Category Archives: Global Economy

Why Being a Volunteer Can Help Run the World

When we think of worth, we often think of our salary. But we neglect to think about how our volunteers service service can actually help run an organization, including the government.

Many people get down on government.  “It’s inefficient!” they cry. And yes, it can be bureaucratic.  But let’s take a closer look if we look at what can done for civil society, if  we also add in important volunteers.

Civil society sector sources of support, with and without volunteers1:

Government with volunteers
Argentina 19.5%
Australia 31.2%
Belgium 76.8%

Government without volunteers
Argentina: 73%
Australia: 62.5%
Belgium: 18.6%

Covered by Philanthropy
Argentina 7.5%
Australia 6.3%
Belgium 4.6%

What a difference. Without volunteers, Argentina’s civil society would be cut nearly in half; Australia would be cut by nearly 2/3rds; and Belgium by nearly 1/5th!

So the next time you aren’t sure your volunteer work is making a difference,  please think again. You might just be helping run the country, one local city at a time.


1. 1995-2000



The Importance of Home

For most of us, there is some positive memory of home.

Perhaps it is around the dinner table. Or when your mother made cookies. Maybe it was at your best friend’s house, or your grandmother’s kitchen.

Smiling Family Posing in Field

But some people have to carry it within hearts.

With war, political strife and the breakdown of law, people must flee what they call home. The people of Sudan, Columbia and Iraq are countries with the highest number of internally displaced people (IDPs). That means you are a refugee of sorts, but within your own country.


The countries with greatest amount of people fleeing homes within their country (2010):




Sudan-  4.5 million – 5.2 million






Colombia-  3.6 million – 5.2 million






Iraq- 2.8 million





Democratic Republic of the Congo- 1.7 million






Somalia-  1.5 million






Pakistan- 980,000






The regions with the greatest amount of people fleeing homes in 2012:
– Sub Saharan Africa- 10.4 million
– The Americas-  5.8 million

And Colombia was the highest country with IDPs with a total of between 4.9-5.5 million (2012).


While a physical home can be removed, home cannot ever be taken from our hearts. Strength, remembrance and hope must be built there.  So today, why don’t you support someone with a home. You can give them a home or write them a kind message on our Facebook page

Thank you for helping build homes on earth and in people’s hearts, with UniversalGivingGive Your 100%. 

Barared’s Bank in a Telephone Booth

Dear Living and Giving Readers:

What a powerful way to help small shopowners succeed:  “A Bank in a Telephone Booth.”   Barared’s “telephone booth banks” in Mexico are helping small businesses get access to needed bank accounts and bill paying. 

It’s something we take for granted: Having a simple, accessible banking system.  In this small town of Mexico, you can travel hours to find a bank — which closes at 4 pm.   Barared takes a stab at providing this local, low-cost banking access to shopowners. There are IPADS in the telephone booth that help facilitate transactions. They don’t have to travel, and it isn’t as expensive.

The other great aspect is that shopowners must contribute a small investment to start a bank in a telephone booth (tienditas).   With that investment, they get commissions on all transactions. With shopowner commissions estimated between $250-$400 per month, that’s about 1/4 of a Mexican’s average income.

I love that people are contributing to their own banking system — and getting compensated for it.  Very exciting to see!   Below is  a summary of the article “Corner-store booths with iPads as interface”  from the Christian Science Monitor.

Progress Across Our World!


How an iPad in a corner store can spell success in Mexico

By Lauren Villagran (CSM Weekly, May 28, 2013)

On the outskirts of Mexico City, the cinder block houses of Chimalhuacán crowd a hillside. It’s a city beyond a city, made up of nearly 1 million residents including surrounding areas, yet it lacks many of services and stores one might expect of a city ­– including banks.

Just two bank branches serve this densely populated suburb in Mexico state.  Without easily accessible banks or ATMs, many residents lack access to basic financial services and have trouble paying their monthly bills due to the inconvenience of long lines and the cost of transportation to and from the few locations available.  More than half of Mexican municipalities still lack even one bank branch, according to the World Bank. 

Barared offers banking and bill-paying services in booths set up in small corner stores. A Barared facility looks like a telephone booth.  A sign outside advertises the ease with which customers can pay light and gas bills.  Inside, an iPad console offers a range of services such as account deposits in two participating banks, bill payments, and, soon, remittances.

 A Personal Story 

Clara Maria Vazquez arrived at the pharmacy window with a payment toward a $2,000 microloan she used to open a hair salon in the neighborhood. Ms. Vazquez says she has to make a payment every eight days. “Here they charge us a little but it’s much closer to me,” she says.

Commissions vary on services but they amount to the equivalent of a few dimes on the dollar – a fraction of what people pay in transportation costs to the two bank branches or telephone company. The other plus, users say, is the convenience: Banks close at 4 p.m. in Mexico, while tienditas stay open late.

Each Barared booth costs about $2,800, including the equipment and installation; the company has installed 130 so far and aims to reach 1,400 this year across Mexico state. The shop owner contributes about 10 percent of the upfront cost, or about $280. In turn, the shop owners can expect to earn between $250 and $450 monthly in commissions on transactions.


Lauren Villagran is a freelance correspondent in Mexico City for The Christian Science Monitor and other publications. Previously, she worked for the Associated Press in New York. She holds a degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

The Classic Pamela Positive: The Days of Linear Giving Are Over

The days of “linear giving” are over — what I mean is, it’s not “I give you this, you give me that.”   That’s Linear Giving and it doesn’t always happen.


