Austin Nonprofit Brings Comprehensive Change to African Villages

Emergent BioMedical Engineering Water

At Emergent, we develop innovative technology with the potential to make a significant positive impact on the world. But we also think it’s important to get involved and support local causes and charities working to bring about positive change here and globally. In the past, we’ve talked about our participation in the MS-150 and the Austin Sunshine Camps. Since we’re always looking for local causes to support, another Austin nonprofit has recently caught our attention.

A Glimmer of Hope – Eliminate Poverty, Illuminate Lives

This impressive nonprofit organization, A Glimmer of Hope, works to bring comprehensive change to villages in Ethiopia, Africa, in four main sectors:

  • Water – hand dug wells, spring protection, shallow boreholes, deep boreholes
  • Education – schools, libraries, laboratories, latrines
  • Healthcare – health clinics, health centers, veterinary projects, latrines
  • Microfinance – micro-finance loans, micro-irrigation loans

Entrepreneur, Philip Berber and his wife, Donna, started A Glimmer of Hope back in early 2000 with a mission to relieve some of the pain in the world, specifically the suffering in Ethiopia. During the 1980s, the images of the great famine in Ethiopia greatly disturbed Donna Berber. More than a decade later, after visiting with a friend who had adopted two girls from Ethiopia, she decided to do something about the daunting problems faced by the population there. At that time, Philip and Donna found themselves in a position to invest a large amount – well over the $250,000 they had originally planned to commit – in Glimmer.

A Better Way to Deliver and Implement Aid

Donna traveled to Ethiopia so she could gain a better understanding of the best ways she could help relieve the suffering of the most vulnerable: women and children. The profound poverty she witnessed there astonished her, but the dignity and gentleness of the people inspired and awed her.

Philip and Donna brainstormed about innovating an improved way of delivering international aid. They wanted to create a method that allowed more efficiency and transparency. Donna’s vision for helping the most vulnerable and Philip’s proven business acumen led to a new model for aid that provides a “hand up rather than a hand out”.

Since then, Glimmer has grown significantly, employing a full staff of Ethiopian development experts, an ever-increasing donor base, and a growing number of implementing partners.

One woman’s dream to help millions in Ethiopia has become real as Glimmer continues to help millions of Ethiopians gain access to clean water, education, healthcare, and micro-loans.

Glimmer represents a prime example of how innovation can work in all facets of life – not just in  high-technology fields. At Emergent, we’re committed to innovation that foments true positive change in the world. What do you want to build today?