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Updated October 26, 2017

Oregon Organizations Involved in
Overseas Development / Humanitarian Efforts
Or Educating People Re: Other Countries/Global Affairs

This page, first launched in 2015, tracks Portland, Oregon metro-area organizations and initiatives that are involved in overseas development / aid / relief / humanitarian efforts, or that are involved in educating people about other countries - and a few in Oregon but outside PDX. Some are nonprofits, some are university programs, and some are for-profit companies / businesses. Some are focused exclusively on aid and development, some are focused only partially on such. Some provide full funding for volunteers to go overseas, some require volunteers to pay all expenses themselves.

I started this page because, as a consultant myself for organizations working in development, aid and relief overseas, I would like to know who my colleagues in my own "neighborhood" are, and because I would like for people in the USA to be much better educated about other countries.

Washington State has a formal umbrella organization, Global Washington, for groups in that state that work overseas, though it's not focused only on humanitarian issues - it's for any company doing business overseas. Oregon doesn't have such, that I can find, but there is an effort, launched in 2017, for Portland (see below). Plus, what I'm interested in most is humanitarian work or education about global issues only. So, in contrast to the Washington association, I'm keeping this list focused on Oregon programs engaged in humanitarian work or educating people regarding other countries or global affairs, rather than for-profit businesses doing work overseas.

If you have information for this page, please contact me.

Africa Bridge
In 2002, Africa Bridge began its first project in a village in Isongole Ward in Tanzania. Since then it has expanded into 20 additional villages in the Masoko, Mpombo and Lufingo wards. It facilitates discussions with communities to develop strategies to create income-generating activities and activities that provide access to education and healthcare.

Africa New Life Ministries
A Christian-focused aid agency based in Portland, Oregon.

Africa Road
Based in Tigard. Partners with local leaders in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania who are undertaking various projects to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in their communities.

Architects Without Borders-Oregon
Based in Portland, Oregon. Assists communities in need by providing design and planning services through a volunteer network of professionals and students. "We organize and design small and large projects both regionally and internationally."

Boeing Humanitarian Delivery Flights program
Based in Portland, Oregon. "Through our ongoing Humanitarian Delivery Flights program, Boeing and its airline customers combine the delivery of new aircraft with vital relief and humanitarian missions."

Camions of Care
Youth-run nonprofit that strives to manage and celebrate menstrual hygiene through advocacy, education and service globally, through distribution of feminine hygiene products.
Casa Verde
Based in Portland, Oregon. Facilitates experiential service-learning programs for US citizens that focus on global citizenship, sustainable living and community development in El Limon, Nicaragua.

Central Mexico Youth Fund
Based in Eugene, Oregon. Supports activities in Mexico (including, but not limited to the States of Queretaro, Guanajuato, Puebla, Michoacán, and San Luis Potosi) that help children, adolescents, and young adults get an education and lead productive lives in their native country. " We identify reputable Mexican organizations that focus on youth who come from families with limited economic resources and/or indigenous communities and offer them educational opportunities and training in life skills. We provide financial assistance and/or management advice to such organizations."

Center for Public Interest Design, School of Architecture, Portland State University
Based in Portland, Oregon. Aims to investigate and promote design practices that are a catalyst for the social, economic and environmental change needed to serve the growing needs of communities both locally and worldwide. Above all, the mission of the Center is to serve communities in need worldwide by researching and promoting design and building practices that are socially conscious, environmentally sustainable and economically accessible to all and by so doing elevate the civic role of these professions as agents of change.

Engineers Without Borders - Oregon State University
Based in Corvallis, Oregon. EWB-OSU is the Oregon State University student chapter of EWB-USA, a non-profit humanitarian organization established to partner with developing communities world-wide to improve their quality of life through the implementation of environmentally and economically sustainable engineering projects, while developing internationally responsible engineering students.

Engineers Without Borders - Portland chapter
Based in Portland, Oregon. The mission of Engineers Without Borders-USA (EWB-USA) is to support community-driven development programs worldwide by collaborating with local partners to design and implement sustainable engineering projects, while creating transformative experiences and responsible leaders. The Portland Chapter of EWB-USA is a group of professionals committed to volunteering in support of the EWB-USA mission and vision. Our volunteers include architects, engineers, public health professionals, medical professionals, media specialists, teachers and more.

Engineers Without Borders - Portland State University
Based in Portland, Oregon. EWB-PSU is the student chapter of EWB-USA based out of PSU in the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science (MCECS). EWB-PSU has three international projects in Central America and Africa.

Flying Physicians International
Founded in 2007. Provides emergency health and sanitation assistance to victims of humanitarian disasters, regardless of political, economic, strategic, or religious interests. " Our teams are designed to operate independently, arriving on site (eventually via our own transport vehicles) with the necessary shelter modules, health kits, and medications to perform emergency care."

