Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What is Your Favorite Social Action of 2008?

The short, dark, last days of the year are a great time to reflect on your 2008 Activist Resolutions, and your favorite "social actions" of 2008. What did you do this year that you feel made a real impact?

My favorite social action was being a sponsor for Jacinta Onoro, a Nigerian woman participating in Women for Women International.

Women for Women International supports women survivors of war in conflict and post-conflict areas (Afghanistan, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Sudan). Each woman is paired with a sponsor whose donation helps to cover some of their basic necessities (food, water, medicine). They also participate in a Renewing Women’s Life Skills (ReneWLS) Program, a job skills program, and have access to business services to help them start microenterprises.

As a sponsor, in addition to the $27/month that I donated towards supporting Ms. Onoro, I also wrote a letter to her each month. It took a while for her to write back, but she did eventually, and told me about her experiences in the program.

Gina Trapani of Lifehacker is also a Women for Women International sponsor. She signed up to sponsor two women after seeing a 60 Minutes segment on rape in Congo, where Women for Women was featured. She posted a scan of one of the letters she received on her post, Two Great Charities at Work to Beat Poverty.

Ms. Onoro graduated from her program in November, and I've decided to sponsor another woman from Sudan in 2009. It would be nice to connect with other sponsors, like the woman who started a book club for Women for Women International sponsors, described in the post, Guest Post: Congo Conflict - What You Can Do. The group writes letters to the women they sponsor when they meet each month.

A Women for Women International sponsorship can also be given as a gift. Nancy Northrop created a special program to facilitate her customers supporting Women for Women International, which she describes in her post, Face-to-Face: How Women Can Make a Difference. Her company underwrites the cost of each survivor for one year, if the customer agrees to write them a letter each month.

What was your favorite social action of 2008? It can be anything: a volunteer opportunity, a donation, a petition, a protest, using less paper bags, or educating yourself about an issue. Tell us about it.

Cross-posted from


  1. I participated in Blog Action Day: Poverty. At first I wanted to do one post, then I threw that idea out the window. I ended up staying up for 42 hours straight, blogged for 24 hours with 31 posts & 11 videos (with real people) all to raise poverty awareness. It was awesome!


  2. Hey Mando,

    It sounds like an awesome social action!


  3. Hey Britt, I love that you've blogged about this. My favorite social actions (there are two) have been...

    ... Watching my twin next door neighbor 7-month olds a couple of mornings a week, while their mom takes their older sister to school.

    ... And being a part of the team, at times on a pro bono basis. I truly believe they're doing important work to support all kinds of opportunities to make the world a better place, by making those opportunities easier to find and participate in. And I just discovered a litmus test for that belief: For the first time I watched A Christmas Carol just now and didn't feel guilty!! That must be a sign that we're doing something good :)

    Thanks for all YOU do to support that work ~


  4. Thanks for all of YOUR good work at Social Actions, Christine. Happy Holidays!

  5. Anonymous8:06 AM

    Hi Britt! May you have a joy filled New Year! This is a good time to thank you for your thought provoking blog.

    My favourite social action of 2008 was becoming heavily involved in the Grandmother's Campaign that is linked with the Stephen Lewis Foundation. The Stephen Lewis Foundation works to help the grandmothers of Africa who are raising grandchildren who have been orphaned by the Aids epidemic. I joined the Saskatoon group of grandmothers - Grandmothers 4 Grandmothers - and participate in its Speakers' Bureau. I find this work tremendously gratifying! We are now working to get into the schools to do presentations. As a retired teacher, I am especially excited about that opportunity to spread the message of caring to young people.

  6. Hi Alison, What a cool sounding program!

    Here's the link, for folks who read your comment and would like more info:

    Grandmothers to Grandmothers


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