Stop sending rice to Nepal
- It’s possible to be a change agent and make a difference in the world. That’s why I started GOODdler. I can’t imagine living my life and not to be concerned that so many people suffer in the world. When I hear stories of children in distress, families torn by conflicts, youth recruited to kill innocent people, and at the same time, see ignorance of many, I overcome with emotions. My response to this is to channel all the energy I have toward making this world a better place, no matter how cheesy this statement might sound.
- When I helped orphan houses in Russia, I realized that situation with orphanages could be much less dramatic if families in need, who give up their children in order to survive, received help covering their basic necessities. This how the idea of GOODdler first came up to my mind.
- Classic humanitarian aid model relies on processes that are not considering the way help is delivered. NGOs spend money on administrative expenses and expensive logistics. In the end, these goods may be not exactly what people need (like different type of rice that couldn’t be cooked at the high altitude in Nepal).
- After an earthquake in Nepal happened, there was a tremendous response from people all over the world. Many of them donated money but there were many who sent care packages to Nepalese NGOs. Later it was reported that not only majority of the packages contained the goods that were not essential, but the sheer amount of them overwhelmed the country’s postal services and ports.
- At the same time, GOODdler partnered with a few NGOs in Kathmandu area and provided them with a software to create wish lists filled with items from local retailers, similar to a gift registry you would create if you were planning a baby or bridal shower. These NGOs spread the word about their needs on social media and got a great support from people in different parts of the world, purchasing items for them. As an example, when you purchase one 55lb (25kg) bag of rice from Nepalese retailer from NGO’s wishlist, you will pay for it only $20 and it would feed a Nepalese family of 4 persons for 2 months. When these wish lists were completed, local retailers delivered the goods directly to NGOs in two hours. It was a local delivery of the goods that NGOs specifically asked for.
- Seamlessness of the process was very inspiring. It was very efficient, no customs, no expensive shipping, no dealing with local authorities. Later, NGOs took pictures of them delivering goods to the victims on the earthquake and sent them to every contributor in a “thank you” email.
- GOODdler’s idea is to allow international communities to strengthen national and local capacities rather than putting together a parallel structures that may undermine them. Its purpose is to make people more self-reliant by covering their basic needs which allows them to pursue education, job opportunities, etc. We are engaging local actors, retailers and NGOs and giving them an ability to serve as first responders to humanitarian crisis.
New altitude of strength
- The more I am connected to my work, the better. It is invigorating. You can’t be exhausted with your children or with a task that you’re really passionate about. Take musicians: can they be exhausted with their art? Same for me: I cannot stop doing what I am doing. I just can’t live any other way. Life is too short and i am trying to maximize every minute of it.
- What I found is that many people who run charitable organizations have very good hearts and sincere motives, but lack business knowledge and experience needed to manage these charities successfully.
- During my participation in meetings at UN, the subject of effectiveness of the way humanitarian aid is delivered comes up every time. It is a pressing issue of our time. While amount of money raised to cover the needs of the world increased substantially, it is not enough. Funding needs increased 4 times in the last 10 years due to the number of conflicts and disasters. Only 55% of the needs were covered in 2015. Everyone is trying to find the money to cover the 15bln dollar gap. We are trying to change the system, to make it more efficient.
The world today spends around US$ 25 billion to provide life-saving assistance to 125 million people devastated by wars and natural disasters. While this amount is twelve times greater than 15 years ago, never before has generosity been so insufficient. Over the last years conflicts and natural disasters have led to fast-growing numbers of people in need and a funding gap for humanitarian action of an estimated US$ 15 billion.
- When it comes to social enterprises, there is a range of different companies which could be called “social enterprise” – from local artisans to Tesla and Airbnb. I meet amazing social entrepreneurs and changemakers from around the world, who, I am sure, in the future will be called pioneers of social entrepreneurship.
Here are the names of just a few:
Gerlinda Lucas (Cambodia), a medical doctor with global health experience, is creating a new way of health care system to those who are less fortunate.
Christian Ray and Brandon Knicely (3rd Drive, Austin, TX) are supporting extraordinary mission-driven entrepreneurs, helping them to flourish.
Bert-Ola Bergstrand and Lars Ling (Sweden) are creating a community of purpose-driven innovators working together on creating a better world.
Karl Mehta (CEO of EdCast and one of the first White House Innovation Fellows) is transforming higher education.
James Ehrlich (ReGen Villages, Stanford) is building the “Tesla of ecovillages” for the next 2-3 billion people coming to Earth by 2050.
- My passion is people. I support a few organizations that work with orphans and youth. GOODdler is a member of UN initiative called ‘Compact For Young People In Humanitarian Action’, where I, together with other members of Compact, discuss strategies and approaches that would address the needs and rights of young men and women, boys and girls affected by disaster, conflict, forced displacement and other humanitarian crisis. As an example, this youth doesn’t have access to education. We have to address this issue, get youth involved so that they can become a part of a solution. By doing so, they will become strong players of humanitarian movement.
- I would define a success of GOODdler as a time when it will be used for all humanitarian and human services. But if this idea will bring other players, and more efforts from technology businesses – this would be another dimension of success as well. Take any data analysis – unfortunately, in humanitarian area there are not that many companies with tech background. If we show a way to these companies – I would consider it success as well.
There are many players involved in humanitarian action and our immediate goal is to bring innovation to the process. It is about developing a logistical structure which can rapidly respond in crisis.
- Ending poverty in all its forms everywhere, taking action to combat climate change, promote peaceful and inclusive societies – these are just a few goals where we can and will make the biggest impact.
- Talking about what gives me strength, I believe in my personal mission. If I have something on my heart that keeps me up at night, It means I should do something about this. I believe it’s my mission to do what I’m doing right now.
- My efforts, no matter how small, can play a big role in easing pain and suffering of many.
• Different big city distractions, noise, people, etc. are hard for me to take, at times.
• As a reviving ritual, I have my quiet time at the ocean beach. I pray, meditate, do whatever it takes to stop thinking, to find peace in my heart. It helps me to start the new cycle with a fresh energy and power. I try to do it systematically, a couple of times a week.