Health in Harmony.
Works to "engage community-led solutions for human health and the health of our planet." Alam Sehat Lestari is an Indonesian non-profit and Health In Harmony’s pilot program in Borneo.

Humanitarian Aid & Rescue Project (HARP)
"a global emergency response team that is tasked with two primary missions: Rapid deployment of critical aid to remote areas experiencing war, famine and natural disaster, and ongoing dedication to those areas until all are upright & standing again." Volunteers must pay a program fee $1,500 and for his or her airfare.

Based in Cottage Grove, and effort to provide "safe, clean, and highly efficient institutional cookstoves and allied technologies in an integrated approach to serving the world’s poorest communities. InStove technologies are now in service in 23 countries around the world, including 15 countries in Africa."

Global Oregon
Based in Eugene, Oregon. A University of Oregon initiative meant "to enhance internationalization in the student experience, in research, and in our outreach to the state and the world." It also "blurs the boundaries among teaching, research, and community service."

Launched in 2017 by mechanical engineering faculty at Portland State University, this new initiative is working to connect the "Oregon-based global development community in an effort to magnify our collective impact on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals." They have a job board.

Green Empowerment
Based in Portland, Oregon. Works with local partners around the world to strengthen communities by delivering renewable energy and safe water. "We envision an equitable and sustainable world where everyone has clean water, renewable energy and a healthy environment."

Green Village Schools
Portland, Oregon based non-profit organization committed to increasing literacy in under served areas of Afghanistan, particularly in Helmand Province. Green Village Schools also seeks to improve lives in Afghanistan by providing health education, potable water, and a model for good sanitation at the schools. 

Health in Harmony
Works to facilitate discussions and action so that families in developing countries are not forced to make "the impossible choice between short-term survival and long-term well-being," such as choosing to deforest an area so that they can get income for food, healthcare, housing, etc. 

An online platform allowing nonprofit organizations and NGOs anywhere in the world to post paid jobs or volunteering opportunities, and people from anywhere on the globe to apply for those opportunities. Also provides a free platform for nonprofits and NGOs to advertise events. The International Volunteerism Resource Center (IVRC) helps individuals "make informed decisions about volunteering in another country."

Works to replace open fires in developing countries, used for cooking and warmth, with institutional cook stoves, to improve health and reduce harm to the environment.
Intel Foundation and Intel CSR
Intel is one of the largest employers in Oregon. However, I don't know if any Intel Foundation or CSR staff are in Oregon. Anyone know?

IPSL's Master of Arts in International Development and Service program at Concordia University
Based in Portland, Oregon. IPSL programs combine academic studies and community service and full cultural immersion "to give students a deeper, more meaningful study abroad experience."

Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest
The Oregon office is focused primarily on placing volunteers in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska in remote, rural, and urban settings. The main office in Maryland is in charge of the international program, but the Oregon office is involved somewhat in those programs, which places about 50 volunteers each year in Tanzania, Belize, Nicaragua, Micronesia, Chile and Peru.

Loom International
International Christian organization, based in Portland, Oregon, partnering with grassroots projects around the world working with women and children at risk. "Our main strategy for seeing long term change is to work with the people already working in their communities, bringing change one person and one day at a time. We desire to empower these small, but critical initiatives to be successful in their work among the smallest, weakest, poorest and most needy in society."

Medical Teams International
Based in Portland, Oregon. The mission of Medical Teams International is to demonstrate the love of Christ to people affected by disaster, conflict, and poverty around the world. The nonprofit provides medical and dental care, humanitarian aid and development programs. Recipients of service are helped regardless of religion, nationality, sex, or race.

Mercy Corps
Based in Portland, Oregon. A major international player regarding humanitarian response to natural and man-made disasters. In addition to humanitarian responses to meet urgent needs for food, water and shelter, this nonprofit also partners with communities for long-term recovery and development.

Mobility International (MIUSA)
A disability-led non-profit organization headquartered in Eugene, Oregon, USA working to advance the rights of people with disabilities globally. "By implementing innovative programs, we are building bridges to create a new era where people with disabilities will take their rightful place in the world community." Also, MIUSA builds understanding of how all international exchange opportunities and international development projects can be used to advance disability rights.

Nike Foundation
Based in Portland, Oregon. "NIKE, Inc. is committed to building deeper community connections and creating positive social change around the world... At the Nike Foundation, we invest in the greatest unrealized source of human potential in the world today: adolescent girls... when a girl living in poverty has the chance to reach her full potential, she isn’t the only one who escapes the circumstances she was born into. She brings her family, community and country with her. We call this the Girl Effect." in 2008, the Nike Foundation partnered with the NoVo Foundation, United Nations Foundation and Coalition for Adolescent Girls to create the Girl Effect.

