[Reviews] 2 Social Good Books For Your Bookshelf

I recently received two books about philanthropy: Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life By What You Give (now in paperback) and The Rotary Book of Readings: Inspiration to Change the World both published by Hatherleigh Press. They are quick reads that promote inspiration and encouragement for those who give.

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Book Review: Reframing Poverty: New Thinking and Feeling About Humanity’s Greatest Challenge

Reframing PovertyReframing Poverty by Eric Meade

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Poverty in all its multitudinous forms is not an easy subject to broach. An age-old problem, poverty, its root causes, as well as poverty reduction have all been studied and theorized, it seems, ad infinitum. It is not often that someone presents poverty in a more nuanced way than generalized and ubiquitous thinking on poverty. In Reframing Poverty: New Thinking and Feeling About Humanity’s Greatest Challenge, Eric Meade takes a deep dive into how poverty is more of an emotional construct that evokes feeling as opposed to the more widely read and globally accepted set of data points. Meade’s conclusions take some time and thinking to wrap your brain around to be sure. In fact, I had to put this book down several times to keep from seething. I do, however, appreciate new ideas that can be engaged in rather than reading the same poverty reduction principles that seem to keep vulnerable communities trapped in a cycle of poverty with Sisyphean tendencies.

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Book Review: To Fool the Rain: Haiti’s Poor and Their Pathway to a Better Life

To Fool the Rain: Haiti's Poor and Their Pathway to a Better LifeTo Fool the Rain: Haiti’s Poor and Their Pathway to a Better Life by Steven Werlin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Helping families lift themselves out of poverty means helping them build income and wealth, but it is a social phenomenon as well,” wrote Steve Werlin, the author of To Fool the Rain: Haiti’s Poor and Their Pathway to a Better Life. “And one of the social change we try to effect involves working on the way members look at themselves.”

It is quite impressive how someone’s mind and attitude can alter and reset the course of one’s life. However, in order to eventually arrive at that mind reset some people require a substantive hand out, constant observation and follow-up; not simply a prescriptive hand up. When looking at the lowest income countries in the world like Haiti a vast array of NGOs work to alleviate some of its inherent problems with programs that address the root of poverty. Some provide work programs, educational programs, health care, or even microloan programs. But some of Haiti’s families are so extremely poor they cannot dream of qualifying for many of these programs because they have virtually nothing. In fact, they live in such cyclical poverty they cannot feed themselves on a daily basis, or even every other day. In Haiti’s deepest far reaches and unfathomable rural areas are families who live in abject poverty far away from roads and towns. They require the most cumulative social programs designed by worldwide NGOs that specialize in the nuances of poverty reduction and eradication.

In Haiti, for example, one of those social programs is called “Chemen lavi miyo (CLM)” in Creole or a Pathway to a Better Life that is run by Fonkoze, Haiti’s largest microfinance organization. Even as a microfinance enterprise Fonkoze realized that to reach the poorest Haitian families means to provide overarching programs that teach rural women who qualify for their CLM program financial and entrepreneurial skills as well as life and relationship skills.

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Our Interview with Matterness Author, Allison Fine

Allison FineAllison Fine is among the pre-eminent guides to the social media revolution. Her gift is for converting uncertainty over rapid change into excitement over remaking organizations by the least expensive and most profitable means available: connecting with others. She is author of Matterness: What Fearless Leaders Know About the Power and Promise of Social Media. In addition, she is the author of the award-winning Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age, and co-author of the bestselling The Networked Nonprofit.  Her blog, A. Fine Blog, is available on her website, www.allisonfine.com.

A leading voice on social media and the nonprofit sector, Fine has written about why “Matterness”, well, matters and how important it is for organizations to talk with people and not at them.

I interviewed Fine about who should read and adopt Matterness principles and why.

You can purchase Matterness on Amazon.

Matterness CoverQ: For people who do not know what Matterness is, can you boil it down to a few sentences?

A: Sure. Matterness is the powerful force of mutual interest that happens when organizations and people work with and not at one another. Your readers will recognize what this means because that’s what you’re doing every day! You are in conversation with your people and treat them like co-creators on your sites. You develop strategies together and connect Moms to one another and to causes and companies, too. Too many other companies continue to use these amazingly powerful social media channels as newfangled billboards – opportunities to just keep broadcasting at people. Matterness reverses this course and makes people matter more than ever in relationship to organizations.

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Book Review: Somalian Memoirist Writes About FGM in Raw Detail

The Girl with Three Legs: A Memoir by Soraya Mire My rating: 4 of 5 stars Female genital mutilation or FGM for short is one of the most horrific crimes against girls and women in the world. According to the World Health Organization over 100 million women and girls live with the adverse effects of FGM, a traditional practice where a girl’s external genitalia are … Continue reading Book Review: Somalian Memoirist Writes About FGM in Raw Detail

Book Review: Consuming the Congo: War and Conflict Minerals in the World’s Deadliest Place

Consuming the Congo: War and Conflict Minerals in the World’s Deadliest Place by Peter Eichstaedt My rating: 4 of 5 stars There has increasingly been more attention paid to conflict minerals – the minerals that are extracted from mainly developing countries – that are used to power the technology we all cannot live without. These minerals cause problems for a great many of us. We … Continue reading Book Review: Consuming the Congo: War and Conflict Minerals in the World’s Deadliest Place