SEATTLE, Washington — There are many global nonprofit organizations that have grown in popularity and awareness over the years, like The Task Force for Global Health, founded in 1984, and Habitat for Humanity International, founded in 1976. These organizations have been doing important work for decades and have become household names, but what about newer charities? In an ever-changing world facing new health and economic crises, it is important to also shine a spotlight on organizations that have been founded since the turn of the century and aim to fight poverty and other related global issues. A number of 21st-century charities have come about with efforts to make a lasting global difference.
The Water Project
Founded in 2006, The Water Project seeks to increase access to clean water in sub-Saharan Africa. In its efforts to help impoverished communities, this new charity implements the use of modern technology to provide long-term water access to places like Kenya, Sierra Leone, Uganda and many other countries. While The Water Project was founded by Peter Chasse, a Christian pastor, the organization does not consider itself a religious organization and seeks to serve people regardless of religion, race or ethnicity. During the COVID-19 pandemic, The Water Project has increased its efforts to ensure that communities are also getting access to soap, health and hygiene training as well as masks.
After Hurricane Mitch, the residents of Honduras had very little access to clean water and a U.S. environmental engineering company was commissioned to build water treatment systems. The company was owned by Molly and George Greene, who, upon visiting Honduras, were appalled by the lack of clean water. This eye-opening trip inspired them to found this new charity in 2001. Similarly to The Water Project, Water Mission works to implement new, sustainable technologies in poor communities so they are able to regularly access clean water. Accessing clean water means less time and energy is spent on traveling to get water and more time and energy can be spent on schooling and work, improving the overall quality of life.
Among the newer 21st-century charities is GlobalGiving, which was founded in 2002 by Mari Kuraishi and Dennis Whittle, who held an event in 2000 in which they asked over 300 social entrepreneurs to submit their big ideas to the World Bank. They found that many of the world’s innovators had amazing ideas but did not have the resources to implement them. GlobalGiving now works to provide tools and training to growing nonprofit organizations and connects companies to charities to increase awareness and profits. Recent projects include donating food packets to vulnerable populations in India and providing food and sanitation products to impoverished families in Kenya.
Energy poverty occurs when people’s wellbeing is affected by “low energy consumption, use of dirty or polluting fuels and excessive time spent collecting fuel to meet basic needs.” The time, energy and money spent collecting firewood and fuel often reinforces the cycle of poverty for families. Additionally, household air pollution causes 4.3 million deaths every year. Envirofit, founded in 2003, falls into the category of 21st-century charities. Envirofit develops affordable and safe cookstoves for energy-poor households. Using modern technology, research and hard work, this new charity provides solutions to energy poverty in East Africa, West Africa, Asia and Latin America.
All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response
In 2004, the Great Indian Ocean Tsunami saw the deaths of over 250,000 people and changed the lives of many more. Natural disasters drive stable communities into poverty for years, sometimes generations. David Campbell began disaster relief work soon after the tsunami and in 2007, met Petra Nemcova during an emergency earthquake response in Peru. Together, they co-founded All Hands and Hearts, which uses a “smart response” model. This means relief workers arrive at affected locations as quickly as they possibly can after a natural disaster and work with the community to address the needs that they have identified.
Hunger Relief International
Hunger Relief International (HRI) is a Judeo-Christian nonprofit organization, but, similarly to The Water Project, is committed to helping people regardless of race, gender or belief. Since its foundation, HRI has worked with poor communities in Haiti and Guatemala and hopes to expand in the coming years. While the new charity mainly works to reduce hunger, it has also launched a COVID-19 prevention and education campaign in English, Spanish and Creole. The pandemic has meant that many children have lost food security from schools since the massive shutdowns. HRI provides farmers with seeds, fertilizers and pesticides to continue producing food. HRI is also providing families with food and disinfectant to combat starvation and the virus simultaneously.
Poor people around the globe face unforeseen challenges every day and it can seem daunting to take on massive issues like clean water access, hunger and disease. With the hard work and dedication of the people behind both old and new nonprofit organizations, the world is becoming a better, safer place. The efforts of these 21st-century charities that bring new ideas and untapped potential to the front lines of fighting poverty contribute significantly to a better world for all.
– Levi Reyes