Posted by Ric Garrido

Hyatt Gold Passport has sponsored Loyalty Traveler since 2009 in the annual Passports with Purpose travel blogger fundraiser.  Hyatt Gold Passport stepped up another year with a donation of 110,000 points for a raffle prize in the 2013 Passports with Purpose fundraiser. You can buy tickets for $10 each from November 26 – December 9, 2013 for this prize or many other travel related prizes and help build schools in Mali.

I will have a separate post about the Passports with Purpose 2013 fundraiser for school buildings in Mali published at 9pm on Monday, November 25. There will be a couple hundred prizes in the Passports with Purpose raffle.

I noticed this year that for the first time there is an actual prize category for ‘loyalty points’ on the blogger prize form.

Loyalty Traveler started participating in Passports with Purpose in 2009. I became aware of Passports with Purpose through Twitter.

In 2009 I didn’t spend enough time on Twitter. I spent far more time on Twitter in 2009 than I do now. I still do not spend enough time on Twitter to grow my business. Marketers spend a lot of time on Twitter and they love to offer you all kinds of opportunities if you take the time to connect in the Twitterverse.

In 2009 I made an effort to secure a prize for Passports with Purpose with only a few days left before the deadline to participate in the fundraiser.

I sent out a tweet asking if anyone was interested in sponsoring me for Passports with Purpose. I figured there might be a hotel who would donate a prize. Hotel stays are a common prize in Passports with Purpose raffle.

Within a a very short time that same day I was contacted by Hyatt Hotels with a sponsorship prize offer of 50,000 points.

The small grassroots fundraising effort of some 70 or so travel writers securing corporate sponsored travel getaway prizes and travel gear funded a school building for children in Cambodia from the 2009 raffle. The initial Passports with Purpose goal was to raise $13,000 to fund construction of a school building.

PassportswithPurpose.org raised $28,000 that year. There was sufficient money to buy supplies and, if I recall correctly, help pay a teacher’s salary.

In 2011, Passports with Purpose had the goal of raising $80,000 to build two libraries in Zambia. The fundraiser raised $90,000. Hyatt Gold Passport sponsored Loyalty Traveler with 110,000 points for a popular raffle prize. Expedia became a corporate sponsor of Passports with Purpose in 2012 and funded several of the PwP founders on a trip to Zambia for the library dedication.

In 2012, Passports with Purpose had the goal of raising $100,000 to build two water wells for communities in Haiti still recovering from the 2010 earthquake. The raffle prizes earned $112,000 last year for the Haiti project.

There were more than 200 travel bloggers participating in 2012 in a grassroots effort to raise sufficient funding to build five water wells in Haiti. Passports with Purpose has grown quickly compared to 70 bloggers in 2009 when I started in the second year of PwP.

This annual travel blogger fundraiser is still grassroots.

I apologize for not writing this post a month ago when more bloggers could have signed up. Remember Passports with Purpose for next year. The cause is concrete, achievable and truly helpful to those in need.

Loyalty Traveler will publish a post at 9pm Monday, November 25 about Passports with Purpose Mali 2013 with a link to the annual raffle prizes, including 110,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points as the Loyalty Traveler prize.

Passports with Purpose Mali 2013 project is described below.

About 2013 charity: buildOn

2013 Passports with Purpose Goal: raise $115,000 for buildOn to construct three schools and fund three adult literacy programs in the Sikasso region of southern Mali, Africa.

About buildOn

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buildOn’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education.

For more than two decades buildOn has mobilized rural villages in some of the poorest countries on the planet to build more than 500 schools. buildOn constructs schools in Mali, Malawi, Senegal, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Nepal where school construction and educating children are vital components to long-term economic growth and sustainability. Research shows there would be a 12% drop in global poverty if all students in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills.

Strong outcomes can be achieved by educating adults as well. Research shows that women’s education is responsible for half of the decline in the child mortality rate in sub-Saharan African over the last 40 years. Men and women with a primary education are 1.5 more times more likely to support democracy than people without an education. And with every year of education attained, a country’s chances of falling into civil war are reduced.

buildOn in Mali

The 5th poorest country in the world according to the UN’s Human Development Index, Mali also suffers from one of the globe’s lowest literacy rates at 31.1% and only 20.3% for females.

buildOn constructs schools in Sikasso, the southernmost region of Mali, 200 miles south of the capital Bamako. To date, buildOn has completed nearly 200 schools in the region. More than 24,000 children attend buildOn schools in Mali on an annual basis. Villagers in Mali have contributed 513,000 volunteer work days helping to build their schools, often helped by buildOn Afterschool Program students from the United States or buildOn “Ambassadors” who have funded the school.

Steadfast in their commitment to break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy in Mali, buildOn has sustained their school construction program in the country amidst the current civil unrest north of the capital. They have continued building and all of buildOn’s schools and staff members have remained intact and safe since early 2012 when the Islamist attacks began. This highly-charged situation further underscores the need for education in Mali for children and adults alike.

Among the countries buildOn works in, we have seen the greatest increases in female enrollment in Mali. In a 2007 survey of buildOn schools in Mali, 37% of students were girls. Today, 43% of students attending buildOn primary schools in Mali are girls. Having schools located as close as possible to home with the availability of clean sanitation is critical for achieving an increased rate of female enrollment.

buildOn’s methodology

buildOn is designed to educate girls and boys in equal numbers and empower both women and men to make change in their communities, including the following strategies:

  • Project Leadership Committee: Each school construction project is led by a committee of 12 community members, 6 women and 6 men, who guide the project.
  • Volunteer Work Days: Both men and women help construct the schools.
  • Girls Enrollment: Each member of the community signs a buildOn Covenant before the construction of the school begins. For many women, it is the first time they are asked to sign a document. The majority of the community members in Mali sign with a fingerprint as they are not literate. The covenant outlines their participation in the project and that they agree to send their girls to school in equal numbers to boys.
  • Adult Literacy Program: In the same school children attend by day, buildOn’s Adult Literacy Program provides fundamental numeracy and literacy skills as well as new knowledge about nutrition, family planning and income generating activities. In each class, 60 students, half of whom are women, spend the first six months learning to read, write and do basic math through the lens of health, agriculture and relevant life skills. Participants then put these skills to test through income generating activities. The Adult Literacy Program is delivered by two educated villagers selected by buildOn for our facilitator-training program, in which they engage in a 4-day intensive program about how to teach adults to read and write. The two facilitators receive a monthly stipend to teach the adults six nights per week over an 18-month period (villagers take school breaks during farming and holiday seasons). The Adult Literacy Program creates opportunities for empowerment and wealth building among its participants, at least half of whom are women. buildOn is proud of their 85% completion rate and that 100% of the men and women who graduate from the Adult Literacy Program leave knowing how to read, write and do basic math.

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Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

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2 Responses

  1. I was shocked and thrilled to read this! I’m familiar with BuildOn, and have been donating for years. They do extraordinary work, for the children and villages in the countries they serve, AND for the U.S. students whose lives and perspectives are changed forever, because of their involvement in this amazing organization.

    I can’t wait to be part of your fundraising drive, this year!

  2. @Tom – The Passports with Purpose team members accept proposals from nongovernmental organizations (NGO) for projects.

    Organizations are selected based on reputation of successful projects.

    BuildOn was selected as this year’s recipient of PwP funding.

    http://passportswithpurpose.org/how-we-do-it/

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