News / Africa

Clinton Global Initiative Embraces NGOs

John Bryant, Founder & CEO of Operation HopeJohn Bryant, Founder & CEO of Operation Hope
x
John Bryant, Founder & CEO of Operation Hope
John Bryant, Founder & CEO of Operation Hope
Joe DeCapua
The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) is holding its annual meeting (9/23-25) in New York with heads of state, business leaders, philanthropists and representatives from NGOs. Founded in 2005 by former President Bill Clinton, the Initiative’s goal is to find creative solutions to major problems



John Bryant, a founding member of the Clinton Global Initiative, said the meeting is about bringing people together to achieve measurable results.

“I don’t think the government alone can solve these problems anymore. I don’t think the private sector alone can solve these problems anymore. I don’t think philanthropy alone can solve these problems. The beautiful thing about CGI – it’s one huge collaboration. It’s one huge convening force for action and commitments,” he said. 

Bryant is founder and CEO of Operation Hope, which he described at a global leader in financial dignity. He said the idea is to give people a hand up, not a handout.

“Financial literacy is one example of that. If you were alive in the 20th Century, the issue was democracy. The way you codified that was the right to vote. But in the 21st Century the world is being ruled by the language of money, free enterprise or the lack thereof, the economy, the economic situation. So if you don’t understand the language of money, financial literacy, and you don’t have a bank account, you’re an economic slave,” he said.

In the U.S., Operation Hope helps raise the credit rating of people in poor neighborhoods. He said doing so can literally change the neighborhood itself.

“So now the liquor store turns into a convenience store, and the check cashier turns into a credit union or a bank. Well, you’ve just taken a poor neighborhood to an emerging market. That’s a hand up. That’s doing well by doing good. That’s tangible,” he said.

In North Africa and the Middle East, the goal is to create jobs by encouraging entrepreneurs. Bryant said, for example, that Saudi Arabia needs tens of millions of jobs by 2020. Operation Hope offers 25 types of business opportunities with a start-up cost of about $500. Creating jobs, he said, is one of the best weapons against terrorism.

“You put al-Qaeda out of business. Al-Qaeda doesn’t create any jobs. I mean you got two options in the Middle East. It’s very simple. You either light a candle or you curse the darkness. You figure out what you’re for or you figure what you’re against. People want a job. You don’t want war. You want to spend time with your family and you want to go shopping. What the MENA region needs is a middle class, or the aspiration to get there,” he said.

Bryant said in the 21st Century, freedom means “your ability to have self-determination in your life.”

Former congresswoman Marjorie Margolies of Philadelphia is seeking partners at the Clinton Global Initiative to help promote women’s rights. The University of Pennsylvania professor is president and CEO of Women’s Campaign International. She said getting women elected to political office in North Africa and the Middle East could help bring major changes.

“With the Arab Spring, if you looked out at Tahrir Square, for example, it was filled with women. When it got to kind of putting the government together, they weren’t there. And that’s very important. And women now, at least in our MENA region, the Middle East and northern Africa where we are working, they’re saying, wait a minute, we must be there. This is important,” she said.

Margolies said male members of parliament or those in positions of power in the MENA region are often unaware of the issues important to women.

“Those issues that are often marginalized are often embraced by women and they’re very important. They’re family issues. Women see things often through a different prism, and it isn’t better or worse, but it has to be respected,” she said.

Margolies says Women’s Campaign International helps provide mentors to young women, guiding them on a broad range of issues.

“They’ve decided to do different kinds of efforts. Some are healthcare. Some are education. Although it all cross-pollinates, because you can’t deal with healthcare if you don’t deal with issues of the environment or finance,” she said.

In addressing the CGI annual meeting, Mr. Clinton said that “this year’s commitments represent not only a deep respect for humanity, but also inspire others to transform their ideas and innovation into substantive global action.”

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs