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In 2015, familiar threats to human rights and human rights philanthropy continued. As conflicts persisted in countries like Syria, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic, the number of refugees fleeing violence and hunger soared. Extremist groups perpetrated mass violence from Nigeria and Egypt, to Kenya and France, including the targeted killing of staff from the French magazine Charlie Hedbo. Threats to closing civic space intensified as more countries adopted laws targeting and restricting organizations that work to hold governments accountable, including the funders that back them, often under the pretext of counterterrorism.
Despite these many concerns, we saw inspiring advances for human rights around the world across a range of issues. Women in Saudi Arabia voted and stood for election for the very first time, and the governments of the Gambia and Nigeria outlawed female genital mutilation. The Supreme Court in the United States legalized same sex marriage, while the Irish people did so through a historic popular vote. Cuba and the U.S. restored diplomatic ties after more than five decades, and Iran signed a deal to curb its nuclear program. At the end of the year, nearly 200 countries reached the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change to mitigate global warming.
Against this backdrop, in 2015 foundations allocated a total of $2.4 billion in support of human rights.
Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (iPASS) is an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support colleges that seek to incorporate technology into their advising and student services. In iPASS, such technology is intended to increase advising's emphasis on a student's entire college experience, enabling advisers to more easily (1) intervene when students show early warning signs of academic and nonacademic challenges, (2) regularly follow up as students progress through college, (3) refer students to tutoring and other support services when needed, and (4) provide personalized guidance that reflects students' unique needs.
To study how technology can support advising redesign, MDRC and the Community College Research Center partnered with three institutions already implementing iPASS: California State University, Fresno; Montgomery County Community College; and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The three institutions increased the emphasis on providing timely support, boosted their use of advising technologies, and used administrative and communication strategies to increase student contact with advisers. The enhancements at all three institutions are being evaluated using a randomized controlled trial research design.
This report shows that the enhancements generally produced only a modestly different experience for students in the program group compared with students in the control group, although at one college, the enhancements did substantially increase the number of students who had contact with an adviser. Consequently, it is not surprising that the enhancements have so far had no discernible positive effects on students' academic performance. The findings also highlight the potential for unintended consequences. Before the study, each of the institutions had required that certain groups of students see an adviser before registering for classes in the next semester. Each institution expanded this preregistration requirement to include all students in the study's program groups, but at one institution, the requirement appears to have contributed to a small reduction in earned credits.
Environmental and Energy Study Institute;
The 116th Congress is weighing potential policy mechanisms to reduce the impact of climate change and cap global warming to an internationally agreed upon target of no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). As a result, fossil fuel tax subsidies, as well as other mechanisms of support, have received additional scrutiny from lawmakers and the public regarding their current suitability, scale and effectiveness. Indeed, the subsidies undermine policy goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.
The United States provides a number of tax subsidies to the fossil fuel industry as a means of encouraging domestic energy production. These include both direct subsidies to corporations, as well as other tax benefits to the fossil fuel industry. Conservative estimates put U.S. direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry at roughly $20 billion per year; with 20 percent currently allocated to coal and 80 percent to natural gas and crude oil. European Union subsidies are estimated to total 55 billion euros annually.
Oxfam GB's Global Performance Framework is part of the organization's effort to better understand and communicate its effectiveness, as well as to enhance learning for staff and partners. Under this Framework, a small number of completed or mature projects are selected at random each year for an evaluation of their impact; this exercise is known as an 'Effectiveness Review'. One key focus is on the extent to which the projects have promoted change in relation to relevant Oxfam GB global outcome indicators. The global outcome indicator for the livelihoods thematic area is defined as 'total household consumption per adult equivalent per day'. This indicator is explained in more detail in section 5 of this report.
Niger's 'Community-Based Integrated Water Resource Management' project was one of those selected for an Effectiveness Review in the 2016/17 financial year. The project activities were implemented by Oxfam GB in conjunction with the partner organization Karkara and the Department of Agriculture of the Republic of Niger. The project was started in April 2013 and was completed in March 2015. It was evaluated one year after closure.
The Advancing Human Rights initiative documents the landscape of foundation funding for human rights and track changes in its scale and priorities. This annual report uses grants data to map philanthropic support for specific human rights issues, funding strategies, and populations and regions served in 2016. In this year, 785 funders made over 23,000 grants totalling $2.8 billion for human rights.
Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights;
In Illinois, nearly 5 million adults, 50% of the population, are estimated to have an arrest or conviction record. Housing is foundational for employment success, family stability, and overall well-being. Unfortunately, criminal history checks are a typical part of the housing application processes, and many people with records are declined housing opportunities they would otherwise be a good fit for, but for the criminal record.
