birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries (not to replace paintings, drawings, and music, of course).
“You can go to Heifer’s on-line catalog and buy anything from honeybees to heifers for impoverished families abroad. Every Christmas, my parents buy my three children flocks of geese or chickens or ducks; the animals are donated in their name to needy families abroad. Sure my kids might prefer an I-Pod, but they recognize that geese are probably a better use of the cash.
The large aid organizations tend to be well-run, efficient and have finely timed development models with a good record of success. I have huge respect for major organizations like CARE, Mercy Corps, Save the Children, and International Rescue Committee, and they offer creative ways to donate and support particular projects. Among religiously based organizations, World Vision, Catholic Relief Services and American Jewish World Service are all standouts. Don’t forget BRAC, a Bangladeshi-based group that is one of the most successful development organizations in the world and is now taking its approach to Africa.
Donors often like to see exactly where their dollars go, and one interesting website that addresses that desire is www.globalgiving.com. You can browse a variety of grassroots projects that need money and then fund donations with a credit card.
For anyone interested in supporting a specific small-scale project, I suggest a maternity hospital in Somaliland, a new fistula hospital in Niger, a hospital in Congo, and an anti-trafficking group in India. And there are many, many others. A guest blogger on this site, Josh Ruxin, works with a fine one, Orphans of Rwanda, that sends Rwandan orphans to university.