“Tired of Starving Children Photos?” That was the title of a recent story on AlertNet, a humanitarian news website. It brought to light the delay in procuring aid in advance of a predicted drought and subsequent famine in 2011.
Year-long warnings of a coming drought in the Horn of Africa and its potential catastrophic repercussions were well documented. Yet according to the article, official government declarations of a famine came too late. Four months too late. By the time international aid arrived, up to 100,000 had died of starvation – half of them children. The article asks “Why is it that, time and again, funding is not provided to respond to a hunger crisis until pictures of starving children are seen in the world press?”
Dependent on Emergency Aid
The unfortunate reality is, despite their best efforts, governments, funders, and international relief organizations must overcome multiple obstacles – logistics, politics, and cumbersome regulations, among them – before they can mobilize and deliver aid. However, more often than not, the international aid community makes a truly remarkable and monumental effort to secure aid and provide relief, when and where it’s needed. The task of gathering and delivering resources and manpower is an extraordinary undertaking even under the best of circumstances. And even more so, when racing against the clock or in unpredictable situations – a natural disaster or war zone, for example.
But how often can organizations and governments be counted on to deliver “just-in-time” aid to stricken areas? There is no obvious answer or magical solution, but there is a proven strategy to lessen the dependence of lesser-developed populations on emergency relief.
Prevention vs. Cure
In the past 50 years the number of children who die every year from hunger, malnutrition, and disease has decreased from 20 million to less than 8 million. The proportion of people living in extreme poverty has been cut in half in the same time frame. That still leaves some staggering numbers to overcome, but the improvement is significant. These results came about for many reasons, but key among them was the focus on anticipating and preventing crises rather than simply shipping emergency aid.
In For The Long Haul
At Planet Aid, emphasis is placed on long-term programs to address the underlying cause of the problem or issue. Multi-year support of programs that address education deficits, health concerns, food security issues, and lack of job skills, are hallmarks of Planet Aid’s mission. Having a consistent in-country presence, year-in and year-out, in the same villages and communities is essential to the organization’s steady, but measurable progress.
Commitment to Mission
While other higher profile aid programs may gain more media and public attention, Planet Aid continues to deliberately move forward in areas where it has earned the trust and recognition of the local community. Those who work with and depend on Planet Aid know they can count on the longevity of the organization’s programs and commitment. By carefully deploying its available resources, leveraging its local knowledge, and building upon its core competencies, Planet Aid has successfully established itself as a preferred partner among international foundations, other aid organizations, and national governments.
Proven Track Record
For the past 15 years, Planet Aid-supported programs have built and staffed schools, established on-going health initiatives, and helped train farming cooperatives to address the fundamental issues that face local populations every day. Individuals who attended Planet Aid-funded schools as children are now returning to their villages to teach a new generation after graduating from one of 26 teacher training colleges which Planet Aid supports. This has resulted in over 3,000 new teachers entering the education system every year. The same is true of agricultural and vocational programs supported by Planet Aid. Knowledge and resources introduced by Planet Aid and its partners have been passed through to new generations of farmers and workers over the years, thanks to Planet Aid’s consistency of mission. Farmers’ Clubs supported by Planet Aid have demonstrated year-to-year improvements in food production, income, and reduction of crop loss. Numerous stories abound of farmers moving from purely subsistence-level farming to achieving extra-income by selling surplus crops. Many of these farmers recorded double and triple-digit increases in harvest totals after implementing new crop techniques learned at Farmers’ Clubs.
Support Planet Aid
Planet Aid’s record of progress and success comes about only through the generosity of those who donate to its cause. In 2010, clothes donations in the U.S. allowed Planet Aid to provide $12 million in direct and in-kind Development support in 15 countries. Corporate funding, foundation grants, and aid from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Agency for International Development continue to help Planet Aid make a difference every day. For more information about how you can help Planet Aid carry out its mission, visit Development="" style="">www.planetaid.org. Your monetary gift or clothing donation, no matter how small or substantial, will help those that need it most.
Planet Aid collection bin
Our steel collection bins are custom made and are designed for safe and easy use. They feature a large security chute at the front, similar to that used for a mailbox. Clothing bags and loose items go into the chute, but it is impossible for others to reach in and remove them. We know that having a secure collection bin is a key functional quality. Simple donation instructions are painted onto the front plate of the security chute.
The bins have approximately a 4 x 4 footprint and stand 7 feet tall, roughly the size of a soda machine. Planet Aid carries liability insurance to cover the bins. Our insurance agent will issue a liability insurance certificate should you request it.