December E-Newsletter

Thank you for a successful year - A look back at 2008

Over the next month, I presume you’ll be seeing numerous stories recounting the historic events of 2008 - events such as the Olympics, the global economic crisis, America’s most stirring presidential election in decades, the flooding in South Asia, the devastating hurricanes in Haiti, the violence in Kenya that lasted months and the unimaginable earthquake in China.  

What you won’t hear about are all the uplifting, life-changing stories from rural communities in Asia, Africa and Latin America. World Neighbors-supported communities have fought against hunger, poverty and disease, and made changes in the lives of their families and communities forever. 

The people themselves made the choice to rise above the causes of poverty. You know World Neighbors does not give away food or material aid – those are just things and are not long-lasting. World Neighbors provides the momentum and training to begin long-term transformation. To truly break the cycle of poverty, the root causes of the problems must be addressed.  

This year, World Neighbors has helped 551,346 people in our 77 programs - that’s a 15 percent increase over 2007.  It's because of you that so many lives have been changed forever. Thank you for making this possible!

Here are a few highlights from our program areas. Communities in: 

THE ANDES are learning about the benefits of capturing rainwater. Innovative practices around water are helping farmers improve food production and cope with climate change. Click here to learn more about water harvesting in Ecuador.

EAST AFRICA received training on how to start a kitchen garden where indigenous vegetables, fruits and herbs are grown. Over 700 kitchen gardens were established and helped improve the nutritional status of families, particularly for persons living with HIV & AIDS and children less than five years of age.

HAITI benefited from training on sustainable agriculture practices. World Neighbors educated 992 farmers and those men and women harvested twice as much crops as farmers who have not participated in the training.

MESOAMERICA are increasing food production by using cover crops and green manures, contour planting, composting organic matter and crop diversification. An additional 17 farmers and 149 volunteer promoters joined a growing network of agricultural promoters. The processing and sale of agricultural products such as rosa de jamaica (similar to rose hips, used to make cold drinks or tea) and amaranth have increased incomes.

SOUTH ASIA constructed 43 community-based drinking water systems benefiting 603 families (4,638 individuals). World Neighbors provides only technical expertise and some materials that are not available locally, while the communities organize the work and maintenance, providing locally available materials and all labor. Potable water systems complement other hygiene and sanitation activities, such as training on the construction and use of latrines. This year World Neighbors achieved a 15 percent increase in the number of participants with latrines. Work in sanitation and hygiene has become increasingly important in the wake of the devastation left by the recent floods.

SOUTHEAST ASIA are increasing their cultivation of medicinal herbs for over 1,000 families. Almost 200 people (124 women and 72 men) have been trained to make traditional medicines for common ailments.

WEST AFRICA have increased the number of households involved in poultry breeding activities from 39 to 104, producing a total of 6,779 chickens to improve family nutrition and income. Sixty women beneficiaries earned $1,460 from selling poultry – a significant income for families that typically live on a dollar a day. Some of the poorest and most marginalized women have benefited, raising their status in their families and communities, as well as their self-esteem.

As we near the end of another year, I can’t help but look back in awe at the remarkable impact World Neighbors had on our world. I am excited as we look forward to 2009 and know that with your continued support, World Neighbors will transform the lives of many more people.


Melanie Macdonald
President and Chief Executive Officer
The May Ayers Milburn Chair



World AIDS Day and World Neighbors 

HIV & AIDS is one of the greatest threats to the health and social economic development that the world faces. Today, an estimated 33 million people are living with HIV.  

December 1 marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. This is a day when individuals and organizations from around the world come together to bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic. 

Working to combat HIV & AIDS is a priority for World Neighbors. It severely affects the age group who are relied on the most to contribute to the social and economic development of their communities – young men and women in the prime of their lives.

One of the challenges to addressing HIV & AIDS is that it remains highly stigmatized. People living with HIV and their families can face discrimination from their neighbors, health service workers and the wider community. This can make it very difficult to talk about HIV & AIDS, to take action to prevent it and to provide care and support for those affected. HIV & AIDS is not only a health issue affecting communities, it is a matter of human rights and social justice that affects every part of society.  

Treatments, called antiretroviral therapies (ART), are now available that can help people with HIV stay healthy for many years – yet this is not a cure. Sadly, these drugs are not available extensively in the countries and communities where they are needed most. For every new person receiving ART, at least three people are newly infected with HIV.[1] This means prevention must remain a central part of the fight against the spread of HIV & AIDS. 