First, you can’t truly give with the expectation that you are going to get something in return.  It’s just not the right motivation.  And it will upset the balance of giving, turning it into something it’s not…

We need to give because we sincerely want to. Because it’s the right thing to do. It’s helpful, kind, nourishing to the world. And ultimately it does help ourselves… we feel nourished and uplifted by the mere act of being generous.

And it won’t stop there. More good will continue to come to you, in ways you never expected.  From different places, different sources, and in unique ways!  It’s truly quite exciting…to see good unfold, when we let it go.

So let’s not give and expect back. It’s not A gives to B, and B to gives to A.

It’s A gives to B.  And then A gives to C and D.  Then X, M, Q and V give back to A at different times and ways in the future.

It’s circular, spherical, timeless, unbound, everconnected giving… which is taking place, and always has been.

Pamela’s Response to the Rana Question in The Economist

Dear Living and Giving Members,

It’s a challenging situation in Rana, but one that we can be honest about. If we want perfection, then we can only operate within our backyard, up to the neighbor’s fence. It may be safe, but is it Corporate Social Responsibility?

As Corporate leaders, I don’t think we can do everything within a perfect boundary and perfect results. We do have to have quality, and we need to take every element of what we do seriously.

With that in place, we take very, very well-educated risks to serve. But we still can’t have perfection. Excellence and honesty, yes.

Please read below for my response to the Economist article on the Rana Plaza, which has been retweeted much in our CSR realm. A link to the full Economist article is below.

As always, we look forward to serving you with excellence, experience and trust, all over the world.

Warm Regards,

Pamela’s Comment in Response to Economist Article: “Disaster at Rana Plaza”

Thank you for some good points on the action that can be taken to improve CSR.

However, CSR doesn’t promise to be utopian. There is no setting of expectations in perfection; no business indeed can be.

Companies sometimes release products that are faulty. They make mistakes. They have to recall them.

In CSR, we do strive for excellence. What CSR’s objective is is to help companies operate with effectiveness, both in building their brands, their products, and in helpful service to the community. We do this every aspect of our business: services, manufacturing, marketing, CEO messaging, sustainability, giving and volunteer programs, product donations.

Sometimes in CSR, we have so many battles to fight. We can’t make it our full-time business to go about rebuilding buildings all across the world.

Or, if we locate to a ‘safer’ country — did we just take away 15,000 jobs from people – the most impoverished, starving people and their families, people who are already dying… the people who need it the most?

Places that have safer buildings have a higher standard of living, more resources, higher building codes.

Losing lives is not acceptable.

We’ll have to do better.

There is no easy answer.
Pamela Hawley

See original article and comment here:

Photo Credit: Priyo News

Ethiopia Rising: How Great Leaders Have to Build and Maintain Their Success

Ethiopia is one of the few countries that has taken aid and put it to work.

Meles Zenawi came from the People’s Liberation Front, from the north. Deeply involved in Ethiopia, he experienced hardships in his country, such as famine, which allowed him to relate to his people. He saw an ineffective government structure that could do more to help, and he vowed to overturn the feudal system as it existed.

And that he did. GDP has since grown by 10.6% each year (WorldBank). Exports have taken off, as well as the industries of agriculture and manufacturing.

A leader has his impact in many areas. Meles also took it beyond economics to aid. He made it clear to the outside world what the terms of aid in could be; he made it clear to the inside authorities how it would be used.

From both of these approaches, Ethiopians affected by severe poverty have dropped by nearly one half. Keep in mind that that poverty is 60 cents per day, so even attaining $2 per day can significantly change a life. Every penny counts.

File:Blue Nile Falls 01.jpg

Ethiopia’s Blue Nile Falls

A beautiful example of success…and yet we have to continue to safeguard it, never take it for granted. Progress is for today, and must be cherished again tomorrow to keep it. We still have much to learn from developing nations and their political systems. Government-wise, Meles continued to hold onto power and a successful democratic transition was not assured. People who wished to have a voice were silenced. Rather than multiple groups leading, the ruling party controls nearly 100% of seats in Parliament.

My hope is that as leaders grow– and we are all leaders, and all growing — that we are able to serve in more holistic ways. If we serve well in one capacity, we can transfer that principle of good governance and judgment to another area. It’s something I am working on now. Whatever we cherish as good, let’s continue to protect it, maintain it — and expand it — to all the areas of life we touch.

Meles Zenawi Asres (1955 – 2012) was the Prime Minister of Ethiopia from 1995 until his death in 2012.  From 1985, he was the chairman of the Tigrayan Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF), and the head of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). He was President of Ethiopia from 1991 to 1995 and became the Prime Minister of Ethiopia in 1995 following the general elections that year. While his government was credited with reforms such as those that led to a multi-party political system in Ethiopia, introduction of private press in Ethiopia and decreased child mortality rates, his government was also accused of political repression and various human rights abuses, curbing freedom of the press  and dissent.  Meles was a Co-Chairperson of the Global Coalition for Africa (GCA.)The Global Coalition for Africa brings together senior African policy makers and their partners to deepen dialogue and build consensus on Africa’s priority development issues.

Bio source: Wikipedia

Opportunities in This Tough Economy

Here is my response to an Economist article on what entrepreneurs and companies have to do in this gritty economy.  And this is what Embrace is doing!

All my best,



I love that you are being positive. A lot of cost-effective innovation is taking place here — and locally grown, locally serving. Even if the group is national and international, they know they have to relate locally and culturally. That’s the key, whether in economics, philanthropy or Corporate Social Responsibility.

Thank you –


Read the article:Gold-hunting in a Frugal Age