Seeds: Our Blog
Welcome to our blog! We use it to tell our grantee’s stories and to share more about what we are learning here at the Pollination Project.
In 1994, when Jimmy Amone was about 7 years old, he and his parents left the village to settle in the City of Kampala due to the civil war in Northern Uganda. While living in the city, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Information Technology from Nkumba University. Upon completing his degree course, and with the spirit of volunteerism and compassion that he possessed towards life, he wanted to use his new acquired knowledge, skills and experiences gained in Information Communication Technology, leadership, debate, and sports to help his community. So, in 2010, he returned to Northern Uganda and settled in Kitgum village.
Women never cease to amaze me. I am in awe of the superlative dedication they put in to whatever they do. Every time I read about people changing the world, I am introduced to strong-willed women who would give their life to make the world a better place. As a 2016 Fellow with the Pollination Project’s East Africa Hub, I have met an incredible woman who is transforming the world of mental health, one blog, video, or training session at a time. Sitawa Wafula is a rare bird. As a rape survivor living with a dual diagnosis of epilepsy and bipolar disorder, she has dedicated her life to providing people in Kenya and Africa with the vital information and support that they need to handle mental health conditions and deal with everyday life.
The story of the Pollination Project is one that is often best told through the stories of its grantees. This is certainly the case for Kenya, and a good place to start is with the story of Vincent Atitwa. Born as the 11th child in a family that survived largely on subsistence farming in rural Western Kenya, Vincent grew up with little access to basic needs like food and education, and even suffered from malnutrition throughout his childhood. As a young man, Vincent realized that “for many people in the world, no matter how hard they choose to work, they cannot achieve the same level of security and access to resources.”
Admit it: Sometimes as adults we are just not in the mood to eat our vegetables and become bored of the same old salads. In inner city Los Angeles, how do you get kids excited and willing to eat GREEN and healthy when there is a McDonald’s or other fast food option on every other corner, and places like Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s are miles and miles away? You teach them how skipping breakfast is not cool, and how in 5 quick minutes they can transform 1 [...]
At the age of 4, Kim Ponce’s son, Thomas, said to her that he wouldn’t eat anything with a face. At age 5, Thomas would go online and google about his interest in animals – and he found Peta Kids. In Kindergarten, a teacher suggested to his mom that he start watching more Dora the Explorer, and other typical children’s TV shows, rather than his preference of Animal Planet (they didn’t listen to this teacher). At this age, he would state that helping animals was his life’s purpose. “This is what I [...]
Are you amazed when someone actually does something to help others? I mean, how many times do you wish you could help the world but you go back to your routine and forget about it? Steve Barr lost several people he knew to cancer, watching as they struggled, and wished he could help - and actually did something that changed his life and the lives of many children who have come in contact with him. Liz, from The Smile Project once asked Steve: give me a “Happiness is!” and Steve said: [...]
I recently sat “virtually” with Stephanie Klempner, co-founder of The Pollination Project (TPP). The first thing I notice about her is her cheerful smile that is just simply contagious. Rarely you meet someone who smiles with her eyes and her lips and she was able to hold that for more than an hour. By the time I was done, I was feeling pretty uplifted! Stephanie is the sister-in-law of TPP’s founder, Ari Nessel. She described their relationship as best friends, soul friends. She looks up to him, got into animal [...]
After nearly three years of thoughtfully and tirelessly working through regional, cultural and political challenges, Pollination Project grantee Mary-Justine Todd has just opened a full scale crisis center for victims of domestic and sexual abuse in the Middle East. Trained to recognize signs of abuse by Todd’s organization, Women’s Crisis Care International, hospital staff in Manama, Bahrain are able to alert a team of around-the-clock volunteer counselors. Within minutes, a WCCI counselor arrives and offers, Todd said, “emotional support for the victim, as well as logistic support and information [...]
On February 20th 2016, Tropical Cyclone Winston hit Fiji. The strongest storm ever to make landfall on Fiji, this category 5 cyclone caused devastating damage to communities all over the islands. Efforts to rebuild have already begun, and in this guest blog post we hear from The Pollination Project grantee, Janet Lotawa, about the impact of the storm on the communities in which she works. For ten families in Tukuraki village, in the western region of Fiji's main island Viti Levu, cleaning up after Cyclone Winston is a [...]
