This October, the Ouelessebougou Alliance is partnering with small businesses across the Wasatch Front for our “Give Global, Think Local” fundraising campaign. We will be installing jars in local cafes, boutiques, and other businesses to collect change and small bills, and our partners can choose which programs they want their donations to support. For the Alliance, “Give Global, Think Local” is an opportunity to bridge the gap that usually separates local charity and international giving.
People often think of local and international charity as two separate, radically different ways of giving. Local charities may find themselves competing with large, international relief agencies for funding, making it harder for them to spread benefits in their communities. On the other hand, charities working abroad must convince people to send their money across the world. It’s a normal instinct to question whether the support they provide will ever make it to the intended recipients – in many cases, it’s more assuring to give to a local charity where the benefits can be seen first-hand. At the end of the day, most people see local donation as the best way to ensure their money is going where it should.
The partners in the Ouelessebougou Alliance have seen this struggle between local and global giving play out again and again. The Alliance, by directly partnering Utahns with Malians through charity, shows that this binary dividing charitable giving doesn’t reflect reality. The two certainly don’t need to compete. Even a small donation from the U.S. can be stretched far in Mali. A single U.S. dollar is worth about 552 CFAs (West African francs), and that exchange rate means that a variety of diverse projects can receive attention. Funding our Village Health Agents, sponsoring teachers, improving adult literacy, building classrooms in Neneko, or distributing mosquito nets are all programs that can be supported with a relatively small amount of cash. Even pennies can make a huge difference.
Give Global, Think Local demonstrates how our local and global communities are intimately linked. Visit our partner businesses in Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah, now and through the end of October and get involved with our campaign. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to learn more about our programs and other ways to get involved with giving locally while thinking globally.