Wednesday, August 15, 2007

World of Good, Project Concern Style

I used to think I was a road warrior beacause I travel about 70,000 miles a year for business. I was making my way across the country last week, strung out from another round of all-day meetings and delayed, late-night flights when I happened to sit next to a fellow from an organization called Project Concern International (PCI). He was on his way to San Diego from Washington, DC. We were going to land at about 1 AM and he had meetings the next morning. That happens to me, too. It's a drag.

A few days later, he was going to hop on an airplane in San Diego and fly to Chad. Now that's a road warrior! It's over 8,000 miles as the crow flies, but I doubt there are many non-stops from San Diego to N'Djamena. Curious to learn more, I spent a little time chatting with him. He and his organization were a slam-dunk for a World of Good post.
Project Concern International is a leading international health organization that saves the lives of children and families around the world by preventing disease and providing access to clean water and nutritious food. (They) reach over three million people a year.
What does this mean in more concrete terms? Well, among other things, they provide direct support to orphanages in African countries like Zambia.

The AIDS epidemic in Africa has orphaned thousands of children. It is a humanitarian catastrophe and organizations like PCI are doing their best to support the orphans.

PCI is about more than just feeding children. It's about bringing equipment and techniques to these places to prevent the spread of disease.
(PCI is involved in) combating malaria through the use of insecticide-treated nets is an essential strategy in our maternal child health programs. PCI is expanding and strengthening tuberculosis prevention and control efforts along the US-Mexico border. And our water and sanitation programs promote hygienic practices that prevent diarrhea and other deadly waterborne diseases.
Everyone talks about wanting to feed the poor, but PCI actually does it.
  • In rural Nicaragua, PCI has distributed US agricultural commodities to 322 schools, providing a daily school meal to nearly 33,000 children, as well as to their teachers and parents.

  • In Zambia, over 61,000 orphans have benefited each month from PCI's school feeding program, and over 7,800 child- and female-headed households have received monthly take-home rations.
This looks like a pretty heavy load for this Nicaraguan girl. Has OSHA been notified?

PCI deals with both the effects and prevention of crisis situations.
In places where access to health care is severely limited, the best way to implement poverty solutions and protect the health of children, mothers, and families is to show parents, community volunteers, and local governments ways of preventing disease and illness.

A Nicaraguan girl looks plaintively at PCI workers as she realizes that with food to eat, she will now have to do her homework.

This may seem like a total aside, but did you know that the Panama Canal was successfully dug only because sanitation conditions for the workers were improved first? PCI learned that lesson well.
PCI works with communities to dig wells, build latrines, and construct safe water and sewage systems. PCI also trains volunteers to teach their communities about proper hygiene and sanitation.
Stop by the PCI website to learn more. I found their list of projects to be most impressive. They're certainly part of the World of Good.

The World of Good (WOG) is a series of posts we try to do every week. You can find a list of our previous ones as well as the motivation behind them at this link.

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