How to Develop the World: Giving What We Can

gwwclogo.jpg_-_copyGlobal poverty affects more souls than any of us cares to admit to ourselves. We can get agitated and protest about wealth inequity in the world, but while I respect the “99%” movement’s right to rally, I can’t say I ever found myself inspired that respectful solutions came out of so much Sturm und Drang. I have no doubt that writing this will piss a few folks off in ways I don’t intend at all…I am just hungry for positive change that doesn’t include punishment…(and I’m perfectly willing to admit I’ve not made it my business to read or delve deeply into the movement’s many arguments. It simply never spoke to me, so I moved on…apologies if this is your passion).

I instead find real answers in real action taken, or able to be taken, by all. My brother told me about this movement, Giving What We Can, an international society dedicated to eliminating poverty in the developing world. Members (and there’s no big audition or dues-paying to join–simply dive in) voluntarily take a Pledge to Give, donating 10% of their income, at whatever level that is, to relieve suffering in developing nations. I like the global family ethos of this–none of that “We’ve got problems right here at home, why give to another country” attitude that gets in the way of embracing worldwide change. Their website has some great tools as well, significantly, a Charity Evaluation page that helps you find and support organizations that are doing it right. They compare charities across categories: Health, Education, Water & Sanitation, Emergency Aid, Empowerment, Political Change, and Climate Change (and they currently have a robust focus on health issues and actions). Their assessment is not focused on how much a particular organization spends on administration or overhead, but instead, the focus is on how many lives are saved.

Volunteers get involved around the world, working with or starting local chapters, generating self-contained projects, taking up a central position with the organization, or interning, with teams like Communication, Research, Operations, Grants, or Technical. Go explore a bit. At the very least, I bet you’ll find out about some new organizations that are doing the kind of work that lights your fire, and at best, you’ll become a vibrant active member who helps others discover the contentment that comes from giving what we can.

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