Rights Here, Right Now: FSD and the 2010 International AIDS Conference

    FSD Bulletin | July 26th, 2010  AIDS 2010 highlighted the critical connection between human rights and HIV, a dialogue that begun in Mexico City in 2008. It presented a chance for the global AIDS community to assess the current status of the fight against AIDS, evaluate recent scientific developments and lessons learned, and collectively chart a course forward.

    Given the 2010 deadline for universal access set by world leaders, AIDS 2010 will coincide with a major push for expanded access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. With a global economic crisis threatening to undermine public investments, the conference will help keep HIV on the front burner, and is a chance to demonstrate the importance of continued HIV investments to broader health and development goals.  

      The Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) funds critical initiatives around the world that support the expansion of human rights to prevent the spread of HIV and protect the quality of life for those affected by it. Through partnering with community based organizations (CBOs) in Africa, Asia and Latin America, FSD adapts its support to meet the complex and unique needs of each community. Most recently, FSD collaborated with The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) to address the needs faced by People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Jinja, Uganda. With Anti-retroviral Therapy (ART) causing PLWHA to have increased expenditures, lower labor productivity, and higher nutritional requirements, FSD funded a pilot mushroom growing initiative that will increase income while providing nutritional supplements for this group. Mushroom growing is a profitable venture that is significantly less work-intensive than traditional agricultural methods, thus a viable means of increasing the quality of life for PLWHA. As part of this project, TASO will train ten group members in mushroom growing techniques. These trainings will be accompanied by a series of workshops on small business development, financial literacy, and nutrition. These group members will learn to be trainers so that the project can ultimately be replicated with other client groups throughout the Jinja district. TASO is optimistic that the current pilot will increase opportunities and quality of life for PLWHA and their families. We encourage you to check FSD’s website later this year to follow the progress of this project and others like it throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

    Recent Blog PostsFSD Interns provide critical support to our Community-Based Partner Organizations around the world. Here is a look at what they are up to this month.  Rocket Man, The Creation of Life by Dan O’Reilly| Masaka, Uganda, June 25, 2010

    An empty health clinic. Writers of Grey’s Anatomy, a job well done. You successfully dramatized a superstition. It may not even be traditional medicinal folklore; however, one out of two American households learned a slow surgical board foreshadows a 2-hour post-Superbowl rating booster. Who knew a WWII rocket launched in a man’s chest cavity could threaten the lives of Seattle’s finest surgeons? I surely did not. More® MC 11- Reality & Apathy by Paul Hemminger | Mombasa, Kenya, July 14, 2010 

    A minute ago I was crying in a locked office in the middle of Mombasa, in the middle of Kenya, in the middle of Africa. My manager just left the room, which is his office, and I locked the door behind him as he stepped out. I put my head down, and just cried for the thirsty, the hungry, the dirty, the uneducated, the poor, the hopeless, the drug addicts, the sex workers, the trafficked, the injured, the violent, the beaten. But maybe most of all I cried for the apathetic. More®

    The Price of Progress by Patrick Mellors | Nicaragua, July 15, 2010In evaluating whether development initiatives have been successful, we must first define “success” in real terms. Ultimately, economic development is just one objective required to meet the overarching goal of improving the quality of life of individuals living in developing nations. Unfortunately, the concept of quality of life is also difficult to define.  More®

    First Impression Sambhali Trust by Ariel Wolpe | Jodhpur, India, July 17, 2010

    Change comes from within. Within each person, certainly, but also within a community, from the web of minds that shape a household, a village, a culture. Change often sprouts up, struggling, between cracks in the pavement, fueled by internal unrest. Each smiling woman and girl has a story, hardships and roadblocks they’ve faced and continue to tackle. When I arrived at Sambhali Trust, I was welcomed by a graceful group of women, adorned in vibrant clothes, jewelry and a thirst for knowledge. I swelled with admiration, and anticipation of working towards women’s empowerment. More®

    Person of the Month

    Former FSD Intern, Rob Weldon, earned his Master’s degree in International Education Administration and Policy Analysis from Stanford’s School of Education. In his current role as an education specialist with the Pearson Foundation, Rob works with rural, under-resourced communities in Chile, Tanzania, the Philippines, Colombia, Uruguay, South Africa, India, Kenya and Nigeria. He focuses on the ways education opportunities are affected in a rapidly changing global context, and how successful policy-making can improve educational practice in different social settings. Rob recently traveled to Bogota, Colombia to work with the ministry of education and other key partners in order to begin the development of BridgeIT, a project that has been successfully implemented in the Philippines, Tanzania and Chile.  It uses mobile devices and cellular phones to deliver educational content, through video multimedia, to rural and impoverished classrooms. Rob’s focus has been on curriculum development and project evaluation, while keeping a keen eye on local stakeholder involvement and educational rigor.

    FSD would like to honor those extraordinary individuals working in some of the most difficult environments in the world to bring about a better life for the people there. Tell us who you think made an extraordinary impact this past month by e-mailing bulletin@fsdinternational.org, subject line: “Person of the Month.” Please explain your nomination in 150 words or less and include your name, affiliation and location.

    FSD in the News

    This summer, Greatnonprofits.org awarded FSD the Top-Rated Women’s Empowerment Nonprofit in the nation! We owe this award to the extraordinary work of our partner organizations throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America that are working tirelessly to support gender equity in their communities. Click here to learn what FSD is doing to support critical women’s empowerment initiatives around the world. 

    FSD Training Programs Catalyze International Development Careers

    Intern and ProCorps Volunteering This Fall Gain hands-on training in community-based sustainable development and project management experience while working with one of over 300 community-based organizations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Apply today to join FSD and support our global partners in the areas of Microfinance, Environment, Health, Human Rights, Gender Equity, Youth Development and Education. The application deadline is August 1st – Apply Now.

    Service Learning TripsService learning enables participants to gain both a theoretical understanding and practical experience in community-driven development. Local communities collaborate with service learning participants to develop projects that are meaningful for all and support sustainable change in communities. Practical service is linked to lectures, workshops, and cultural experiences to provide participants with a broad-based understanding of international community development. Start dates are customizable–Learn more.2011 Start Dates Now Available

    Join FSD in the winter and spring of 2011. Contact us for information on funding resources and academic credit.

    Donor News“Giving Circles can help us overcome international barriers. They break down seemingly overwhelming global challenges into more manageable bite-sized pieces. They offer a leverage point by enabling us to pool our money for greater impact. They promote a sense of community, so we don’t have to work for change alone. And they enable us to have a great time in the process.”–Marc Manashil, former Executive Director, The Clarence Foundation (merged w/ FSD 2009)

    “Giving Circles teach communities of donors in the West about international philanthropy and development while, at the same time, making a direct impact on the ground. It’s also a fantastic way to have fun with a great group of people.” -Kathryn Kooistra, FSD Pro Corps Volunteer Alumna and former Giving Circle Host

    A Giving Circle might best be described as the philanthropic equivalent of a book club. A group of donors join together and pool their time, talent and resources to work together on making international grants. The Giving Circle model is designed to connect people in the U.S. who have a desire to learn about and give to exceptional small international organizations in the developing world. Through a series of meetings, Giving Circle members learn about the issues through readings, guest presentations from experts in the field, and in some cases, through direct observation and dialogue with the grantees themselves. The Circle members then decide collectively how they can make the greatest impact with their pooled funds. Click here to download a PDF about FSD’s Traveling Giving Circle to India in the October 2010.

    Your Thoughts This month on Facebook, FSD highlighted the world’s mangrove tree crisis. Over half the world’s mangrove trees have been cut down with more than 50% of the loss due to shrimp farming. Not only has this affected the livelihoods of millions of people who rely on the forest for sustenance, but this has also affected mangroves’ vital role in the prevention of coastal erosion, protection from storms and flooding, and carbon sequestering. Cameron Bunch, FSD Facebook Fan, comments, “Part of the problem is the disconnect caused by purchasing non-local products. It is much harder to know where they actually come from and what environmental, social, and economic impacts their production actually have in what part of the planet. If it is being grown or fished next door that is not too hard to figure out. The local news will probably let you know. Or even if it originates in the same country that may be enough. But with super markets full of products from all over the planet, not many people will be willing or able to keep track of it all. I’m just beginning to think this through to understand what stance makes sense. The one thing that is clear to me is that a greater effort to use local products has to be part of the solution.”

    Join the conversation by posting a comment on FSD’s Facebook wall. The most interesting and thought-provoking reader comments will be published right here.