Our goal for Win-Win was to develop user-friendly guidance about the use of criminal records in screening and housing applicants, and to provide recommendations that housing providers can adopt and adapt, in whole or in part, to increase housing opportunities for people with criminal records.
CLTS Knowledge Hub;
Achievement of adequate and equitable access to sanitation for all, and an end to open defecation, requires that special attention is given toward disadvantaged groups. It has become apparent that the benefits of conventional rural sanitation programming and service delivery are often not spread equally, and risk leaving disadvantaged groups behind. This issue of Frontiers of CLTS (the second in a two-part series) examines the potential of support mechanisms designed to help disadvantaged groups access and use hygienic toilets in driving more equitable rural sanitation outcomes. It covers the latest thinking on the opportunities and challenges of support mechanisms, and explores what works remains to be done.
In this issue, we use a broad definition of 'support' for creating equitable outcomes. Although financial and physical subsidies often quickly come to mind, a broader practical understanding of support needs to encompass both 'hardware' mechanisms and 'software' approaches, as well as various combinations of the two (Myers et al. 2017; ISF-UTS and SNV 2018).
IUPUI Women's Philanthropy Institute;
This study examines, in a comprehensive and quantitative manner, the impact of women's fund and foundation donors on women's and girls' causes.
This research can beneft donors—especially those who give to women and girls, or who are interested in doing so—as well as fundraisers and other nonprofit leaders who seek to propel social change and work with gender-based issues.
Union of Concerned Scientists;
This UCS analysis provides a detailed view of how extreme heat events caused by dangerous combinations of temperature and humidity are likely to become more frequent and widespread in the United States over this century. It also describes the implications for everyday life in different regions of the country.
We have analyzed where and how often in the contiguous United States the heat index—also known as the National Weather Service (NWS) "feels like" temperature—is expected to top 90°F, 100°F, or 105°F during future warm seasons (April through October). While there is no one standard definition of "extreme heat," in this report we refer to any individual days with conditions that exceed these thresholds as extreme heat days. We also analyzed the spread and frequency of heat conditions so extreme that the NWS formula cannot accurately calculate a corresponding heat index. The "feels like" temperatures in these cases are literally off the charts.
We have conducted this analysis for three global climate scenarios associated with different levels of global heattrapping emissions and future warming. These scenarios reflect different levels of action to reduce global emissions, from effectively no action to rapid action. Even the scenario of rapid action to reduce emissions does not spare our communities a future of substantially increased extreme heat. For the greatest odds of securing a safe climate future for ourselves and the ecosystems we all depend on, we would need to take even more aggressive action, in the US and globally, than outlined in any of the scenarios used here. Our challenge is great, but the threat of not meeting it is far greater.
Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace;
Individual giving in India, Russia, the Arab region and Brazil is part of PSJP's Philanthropy Study. Previously the study has focused on producing a series of papers on philanthropy in four emerging market countries/regions – India, Russia, the Arab region and Brazil. These studies have taken a broad view of philanthropy, encompassing everything from individual giving (by the very wealthy and by people of more modest means, including crowdfunding) to giving by private and corporate foundations, CSR, community philanthropy, social justice philanthropy, self-funded movements and impact investing.
The current paper looks at individual giving by ordinary people in these countries/ regions in more depth. Seen as an area of great promise in India and Russia, it is at an earlier stage in Brazil. In the Arab region giving to the social sector is barely making headway, though traditional giving is very much alive.
Based on the analytical work of Observatoire international de l'exploitation sexuelle (International Observatory on Sexual Exploitation), Fondation Scelles' 5th Global report on sexual exploitation around the world aims to provide a clear vision of the current situation, suitable for furthering the awareness-raising on the issues around sexual exploitation and the reflection on the urgent answers needed.
It includes reports on 35 countries and 11 main topics from 2016-2018.The work produced comes from a wide range of sources, all of which reflect not only events related to studied issues and that happened over the last three years, but debates and controversies that have left their mark in the news.
This study was carried out by an international writing team (USA, France, Argentina, Ukraine, Zambia…) from various backgrounds (sociology, political science, international relations, human rights, international law…), and by expert practitioners (lawyers, judges, and procurers in particular).
Original report is available in French.
la Caixa Foundation;
The 2030 Agenda calls for transformational change and a new approach to supporting development. Open Innovation Platforms represent a departure from traditional, projectbased, "business-as-usual" efforts, recognizing that new approaches to address deep systemic development issues are necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).