Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Doing Good

If anyone is interested in having a little fun AND contributing to the greater good, here's your chance:

We're taking bets on Ruth's arrival date/time and birth weight. My estimated due date is April 19.

If you'd like to make a guess about either/both, we're going to ask that you donate a small amount ($1 per guess, as many as you'd like). Whomever has the closest correct guess wins 50% of the pot to donate to the charity of their choice. You can donate the funds via PayPal (leave a comment and I'll send how-to instructions).

What happens to the other 50%? We're so glad you asked!

Apopo, will get 25%. Apopo is a 10-year-old NGO that works in Mozambique. They train giant -- and I mean GIANT -- African pouched rats from Tanzania to detect land mines (the rats are light enough to detect, but not to set off, the mine). Following the long civil war, many areas of the country are virtually uninhabitable due to heavy mining -- children cannot play in open areas for fear they will lose a limb or worse.

And, just in case you think this sounds...odd...keep in mind that the rats passed official licensing tests according to IMAS standards under supervision of the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD).

The remaining 25% will go to PATH, an international NGO that develops solutions to long-standing health problems, particularly in resource-poor areas. PATH developed a terrific new medical device -- Uniject.

Uniject can be used my minimally-trained people to deliver vaccines and drugs to prevent postpartum hemorrhage. It is single use, so helps lessen the worry about proper sterilization and transmission of HIV/AIDS.

We're tremendously lucky that Ruth will never have to run a gauntlet of land mines to attend school. And while childbirth carries risk, the likelihood that I'll be lost to postpartum hemorrhage is infinitesimal compared to women in the developing world. And we won't lose Ruth to neonatal tetanus, a major killer in areas without access to vaccines.