Assessing Worldwide Human Rights

By: Jackson
Jackson is participating in Allowance for Good's autumn 2013 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy program.

This week at EPL session eight, we learned about the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. These eight goals were set in the year 2000, to be completed by 2015. These goals include: eradicating extreme hunger and poverty, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and women’s rights, reducing child morality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability and creating a global partnership for development. A great deal of progress has been made towards achieving these goals, but there is still much work to be done in order to accomplish them by 2015. Whether or not they are entirely accomplished by 2015, these goals have set us on the right path towards bettering the quality of life for all, all around the globe.

This week Maya Cohen, the executive director of Globemed, visited us in class. Globemed is an organization that partners groups of university students with local organizations in less developed countries looking to better their own communities. These partnerships last through multiple generations of students, and focus on creating a tight bond between the students and the organization. The students typically raise funds for the organization, but also contribute physical service in an annual trip to visit the partner organization. Ms. Cohen explained this to us, as well as how Globemed’s focus is not only on the health of a community, but the quality of the community as a whole. Different organizations working within the same community can often achieve a greater affect than one organization alone.

It has been said that true philanthropy is done through the donation of one’s time, talent and treasure. This made me skeptical of Globemed’s credibility as a truly philanthropic organization, considering it is difficult to donate anything but treasure from thousands of miles away. What sets Globemed apart from other organizations though is the unique one on one partnering of students and organizations that lasts well past any one student’s time at their university. Unlike other charitable organizations, Globemed follows the money they raise and help the local organizations find the most efficient way to spend it. This truly makes it a philanthropic organization.

At the end of class, we partook in an activity titled “What is a Human Right?” In this activity, we brainstormed ideas of what are basic rights all humans are entitled to. Responses varied from basic necessities such as food, water and shelter, to more idealistic answers such as a right to representation, a right to fair compensation for services and a right to freedom from persecution. It struck me how many of these human rights we take for granted in the U.S., and how even if the U.N.’s millennium goals are accomplished there is still a long way to go to moral and social equality. Many people worldwide do not have access to what we consider basic necessities, and it is our job to advocate for equal rights for all.

This was one more excellent week at EPL, where we all learned a lot and engaged in meaningful discussion. There is no doubt in my mind that next week will be even more productive than this week was.
Jackson presents to his fellow ELP students.