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Global Action Foundation (GAF)
Well-being, Education, Poverty
Global Action Foundation (GAF), a United States 501c3 non-profit organization, funds initiatives that alleviate global poverty. A group of young professionals incorporated GAF in June 2006 to help eradicate extreme poverty and improve human development.
GAF targets Sierra Leone, an underdeveloped West African country bordered by Liberia and Guinea. While Sierra Leone recovers from a ten-year war ending in 2002, it ranks 176 out of 177 countries in the 2005 UNDP Human Development Report. It also has an estimated 68% population prevalence of extreme poverty and ranks 126 out of 159 countries in Transparency International's 2005 Corruption Perceptions Index.
As indicated in the last statistic and witnessed in ground-level realities, Sierra Leoneans do not effectively benefit from governmental support or organizations that fund governmental initiatives. In response, GAF created a Sierra Leone non-governmental organization (NGO) in August 2006 to implement its poverty reduction initiatives.
In September 2006, GAF launched one initiative in each of its following three divisions: Global Development, Global Health, and Global Libraries. Its Global Development and Health Divisions implement initiatives through its Sierra Leone NGO, NOW. Its Global Libraries Division implements a community based health development web-portal PovertyHealth.org targeting global youth. Although Africa is a poverty reduction quagmire, GAF develops operative solutions specific to the needs of its communities.
GAF supports two major initiatives in Sierra Leone. 1) The first initiative is a Malnutrition Eradication Program to Reduce child mortality in the Port Loko District through a Comphrehensive methodology including a therapeutic feeding Center and a community health outreach program. 2) The second initiative is an Amputee Empowerment Program to establish a sustainable, replicable community empowerment model assisting amputees and war-disabled individuals with self-reliance through ‘poverty-efficient’ aid allocation.
GAF supports NOW’s implementation of its initiatives in partnership With Sierra Leone’s Ministeries of Health and Sanitation, Social Welfare Gender & Children’s Affairs, Education Science & Technology, the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA), and the Amputees War-Wounded Association.
GAF also supports NOW’s initiatives in partnership with a number of NGOs including: St. John of God Charitable Organization, Forum of Conscience, Concern, US Embassy, UNICEF and WFP.
We of GAF’s initiative in Sierra Leone aim to alleviate poverty in Sierra Leone by prioritizing its most vulnerable communities, such as war-disabled individuals and severely malnourished children.
The joint strategy of GAF and NOW is as follows: Implementation Strategy: Targeting the poorest of the poor and marginalized people; Selecting specific communities of people with whom it works as a community-based organization (CBO); Commitment to sustainable development initiatives that include The necessary combination of relief and development strategies; Incorporating community-based participatory approaches and Collaboration with both governmental and non-governmental partners.
News & Events
GAF funds NOW’s Reduction of Malnutrition among children under the age of five in the Port Loko District of Sierra Leone. Dr. Barrie, National Coordinator for NOW, signed a Project Agreement with UNICEF on April 28, 2007. NOW is the UNICEF implementing partner in this project. The project is titled, “Child Survival Interventions”, and includes the treatment of severely malnourished children, a child’s consumption of Vitamin A, the supplementation of Iron Folate to pregnant women, and the education of the general population concerning the importance of iodized salt. Port Loko has a general population of over 450,000, more than 82,000 children under the age of 5, and 24,000 pregnant women. A nutritional survey of the more than 82,000 children under the age of 5 will be conducted. GAF and NOW will train teams of women in the Port Loko District to recognize and request treatment for all children suffering from severe malnutrition. GAF pledges to fund the building of a therapeutic feeding center to treat at least 200 children per month, attempting to reduce child mortality by 70%.
On Sunday, March 25, 2007, GAF and NOW broke ground on the first free medical clinic for the amputee and war-disabled of Kono in the Eastern region of Sierra Leone. The medical clinic should open by early summer. Fundraising continues for the construction of a secondary and vo-technical institute alongside the medical clinic. In time, a doctor’s house and visitor’s quarters will also be added. The community outreach complex will house a micro-credit and small business center aimed at self-reliance.
“I am just a medical student. How can I help people who live in extreme poverty?”
Written by John Daniel Kelly, Founder and Executive Director of Global Action Foundation and an nNGO, the National Organization for Welbody (NOW) in Sierra Leone.
For the first several weeks of my Global Health Fellowship in Sierra Leone, these thoughts drifted through my mind. I lived in a war-ravaged capital city lacking electricity while treating countless patients for malaria. During that time, I realized that the best way to help Sierra Leoneans was with a more sustainable contribution than my medical efforts.
Fortunately, my experience was coordinated through a fellow medical student who was also a refugee from Sierra Leone. He introduced me to a Sierra Leonean doctor who is also passionate about helping his people. Together we stumbled upon communities of amputees and families of severely malnourished children crying for help. Their cries for help led us to ask how.
Eventually, solutions materialized from their answers and projects were developed and implemented through a newly-created Sierra Leonean Non-Governmental Organization and United States Non-Profit Foundation.
In September 2006, we decided to tackle a problem in the following two most vulnerable groups of Sierra Leone: Children under age 5 and war-disabled communities. Since then, they have grown and evolved into the following current programs.
In children under 5, severe malnutrition is the problem being tackled. Working toward its resolution, we run a district-wide community outreach program and therapeutic feeding centre. The outreach program involves community sensitization, nutrition surveillance in both villages and primary health units, and retrieval system for identified children as well as their guardians. The current therapeutic feeding centre is a medical unit providing free health services to WHO-classified severely malnourished children while educating their guardians. Since our community outreach program involves 77,400 children under 5, we have decided to build a dedicated medical facility in order to accommodate for an increased patient capacity of up-to 200 severely malnourished children per month. With a program integrating clinical medicine, public health, education, and agriculture and established in collaboration with UNICEF, WFP, and the Ministry of Health, we can reduce severe malnutrition by 80% within the next 5 years in Port Loko District.
In war-disabled communities, empowerment of amputated individuals is the problem being tackled. Working toward its resolution, we run an empowerment program amongst 9 communities in Kono – home of the "Blood Diamonds." The program supports their self-proclaimed most pressing needs, which ubiquitously includes food security as well as access to health care and child education. In order to provide food security, we support their community-driven micro-agriculture project in which they have 155 acres of farmland and grow rice. In order to provide access to health care and child education, we have plans to build a medical facility and secondary school with technical training institute. Since receiving a gift from the chiefs of 41 acres, we are proceeding with the site plans. Meanwhile, we have begun a monthly-run mobile clinic. On its launch, we encountered 170 patients over two days. With a program integrating health, agriculture, and education and established in collaboration with the US Embassy, Direct Relief International, and the affiliated Sierra Leonean Ministries, we can empower the amputees to become self-reliant within the next 10 years in the Kono District.
Poverty reduction is a vast, multi-dimensional dilemma to which I entered Sierra Leone inexperienced. My focus is “on-the-ground” working with the people and giving them the opportunity to solve their own problems. I believe that we are making a sustainable difference in the lives of Sierra Leoneans.
Global Action Foundation (GAF) was established June 28th, 2006, then designated as a 501 c3 non-profit in November of 2006. The organization raises funds for initiatives aimed at ending extreme poverty anywhere in the world. John Daniel Kelly will receive his M.D. in 2008 and plans an internship in internal medicine. Dan, as he is widely known, will continue his work to end extreme poverty with the help of dedicated individuals in the United States, Great Britain and West Africa.
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