BELCHERTOWN, Massachusetts — Global Communities believes in a “world where everyone has the freedom, means and ability to live and prosper with dignity.”
The nonprofit, started in 1952, has more than 60 years of experience in promoting its mission to “create long-lasting, positive and community-led change that improves the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable people across the globe.”
This organization believes in creating sustainable change for marginalized people all over the world by working within communities and giving the people who come from these communities the chance to make the changes themselves.
Experts and governments are brought into the process—in forms of monetary support and policy change—but the local community is extensively included through various forms of “participatory methods.”
With a total revenue of $176 million and programs in more than 20 countries—like in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America—it would be difficult to give details of all the work they have done.
A few random examples of some of their programs will give enough information to know for sure what Global Communities is all about.
Global Communities has started many programs in this war torn nation. From the start, fighting and civil unrest has been a part of everyday life in this newly formed country.
With support from USAID, the Returnee Reintegration and Rehabilitation Program began in order to “assist returnees, internally displaced people and host communities in the face of economic, infrastructure and food security challenges.”
Providing shelter and starting initiatives to increase the income earning potential of those returning internally displaced persons were the main goals.
The Partnership Against Violence and Exploitation is another program which began with the help of the South Sudan Women’s Network and funded by the US Department of State’s Bureau for Women.
This program focused on increasing awareness of the issue and giving more girls access to education. Nurses and health care workers were also trained to better handle gender based violence cases.
In Mongolia, Global Communities focuses mostly on economic issues, working to expand job opportunities in communities just far enough outside the urban centers. They promote and help develop small business.
One specific program is the USAID funded Enabling Market Integration through Rural Group Empowerment. This program facilities local farmers to work together in order to increase economic output. Solidarity amongst these farmers has in fact increased through this program.
Animal husbandry and other sustainable farming practices are encouraged. According to Global Communities this “training and exposure to improved practices have led to innovation and visible results.”
Due to the continuing violence that has been occurring in Colombia for over 40 years, the issue of IDPs is quite pressing. Global Communities began work here in 2001 and has so far assisted more than 176,000 families.
Their Colombia Responde Initiative, funded by USAID, works to bring peace and security to the Montes de Maria region of Colombia. The program works to better government institutions and increase civil society participation. It also tries to increase job opportunities for those living in the most conflict-ridden areas.
In areas affected by heavy flooding, Global Communities works to supply temporary classrooms and teaching materials. They provide transport to these temporary classrooms while at the same time working with the government to repair the damaged schools.
In conjunction with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Global Communities implements programs that promote awareness about HIV/AIDS. Working with “1,200 peer leaders, 152 community services providers and 75 municipalities,” educational programs about this issue are trying to promote behavior change and safe-sex practices.
Currently, Global Communities is working to help those affected by the conflict in Gaza. According to Reuters, they have already helped 42,000 families.
This assistance includes “1,600 dried food packages, designed to feed a family for 4-6 days; 5,700 hygiene kits, 19,000 liters of water, 3,250 bed covers, and 4,800 pillow cases.”
They have been working within Gaza since 1994; however, facilitating microfinance programs and helping to build up infrastructure damaged by the never ending crisis.
As for legitimacy, Global Communities has 100 percent accountability and transparency and 88 percent of its budget goes toward the programs it supports.
Global Communities is mostly funded by government grants at 97 percent of its budget. USAID appears to be one of the biggest donors; thus, support of USAID will contribute to Global Communities. Reaching out to Congress in support of USAID will directly lead to further support and aid to Global Communities.
– Eleni Lentz-Marino