Women’s Emancipation and Development Agency (WOMEDA) Executive Director Juma Massisi (seated, center) facilitates conversation among women and Amizade students in Kayanga, Tanzania, as part of research that supported a successful United States Agency for International Development grant award for WOMEDA.


DukeEngage students Jeline Rabideau and Jenny Denton worked with middle school girls, such as ​Katie, in Western North Carolina to enhance literacy skills through digital storytelling projects focused on their families.


DukeEngage independent project student Alex Saffrit collaborated with a community member, Moses, in Nkokonjeru, Uganda, on a solar cooker project.


Ernesto Alaniz, community maintenance leader, Villanova civil engineering student Allie Braun, and Water for Waslala program manager Iain Hunt cooperate to inspect a new water tank near Santa Maria Kubali, Nicaragua.

You Can Do It – Individual Actions, Conscious Consumption, and Personal Philanthropy

Take a look at these immediately applicable insights for conscious consumption, individual philanthropy, and service. (If you prefer to lobby for systemic change, check out the human rights page!)

Part 1: Five Sources for Conscious Consumption, Fair Trade, and Sustainability

  • The British organization Ethical Consumer researches and rates company behavior based on 23 ethical criteria. They offer buyers’ guides on products ranging from appliances through food and drink or travel and transport. Their mission is to make global business sustainable through consumer pressure.
  • Green America harnesses economic power to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. Their contributions include Green Pages, “an online directory of products and services for the planet,” as well as The Green America Guide to Fair Trade.
  • Fair Trade USA is the leading third-party certifier of fair trade products in the United States. Their site offers information for producers and consumers, as well as connections to social networking to follow fair trade insights and updates – and information on fair trade impact.
  • While the organizations listed above frequently use environmental impact among their criteria, TreeHugger strives to be the leading media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream. TreeHugger offers regular insightful updates via blogs, twitter, and Facebook.
  • Trying to understanding the ethical and environmental impacts of all of our actions leads many people to practice varying degrees of minimalism, something the The Minimalists have dedicated themselves to advancing through essays, a book, and an ongoing conversation.

Part 2: Understanding Opportunities for Individual Philanthropy and Service

  • While giving and serving makes an important difference, it is equally important to be an informed  donor, volunteer, or philanthropist. Many individuals and organizations advance important rubrics for better understanding philanthropy done well, including: