More Donated Product On Global Hand - September, 2004

New developments underway! This is a longer news article than usual.

It announces the introduction of Global Hand’s Phase 2 development: one in which it will liaise directly with the corporate world to source more donated product for the Global Hand site. The reason for the length is that much thought has gone into the steps ahead and we wanted to explain it in a comprehensive way, in case you had any questions.

The Story So Far

Two factors have limited the product currently placed on the Global Hand site.

  • Phase 1 development
    In Phase 1 of Global Hand’s growth, we focused on networking NGO’s who handle the distribution of humanitarian goods, particularly those with expertise, history and capacity. We wanted to establish a strong core of NGO’s before inviting business companies to put product on our site. We knew companies would lose heart if they posted goods and the product did not move. There is now a strong network of NGO’s in place. We are ready for the next step: ie to take direct steps in sourcing from the corporate world.
  • Indirect sourcing strategy.
    During this same phase, an “indirect” sourcing strategy was suggested, born out of concern that, were Global Hand to go directly to companies for available product, this may undermine existing relationships in place between members and corporate entities. An indirect strategy was therefore set up: one whereby NGO’s in our network could pass on to the site any product offered to them if they could not use it. In hindsight, however, our members have now expressed consensus that this indirect strategy will never allow enough donated product to be placed on the site. Why? They have told us, in honesty, that, even if product offered is not suitable for them, they are reluctant to put it on the site in case they lose a valued sourcing relationship in doing so. In conferences over the past year, all have agreed that, while avoiding the pitfall mentioned above, Global Hand must source product directly from the corporate world. Too much product is still being trashed in today’s world and we need to find ways to harness that product so it can reach people in need.

In short, then, we are about to begin direct sourcing:

  • We now have a strong enough core group in place to move goods offered by the corporate world.
  • We can no longer rely on those few offers passed on by our existing members because insufficient donated product is offered that way.

So What Is Next?

Recent conferences have brought consistent consensus that we need to open sourcing offices in different regions of the world.

We are currently looking at South-East Asia, Central Asia, Central Europe and the UK. We are also in discussion, in early stages, regarding the Middle East and Africa. There is discussion on more opening elsewhere as well.

Why Local Representatives?

  • Local representatives have the advantage of being on the spot, well positioned to hear when product becomes available and to move rapidly.
  • Designated sourcers. Local representatives will source product for the Global Hand network as their first priority. The members of our network cannot usually do this. Their first obligation is, of course, to the organisations that employ them. Global Hand representatives, however, would source in a non-partisan way on behalf of the network, not a member of it.
  • Time availability. Product sourcing takes time. Again, it is the obligation of network members to commit their time to their own organisations: they rarely have time to work on behalf of the network. Local representatives can, however, commit such time.

What Will Local Representatives Do?

Corporate liaising. They will encourage companies to offer goods on the Global Hand website by:

  • Direct sourcing.
  • Building Global Hand’s name so it is known and trusted.
  • Developing key relationships with business leaders, who can give counsel to Global Hand operations at the local level.

NGO liaising. They will support NGO’s in the area by:

  • Troubleshooting if members have problems obtaining product and need counsel and/or partnership.
  • Staging NGO conferences, if needed, regionally, in order to help facilitate partnership and partnering so that synergies can be maximised.
  • Introducing more NGO’s in the region to Global Hand.
  • Protecting corporate relationships already in existence between members and companies so that these will not be undermined. (More below)

Background thinking:

  • On the one hand, we know all the NGO’s in the Global Hand network will be delighted if more donated product now becomes available. We know that, every day, valuable goods are being thrown into landfill which could change lives, even save lives. We don’t want that to continue. We want to see those goods re-directed to people living in need.
  • On the other hand, is it possible that Global Hand may end up in competition with its members? Each NGO has existing relationships with corporate groups that have been carefully nurtured and developed over time. What if Global Hand were to approach the same corporate group and, without intending harm, dislodge the relationship? This is the last thing we want to happen with Global Hand, so we have spent long days and nights working out ways to protect our members from this risk.
  • Put briefly, we only want to harness goods that are currently being thrown away so that they can be given to people in need. We don’t want to redirect any goods that are already finding their way to people in need.


We have met extensively on this issue and come up with the following strategy.

  • Whenever Global Hand representatives set up in an area, they will invite all Global Hand members in the area to inform the Global Hand office of existing relationships and the product you are receiving from those sources. These will be carefully managed in a database and the local representatives will, under no circumstances, approach those companies in that area about that product.
  • There could, if you wanted, be exceptions to the rule if invited by you to develop partnerships when a joint approach to companies would better free up further stock.

How Will These Offices Be Funded?

As you know, Global Hand staff have no salaries. Each of these dedicated individuals has undertaken to operate without a salary. Each will live, as our team in Hong Kong does, on personal support from others who believe in the cause. In addition, each is seeking donations for operating costs, whether those donations come in kind or cash. The short story, then, is that the opening of these offices will not pass a financial burden on to any of our members.

A further thought. It may be that you would like to help them find the support they need. After all, Global Hand is committed to you and the representatives will be serving you as well as the vision of Global Hand. Their success will be your success. Perhaps you can suggest grants, foundations, or make other recommendations regarding ways from whom they might seek funding.

Who Are The Representatives?

Lisa Miosi, in Vienna, Austria, has agreed to be our representative in this area. Lisa is of Italian and German parentage, although, until recently, she has lived in the States. Her background is in corporate sourcing and media. Her vision is to see the wealth of Central Europe reach the needs of the poor.

Ben Solanky is now starting as the UK representative for Global Hand. Ben has a background in marketing and has spent several years working in the GIK industry. He is already known to many in our network. Ben and his wife Angie are committed, in their own words,“to changing the world attitude toward global poverty and challenging the balance of rich and poor.”

Andrew and Sarah Starr work together in Kazakhstan where they are operating on behalf of all the countries in Central Asia. Originally from Australia, they are committed long-term to this region, speaking Russian and Kazakh, and deeply involved with NGO’s serving far-reaching needs of this area.

Carmen Schiffmann is a business strategist with substantial experience in the commercial world. She is working from Hong Kong, together with Malcolm and Sally Begbie and our Communication team, to support the development of these relationships at the international level.

The Indonesian office is being established as we speak although the name of the representative there has not yet been released. Watch this space!


  • Our driving force remains, as it always was, the fact that, every day, goods are thrown away in one part of the world which could ease suffering in another.

Devastating statistics indicate that far too much is still being trashed. Computers provide just one example. Estimates say that, in this decade, 500 million CPUs will become obsolete in the US and, to date, only 11% are making their way into the humanitarian arena. Yet, at the same time, many countries in Asia and Africa have computer availability to no more than 1% of their population. We had a volunteer, here in Hong Kong, who came from Sudan. He was a"computer graduate"from the course he had done there. Yet, in all his time of study, had never touched no more than a drawing of a computer keyboard on a piece of paper. He had never seen a computer.

We grieve to know that tragedies of this kind continue in our needy world. We delight when we know that valuable product can reach lives in need and see them changed, restored and possibly even saved. That is why Global Hand wants to harness valuable product, if it is currently being trashed, and redirect it into the lives of those who need it.
  • We want to do all in our power to readdress this situation. We want to get it right, however, so your comments, thoughts, questions, or other responses are warmly invited. Please feel free to write to us at or, indeed, to our representatives in your area.

Their contact details follow: