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Nordgreen Gives Back: Why Health, Education, and Environment Are Important to Us
Nordgreen was founded with the Danish values of social responsibility and sustainability. As such, deciding to implement a Giving Back Program was not the difficult part--that was a given from the outset. What was difficult was choosing which NGOs to partner with.
The decision was not taken lightly: the process took months of sorting through data, contacting organizational heads, and comparing internal values, but it was worth it to us. As the following statement from our founders shows, we wanted to make sure we got it right.
Our Giving Back Program is an integral part of who we are as a company, and the three NGOs we’ve chosen have become an indispensable part of the Nordgreen story.
We want you to find the cause that speaks most to you! Therefore, below we have provided more information about the stories behind and accomplishments of our invaluable partners. By shedding a little more light on each of the three organizations, we hope that you will become as passionate about these causes as we are.
HEALTH EDUCATION ENVIRONMENT
As of 2018, India had the world’s fastest growing economy, but also the world’s highest number of illiterate people. For a country that is developing so quickly, millions of Indian citizens of all ages are being left behind in the education system. With on average less than 3 teachers per primary school and 20% of habitation with access to secondary school, it’s no wonder that 100 million children in India cannot read or write at their appropriate age level.
Pratham UK won’t let India fall behind. Although the education problem in India is a hugely complicated and multifaceted one, Pratham UK has devised a far-reaching, inclusive system to try and provide education to as many Indian citizens as possible. To do so, they have broken down their reach into four overarching areas:
Literacy & Learning: This is Pratham’s largest category of influence. This sector encompasses a wide range of initiatives, including Read India, which establishes learning camps in rural areas to help those with less educational access improve their basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills, to science and technology initiatives like PraDigi, which aim to increase experimental and hands-on learning using modern tools both in and out of the classroom.
Girls’ Education: Gender roles in many parts of India are still very conservative, which creates a huge barrier for women both educationally and professionally. In fact, only 48% of Indian women have completed five years of primary schooling and are literate (The Hindu). Pratham UK has established specific women-centric programs to combat this, helping young girls break past the boundaries of societal pressures to pursue an education and learn the skills to better themselves.
Vocational Training: Pratham UK recognizes that going to school isn’t always the best or the most viable option for all children in India. As such, they have also developed vocational programs to help children who have dropped out of school early learn the necessary skills to get a job. The programs also help provide employment opportunities to those who never would have had access to them.
Research & Advocacy: In order to help provide the Indian government with data about the extent of the education crisis in India, Pratham UK facilitates the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER). The ASER is a census-type study that measures enrollment and literacy and mathematics ability in rural children aged 5-16. It is the hope that with this data, the government will become more drastic in enacting educational reforms, laws, and/or programs.
The amount of programs and initiatives Pratham UK has put in place is astounding, and the brevity with which we have covered it here simply doesn’t do it justice. Read more about the incredible amount of work they do here: https://pratham.org.uk/
Within the last 40 years, we have lost half of the world’s rainforests. This has resulted in the destruction of countless plant and animal species, the decline of indigenous societies, and is a leading contributor to global warming. In fact, deforestation adds more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than all cars and trucks in the entire world combined (Scientific American). The ways in which deforestation are threatening our planet are countless, devastating, and irreversible.
Businessmen Johan Eliasch and Frank Field recognized this problem as early as 2007. After carbon emissions from deforestation were overlooked in the Kyoto Protocol, they recognized that deforestation had become too great of a problem and too little of a priority on the world stage. As such, Eliasch and Field took matters into their own hands to enact immediate change and founded Cool Earth.
Cool Earth works to combat deforestation by working with the local communities living within the rainforests that are directly threatened by it. They specifically target the areas under the greatest pressure, working with communities living in or near rainforests threatened by logging, ranching, or other human activity within the next 18 months. Their foundation is based on a brilliant rationale: that people who depend on the forests to survive know best how to utilize it, and therefore should be the ones making the decisions about it. Eliasch and Field aim to give control back to these indigenous people.
In order to do so, the organization only works with communities that approach them. Furthermore, each village decides how the funds are spent and what they want out of the partnership. This allows for each project to be custom-tailored to the specific requests and needs of each individual community, while also combating each community’s largest specific threat. For example, to protect the Peruvian Ashaninka and Awajún tribes from logging, Cool Earth is working to develop cacao production and fish farming: industries that require the rainforest to remain intact. Similarly, Cool Earth’s work with the Gadaisu, Godidi, Waburmari, and Kaifouna villages of Papua New Guinea involves developing coconut oil production, utilizing what naturally grows in their rainforest to combat the threat posed by palm oil plantations. The foundation is also currently working with tribes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and has already completed projects in both Ecuador and Brazil.
By transforming the rainforest into a valuable local resource, Cool Earth not only directly combats deforestation, but empowers local communities to become more sustainable. Learn more and support the cause here: https://www.coolearth.org/
The Central African Republic is a gleaming oxymoron: millions of dollars worth of diamonds are mined there every year, and yet the country remains one of the poorest in Africa. As a result of violence, disease, and political volatility, 90% of their population lives in crippling poverty, without clear access to most of what are thought to be basic necessities: sanitation, food, and water.
Retrieving water in the CAR is a particularly tedious and challenging process. Daily, women and children make a two hour round trip trek carrying up to 40 pound jugs to sources of water that aren’t even sanitary. To add insult to injury, these journeys typically involve walking past broken water pumps, a hurtful reminder of relief projects that have failed or were not sustained.
Water for Good founder Jim Hocking was determined not be the source of one of those projects.
Water for Good isn’t just an organization that drills for clean water. To ensure that the wells are successful in the long-term, the organization creates systems to provide clean water access continually. This is accomplished by training and implementing a knowledgeable team of local staff who regularly maintain each well. These staff then work with local people in the CAR to teach them how to fix and maintain the wells on their own. Not only does this empower local communities, but it helps ensure clean water access long into the future.
By concentrating their efforts to one country (rather than spread their resources thinly across the continent, as is the strategy utilized by many foundations), Water for Good is able to enact tangible change. To date, local CAR people have drilled more than 680 new wells and are maintaining 1,000 pumps across the country. over half a million people are drinking from these wells daily. With results like these, Water for Good hopes to end water poverty in the CAR by the year 2030.
In such a torn nation, it is the organization’s hope that through water, they can change the state of the country and its people. “People are staying healthy, they’re able to generate more income, and they’re making a difference in their communities —for good” (Water for Good). Learn more about how Water for Good is transforming the CAR here: https://waterforgood.org/