World Neighbors responds to HIV & AIDS through community-based programs to raise awareness about its causes and methods of prevention. We promote voluntary testing and counseling, facilitate learning to remove the social stigma and help people to communicate about the disease and plan actions at the family and community levels to address it.  

In World Neighbors Kenya program areas, popular theatre has proven to be a powerful tool for mobilizing communities and sharing information about HIV & AIDS. World Neighbors has trained 26 young people, who are members of our local partner organization FOCODEP, in popular theatre skills. Their work has led to an increase in voluntary counseling and testing for HIV. It is essential for people to become aware of their status related to HIV & AIDS, in order to support them in taking positive action to address it. Last year, MUDEP, another World Neighbors partner organization in Kenya, initiated voluntary counseling and testing services. In the first year, 76 people were tested, and this year 121 were tested (six were HIV positive).  

World Neighbors has also provided training to volunteer community health workers. World Neighbors has worked with three local partner organizations in Kenya who have facilitated the establishment of support groups for people living with HIV to help them live positively, access treatment, meet their own and their families needs and prevent further spread of HIV. Support groups, ongoing testing, and family and community action plans are essential to raising awareness about the disease and to preventing and addressing it. 

The stigma of HIV remains an ongoing challenge in many rural communities in the developing world, where cultural barriers are often high. World Neighbors is working with local partner organizations and communities to address this challenge through education, awareness and action.






A Fun Volunteer Opportunity

Have you ever wanted to sell a llama? Well now is your chance! World Neighbors recently introduced its first ever gift catalog called Beyond the Box.

This catalog features unique alternative gift items representing our work around the world, and we need your help in spreading the word about this great way to give. World Neighbors is seeking volunteers who would like to promote this opportunity to their schools, civic groups, congregations or places of employment.

World Neighbors will supply all the materials needed and all you have to do is supply your time and smile. If you are interested in learning more about this fun chance to get involved, please contact Patrick Evans at or by phone at 800.242.6387 ext. 0487. 


Extra tax benefit when you support World Neighbors

Recently approved by Congress, donors over age 70½ can make a direct rollover for charitable purposes to organizations such as World Neighbors. Hurry and take advantage of this type of giving – it’s only available for 2008 and 2009! 

What are the tax advantages?

  • This IRA distribution is not included in your taxable income. Normally, distributions from IRAs are included in taxable income. It means that instead of a deduction for the gift, no taxes are collected on these IRA distributions. This is a much simpler method of charitable giving than first taking a taxable IRA distribution and then turning around and writing a check to your favorite charity.
  • Tax savings may occur for standard deduction taxpayers who normally can’t claim deductions for charitable giving. Also, if you itemize for the sole purpose of claiming deductions for your charitable gifts, you may not need to do so in years when making contributions by Charitable IRA Rollover.
  • The charitable rollover can count toward meeting your annual IRA Required Minimum Distribution (RMD).
  • By reducing the taxable portion of the RMD, this may reduce the taxable percentage on Social Security payments.
  • Donors from Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Massachusetts and West Virginia may save on their state taxes by making a Qualified Charitable Distribution instead of contributing from your checking/savings accounts.
  • Amounts contributed through this rollover do not count toward maximum annual tax deductions for charitable giving. 

Who can take advantage of this new feature?
You must be at least age 70½ years old when the gift is made.

Are there limitations for this kind of gift?
Yes. The maximum per person gift to charity is $100,000 for each 2008 and 2009. There is no minimum.

What forms of giving are permitted from an IRA Charitable Rollover?
This applies only to direct, outright gifts. For example, it doesn’t apply toward obtaining Charitable Gift Annuities or funding other life income trusts. It would be permissible, however, to make a direct IRA Charitable Rollover with certain stipulations. For example, a portion or your entire gift could be deposited into one of World Neighbors managed endowment funds.

This is complicated; who should I contact before proceeding?
We recommend that you obtain independent professional legal and tax advice to help you make sure the IRA Charitable Rollover makes sense in your particular situation. World Neighbors does not intend to offer tax advice.

Please contact Jim Morley at  or 800.242.6387 for further information on how you can support World Neighbors. 


World Neighbors new & improved site

Visit World Neighbors page and see what’s new. Start your own fundraising page and get your friends and family excited about the work World Neighbors is doing around the world. It’s easy! Just click here to sign up.

On the Shelf 

World Neighbors Commemorates World AIDS Day 

World AIDS Day, recognized on December 1, is a day created to in an effort to educate the public about the epidemic, how it is spread and what can be done for people living with HIV & AIDS.  

To commemorate this day, Christopher Price, associate vice president international program operations for World Neighbors talks about what he learned at the 17th International AIDS Conference held in Mexico City. Click here to read more