Today is Giving Tuesday
In the last few years, it seems that the Thanksgiving holiday has become something of a roller coaster of days celebrating both generosity and materialism.
This year, we have zigzagged from giving thanks on Thursday…
to cruising the malls for deals on Black Friday…
to supporting local businesses on Small Business Saturday
to remembering three decades of hope and despair on World AIDS Day on Sunday…
to surfing for more e-deals on Cyber Monday…
And today we arrive, exhausted but exhilarated, at Giving Tuesday.
Giving Tuesday allows [...]
A World AIDS Day Success Story in Zimbabwe
This is my favorite World AIDS Day story. As a steward of Firelight’s resources, I have to look closely at our partners’ proposed budgets. When I see expenses to commemorate World AIDS Day, I ask partners to help me understand how this helps them to achieve their goals.
World AIDS Day, December 1st, is a day set aside to unite in the fight against HIV, stand in solidarity with those living with the disease, and honor those who have lost their [...]
A Thanksgiving Message from African Communities
“Tuletotela Sana.” That is how our friends at Community Based Care Foundation in Zambia say thank you.
Thanksgiving is a special holiday for those of us from the United States and Canada. I feel that giving thanks is an art form and that it’s something we never do enough of. It’s no surprise that my favorite part of being Development Associate is thanking our donors for their contributions and our grassroots communities for their support.
This year for Thanksgiving, I thought it [...]
Bringing Our Communities Closer Together
We frequently talk about African communities, but today, I’m thinking about Firelight’s other grassroots community. The one you’re a part of.
You and many others belong to a growing grassroots network, much of it online, filled with people who believe in African community organizations and who are looking for ways to support them.
Today we launched a new online strategy, summed up in our new tagline: Communities stop poverty. These three simple words encapsulate our mission, our beliefs, our goals, and our message.
We want [...]
Join 5 Minutes for Firelight and Be Part of A Powerful Community
I’m excited to announce that we are building a 5 Minutes for Firelight team of grassroots volunteers from all over the world!
Here’s the big idea: in just five minutes each week we can create a groundswell of support for African communities stopping poverty by bringing attention to the great working happening on the ground and the power of communities. We have a small group of committed people already on the list, but we need more people! Just imagine [...]
One Year Insights: Improving Early Childhood Development in Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia
It’s almost the end of our first year of an initiative to improve the quality of early childhood development programming for children under eight in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia. The Hilton Foundation funds this initiative. An important part of our plan included identifying outstanding Lead Partners in each country who would each then mentor five community organizations to help them improve their early childhood development or ECD programs. The Lead Partners we chose set their sights high. Their visions drive the work and have [...]
A Fresh Look at Halloween
My wife Marie and I are still trying to figure out where Halloween fits in our family culture.
In Rwanda, where Marie is from, Halloween is unknown. Marie dislikes the ghoulish aspects of Halloween. Rwanda has seen too much real blood in its recent past, too many real skeletons, for her to enjoy this part of Halloween. Marie can’t fathom why our otherwise pleasant neighbors decide to dress up their lawns with skulls, tombstones, and spiders.
Marie and I [...]
Idealist, Cynic, or Realist? Nina Munk’s critique of Jeffrey Sachs’ Millennium Villages
When I heard about Nina Munk’s new book on Jeffrey Sachs’ Millennium Villages Project, I was eager to read it. I’ve kept my ears open for stories of the Millennium Villages since they started in 2006. While I never believed their model of a standard prescription for eradicating poverty in Africa would work, my inner optimist hoped against hope that I was wrong. Over the last few years, I had seen a few articles that showed things were not moving [...]
Girls’ Corners in Malawi: Helping teen moms return to school
Barely containing bursts of giggles, three girls with plastic tubs on their heads and red teddy bears slung tightly on their backs encounter three other girls in school uniforms.
“Why aren’t you in your uniform? Aren’t you going to school today?” asks one uniformed girl.
“No. My parents don’t have any money for fees or uniforms so we will just stay at home, taking care of the children, doing the washing and the cleaning,” answers the girl with the lilac tub.
The play, [...]
The African Music Playlist
If all goes as planned, you will hear a variety of African music when you attend the “Drink Beer Stop Poverty” event at Discretion Brewing on Monday 28 October. This is the story of the Firelight Africa mixtape.
Compiling an African music playlist: what a luxury! There’s music from sixteen countries. (Next time I would give more space to the Democratic Republic of Congo, the former Zaire, the musical powerhouse of the continent. And I would find space for Egypt, the [...]