Now that fall is well underway, it’s time to introduce our fourth-quarter slate of beneficiaries. This inspiring collection of organizations is working around the world to improve access to education and safe drinking water, to protect the health and habitats of bats and other endangered species, and to defend reproductive choice. And just wait until you see how our Human Rights beneficiary is using giant trained rats to make the world a better place.
Members, don’t forget to log in and distribute your donations for the fourth quarter of 2013. Not yet a member? Join today!
Education: Roots and Wings International
Roots and Wings International, our Q4 Education beneficiary, provides educational opportunities for indigenous people in Guatemala. They offer after-school tutoring for elementary school students, computer literacy for older students, and full-tuition scholarships for university students from low-income households. If RWI seems familiar, that’s because they were also our featured Education beneficiary in the first quarter of 2011. They received a grant of $3,390 from member donations that quarter.
Human Rights: Apopo
Apopo, our Human Rights beneficiary, is an innovative organization that uses trained detection rats to tackle a surprising variety of humanitarian challenges. Their approach to using trained rats for landmine and tuberculosis detection is innovative, interesting, and ground-breaking. (Don’t worry — the rats are too light to set off the landmines.) Apopo’s landmine program is functioning in four countries on two continents and has detected and deactivated more than 3,100 landmines, 13,000 small munitions, and 1,800 bombs. The tuberculosis detection program has identified more than 4,000 cases of TB during outbreaks in Africa, where quick diagnosis and treatment are crucial.
Poverty and Health: Water Ecuador
Water Ecuador, our Poverty and Health beneficiary, develops strong local connections in Ecuador to fight waterborne illness with education and equipment. Their founder noticed, while volunteering at a hospital, that many of the same children regularly came to the clinic with the same recurring problems. He worked with local communities to establish water centers, finding a fresh water source and installing water systems that are easy to maintain and have simple purification systems. They also provide water education that covers how to determine whether a source of water is safe and how to maintain the water systems after they are installed.
In February 2014, Pathfinders Project will spend a month conducting water education and installing water systems with Water Ecuador. Our grant to Water Ecuador will cover the cost of materials needed during the residency by Pathfinders Project. The grant will also support Pathfinders Project by covering housing, food, travel, and other necessities while they are volunteering with Water Ecuador.
The Natural World: Bat Conservation International
Bat Conservation International, our Natural World beneficiary, works to protect bats and their ecosystems through education, research, and conservation initiatives. Their programs include direct conservation projects such as protecting water access for wildlife and managing habitat and resources for endangered bats, but also include educational initiatives such as scholarships, grants for academics conducting bat research, and addressing superstitions that can lead to the abuse of bats. The range of their programs and their educational approach are outstanding, as well as the work they do in a neglected area of conservation. They have a highly developed internal scientific research process.
Challenge the Gap: Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), our Challenge the Gap beneficiary, is an interfaith coalition with both an advocacy arm and a 501(c)(3) arm focused on education and mobilization to build responsible policies and resources for reproductive health and choice. They focus on the ethical reasons for choice and personal responsibility, using their beliefs to support reproductive rights, and they fight against the often religiously motivated reasoning used to oppose reproductive access on both national and state levels. Foundation Beyond Belief is supporting their education and outreach program.
Small Grant: Kiva microfinance
This quarter, Foundation Beyond Belief’s Small Grant program will fund a new microfinance initiative within the Humanist Giving program. Starting in 2014, funds raised for this grant will be used to create a Foundation Beyond Belief microfinance account via Kiva.org. FBB’s Kiva account will join the Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious team. We will immediately make a significant number of $25 loans. Our goal is to use only secular microfinance institutions (MFIs) and concentrate on loans that have fast repayments (6 to 9 months).