Reality Check

Mar 25, 2009

It’s not all hearts and roses in the world of Amway corporate citizenship. Every year, we have to face down a difficult report that puts into perspective how much need there is among children and how much we have yet to do.

I’m talking about the UNICEF State of the World’s Children Report. The primary charitable cause for Amway is helping children in need and this is perhaps the best barometer of the well-being of children globally.

Here are some highlights from this year’s report, which focused on maternal and newborn health:

  • There are 2.2 billion children in the world under age 18, or 629 million under 5. That’s our audience.
  • Around 7% of kids don’t live to see their 5th birthday, and that percentage is twice as high in some parts of the world. The number actually improved this year.
  • More than 15 million children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS and 2 million have HIV/AIDS themselves.

When we visit Amway markets and discuss areas of focus within One by One, we frequently reference this report to determine what the greatest needs actually are. Maybe it’s self esteem in Malaysia. Or therapy for abused children in Japan. Or education in the U.S.

That’s why the One by One program works so well. It’s a global program that pools all of our resources so we can have a bigger impact on a single issue. But it is still flexible to the needs of each country where we do business.

Despite the millions of dollars raised and the millions of hours given, there is so much more we can do. And our conversations have started to go beyond dollars and general volunteer projects. We need those too, but there is so much more we can do.

We have been talking more about lending our expertise to the mix. Using our knowledge and research on nutrition and vitamins to develop a product for undernourished children … establishing networks of Amway distributors who can mobilize their volunteer networks around a cause … experimenting with social marketing to provide an outlet for our people to share experiences and ideas … offering community partners our expertise and leadership in areas like efficiency training for food distribution and disaster relief … tying causes to our brands to integrate giving with sales … and always watching what others are doing, where the needs are, and what makes the most sense for Amway to get involved in.

These ideas and creative seeds are what energize me after I am oppressed by the numbers. I have to remember that the numbers are made up of lots of different faces, many of which have been helped by One by One programs. At the end of the day, that’s what the Amway business knows best. Helping one person at a time.

So what are you doing within your IBO networks? Do you have organized activities or focus areas around volunteering or giving? I would love to share your stories and ideas.


    • Diamond Diva Runner says:

      I realize how important it is that we do anything that we can to support those in need around the country and the world. So I am so excited to be a team captain for the Easter Seals, Walk with Me in Las Vegas this Saturday, March 28th.  I am so pumped to get family and friends out to the event to participate and to also see what Amway Global really stands for!

    • Jeffrey says:

      I personally donate on a regular basis to both Easter Seals and the Muscular Dystrophy Association because my youngest granddaughter, Autumn, has Type 2 Spinal Muscular Atrophy. She cannot walk and has limited upper motor skills. Unless there is a cure found, her condition will gradually continue to worsen as she gets older. She is 4 years old. She is very special to me and it breaks my heart to see her struggle with even the most simple tasks.

      I have been very active politically on behalf of children’s and grandparent’s rights after we lost custody of Autumn, and her half-sister, Fiona.

      The State of Iowa placed Fiona with her biological father who is an extremely violent three-time convicted felon. Just last week, I received notification from the State of Texas that Fiona is now officially listed as missing. We have tried everything to find her, but both states have been totally uncooperative in helping us, do to confidentiality laws. Even the FBI has refused to investigate.

      I have been a staunch critic of the horrible Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 which monitarily rewards states for removing children from their biological parents for any reason, or no reason, putting them in foster care, and placing them up for adoption.

      The government has never realized that when money is involved, corruption always follows. This law has created a black market for infants and children that was not there before. In fact, I was talking to a former Iowa Department of Human Services employee that said she could no longer work there because of the corruption and fraud at the DHS because of that law. The Iowa DHS can’t wait to get their hands on children so they can get a big, fat check from the federal government. The state of Iowa is in the top five in the nation in child removals and children have become a cash cow to help pay for budget deficits. It is pathetic. As long as this law is in effect, not one child in Iowa, or even the entire United States, is safe.

      The response from elected officials in both Iowa and Texas in our case has been appalling, all the way up to the governors of both states. The only way to get rid of laws as bad as the Adoption and Safe Families Act is to get rid of the legislators and governors we have now, and elect ones that have a passion for the rights of our innocent, defenseless children, and will get the laws changed. This is a federal law, but it is up to the states to enforce it.

      Until then, I will keep fighting for children’s rights, and I will keep searching for my special little princess, Fiona.

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