Sometimes trying to see how we can make a positive impact in the world is daunting. It is easy to feel like we are too small, and that the problems facing our planet are too big and too many, for us to make a difference. It is at these times that we look to our grantees, and realize that together we are not too small to make an impact. These extraordinary people have committed themselves to taking action where they can, and we count ourselves lucky to be able to play [...]
This is the end of my interview with Adriana Bueno, Founder of Habitat Sur, in the Colombia Amazon. She tells us what is ahead, what's working / not working and how we can help. In Part 1 and Part 2 she shared how this colorful “mobile” children’s bookstore/library on wheels was born, how tree cutting in the Amazon Rainforest affects us all and more. – Margarita Cramer Working Together MC: What action do you want the reader of this blog to take? AB: If you are reading [...]
In Part 1 of this interview with Adriana Bueno, Founder of Habitat Sur, in the Colombia Amazon, she shared how the Bibliovan was born and what she had to overcome to be where she is. Here, she shares what breaks her heart (like tree cutting in the Amazon Rainforest), how to get involved, step by step process of the Bibliovan project and more. – Margarita Cramer What Did I Do Today to Make a Difference? MC: What inspires you? AB: Brave people who take action and pursue their [...]
Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Adriana Bueno, the young founder of “Fundación Hábitat Sur” in the Colombia Amazon Rainforest. Her foundation is the recipient of two grants from The Pollination Project for her BiblioVan endeavor. She shared with us, among many things, how arts and culture is transforming the town where she was born. The conversation was so inspiring, that we made it into a three-part series. – Margarita Cramer What is life without inspiring people? Part 1: MC: How did this project find you? (How [...]
Jacqueline is the founder of 365give, an innovative educational program that teaches elementary school students to do one thing every day to give back to the world. When Jacqueline became a parent, something wonderful happened that continues to be a daily inspiration. Read on to learn how the program started and how it is moving along … What is your project/what is your social change work? Our vision is to educate little kids in school how to create positive changes around them. Teaching life skills to students is [...]
I met with Travis Hysell on an overcast day in late May. We spent the afternoon talking about the various projects of the Legacy Initiative in the very coffee shop where many of the community enrichment ideas of the three year old, all volunteer run organization, have been spawned. At one point, we ventured to the trunk of Travis’ car where he keeps supplies handy to serve the community at a moments notice. From his Batman costume, to latex gloves or bottles of water, there is no doubt [...]
A Profile of Pollination Project Program Associate, Jamila Banks Are you curious to know about the people who work at The Pollination Project? Do you wonder how they got there, what they do, what inspires them? If you are like me, you probably answered yes! Jamila Banks is a daily giver and one of the staff members at TPP. She is also a grantee, the mother of TPP’s youngest grantee (10 year-old Kirsten Chavis) and runs her own organization called Foster & Banks Walk in Faith Foundation. Jamila [...]
Have you ever known you had to make a certain choice without knowing exactly why? Somewhere, somehow, in the middle of your stomach, you have a “gut” feeling that says you must act. As we listen to this deeper voice, we are listening to what some call intuition. It is not a choice led strictly by information that fits on charts or graphs, but rather a deep knowing that we have to follow. In a conversation with Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, I was sharing about my choice [...]
Did you ever wonder what pushes people to start a non-profit whose primary purpose is to help others? I am in awe of the change makers like our grantees at TPP. I wonder who and what gives them the strength to get started, the energy to keep going, what inspires them, what scares them. I spoke recently with Jenny Lowrey, founder of From the Ground Up, a young non-profit organization in Chico, CA, that is about growing and sharing healthy food as well as educating about it.
The Pollination Project recently won a Passion Award for being one of the most passionate nonprofits in the Bay Area, CA! Want to know what we really passionate about?
You know the “Be the Change You Wish to See in the World” quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi? At the Pollination Project, we loved it so much, at one point we considered naming ourselves the “Be the Change” Foundation. I come from a nonprofit background and have been fundraising for nearly two decades. I have had delightful experiences where a funder has stood by my organization’s work year in and year out without much question or concern. And then I’ve had funders who have flaked out on their [...]