IMPACT

Clinton Global Initiative Pledges Will Help More Than 15 Million People

The commitments made this year will improve girls' education, health services and farmers' opportunities.
Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015 in New York.
Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015 in New York.

In a matter four days, the Clinton Global Initiative brought in enough commitments to help more than 15 million people access education, health services, poverty programs and other basic human rights.

CGI, which convened in New York City during U.N. week, elicits funding from corporations and governments to solve international issues, without direct donations from its parent organization, the Clinton Foundation. The foundation didn’t reveal how much money was pledged this year, but the organization shared last year that it brought in $103 billion in commitments.

CGI’s 10th conference focused on how addressing a single issue can lead to progress on other related ones, the organization noted in a press release.

On the education front, more than 6 million girls and women will be able to access a variety of programs and gain more access to employment and skills development opportunities, as a result of CGI commitments. And more than 1 million students will participate in extracurricular learning activities, which relate to the arts, female empowerment, literacy and STEM.

One of the forward-thinking education programs highlighted at CGI was Code to Inspire, Afghanistan’s first coding school for girls.

Founder and CEO Fereshteh Forough announced at CGI that her organization will be establishing its first programming lab for women between the ages of 15 and 25. It will be a safe place for students to learn and prepare for future employment.

Forough noted that in addition to learning, students can “increase” their self esteem.

“It’s the only place they feel relaxed comfortable, they can enjoy and ask any question they want and be innovative,” she added.

To address medical issues of underserved groups, nearly 40,000 physicians and health workers will be employed to expand access to healthcare services.

To level the playing field for small-scale farmers, more than 1 million of them will gain access to new agricultural products and markets.

The Hershey Company, for example, announced at CGI that it would train 7,500 farmers in Ghana in improved agronomic methods. It will also equip them to supply local markets with high-quality peanuts to produce Vivi, a vitamin and mineral-fortified nutritional supplement distributed to schoolchildren in Ghana. Providing children with adequate nutrition remains a major concern in Africa.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was absent this year from CGI. After announcing her campaign in April, she resigned from the foundation's board. Amid her campaign, the foundation has faced scrutiny about foreign donors. 

The Clintons denied any wrongdoing and said it would cease taking money from foreign governments except Australia, Canada and four European countries.

"We're in the middle of defining the terms of our interdependence in a world where so much of our identity is caught up in our differences," Bill Clinton said, according to the AP. "So our job, as citizens -- those of us who have no political power -- is to do what we can to build up the positive forces of our interdependence and reduce the negative ones."

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