Northwest Portland Hostel and Portland Hawthorne Hostel
These hostels in two different locations in downtown Portland are members of Hostelling International-USA (HI-USA), which has a mission "To help all, especially the young, gain a greater understanding of the world and it’s peoples through hostelling." Both hostels host a variety of events regarding traveling and living in other countries.

Open Arms International
Christian organization based in Portland, Oregon, providing services in Eldoret, Kenya, Africa "where we run an innovative orphan village that also serves as our base of activity for the entire region… Our mission of providing relief from physical, emotional and spiritual suffering through medical expertise, education, and Christian ministry is what inspires and motivates us." Affiliated with organizations in Kenya and the United Kingdom.

Peace Corps Associations in Oregon Peace Corps - Career Center - University of Oregon
Based in Eugene, work to promote Peace Corps program opportunities and to recruit qualified volunteers possessing the appropriate skills and motivation to succeed as Peace Corps volunteers.

Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility
"Guided by the values and expertise of medicine and public health, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) works to protect human life from the gravest threats to health and survival by striving to end the nuclear threat, advance environmental health, protect our climate and promote peace." PSR events in Portland often have an international focus, and they sometimes engage in fundraising for international causes.

Rafiki Village Project. Based in Portland. The mission is to improve health, increase literacy, and promote economic prosperity in Tanzania by financing specific community projects in Tanzanian villages. The Rafiki Village Project’s initial focus is a renovation of the Gijega Primary School in the village of Gishaj in the Hanang District of North Central Tanzania. The school has 415 students, ages seven to thirteen. There is no running water or electricity. The classrooms are in disrepair. There is a shortage of teachers and a paucity of educational supplies. The truancy rate is high and too few students graduate and go on to secondary school. The Rafiki Village Project seeks to address each of these problems through a multi-phase process.
Red Sweater Project - collaborates with developing communities to create affordable, accessible and advanced educational opportunities for children in rural Tanzania. The mission of the project is to readily children in Tanzania with adequate skills for the work force, directly combating the cycle of extreme poverty. The organization is based in Lake Oswego.

SPOON Foundation
Global nonprofit "dedicated to transforming nutrition and care for orphaned and vulnerable children worldwide. UNICEF and Ashoka recognize SPOON for its innovative approach and system-changing work that has catalyzed national policy change and yielded dramatic improvements in children's health and development."

SWEETLab (Sustainable Water, Energy and Environmental Technologies Laboratory) at Portland State University
Develops and implements technologies for the support of life in remote environments. "We work with academic, industry and non-profit partners around the world, and are associated with the Portland State Institute for Sustainable Solutions. A key thread of our research focuses on improving accountability and methodologies for international development through improved data collection."

United Nations Association of the USA, Portland Chapter
"Support the U.N. for a Better World."
Nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that supports the work of the United Nations in the Oregon area ."we encourage active civic participation in the most important social and economic issues facing the world today."

Waves for Development
Based in Beaverton, Oregon. Believes that surf travel should benefit the people and the communities where it happens. WAVES originated on the beaches of northern Peru in late 2004, when a group of local and international surfers came together out of a shared desire to teach local youth the joys of surfing. WAVES inspires world travel and cultural exchange through surf experiences, while collaboratively building a network of partnerships that empower education programs for travelers, local youth and communities. Programs are focused on education initiatives develop youth into healthy and empowered adults, surf voluntourism to engage travelers and transform their view of the world and themselves, cultural exchange, helping local people understanding environmental conservation, healthy living, social entrepreneurship and sustainable tourism.

World Affairs Council of Oregon
Based in Portland, Oregon. The mission of the World Affairs Council of Oregon is to broaden public awareness and understanding of international affairs and to engage Oregonians with the world.

World Pulse
Based in Portland, Oregon. Using the power of digital media to connect women worldwide and bring them a global voice. Through its web-based platform, women are speaking out and connecting to create solutions regarding their most pressing issues. "With a focus on grassroots women change leaders, our programs nurture community, provide media and empowerment training, and channel rising voices to influential forums."

Yo, Ghana
Mission is to bring together students and educators from Ghana and the Pacific Northwest. "To inspire, learn, and understand each other through a rich exchange of art, letters, pictures, and more. We aim to help Ghanaian schools become even better at what they do by procuring grants for scholarships, books, educational technology, and basic necessities, such as water, sanitation, and the construction of better schools."
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Read more about Jayne Cravens

Are you an individual, or part of a group, that wants to travel and do good (transire benefaciendo)? You have several options for helping either domestically (in your own country), or abroad (in another country), but note that it will take planning before your trip, as well as a lot of coordination in the weeks and days leading up to your on-the-road activities. This web page, transire benefaciendo, will help you coordinate such an efort. See in particular the section on Volunteering On Your Own Abroad. Also see this page on Finding Community Service and Volunteering for Groups, as well as the links at the bottom of that page.


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