Every program includes a community contribution. These funds directly support the amazing local grassroots organizations that we are partnered with on the ground. From youth empowerment to environmental sustainability, from education to health, our partners are creating positive change all around the world.
To join an OG program, participants pay both a fee and a Community Contribution. The Community Contribution portion goes into OG’s Community Contribution Fund, which is used to support our partners directly. It is separate from the fee so that you know exactly how much we use to fund their projects and work.
Our partners submit project proposals to OG, and funds are directed to those projects. The fun part for you, is that when we visit them on our programs we often interact with or learn about those projects that you directly supported with your Community Contribution!
Lastly, a small part of the Community Contribution is dedicated to offsetting the carbon cost of your international flights and footprint while on program.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic means that, for now, there can be no programs and no participants. More than that, thanks to an unjust and unequal world order, many of OG’s in-country vendors, partner organizations, and host communities in the global south are being disproportionately impacted not only by COVID-19 but by the devastating social and economic crisis being created in its wake. In an effort to stand in solidarity and support the many people who make our work possible and are now fighting on the front lines of this pandemic, OG has temporarily converted its Community Contribution program into the Groundswell Relief Fund and will be providing financial support to a range of relief projects and initiatives.
So far, the Groundswell Relief Fund has supported a group of land and human rights defenders in El Estor, Guatemala who are using it provide community health workshops along with food aid for 70 families in La Union. It has also supported the Fundación Brethren y Unida in Ecuador, a non-profit dedicated to improving the livelihoods of rural communities, who are using money to provide emergency food aid.
Community Contributions are distributed to partners to fund key projects in the places we travel to on our programs. Whether it be kickstarting a new organization like Ghana Medical Help, contributing to long-term sustainability projects like Spiti Ecosphere, or supporting community development initiatives like that in Pacux, we work with our partners to ensure the impact will be long-lasting and meaningful.
In 2009, Kelly joined the first West Africa medical program. The program was designed to examine the response of development organizations to the real healthcare needs of Ghanaians on the ground. It was then that Kelly witnessed the consequences that result from the lack of open communication between international NGOs and local institutions in developing countries.
Appalled by the deteriorating state of healthcare, Kelly decided to take action. A year later, Ghana Medical Help was founded using Community Contributions as an acute solution to alleviate the significant basic medical equipment needs in the most northern regions of Ghana.
Ecosphere is a social enterprise that focuses on creating sustainable livelihoods linked to nature conservation and the cultural preservation of the communities found in Spiti. Not only does Ecosphere commit to the development of the place, people, and resources of their specific region, but also to the outside world with whom they wish to share their rich and natural world.
Using Community Contributions, OG has helped to build greenhouses in collaboration with the local community and artisans that provide a sustainable, year-round source of fresh fruits and vegetables in this remote region. Building greenhouses has had a tremendous impact on quality of life in the winter months; from access to vegetables to providing enough warmth to wash oneself, as well as generating income for villagers, the greenhouses are incredible additions.
Pacux is a small village that is home to families who were relocated due to the construction of the Chixoy Dam in Guatemala. The people who live here are survivors of and descendants of those survivors of the massacres that took place in 1982, as part of the project’s violent “relocation” of the village of Rio Negro. Today, residents of Pacux experience poverty, joblessness, trauma and inability to grow crop on infertile land are a direct result of the Chixoy Dam crimes. Today, however, the families are finding ways to be resilient, re-build, and continue seek justice.
This year, OG’s Community Contributions helped bring to life an irrigation project in the Rio Negro that allows residents to have sustainable agriculture production, as well as promote & teach agroecology to the youth of the Rio Negro community.