ChooseAneed focuses in poorest areas
    January 5 2010 by Teresa Buckner, Mars Hill College

    In a world of overwhelming need, many people dream of making a difference. But too often, giving to even worthy organizations seems like throwing money into an endless well of human need and misery.

    This was the sense of futility that confronted Brian and Mary Dawson, fourth-year medical students who visited Uganda in the spring of 2006.

    “When you visit a country of great need like Uganda, you’re the novelty, you’re the visiting person from afar, the rich ‘Muzungu’ (white person) from the U.S., and that’s a big deal to them,” Brian Dawson said. “People come to you and ask you for money to feed their families, to buy medicine, to pay school fees. But when you give it to that person, you enrich one person for one moment in time, you don’t actually make any life-altering change, and you don’t feel like you have really made a difference at all.”

    But on this particular trip, the Dawsons had the opportunity to participate in a project which would provide food and income for the villagers for years to come. That experience became the model for an organization that would create change in numerous impoverished communities around the world and provide a focus for the Dawsons’ desire to improve lives.

    Now both physicians who live in Greenville, Brian and Mary Dawson founded an international aid organization called ChooseAneed.

    The organization is essentially a web site network which, in the years since its creation, has provided more than $100,000 to projects in nine countries and bettered the lives of countless individuals.

    Crutchfield Photography

    Brian and Mary Dawson, both doctors in Greenville, have helped people in nine countries through their organization ChooseAneed.

    “We try to fund projects that are self-sustaining, that will give people a chance to make an investment where the change will be self-perpetuating,” Mary Dawson said. “We also try to support projects that are truly life-saving or life-changing, and that impact some pretty basic needs.”

    So, while Americans this Christmas made lists and checked them twice for thousands of other extravagances, the Dawsons and the ChooseAneed board made a wish list of another sort: a water well for a village in Uganda, a goat project in Malawi, mosquito nets in Malaika, a housing project in Costa Rica. Water, food, housing, health. Life itself.

    Even before their undergraduate days at Mars Hill College Brian and Mary Dawson took numerous international short-term missions trips. The opportunity which gave birth to ChooseAneed was a “cow project” which would purchase and grow a herd of cattle for the Ugandan villagers to share. Village elders had a business plan, leadership, community investment and know-how.

    They just lacked capital investment.

    “When we gave the money to the cow project, we felt like we were doing something that was more of a partnership than a rich benefactor giving to a poor person,” Mary said. “We were meeting them as equal partners in a project that would benefit the whole village for the future.”

    Buoyed by the experience, the Dawsons created an Internet network that has evolved into, where needs are posted from around the globe so interested donors can literally choose a need and fund it.

    “I don’t know how to take care of cows, or how to grow a herd. But I do know how to help raise money,” Brian said. “So, ChooseANeed is basically a network which puts people together. We are raising capital and cooperating with people across the world who have the knowledge, the skills and the leadership to make a particular project work.”

    The organization is committed to funneling 100 percent of each donor’s gift to the chosen project. Board members fund administrative costs.

    As a rule, ChooseAneed posts projects from areas which meet the World Health Organization’s definition of extreme poverty, which is to say that most of the community lives on less than a dollar a day.

    (EDITOR’S NOTE — Buckner is media relations coordinator at Mars Hill College.)
    1/5/2010 9:43:00 AM by Teresa Buckner, Mars Hill College | with 1 comments

Dave Long
On Thanksgiving Day 2007, our son called to ask me to help him find a project in Africa or India where he could invest money from an unexpected work bonus. Our son-in-law suggested we look at ChooseAneed and it was there we found the Uganda Village Project. The money was donated through ChooseAneed and we were able to go to Africa with our son, dauther-in-law, and two friends to dig wells for the clean water project and to visit schools where students would receive scholarships from the funds invested. We are grateful to Brian and Mary for opening the doors of Uganda Village Project to us. One hundred per cent of the funds went to the project with the Dawsons paying the adminsitration costs for fund transfer. For those looking to make a difference with their charitable contributions, we recommend ChooseAneed.
1/6/2010 11:04:08 AM

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