As one more year of grantmaking comes to a close, we observe trends and highlights of international philanthropy to the Asia Pacific region. Below is a snapshot of Give2Asia’s 2018 giving and hand-picked selections of the most resonant projects that we have seen carried out this year.
During the past year we have witnessed a marked growth in engagement with the nonprofit sector in Asia. Research in India has uncovered a lack of trust in local nonprofits, which adds to the value of third-party validation from a vetted organization like Give2Asia known for its thorough due diligence process.
The highest distributions of funding have been received in China, India, and South Korea, with a remarkable 15% of all grants going towards environmental projects in China. This funding concentration is likely connected to concerns over reducing air pollution in Beijing prior to hosting the Olympic Games there.
Staff Picks: Favorite Projects of 2018
1. Greening Australia
Increasing the science, literacy and math capability of Indigenous and non-Indigenous high school students through conservation and land management training.
“Nurturing Our Land, Protecting Our Culture” Grant
Wurundjeri Country, Greater Melbourne Area, Australia
A group of students enrolled in the Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management training program at the Aboriginal mission, Coranderrk, in which they received training from an Indigenous elder to gain hands-on experience and make valuable contributions to priority conservation areas through their recordings of seedling establishment, pest control, and supplementary revegetation. This data will inform future Greening Australia and Parks Victoria ecological restoration. The farm school training maintains continuity over time because the projects feed into the work that will be done by the next cohort of students; for example, one group would grow indigenous seedlings, the next group would plant them, and the following would collect seeds and de-guard seedlings, establishing connection to the land and community over time.
Why It Stands Out
The involvement of an Indigenous elder in the training of the students provides invaluable support for Indigenous students engaged in the project by providing a safe and culturally affirmative environment, critical for their personal and educational development. Disadvantages faced by Australia’s Indigenous community are well documented, and the advancement of training, education, and employment in the conservation sector provides both an opportunity for their economic independence and cultural affirmation to these communities.
2. Bangladesh Environment and Development Society (BEDS)
Providing durable safety materials and health and sanitation educational programs to protect approximately 40 “waste picker” families in the city of Khulna, Bangladesh.
“Improving Working Conditions for Waste Pickers in Khulna Bangladesh” Grant
A group of students enrolled in the Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management training program at the “Waste pickers” in Khulna, the third-largest city in Bangladesh, address the city’s inefficient waste management system by sifting through rubbish heaps and collecting items for a small profit. They often work with just their bare hands and bare feet in highly unsanitary conditions, which leads to health problems including infections, cuts, rashes, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, and other chronic health issues. This grant to Bangladesh Environment and Development Society (BEDS) has supported the purchase of waste picking safety materials such as long boots, gloves, masks, safety dress, first aid materials, etc., as well as a continuous sanitation education program. Since this project’s completion, BEDS has reported a significant decrease in health hazards due to the distribution of safety materials to the community of waste pickers, and they report that participants are highly motivated to continue to take these health and safety precautions as a result of the ongoing seminars on its importance.
Why It Stands Out
This project demonstrates the way that an intersection of many different issues – infrastructure, health, environment, poverty – can be addressed with intervention and education. The low pay from this work keeps the workers from being able to afford treatment, so when they become ill they face the difficult choice of either working through what could be a serious condition and risk making it worse, or abstaining from work and forfeiting much-needed earnings for a family that is already struggling to survive. Waste pickers experience discrimination in addition to their struggles with health and safety, and such initiatives help to reverse this societal prejudice and make their welfare a priority.
3. Community Learning Center (CLC)
Providing support to community members such as classes, livelihood trainings, and resources for under-privileged and needy youth who are at risk of drugs and human trafficking.
“The Community Learning Center – Center of Buddha Dhamma Practice” Operational Support
Wat Arun Temple, Bangkok, Thailand
Covering the monthly operational expenses of the CLC equates to covering the living and study expenses of young scholars who are orphans, come from broken homes, or are otherwise poor and disadvantaged. Without assistance they would be likely victims of human trafficking, drug abuse, or domestic abuse. Providing this support even to a small handful of people has a tremendous impact on transforming their lives and making them stewards to better contribute to their community, which is where the impact grows indefinitely.
Why It Stands Out
Reading the CLC reports monthly is like hearing a success story continuously unfold. The community learning center provides training and job placements in the fields of nursing and engineering, and their curriculum also includes other skills and topics such as morality, manners, behavior, and meditation. A continuing program like this cultivates graduates that will grow to be productive members of society, and it is moving to see the long-term value of their programs.
4. Fuping Development Institute
Empowering marginalized women with domestic livelihood trainings to insure that they get placed in stable jobs that support their needs.
“Housekeeping Training for Migrant Female Workers” Grant
China (Gansu and Hebei Provinces)
This project worked with 100 women from poverty-stricken areas of China. It not only offered them domestic services training, it also helped them obtain a vocational certification, linked them to jobs, and conducted follow-up check-ins to make sure the trainees were able to maintain stable employment. This level of commitment to not just building their skills, but to making sure that it leads them to jobs (and then taking the extra step to make sure that they’re succeeding in those jobs) is an exceptional amount of follow-through to ensure the greatest amount of support to the project’s beneficiaries.
Why It Stands Out
Fuping Development Institute has provided an exceptional amount of detail and documentation for all of their activities, which does more than keep donors informed of their impacts, it inspires us with an understanding of how to implement such programs. In addition to a rich narrative, their final report shows us photographic documentation from each step of the project, including the actual enrollment brochures they used as outreach to potential participants, photos of the enrollment process, photos of the training-of-trainers sessions, photos of the vocational trainings, and also photos of the program graduates at work in their new jobs. They also shared details about the field of work and monthly earnings that each graduate was engaged in after the program’s close. These details provide us with outstanding stories that can be shared to continue to help others.