Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Beyond a Creative Challenge

Following on from the success of the Women's Investment slide project, which raised over AU$500 towards a group microfinance project in the Philippines - it's time for a new creative challenge. I hope you are personally inspired along the way :) All you need to do is respond to this challenge (see basic rules below) and you have a chance of winning a gift set of personalized postcards, minicards and stickers courtesy of MOO and a copy of "World Poverty for Dummies" courtesy of Wiley Australia!
The theme for this creative fundraising challenge is about thinking "Beyond". It's about changing your world. It's about innovation, vision and hope. And it's about making a difference.
Beyond yourself...towards the world.
Beyond the immediate...towards the possibilities.

Beyond having an idea...towards sharing it.

Beyond observing...towards participating.

Beyond poverty...towards empowerment and opportunity.

Image courtesy of Opportunity International Australia

Some basic "rules":

1. Be creative. You could share a story, an opinion, your experience, a motif, a poem, a picture, a short video, a call to action, or…you decide! The idea is to share something that represents a way to think “beyond” and make a difference in the world

2. Place a link on your response to this original post. You could also mention that this is all about raising awareness and funds for a microfinance project in the Philippines.

3. Verify your entry by commenting on this original post. with a link to your response

Examples of what you could write/create:
  • a blog post about dreaming big
  • an example of how someone made a difference by using their imagination
  • an illustration about opportunity
  • a photo illustrating why we need to think "beyond"
  • a video montage of words and images
Get the picture? :)

You have until Sunday December 21st 2008(midnight AEST) to contribute. The winner (as selected by a random draw of all entries) will receive a prize. The prize includes a personalized pack from MOO including 20 x POSTCARDS, 100 MINICARDS and 90 STICKERS valued at around $50

In addition, any DONATIONS received before 21 December will also be in a random draw for a copy of World Poverty for Dummies.

Winners will first be contacted about their prize and announced later in a follow-up post. I hope you will join in and share your thoughts about thinking "beyond" :) I will be featuring all responses on this tumblelog.

Ultimately this is all about raising AU$10,000 for a group microfinance project in the Philippines through the work of Women's Opportunity/Opportunity International Australia. Donations over $2 are tax deductible. Beyond helping just one person, this project will help at least 15 women work their way out of poverty, learn new skills and impact their communities.

Monday, November 24, 2008

About Trust Banks

A friend was asking how trust banks work, and what the AU$10,000 is for, so I'm sharing some information from Opportunity International Australia. What impresses me about the trust bank program is the structured coordination and training that complements the business loans to a group of 15 - 30 women, to enable "the transformation of the whole person, and includes training in business and management skills, social/community issues (eg health, sanitation and community participation), and personal development (eg motivation, selfesteem and leadership)"
A former manager of mine went to India last year and saw the projects that Opportunity International undertakes, and she continues to promote their great work today.

Trust Bank clients. Image Courtesy of Opportunity International

The six step Trust Bank process (also available with more detail in PDF format)

Step 1: Opportunity International’s Implementing Partner undertakes a feasibility study in a community to see if it has the potential for a Trust Bank program. Half the residents must be living below the national poverty line (typically US$1-2 a day). There should bean existing informal market and access to a local bank, communication facilities and transport.
Step 2: The loan officer consults with local leaders and sources potential clients, inviting them to an informal information meeting. During the meeting the loan officer outlines the Trust Bank program and answers any questions. Interested clients register to form a group.
Step 3: Each registered client is carefully screened for their suitability to the program. The loan officer visits their place of business and explains the conditions of Trust Bank membership.
Step 4: The clients are asked to attend orientation training over a number of sessions to receive details on the microfinance program, create internal procedures, identify leaders and develop group solidarity. With the assistance of the loan officer, each member develops a loan application and devises a basic business plan and loan use strategy.
Step 5: Leaders of the Trust Bank make a recommendation to the group members concerning the make-up of the group.The Trust Bank is officially formed when the group members endorse the recommendation. Members must know and trust one another because they must agree to co-guarantee each other’s loan repayments. They do not want to accept someone into the group who is dishonest or unreliable because this would adversely affect the whole group.
Step 6: Loan applications are assessed and approved by the Trust Bank program manager. The loan officer records and monitors loan repayments at weekly Trust Bank meetings.

Opportunity International worldwide*:
• Makes 85% of loans to women
• Achieves a loan repayment rate of 98%
• Works in 27 developing countries worldwide
• As of December 2006, supported over 960,829 active clients
• Provides effective HIV/AIDS education in several African
• Is creating and sustaining almost two million jobs
• Is providing long-term solutions to tsunami-ravaged parts of
India and Indonesia
*Data current as at December 2006

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

An example from the Philippines

The money raised from this project will go towards the businesses of 15 to 30 individuals, mostly women in the Philippines. They receive loans which, once paid back, are recycled back into loans for future microfinance projects with Women's Opportunity (Opportunity International Australia.)
Calma is one such woman from the Philippines who received a loan through Women's Opportunity - Here is her story courtesy of Women's Opportunity.

