Tag Archives: money

The Girl Effect – Blogging Together!

This post is part of the 2011 Girl Effect Blogging Campaign.

Girls all over the world today face major challenges that prevent them from being educated, becoming financially independent, and receiving proper health care. The Girl Effect is a new movement “driven by girl champions around the globe” that seeks to combat these challenges. The Girl Effect is based on the idea that girls are the “world’s greatest untapped solution to poverty,” and that investing in girls creates a ripple effect that can change the world and improve conditions for both men and women in communities everywhere.

Why girls? Well, today more than 600 million girls live in the developing world, and approximately one-quarter of girls in developing countries are not in school.* That’s a problem, and we know that lack of education continues the cycle of poverty and makes a girl more vulnerable to disease and poor health. However, research shows that given the right resources and opportunity, these very same girls can help themselves, their families, and their economy. Improving the lives of those 600 millions girls will undeniably impact millions more in a positive way.

What exactly those of us in the developed world can do to help is up for discussion. I think talking about the challenges that girls face is an important first step. Blogging campaigns like this one allows lots of people to write about their feelings on the issues. Twitter and Facebook are also wonderful tools to spread the message  quickly and let people know what kinds of problems girls all over the world face.

One of the most frightening challenges that girls in both the developing world and right here in the US (see: Warren Jeffs and the FLDS) face is child marriage and child prostitution. Early marriage means early pregnancy which means no more education, and it very much prevents her from establishing herself as an independent force in her community, earning her own money, and achieving any goals she may have.

Education seems to be one of the strongest tools to prevent child marriage, pregnancy and poverty and should, in my opinion, be the focus of our efforts. Not only building schools, but following up and making sure that girls are actually going to school is one way we can invest. Supporting social businesses like AFRIpads – which sells locally manufactured, low-cost, reusable menstrual pads to girls in Uganda – is another small gesture that can actually make a huge difference. Think about it: girls without proper menstrual products stay home from school during their periods. That’s one week a month. That’s TWELVE weeks a year. That’s a lot of school missed. Give a girl menstrual pads that are cheap, effective and reusable and you just improved her chance of getting an education!

One of the best things we can do for girls is ensure that they have opportunities to create a future of their own, and that starts with going to school. What are some other ways we can make sure girls are getting educated? Let me know in the comments section!

In the end, helping girls in developing countries is all of our concern, because as the movement’s website points out, the Girl Effect is about girls and boys and moms and dads and villages and towns and countries. And the ripple effect starts with all of us.  
Get involved in this campaign and write a post of your own this week!  Go here to see other Girl Effect posts and add your own.

*Population Reference Bureau, DataFinder database, http://www.prb.org/datafinder.aspx [accessed December 20, 2007], Cynthia B. Lloyd, ed., Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries [Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2005].

For more facts, check out The Girl Effect website!


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Contemplating my Kickstarter Project

As recently blogged about, I’ve been thinking a lot about starting a project on Kickstarter.com, a crowd-sourcing website that allows people to raise money for their creative projects. Perhaps it’s because I’m having a difficult time finding a job that is relevant to my interests, or perhaps because I plan on going to
graduate school relatively soon and want to accomplish something really awesome in the meantime, but the idea of launching a Kickstarter project is really consuming my thoughts!

Writing about Cleveland’s West Side Market yesterday got me reminiscing about all the amazing public markets I’ve been to in North America, and I’m starting to think that I’d really love to create a book about these places! Though I haven’t officially launched the project, I have posted a proposal which you can view by clicking on this thumbnail:


So if you’d like to check it out and leave me comment I would love to hear your thoughts! Essentially, I feel that creating a book about public markets would allow me to combine my love of food and travel with my interests in immigrant history and local culture to provide an outline of public markets through a sociological lens. While doing some exploratory research (like Newt Gingrich!) I came across this already-published book: Public Markets, by Helen Tangires. I haven’t yet gotten my hands on a copy to check it out, but I think that my book would differ in that I would focus more on the individual stories of the people who have worked at these markets in the past decades/centuries and focus more on the sociology of these markets. Speaking with the DeCaro family at the West Side Market this weekend made me realize how many amazing stories there are lurking inside of these public markets, and taking inspiration from the Kitchen Sisters, I would focus more on the hidden histories of the marketplace.

I have so many other passions that I would love to create a project about though, including women’s rights, political satire, travel, and music, so it is certainly hard narrowing down what kind of project I want to pursue!

Do you think people would be interested in a book like the one I’ve proposed? Keep in mind I’m not asking for funding from you! I just want to know if you think this is a cool idea!

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Show me the money

Over the years I’ve come up with (what I think are) really cool ideas that I wish I could put into action. I often think: If only I could quit my job and travel the world and try a new kind of food everyday!

Other ideas I’ve had include everything from observing and documenting life on a farm, to studying the gossip exchanged with hairdressers across race, class, and gender, and most recently, creating a picture/recipe book of Passover Seders across the world. Whenever I hear about people pursuing things like this, I always wonder how they get the money to do it. How do people afford to take time off work in order to go out into the world and study, document, travel, and learn? I know that many obtain grants for research purposes, but recently someone suggested that I start an account on Kickstarter.com. Here’s how the website describes the company:

Kickstarter is the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world. Every month, tens of thousands of amazing people pledge millions of dollars to projects from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other creative fields.

A new form of commerce and patronage. This is not about investment or lending. Project creators keep 100% ownership and control over their work. Instead, they offer products and experiences that are unique to each project.

All or nothing funding. On Kickstarter, a project must reach its funding goal before time runs out or no money changes hands. Why? It protects everyone involved. Creators aren’t expected to develop their project without necessary funds, and it allows anyone to test concepts without risk.

Each and every project is the independent creation of someone like you. Projects are big and small, serious and whimsical, traditional and experimental. They’re inspiring, entertaining and unbelievably diverse. 

I think this is a wonderful resource for people, young and old, who want to pursue creative projects but lack the funding to do so. An important part of Kickstarter is that project creators have to provide rewards for people who pledge money to their project. This could be anything from a copy of the comic book they’re illustrating to a tour of the creator’s studio. It’s a very innovative way to get people involved that benefits both the creator and the financial backer.

Kickstarter is only for creative projects, but actor Edward Norton just started a site called Crowdrise which is a social network-type site where you can raise funds for charity – another awesome way to use the internet for good!

It’s pretty cool to know that whatever you want to do in life, you can find something on the internet to help you accomplish it.

Anyone know of any other cool sites like these to help people raise both funds and awareness about their projects?


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