Becky Straw’s “a-ha” moment happened in Haiti. In her own words:
I was standing in one of the largest displacement camps outside Port-au-Prince with my co-founder, Jody Landers and Esther Havens, a humanitarian photographer, when three burly men called out and approached us. My heart began racing. How would I explain why we were there? We were not handing out food or water. We had no aid to offer. Surely, I assumed, these guys were going to beg for something. Instead, one wrung his hands and sheepishly said, “Excuse me, ma’am, but we’re wondering if you are hiring? Because we really want to work.”
It was then that she realized that people all over the world ultimately want the same thing – the opportunity to care for themselves and their families, to send their children to school, and to lead healthy lives. Together with her co-founder Jody Landers, Straw launched The Adventure Project to help people around the developing world realize this essential, basic dream.
In this week’s 10 Good Questions, Straw talks to Goodnet about the inspiration she draws from creating jobs that solve local problems and help communities thrive, what she loves most about her work, and how people can pitch in.
1.What is your organization’s mission?
Our mission, simply, is to end extreme poverty in our lifetime. We believe we can do that by tackling the biggest issues the world faces today: hunger, water, health, and the environment. We provide funding to organizations that provide jobs to people in developing countries so that they can lift themselves out of poverty and tackle these important issues.
2. What makes you guys different from the rest?
We don’t do handouts. Providing people with a job is a more sustainable solution that giving someone a handout. We give differently by providing job skills, marketing, and training to help people in poverty become profitable entrepreneurs.
3. What three words describe your organization?
Scrappy, innovative, adventurous.
4. What inspires you?
We’re inspired every day by the stories we collect from the field. We’ve had the opportunity to meet some amazing entrepreneurs from Uganda and Kenya, and their perseverance and innovation inspire us to keep doing the work we are doing.
5. Who’s your favorite good doer figure?
Joy – one of the Community Health Promoters in Uganda who has overcome incredible adversity in her life, and is now a leader in her community because of her role. You can read her story on our blog!
6. What is the best part about your job?
I’m able to meet the entrepreneurs who are thriving because of our work. Getting to see the impact that we are making and hear personal stories firsthand is the most rewarding part.
7. How do you measure success within your organization?
To us, success is defined by measurable impact. We work with local organizations to monitor and evaluate their effectiveness through random-controlled studies and surveys. We know, for example, that every woman trained as a Community Health Promoter reduces child mortality on average more than 25% in her community. Having defined metrics and consistent evaluation helps us ensure we’re maximizing our impact.
8. Facebook or Twitter?
9. What do you want Goodnet users to know about your organization?
We’d love to invite you to join us! We provide a unique opportunity for doing good. People with the urge to give often worry that their donation might not be put to good use. We do the research for you and provide tangible results and personal stories to assure you that your contribution is making a real and lasting difference in the world.
10. How can people get involved?
Join our monthly donation program, The Collective! Giving $1 per day helps to train entrepreneurs to serve one person in their communities each week. It’s a great way to put your giving on autopilot – and know you are measurably transforming the lives of people who desire the opportunity to care for their families and lead happy lives. Think about it, $30 is one nice dinner out… so maybe eat in one more night a month and you could join us on a priceless adventure! Visit our website to learn more.