Making Real Global Impact…from Your Desktop
Many people have visions of traveling to a far-off place to volunteer and help make a difference in the world beyond their own back yard. For me that dream began watching commercials for the Peace Corps in the 1960s. But responsibilities at home often make volunteering in another country difficult. A new nonprofit called Kushiri enables professionals to make a global impact by contributing their expertise online to social organizations operating in developing countries.
The Kushiri website will serve as a talent-matching and collaboration platform for organizations and volunteers. Locally-led non-profit NGOs and for-profit social enterprise organizations will post specific projects needing assistance. These may include polishing a business plan, developing an outreach program, creating a website, or writing grants—the emphasis is on projects that will help build an organization’s capacity to better achieve its mission.
Registered volunteer consultants can review posted projects, selecting to work on those that best fit their skill set and align with geographic and issue areas that interest them. Once volunteers and organizations are matched, they will use a collaborative workspace on the Kushiri website to complete the project.
Kushiri’s focus on capacity building follows the time-honored “teach a man to fish” model: By helping local organizations become more effective and sustainable, volunteers can be assured that their work will have an extended and lasting impact.
Kushiri is currently in beta stage, and is planning its first pilot project in Kenya this summer. The project will bring together 10 local organizations and 25 volunteer consultants, who will work to refine the Kushiri collaborative model prior to a formal launch of the web platform later this year. Kushiri’s Start Some Good fundraising campaign runs through June. Funds will be used in support of the pilot project. Click here to contribute to the campaign, and to help open new online portals of global volunteerism.
Michael Beckett is principal of Beckett Creative, which provides communications for social enterprise and lifestyle businesses. He has over 25 years of experience working in a range of styles across multiple media. Michael is bridging the global gap by using online tools to mentor a college student in a South African township, and looks forward to meeting him in Johannesburg next year. You can follow Michael on Twitter @BeckettCreative.