(Rozy Mbone shares her dream of having a safe place for those in her community to escape a life of crime)
I was in Kenya researching WHERE AM I GIVING and I met a young woman named Rozy in the Korogocho slum of Nairobi.
Rozy and her friends were all former gang members. There were few opportunities to make a living in their community, so they lived a life of crime surrounded by death, violence, prostitution, and robbery.
A woman named Selline Korir visited Korogocho and talked about peace and encouraged Rozy to leave her old life behind. Rozy did and soon the others followed and now they promote peace and dialogue in a community where death and violence are everyday life.
I visited GiveDirectly in Kenya this summer and write about them in Where Am I Giving? GiveWell ranks GD as one of the most effective nonprofits in the world. GD gives direct cash payments to extremely poor families and allows them to make their own decisions on how to spend that money.
I don’t think all giving can be measured, but GD’s impact can, and they measure it better than almost any other NGO. So when it comes to asking question about how to give and whom to give to it’s worth listening to their advice.
GD’s 4 questions to ask before giving:
1. Can I tell where my dollar (or pound, mark, etc.) will go? This…
I’ve spent much of the last 15 years talking to people about giving, meeting amazing givers, and reading books and research about giving. I’m currently writing my 3rd book, Where Am I Giving? A global adventure exploring how to use your gifts and talents to make a difference, and since it is the “giving season,” I thought I’d chime in with a few things I’ve learned about giving.
(Note: Many of these are offered without context and some of them may even seem contrary to one another. I welcome arguments and suggestions.)
#1 You can give more.
#2 Gifts can be as small as a financial donation and as big as a smile.
Since he hit the ground five days after the hurricane devastated this island of 3.4 million on Sept. 20, he has built a network of kitchens, supply chains and delivery services that as of Monday had served more than 2.2 million warm meals and sandwiches. No other single agency — not the Red Cross, the Salvation Army nor any government entity —…
Douglas is a taxi driver who lives in the Mathare Valley slum where most kids grow up without books in their homes. So he decided to turn his home into a library. At first, he wasn’t sure how he would fill it with books, but they just started showing up courtesy of his neighbors. Now the library has 3,000 books. He covers 50% of the monthly costs himself and the other 50% comes from community members. Members don’t pay anything but each of them brings in newspapers to sell to the recycling center. No matter where you live in the world or what you do, you can make a big impact.
When I first posted about the library on Instagram and Facebook many folks said they…
Bags of charcoal as high as a 10-year old are stacked on the side of the road. Someone put them there.
A woman with a child strapped to her back, as is the fashion accessory for most women during their child rearing years, is walking over a barren ridge before stopping to wave.
A little boy sits on an empty feedbag pulled on the ground by an older boy. Dust plumes swirl in their wake.
Houses on the side of the road are made from locally-sourced mud and branch and grass. In Kenya, I met a man who lived in such a house. He called it a “temporary house.” Temporary house, but he wanted the property to…
“Mzungu! Mzungu! How are you?” The Kenyan kids holler. Or they just stare.
Other kids yell, “Chinese!” Yes, that’s right, they mistake blond-haired, blue-eyed me as a Chinese person. This has also happened to me in Central America several times, which speaks to China’s expanding reach and influence.
This week a new friend told me that I was the first white person he’d ever had a conversation with.
I’ve spent 60 of the last 90 days traveling in Myanmar, Cambodia, India, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia and years of my traveling life as a minority. Not only am I majorly a minority in many of the places I travel, I’m a novelty. Sometimes I…
Maybe it was. So they grabbed a tire threw it into the middle of the road and lit it. Many had no agenda, but others thought it would bring the attention of their leaders.
But their burning tire, their noxious scream, was one of hundreds if not thousands. Even the media, perhaps afraid of escalating violence, barely covered the protests to Kenya’s 2017 presidential election.
In Kenya, as it is everywhere, democracy is a story in which the people must believe if it’s to work.
A few anecdotes of why folks I’ve met in Kenya doubt the story:
Voters are paid for their vote.
This doesn’t happen everywhere, but people can list the counties where…