"A passion for mushrooms may not be exactly common, but for Calma Arcala, this little vegetable is anything but humble. Years ago, Calma worked long hours as a laboratory assistant in the Philippines, often doing unpaid overtime day after day. As she worked into the night, Calma, who grew up in a family of farmers, would dream about returning to the land and planting her own crops to market in her community. With a degree in horticulture, she knew she had the ability to start a successful business – what she lacked was the money to begin.

The turning point for Calma came in the form a small loan from TSPI, one of Opportunity International Australia’s microfinance partners in the Philippines. With the loan, Calma was able to plant her own mushroom farm and begin the dream she had waited so long for. As she worked, the farm flourished, and Calma had to employ an extra worker to keep up with the harvest. Today, Calma’s farm employs five people from her community, and is looking to employ two more. More passionate about mushrooms than ever, Calma hopes that one day the five-star restaurants of the world will use her produce in their dishes."

Read more about Women's Opportunity

Women's Opportunity just published an article on the Opportunity International Australia website about the Women's Investment project , my involvement with Women's Opportunity and the slides :)

There have also been three contributions since my last post, which means I have reached 5% of my goal! Fantastic. Please keep your (tax deductible) donations coming in. Thank you!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Getting to ten thousand

I haven't done much fundraising before. So, when I agreed to raise AU$10,000 for a Trust Bank in the Philippines, I faced the challenge of finding ways to raise so much money by the end of June next year. I still do!

Image originally uploaded by ModifiedEnzyme
Well so far a few contributions have amounted to US$200, which is around $300 Australian dollars. So I figure, all I need is um, around 600 people to donate US$10 (or 300 of you to donate US$20) and a whole community in the Philippines will be impacted!

The Group Slideshare project was a nice start to generate some awareness and raise a little bit of money. I'll be putting on my thinking cap - maybe auctioning a twenty year old edition of Warhol's Interview magazine on eBay. A blogging challenge. A reward. Stay tuned for the next creative fundraising challenge and more stories about women from previous projects in the Philippines.

A successful Trust Bank, the Dadda Group in the Philippines.
Image courtesy of Opportunity International

Oh - and please remember to donate (via Paypal or creditcard) or share this project with others. Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible (I will be arranging receipts quarterly)

Thank you!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

inspiring slides for A Woman's Investment

Last month 26 women from around the world took a moment to write an inspiring sentence. Each woman has shared something unique - please take the time to read the message on each slide.
Here they are!

A Woman's Investment
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: women charity)

THANK YOU to these amazing women for their contributions!
Alison Spencer, IBM Australia
Amy Palko, Less Ordinary, Scotland
Anita Pahor, Women’s Opportunity Director, Australia
Beth Kanter Social Media for NonProfits
Bonnie McEwan Owner, Make Waves: Impact Marketing for Nonprofits USA
Cindy Lenferna de la Motte, Director at Fashion Collaborative, Australia
Danielle Johnston, Business Director, Committee for Melbourne, Australia
Debbe Kennedy, Founder, President, and CEO Global Dialogue Center and Leadership Solutions Companies, USA http://www.globaldialoguecenter.com http://www.puttingourdifferencestowork.com
Janette Toral
, digitalfilipino.com Australia/Philippines
Joanna Young, Confident Writing, writing coach, Scotland
Kieran Cannistra, Innovation Editor IBM, USA
Linda Griffin Founder ClearWind LLC, USA
Lindy McKeown, eLearning Consultant, Australia
Lynne Wenig, Scope President (2005 – 2007) Australia
Marigo Raftopoloulos
Michelle Zamora
, AP SOA Marketing Leader, IBM, Australia
Nina Simosko, Global Chief Operating Officer, SAP Education USA
Penni Russon, Author, Australia www.pennirusson.com
Phaedra Boinidiris, CEO, WomenGamers.Com USA
Renee Wolforth, Attorney, Washington, USA
Dr Robyn McMaster Sr VP MITA International Brain Based Cente
Sacha Chua, Canada/Philippines
Shai Coggins
,Co-Founder & Community Strategist, b5media.com
Silvia Guccione, Director, Pomodoro Italian Cooking School, Australia
Suzanne Male, Publisher, Smink Works Books, Australia
Sacha Chua, Philippines and Canada

If these slides impact you, please consider making a donation to invest in a group of women in the Philippines.

And share these inspiring slides on your blog or Facebook etc… thank you!