Global Hand News - April, 2006

We are often asked what kind of activity we see on Global Hand. So we have drawn up a very brief overview which you, too, are welcome to use if it is helpful.

It gives particular emphasis to product, since it is drawn from patterns established over time and our new broadening of services, in the release of Global Hand 2, is very recent.

  • Vehicles. These always bring immediate interest. Global Hand has been offered 4WD units, rescue boats, refuse trucks and other vehicles. A fire engine, placed on the site, was typical: email responses flooded in immediately and, within five minutes, an NGO secured it for shipment to an African project.
  • Medical offers are equally popular, one of the most common to appear, and disappear, on Global Hand. Medical provision comes in offers large and small: laboratory machinery, x-ray machines, operating theatre tables, hospital beds, surgical instruments, vitamins, injection supplies, medicines and wheelchairs. Six hours after 28 containers of medical supplies went on the website, in Holland, a US organisation had requested them and organised the freight to see them on their way to Africa.
  • Relief supplies, of all kinds, pour on to the site in the wake of any crisis. Some come to Global Hand directly. Others ring Oxfam, UNICEF, UNHCR, the DEC or Save the Children, with offers these organisations cannot use. They then refer them across to Global Hand. Examples include mosquito netting, lighting, cooking equipment, huge volumes of blankets, tents, tarpaulins, plastic sheeting, hygiene and related supplies. After a disaster, Global Hand is often inundated with offers and seeks to guide that process by an updated list of needed items on the website.“I need to get back to my desk. There are so many offers in any half hour period that I won’t keep up otherwise”, a Global Hand administrator commented, following the Pakistan earthquake.
  • Clothing and textiles offers frequent the site too. They are often in large quantities, direct from the manufacturer. They are not only sizeable, but, when the situation calls for it, can have cultural and climatic focus. Many thousands of garments have been offered through the site.
    • 10,000 fleece jackets were donated for Pakistan by a Japanese company, flown in by the manufacturer, and distributed among earthquake victims through Global Hand members.
    • In Serbia, a Red Cross unit, staffed by nationals, battles the unremitting cold of winter and the demoralisation of ethnic cleansing. In the UK, a company changes its logo and all stock with the former logo goes on Global Hand. They said,“Surely somewhere, someone in the world could use these. It would be such a shame to bin them…”The Red Cross unit received them with delight: they brought protection from the cold and, looking smart now in uniform, a boost to their morale.
  • Furniture/furnishings: office furniture and equipment, household furniture of all types, carpeting, tiles, army beds with mattresses, hospital beds. Hospital beds offered in the wake of the tsunami were unsuitable for disaster-struck areas because hospital buildings had been destroyed. These were re-directed to Moldova where they were a perfect match for a medical facility with outmoded furnishings.
  • Construction equipment: compressors, drills, grinders, jacks, hand pumps, soldering irons, welders, transceivers, antennae, tuners, cables, adaptors, electrical cable, generators, hand tools, hard hats, safety goggles, prefabricated structures. A Scottish NGO sent a load to Northern Uganda where, after almost two decades of war, the devastated infrastructure is in desperate need of reconstruction.
  • Water. Water purification equipment, reverse osmosis equipment, tanks, quick assembly water pipe, 400L&1000L water tans/bowsers, 5 gallon jerry cans, water stand pipes, water treatment plants. Reverse osmosis equipment, together with massive storage tanks, pumps and a generator to run them, were offered through Global Hand participants to Indonesia where the tsunami had wiped out a village water supply. A series of these offers came through Global Hand, maximising the network’s value in linking international and national actors.
  • Equipment provision. Teach a man to fish and, the adage has it, he eats for a lifetime. This is not a given, however, if that man needs tools to exercise his trade. Generators, boats even fishing line can be offered through Global Hand. When commercial quantities of fishing line were offered through Global Hand, there was considerable interest from struggling coastline communities and it was finally distributed among fishing villages in India.
  • Education provision: Text books, stationery and teaching supplies, classroom furniture and equipment, learning toys, special needs equipment. Educational projects in African and Eastern European locations, in particular, have benefited from shipments through Global Hand.
  • Food. Global Hand regularly receives offers of food in non-perishable form: cans, packets or sacks. Some of it is culture sensitive–Hallal approved, for example, during recent disasters. Some of it generic: sugar, milk powder, soup, dried products, etc. Early in Global Hand’s history, 1,000 pallets of noodles were made available and distributed through one NGO to 6 or so others in as many countries. The noodles were ideal: light weight, reconstituted with water, appealing to a breadth of cultures.
  • Money offers are newer for us, but, without doubt, find a ready audience. A Rotarian doctor in the United States wanted to give $8,000 to the Pakistan relief effort. Through Global Hand, he approached an NGO active in response and saw his money release two containers of urgently needed medical, hygiene and clothing supplies.
  • Freight is also newer for us, but there is no shortage of interest, particularly in a post-disaster scenario when airlines routinely approach us offering freight capacity. In the wake of the Pakistan earthquake, 20 tonnes of air freight was made available, without cost, for dispatch of urgently needed supplies.
We would like, in future, to post more material like this on our site. In particular, we’d like to tell some of your stories in full so that a visitor to the site could click on them and see your photographs and read the account. A few of you have sent us some material and, as soon as we have enough for critical mass, we would like to post this on the site. We need your help, though. We need your photos and feedback so that we can tell your stories.

Why? Often corporations considering giving us a donation ask to see such stories. They prove that our members treat donations responsibly and that those in need do indeed benefit from donations.

The more stories we can tell, the more people will give and the better, hopefully, the choice that comes onto the site. So, as you tell us stories, we can better serve you. We need your help!